Three managers from three different generations, told us in three separate conversations, about their challenges with twenty somethings. Do young people today want the rewards without the effort?
Here are a few of our many thoughts on this question. First, to those who are a little past your twenties (or still holding on strong to 29 … again):
- Be careful not to over-generalize.
When a lot of people think of baby boomers, they think of hippies. Gen Xers are slackers. Yet these attributes only apply to a small portion of the total population of each of these generations.
The same is true of twenty somethings. Sure, some think they’re entitled to the best of everything. But many share the same work ethic, the same desire to prove themselves, as their predecessors.
- Show them how they make a difference.
Employees of all generations consistently want two things from work, in addition to making a decent living. First, people want to be recognized for a job well done. Second, people want to feel like they’re part of something bigger.
A young woman, with tears welling up in her eyes, told us about her first job, as a summer intern for the Chicago Housing Authority. Here’s her story:
“On my first day of work, I walked into the office and was greeted by the receptionist. She immediately called my supervisor. My supervisor took me back to her office.
She said, ‘I’m so glad you’re here. Our work is very important. We find homes for people. And I’m so happy that you’re here because we have more people wanting homes than we can handle. With your help, we’ll find homes for more people.’
I couldn’t wait to get to work every day. Because I knew I was helping people.”
Go the extra mile – show your people, of all ages, how your organization makes a difference. If you do, you’ll have a group of motivated employees.
Now, for those of you in your twenties:
- Turn this negative into your positive.
This perception is out there … and it’s going to stick, at least for awhile. Use it to your advantage. If you go the extra mile, you’ll stand out from the crowd. Successful people do what unsuccessful people don’t.
Little things make big differences. For example, get to work fifteen minutes earlier tomorrow. Stay fifteen minutes later. You’ll get noticed! Over time, you’ll be surprised at the difference it makes.
- Prepare yourself now for the opportunity to come.
Opportunity will present itself. The only question is whether or not you’ll be ready. If you can’t or won’t do little things extremely well, you’re won’t get the opportunity to work on big things.
Napoleon Hill, in his great book, Think and Grow Rich, tells the story of Edwin Barnes. Barnes went to work for Thomas Edison, with the goal of becoming Edison’s partner. Edison invented a product that his sales people said wouldn’t sell. Barnes saw his opportunity – he took the project no one else wanted and became Edison’s partner in the process!
Our quote today is by the great quarterback, Roger Staubach.
“There are no traffic jams along the extra mile.”
Give all you’ve got and you’ll get more than you can imagine.
Tomorrow, we’ll discuss the communication debate – e-mail, phone, or face-to-face – what contact method should you use? Until then, here’s to your big success!