Management, Orders and Attitude – Millennials and Beyond – Youth Unemployment
Continuing high levels of youth unemployment are a worry for everyone. If you are young, you worry about finding a job: if you are old, you worry who is going to support the services that you will need as you get even older. In my family we have children and grandchildren who are in the group finding it hard to find work.
So I found one conversation I had recently with a young man in his twenties rather worrying. He is someone who has had no real experience of being employed beyond a few weeks;
Me: “So, you left the new job. But I thought you were so happy to get it!”
Him: “Yes, I had to go really!”
Me: “Really? Why was that?”
Him: “Well, they were treating me badly.”
Me: “That sounds grim. What happened?”
Him: “Well, first of all they got annoyed because I was late a few times. I wasn’t that late – half an hour, an hour sometimes, maybe!”
Me: “Did you offer to stay longer to finish your work?”
Him: “No, I had things to do. I couldn’t stay later. Plus they were nasty about it. They didn’t like it and they kept on about it. Why would I do anything for them? And they’d started giving me orders – they kept telling me what to do. They weren’t treating me with respect.”
Now, he is someone who I have always found perfectly polite, helpful and reliable. And yet when I inquired further, the comments made by his employer sounded reasonable to me; they were things that I might have said. But, I don’t think from conversations that I have had with others, that he is exceptional for his generation. And, yes, he is very serious about wanting to work; he just wants to do it on terms that he considers fair.
So, where does that leave us as employers from another generation. Is it up to us to adapt? As a boss with a new employee, you do expect to be able to tell them what you want them to do. Also, you reserve the right to point out when they get things wrong. When you recruit someone, you agree what hours they will work and often what time they will start and finish. Of course we should all treat employees with respect. But what if you have a different understanding of what treating someone with respect actually means?
I’m beginning to be troubled by the clear conflict of cultures and its results for all of us. If anyone has ideas for how we bridge the gap, I’d love to hear them. There are lots of brilliant young people out there who deserve good opportunities. Right now I’m not sure how we give them.
Wendy Mason is the Happiness Coach and author of a new novel, The Wolf Project. Wendy is a life and career coach and writer. She is passionate about helping people find happiness at work and at home! To find out more email firstname.lastname@example.org, find her on Skype at wendymason14, or call +44 (0) 2081239146 (02081239146 for UK callers) or +1 262 317 9016 if you are in the US.
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