The Millennials & Mr. Rogers

The “Millennials” (actually from last Nov – CBS – but I just saw it [Thanks: Michael Kruse]

80 million of them, born between 1980 and 1995 . . . raised by doting parents who told them they are special, played in little leagues with no winners or losers, or all winners. They are laden with trophies just for participating and they think your business-as-usual ethic is for the birds.

. . . how to deal with this generation that only takes “yes” for an answer.

It’s Mr. Rogers fault – Many more funny excerpts below:

The workplace has become a psychological battlefield and the millennials have the upper hand, because they are tech savvy, with every gadget imaginable almost becoming an extension of their bodies. They multitask, talk, walk, listen and type, and text. And their priorities are simple: they come first. . . .

“Some of them are the greatest generation. They’re more hardworking. They have these tools to get things done,” she explains. “They are enormously clever and resourceful. Some of the others are absolutely incorrigible. It’s their way or the highway. The rest of us are old, redundant, should be retired. How dare we come in, anyone over 30. Not only can’t be trusted, can’t be counted upon to be, sort of, coherent.” Salzman says today’s manager must be half shrink and half diplomat. . . .

“You do have to speak to them a little bit like a therapist on television might speak to a patient,” Salzman says, laughing. “You can’t be harsh. You cannot tell them you’re disappointed in them. You can’t really ask them to live and breathe the company. Because they’re living and breathing themselves and that keeps them very busy.”

. . . Basic training, like how to eat with a knife and fork, or indeed how to work. Today, fewer and fewer middle class kids hold summer jobs because mowing lawns does not get you into Harvard. “They have climbed Mount Everest. They’ve been down to Machu Picchu to help excavate it. But they’ve never punched a time clock. They have no idea what it’s like to actually be in an office at nine o’clock, with people handing them work. And oh, by the way, possibly asking them to stay late in the evening, or their weekends,” Crane says.

. . . “We’re not going to settle . . . And we have options. That we can keep hopping jobs. No longer is it bad to have four jobs on your resume in a year. . . And we’re going to keep adapting and switching and trying new things until we figure out what it is.”

And figuring it out takes time. Sociologists tell us most Americans believe adulthood begins at 26 or older and that having witnessed so many sacrifices by their parents to achieve middle class security has had a huge impact. Family and friends are the new priorities, while blind careerism is beginning to fade.

. . .”Where does this fantasy about ‘I’m going to find the dream job’ . . . “I think we were told when we were little, ‘You can be anything you want.’ And then they went on and on . . . “Big lie, right?” Safer asks. “Big goals are great. Selling a fantasy that everything’s going to be perfect and peachy is not,” Dorsey says.

. . . the expectation that they will automatically win, and they’ll always be rewarded, even for just showing up . . .

Who’s at fault? Mister Rogers. He was telling his preschoolers, ‘You’re special. You’re special.’ And he meant well. But we, as parents, ran with it. And we said, ‘You, Junior, are special, and you’re special and you’re special and you’re special.’ And for doing what? We didn’t really explain that,” Zaslow says.

. . . they actually think of themselves like merchandise on eBay. ‘If you don’t want me, Mr. Employer, I’ll go sell myself down the street. I’ll probably get more money. I’ll definitely get a better experience. And by the way, they’ll adore me. You only like me,'” Salzman says.

. . . the “guru of thank you,” believes that the teeniest rewards pay big dividends, regardless of age. And boss-abuse gets even bigger dividends.

. . . there is an almost evangelical fervor about this work philosophy — no stick, all carrots. And believe it or not, all this prodding, praising, peddling, cajoling and psychobabble is worth $50 billion a year in business. Ain’t America great?. . .

Where else you find free back rubs for the deserving worker bee. What’s wrong with a happy workplace and taking your time to grow up?. . .

For all the complaining, Dorsey and Healy believe their generation will transform the office into a much more efficient, flexible and yes, nicer place to be. But until then, a message to bosses everywhere: just don’t forget the praise.

“We want to hear it and truly we’d love for our parents to know. There’s nothing better than Mom getting that letter saying, ‘You know, Ryan did a great job. Yeah, I just wanted to let you know you raised a fantastic son,'” Dorsey says. “Send it to grandma, too,” Healy adds, laughing.

I’m not a “millennial,” but just about everyone I know is all for positive encouragement and . . .

Read the whole article about the “Millennials”

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