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Thread: Composure and young people

  1. #1
    Cyburbian hilldweller's avatar
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    Composure and young people

    Keeping with the recent trend of self-improvement threads, a terse front counter interaction with a young E.I in an consulting firm yesterday got me thinking about composure in the workplace. I had simply told her that she needed to take her plan (and review fees) to the Fire Department directly and that we don't distribute them. She abruptly snatched the material out of my hand and stomped at the door. She later returned with something I had given her of mine by mistake, and the secretary told me that she said something along the lines of "give this back to him". My demeanor in dealing with her certainly didn't justify this response.

    I have noticed that this is unfortunately typical of my interactions with young professionals in both the public and private sector, particularly those just out of college. They seem to take everything personal and often lose their composure easily when things don't go their way. I often wonder whether this is typical of today's generation of young people or is just typical of youth/inexperience.

    What does the throbbing brain think? Is today's generation of young people(whatever it is called) less capable of keeping their composure and communicating in a respectful, professional manner? If so, why?

  2. #2
    Quote Originally posted by hilldweller View post
    What does the throbbing brain think? Is today's generation of young people(whatever it is called) less capable of keeping their composure and communicating in a respectful, professional manner? If so, why?
    We're an on-demand society. Fast food. DVDs in the mail. Movies and music instantly downloaded, or snagged off of the "on-demand" cable system. Internet access to everything from banking to school records. Cell phones, text messaging, etc. We want everything, and we want everything immediately.

    Me, I'm not like that. Although I do admit that I have a low BS and incompetence threshold, and "terse" is a polite way of describing me when I have to deal with that kind of behavior.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian dandy_warhol's avatar
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    to greatly over-generalize, they're all spoiled, entitled narcissists. they're used to mommy and daddy doing whatever little sweetie-pie wants. they don't understand conflict resolution because they've never had to do it, they whined to mommy or daddy and M or D took care of it. little Jordyn didn't study for the spelling test and therefore failed, well it is obviously the teacher's fault. and Jordyn should get another chance to take the test.

    arrrgh. it is only going to get worse too, as these entitled narcissists grow up. we're doomed, they'll be running the world when we're old.
    In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends. -Martin Luther King Jr.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Plan-it's avatar
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    I think it is a combination of both. On one end, most people in their 20's are rather self-absorbed. This is just what happens in that age group.

    On the other side, this new (younger) generation has led a relativley pampered lifestyle (as a whole). They have been brought up by parents who make sure they believe that they are "special". This is why I have parents calling me at work asking how I could possibly not give my open position to Johhny Q or Susie Y. They deserve this job, did't I know this?

    This generation has never had to do anything on their own because their parents have already paved the path for them. They have never had to create a trail for themselves. I know this is a huge generalization so I expect to get flamed a little bit. Also, I do not think all young people in this generation are this way, but I have seen more than enough to beleive that there is a trend.

    No need to worry, us overly cynical Gen Xers will happily beat it out of them.
    Satellite City Enabler

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Planit's avatar
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    Did any of you see the article in USAToday last week or so about a young professional work got sent home from work because her clothing was deemed inapropriate for the work place? She complained that she always wore bermuda shorts, capris, tank tops and flip-flops to class and her other job during college. Also that her generation was taught to express themselves and that her clothes were a part of her self-expression. She thought it was awfully rude of her boss to tell her that her clothes were inappropriate because that was demoralizing to her.

    Give me a break chicky. Change jobs or live up to the company you work for. If they want to have a particular image (where it is the blue shirt asking if you want fries with that or the corporate suit) wear it. If you work for the company, you represent them.
    "Whatever beer I'm drinking, is better than the one I'm not." DMLW
    "Budweiser sells a product they reflectively insist on calling beer." John Oliver

  6. #6
    Quote Originally posted by Planit View post
    She complained that she always wore bermuda shorts, capris, tank tops and flip-flops to class and her other job during college.
    Funny, I usually wore business casual to class.

    Funny, too, because now I'm working for one of my old instructors.

    Hmm. What a funny little coincidence.

  7. #7
    While it probably wasn't the case in this situation - we know HD isn't the snarky type - I have seen interactions along this line where the person behind the counter or desk seems to start out with an adversarial attitude and the whole thing escalates into a huge sighing and "yes, but" conversation.

    Generally, though, I have noticed that professional composure among the 20-somethings seems to be at an all time low. Coupled with an extra streak of laziness and you've got a nasty cocktail on your hands.

    And yes, being the cynical Gen Xer that I am, I like to take any opportunity to burst the little darlin's bubbles. There's nothing more enjoyable than seeing the panic and disappointment cloud their shiny faces when they kvetch about their bosses not being concerned enough about (take your pick of pet causes) or feeling like they can't change the workplace environment to be more (take your pick of catch phrases). Plan-it, you in?

  8. #8
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Planit View post
    Did any of you see the article in USAToday last week or so about a young professional work got sent home from work because her clothing was deemed inapropriate for the work place?
    Found the article. Not too much to add to this discussion; doing comprehensive planning, I really don't encounter many Generation Y-ers at work now. I just wish they'd stay the hell off my lawn.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Mud Princess's avatar
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    The lack of "soft skills" among young, entry-level workers has been consistently identified as a major issue for the business community, nationwide. I tend to agree that parents are partially at fault by not teaching them responsibility. It often shocks me how many high school and college kids have never had to spend their summer vacations working. I've been in the labor force at least part-time since I was 15 years old!

    I am currently working on a project that is looking very closely at this issue. Until very recently, the soft skills and core competencies required for the workplace were not being taught in school. Pressured by business leaders and economic and workforce development professionals, many schools are starting to teach career education and work skills, such as how to find and keep a job, teamwork, conflict resolution skills, problem solving, decision-making, effective communication skills, time management, and so on. It seems so obvious, but a lot of young people are simply not getting it, so it's up to the educational system.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Plan-it View post
    I think it is a combination of both. On one end, most people in their 20's are rather self-absorbed. This is just what happens in that age group.

    On the other side, this new (younger) generation has led a relativley pampered lifestyle (as a whole). They have been brought up by parents who make sure they believe that they are "special". This is why I have parents calling me at work asking how I could possibly not give my open position to Johhny Q or Susie Y. They deserve this job, did't I know this?

    This generation has never had to do anything on their own because their parents have already paved the path for them. They have never had to create a trail for themselves. I know this is a huge generalization so I expect to get flamed a little bit. Also, I do not think all young people in this generation are this way, but I have seen more than enough to beleive that there is a trend.

    No need to worry, us overly cynical Gen Xers will happily beat it out of them.
    I'm in my twenties and I actually agree with most of what you have written. I think alot of people in my age group have a high degree of entitelement. I will admit that I did when I started my current job (partly because I was carrying the weight of the entire department on my shoulders and I had to clean up a lot of the last planner's messes). However, I was quickly put in my place and I have learned that I still take a back seat on a lot of projects here (and am slowly moving up to the front seat).

    My parents are very hard on me. When I have a problem, they often point out my faults regardless of who is right or wrong. If I didn't get an offer after an interview it was because I didn't try hard enough or I wasn't using the right people skills, etc. If I was struggling learning a new skill it was becasue I wasn't utilizing my boss or taking extra classes, etc.

    I think it was common for parents in previous generations to blame their kids rather than making excuses for them, which is much more common today. Alot of young professionals have probably not worked apart from a summer job in college, so this is their first experience working as an adult. However, on a previous post, I counted over twenty jobs and internships that I did between the ages of 13-26. My parents forced me to work to pay for my own things, and I think that has molded me into a more responsible individual.

    I think it is going to be very interesting when I go back to school in a few years for LA and a second degree in planning. I will have had several years of experience under my belt and will be in classes with students with no experience. Rather than show off my skills and walk all over my classmates, I would rather observe, listen, and offer advice when needed. I know I will have to work hard, but I will let the experience speak for itself.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    In too many parts of the country, people who where born after 1980 where never taught property social manners. It was a feel good culture where you don’t want to tell them know because it might help their self esteem. As if this group is not bad enough, young kids today are not taught how to be proper winners or proper losers. A co-worker is the coach of his son’s t-ball team. They don’t keep score and everyone is a winner. What is that teaching them?

    More so, we as a society are only further fueling this problem by giving kids everything that their hearts could desire. The toy industry is having profits that are 200 to 300 times the percentage of profit that they made in the 70’s and earlier.

    The 20 something generation now is only partly to blame… their parents need to hold the remainder

    nrschmid, it sounds like we had the same up bringing. I agree with everything that you said.
    Invest in the things today, that provide the returns tomorrow.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
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    I really have the opposite experiences. The young professionals are usually polite and, well, professional. Outrageous and rude behavior tends to come from the middle-aged professionals. I think a lot of that has to do with changes in development in the county and the state. The people with years of experience are used to the way things have been done for years (minimal regulation and oversight). Now that the tide has turned and people in the county and state want more land use control, these folks are seeing the old (easy) way is going away and they have to change. Most of them are resistant but remain professional. But some, who hate guvirment show their anger and contempt quite vocally. The young professional with little or no experience of how things used to be done accept change.

    I cannot recall an incident where a young professional has exhibited spoiled behavior. Their parents and grandparents are different stories.
    "I am very good at reading women, but I get into trouble for using the Braille method."

    ~ Otterpop ~

  13. #13
    Cyburbian southern_yank's avatar
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    generations

    Are apathetic young people really new? I'm sure the older generations of the 1910s and 1920s were standing around the horse feeders discussing those lazy kids born in 1900 who couldn't even saddle their own horses. Grandpa in 1960 didn't think those hippies born in 1940 would amount to anything. You get my point.

    It seems every generation bemoans the one after it. Maybe we can learn from each other instead.

  14. #14
         
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    Now I know there are bold, italic and underlined tags, what I didn't realise that there is a 'patronising' tag available on this forum too.

    Seriously, you lot sound like all old people ever, complete with an inflated sense of yourself as young uns, and you were all so much better behaved.

    "these whinnersnappers, no manners nowadays, tsk, when i was a boy we respected our elders...ad infinitum"

    Give it a rest eh? Step back and realise that these people simply don't have the experience and 'tact' (although judging by some posts above thats questionable) that you have developed over the years, take the time out to get to know them, maybe they've a reason why they snapped or bit back.

    Ooooh I've discovered another new tag look

    [/rant]


  15. #15
    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by otterpop View post
    I cannot recall an incident where a young professional has exhibited spoiled behavior. Their parents and grandparents are different stories.
    I agree. This has also been my experience. However, I think some of it depends on the positions that some of the younger people hold. I can understand a situation where a 22 year old is hired for a senior position and the power getting to their head.

  16. #16
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    In my experiences rudeness and lack of composure is exhibited by folks of all ages. And no I don't think Gen Y has raised the bar in any way.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  17. #17
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    While I can’t get to it, on July 7, 2007 Carol Hymonwitz wrote an article titled “Managers Find Ways to Get Generations to Close Culture Gaps” in the Wall Street Journal.

    In the article it talks about how the gaps are becoming more and more and that many of the differences are not going to change. It talks about how 99% of the Babyboomer generation said that they would give time off for a person who was medically ill. However the majority said that they would not give an day or even an hour off to see a spiritual coach.

    More and more major corporations are seeing the “seeing outside of the box” value that the younger generation can bring and are offering incentives such as flexible time schedules, ability to work out of the office from time to time, and even increasing the use of technology such as blogs and blackberries. Merrill Lynch has already applied many of these tactics, in addition to pairing the younger generations up with the older generation persons in an effort to encourage them to learn from each other. They have found that all of these changes have greatly increased cooperation in their workforce, dramatically increased productivity, and the increased review has more than paid for the new policy changes.

    In some standards, I am more like the babyboomer generation, but in others I am not. I think that the younger generation needs to learn respect for others (regardless of age) and needs to learn that they can’t have it their way all the time. On the other hand, based with other situations, I think that studies have shown that there is a change in workplace expectations and that some of these things should be addressed and possibly adopted by employers.
    Invest in the things today, that provide the returns tomorrow.

  18. #18
         
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    I have to agree with Ottopop. I have the most problems with the middle-aged and older white men (and sometimes women). They are either professionals who have not kept up with the changes over the years or citizens who don't want to fill-out basic paperwork or provide a plan for their new shed, garage or porch.

  19. #19
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    There are wo kinds of people that I work with:

    1). Those I can work well with, ask questions to, respond to their requests, and share professional advice with.

    2). Those that are incredibly difficult to work with, now this group can be broken up into those who are under incredible pressure, and those who just don't care.

    I have never noticed a general age pattern in this distribution. It could be that we generalize a little too much about people based upon our percieved notions. I try not to do this.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  20. #20
    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    I've seen a lot of "well the collective universe owes me" attitude from people in their early 20's but frankly I think much of that can be chalked up to both age and inexperience in the workforce in a position that dictates a higher standard of acceptable behavior. As someone else pointed out, mid-career people can be difficult as well especially if they do not readily embrace change.

    As far as dress codes are concerned, I've never worked in a place with what I thought were rigorous standards. No jeans, sleeveless shirts, exposed midriffs, too short skirts, shorts, casual tshirts, cheap flip flops are pretty standard no-nos. I did work with a young lady right out of college who had an interest in wearing low rise pants with shirts she didn't quite button all the way down who didn't make it past her probationary period for a myriad of reasons, but not dressing professionally was cited as one of them.
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

  21. #21
    Cyburbian Habanero's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    In my experiences rudeness and lack of composure is exhibited by folks of all ages. And no I don't think Gen Y has raised the bar in any way.
    My thoughts exactly. I've had several encounters much like hilldweller's and sometimes it makes me think people have been trained to act in a "she/he who complains loudest wins".
    When Jesus said "love your enemies", he probably didn't mean kill them.

  22. #22
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    When I got my first job, at 16, my dad gave me 2 very good pieces of advice:

    Never lose your temper at work, and
    You will be working with people you don't like. Keep it to yourself and do your best to get along with them.

    There are professionals of every age who think it's OK to go off on other people in the office. Sometimes people get a little power and think the rules of polite behavior don't apply to them, or they have anger management issues, but those things cut across all ages and backgrounds. And I've sure worked with planners of all ages who don't dress appropriate to the office, but I think they just don't have a clue and the bosses don't bother to say anything.

    I do agree that some younger professionals have been horribly coddled by their parents. I've read article after article about colleges and universities having to deal with parents who want to resolve every conflict/issue/grade disagreement for their kids. Many of them now offer orientation for parents and they have their own staff to deal with over their kids' issues. Maybe this is one reason some kids are not coming out of college with the life skills they should have already developed.

  23. #23
    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by southern_yank View post
    Are apathetic young people really new? I'm sure the older generations of the 1910s and 1920s were standing around the horse feeders discussing those lazy kids born in 1900 who couldn't even saddle their own horses. Grandpa in 1960 didn't think those hippies born in 1940 would amount to anything. You get my point.

    It seems every generation bemoans the one after it. Maybe we can learn from each other instead.
    Yeah, and the idea that I in my early 30's would think that younger professionals in their 20's are more spoiled than me is pretty funny. By the Gen-X stereotype I should be smoking weed and playing hackysack all day.

  24. #24
    Cyburbian CJC's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    In my experiences rudeness and lack of composure is exhibited by folks of all ages. And no I don't think Gen Y has raised the bar in any way.
    I have to agree. Now, a couple of disclaimers - First, I'm in my late 20's and was raised in a very strict home, and second, most of the people I have to deal with on a daily basis (outside of my own coworkers) are at least twice my age - so it's possible that I'm jaded a bit.

  25. #25
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    I think, like with anything, there is good and bad to it all - I have had 3 young new hires over the last 6 months

    I
    • am seeing this generation wanting change rapidly, but that could be the impatience of youth that I, a 42 yo, may have forgotten about - I think I remember a time when I thought I could anything too but that was a long time ago - but no, I knew I had to work my way up the ladder for sure
    • I am seeing this generation cutting out right exactly at 5 or wanting earlier because of kayaking or other recreational hobbies but perhaps I am a teensy jealous of that
    • I rarely see a Mister or Ms added to any letter or introduction but this generation was bombarded with wrong-doings of "adults" that previous generations hid in the closet so maybe respect isn't so automatic anymore for a reason

    but yes on the coddling of this generation - when I was interviewing, I got mistaken emails from parents emailing with their kids about getting the job that sounded like a conversation I have had with my almost 3 yo, and, I had never heard directly from a parent before until I did this search either - this is a strange phenomena that's not good, imho

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