There’s an epidemic breaking out in the country. No need to be alarmed – it’s not really a health threat. This outbreak deals with reality issues.
A few years ago, while waiting for my turn to speak in a college-sponsored career-orientation conference, the speaker before me told the wide-eyed graduating students these words: “Listen guys, I graduated from this school. Never accept a job offer lower than P75,000, because if you do, then you’re insulting those who have graduated from this school.”
The auditorium full of graduating students broke out with shouts and applause. The speaker was an instant hit. He became their hero.
I must’ve dampened their spirits when it was my turn to speak, because I told them, “That challenge is a fantasy that only someone from Neverland and who’s as immature as Peter Pan could promise. As a business owner, I would fire anyone in my company who would hire an inexperienced fresh grad and pay him or her that amount of money – even if the applicant graduated from Harvard or Stanford! You go to school and pay tuition to learn. Why not work for free, learn, get some experience, and then start charging high? Duh?!”
That was more than 10 years ago. Those graduates are now in the marketplace. I don’t know if they realize today that what they heard then was a fantasy, not reality.
We were having dinner at an awards ceremony recently. The CEO and the marketing manager of this huge and respected food company told me that they’ve actually heard a university dean tell his students that, if they graduated from his school, they should expect to become vice presidents in their places of employment within five years. What’s the matter with these bozos making stupid promises and encouraging unrealistic expectations among the young? They may think they’re motivating them, but what they’re doing is setting them up for future failure! Where are the classic, age-old lectures on hard work, persistence, patience and sacrifice that are the true ingredients of success?
We have an epidemic in our midst – the emergence of young workers in business organizations today who are impatient, jumping from one company to another, and who are outspoken and articulate but low on substance, mouthing clichés without understanding them and driving HR practitioners crazy.
I’ve had at least seven HR heads from our top business corporations telling me that attrition is high among the young entrants to the workplace. These young people’s work ethics suck, and their work values suck even more. Push them a little, and they whine and whimper. Stretch them a little, and they moan and groan. Correct and reprimand them a little, and they quit right there and then. Mentor them a little, and they think they know more than their mentors.
Fifteen years from now, these young people would probably cover a 10-mile wide industry range and possess a two-inch deep pool of useful expertise and skills. It’s scary to imagine what kind of life they’ll have then.
Is this the fruit of a generation of parents who have been told, cajoled and persuaded by Western literature not to discipline their kids, but to just “encourage” and “reason” with them so they won’t be traumatized?
Is this the product of half-witted speakers who set false expectations and promise the young that they can succeed within the shortest possible time with the least possible work and sacrifice, and who teach them that, when they don’t get promoted to become vice presidents within five years, they should blame the company and not themselves?
I have a couple of suggestions. Provide values training for the young people. Make them understand the difference between fantasy and reality. Make them realize that they need to read more intelligent books. (Books on vampire, love stories aren’t part of the recommended readings.) Train them in the area of developing personal excellence, and teach them the right values for living.
The youth is the hope of the future, but I wouldn’t trust my future to a bunch of young people who don’t even know how to live in the present. Let’s teach these kids discipline and work values, and let’s teach them now. Tomorrow may be too late. There’s an epidemic remember?
(Develop your leadership skills, and spend two whole days with Francis Kong this April 25-26 at the EDSA Shangri-La Hotel, as he facilitates the well-acclaimed Dr. John C. Maxwell Program “Developing The Leader Within You.” For further inquiries, contact Mae at 09228980196, or call 632-6310912 for details.)