Posted by: LYF | October 28, 2008

“What’s in it for me?”

It is funny that the boomer generation (the generation who mortgaged the country, increased the deficit, destroyed the ozone layer and spent their best years sitting behind desks pushing paper) have such difficulty understanding why young people might not want to unquestioningly follow in their footsteps. - Comment from The ‘Trophy Kids’ Go to Work

I’ve read a few articles recently on what it’s like to manage my generation.  The consensus isn’t very good.  Apparently we have a high sense of entitlement and require constant praise which some argue stem from “feelings of superiority. I’ll admit that most people my age and myself included have a tendency to question how things are done – sometimes at the expense of our jobs.  It’s just unfortunate when inefficiencies become embedded in office culture.  Because if you’re a new hire, challenging the status quo may get you into trouble.

Some people recommend, “mirroring what you see” as a way to better fit in at a new job.  But this allows problems to remain problems.  I can’t appreciate why companies would rather remain in an entrenched player’s dilemma than step outside the box and try something new.  What is the value in remaining stagnant?  Just because you can’t see the value of something new doesn’t mean what you’re currently doing makes sense.

Comments like these also really bother me;

“The millennials were lavishly praised and often received trophies when they excelled, and sometimes when they didn’t, to avoid damaging their self-esteem.”

“Managers will need to give step-by-step directions for handling everything from projects to voice-mail messages to client meetings.”

“I’m not sure a lot of the technology things kids are doing promote their listening skills — with IM or even Facebook, it’s cryptic one-liners where they respond right away,”

When I read these I imagine a father scolding a 5 year old for eating cookies before dinner.  They’re condescending and didactic.  How do you think it feels to work for someone who would rather have you embrace a system that doesn’t work, while making comments like these about you to his fellow baby boomers?  That would honestly really bother me.

I think it just comes down to decency.  Most people I know who work in offices, genuinely want to do a good job.  They’re not trying to “shake things up” when they offer suggestions.  All they want is to feel heard.  Obviously not every suggestion is going to be a winner.  But personally it just feels a lot better when someone actually takes the time to listen to what you’re saying instead of brushing you off.

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Responses

  1. So I realized I didn’t have your new RSS feed in Google Reader – fixed!

    Good response to the ‘scolding father’ school of management.

    One of the biggest surprises, a few years into the job now, is realizing how much IM *HELPS* you do your job, rather than hinders it.

  2. good to hear about the RSS!

    That article really pissed me off. It was so one-sided and really antagonistic.


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