What does it take to be an acceptable employee in 2017? Not much, apparently. The bar has been lowered in recent years to accommodate the needs of a new generation entering today’s workforce. This mysterious shift is being felt by all people in the workplace, regardless of age, but not in all the same ways. No, we old timers will continue to be required to meet company standards and act like adults. We will however, suffer unexpected consequences for expecting the same work ethic and maturity from our newest coworkers. Unfortunately, employers and customers alike will suffer losses thanks to the acceptance of substandard work performance.
Back in the olden days, the 1980’s, when I was young….it was customary to report to the job (on-time) and do the things the boss requested to the very best of one’s abilities. If I did something incorrectly I was told about it and I corrected the way I did it in the future. I did not cry and complain that I was treated unfairly. I did not have my mommy call my boss to complain that they were too hard on me. I did not report a senior employee as being abusive for telling me I had done a poor job. No, I took responsibility for my performance and did not make excuses.
What is this new crop of cry-baby employees that are dropping the baton on quality and ethical work performance? I hate to tag or label anyone. I don’t like the idea of dumping all young people in the same bucket. But we have come upon a time when young employees cannot handle direction or criticisms concerning their performance on the job, from anyone. A new Millennium.
Inexplicably we have raised a new generation that experiences an intense sense of entitlement, high emotional sensitivity, elevated self-importance, lack of personal responsibility and a belief that the rules are optional for them. They do not feel they are responsible for anything that they do incorrectly, it is always somehow the fault of someone else.
Customer service? At the check-out, they hand me my receipt and give me an “uh-huh” when I tell them “thank you”. What’s that? One day two young clothing store clerks were loudly talking crap on me because they were offended that I did not need their assistance as I shopped around the store. A friend of mine was written up on his job recently because he verbally observed that the work of another employee was very shabbily accomplished. HE was put on probation because he hurt the employee’s feelings! Another friend’s job was at risk because she reported several instances of the irresponsibility of a young employee. Now the mother of that employee will be coming in to have a “discussion” with the business owner because her child is not being treated fairly in the workplace!?
It is not for me to try and pin down exactly where our society has gone astray with its young people. I am not a cultural, social, or psycho analyst – but I do have some suggestions for parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, teachers, coaches and babysitters. Please teach the children:
1) The world does not revolve around them and their desires.
2) Criticisms are part of learning.
3) Accept responsibility for mistakes.
4) Do not blame others for mistakes.
5) Never steal another employee’s work/ideas.
6) Never have parents, spouse, or anyone else intercede on a workplace issue.
7) Attitude affects everything
8) Get up, dress up, show up, and never give up! (my favorite)
9) Always look for opportunities to improve or do more.
10) Avoid gossip and high school shenanigans.
11) The wage paid is the reward for performing a duty on time, correctly and courteously.
12) If you cannot do the job as an employer asks, you may lose your job.
13) If you are rude to customers, you may lose your job.
14) If you are not happy with a job, find a new job.
Phew! I’m tired.