I read a great Inc. magazine workplace blog about the problems motivating and managing millennials — the below 30 crowd. I am excerpting it as it echoes what college professors and grad professors tell me about their students.
I was talking to a grad school professor last week who lamented how often students inform him of what they deem to be relevant in his lectures and syllabus and what they deem to be a waste of their time. (One thing they find absolutely unnecessary and tedious, he says, is history. Their major concern is the here and now, and they don’t see how events of the past have much to offer.)
Repeatedly, professors report that students earning lackluster grades come to them and complain, “I have to get an A in this class,” as if they can will themselves a better grade without having to put in any real effort.
Here is an excerpt from the essay by Mayra Jimenez, a 32-year-ol entrepreneur, who says her challenge is “recruiting a group of loyal, competent young employees under 30 years old.”
This is only an excerpt, so please read the full blog. (You may want to send the link to some 18-year-olds of your acquaintance.)
By Mayra Jimenez
I’d like to think my problem isn’t just that I’m an old fart. I own a luxury swimwear ecommerce platform (and most recently, a brick-and-mortar location in Miami Beach as well) with my husband. We’re 32-year-old owners with a startup mentality.
When I was 23, I used to dream about being part of a company that cared about what I thought, that saw my true potential and gave me challenging responsibilities. Turns out, our millennial staffers don’t really see it that way –and, while I know that I can’t generalize my experience to a whole generation, I also doubt that my young employees are unique.
Here’s my list of grievances:
They’re cocky. I have yet to give a millennial a leadership position and have them accept their new role with humility. Once you give them a fancy title like Assistant Buyer or Marketing Specialist they automatically seem to think they’re God’s gift to you, your clients, and your other employees.
They take things for granted. Recent graduates (regardless of where they went to school) from time immemorial have been asked to make copies and bring people coffee. Millennials, on the other hand, seem to think someone should have rolled out the red carpet when they popped out of school.
They think they’re exempt from rules. These are all activities they seem to think are normal: sending emails to clients with blatant grammatical mistakes, knowingly telling customers incorrect information (because they think that’s a better answer), and ignoring an inquiry from their boss.
They don’t follow through. Our normal expectation for an adult over 21 is that they are able to take care of tasks with little supervision without having to be reminded. But that’s not the case, with even our most responsible millennials.
They don’t want to pay their dues. It’s the Culture of Now for them, and frankly, this makes our fairly minor age difference seem like the gap of a century. When I graduated from college, my peers and I were fully aware that our first year or two in the workforce would be spent in dull jobs, because you have to start from the bottom and work your way up.
I feel like breaking open the anti-suicide windows of my 21st floor office and shouting, “calling all smart, stable, and humble fashion-oriented people, can you please show up to work today? On time?”
–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog