They will be criticized
BUSINESS MATTERS BEYOND THE BOTTOM LINE - Francis J. Kong (The Philippine Star) - July 13, 2019 - 12:00am

“Why are you stereotyping people?”

“This is so unsafe for me.”

“You are such a racist and a sexist!”

“Why are you so judgmental?”

“Your comments and opinions are so offensive you have caused me mental anxiety. This is why I am so depressed.”

Ever heard these statements from the young? These are not statements coming from the millennials; these comments are from the new generation that is poised to enter the workplace: Generation Z.

There was a time when people could live with criticisms. They come in different names: feedbacks and constructive criticisms. We were trained to pick them up with an open mind; reflect upon it and improve. Today this would be very difficult to follow. Try to “criticize” a “Zillennial” and you will find them waging war against you because of your views.

This is not my invention, but you may want to do some research into what is happening in certain colleges and universities – specifically from the western hemisphere of the globe. Some speakers were hurt; others have to bring in security and police to protect themselves against angry college students because they disagree with the speaker’s opinions and views. Heckling, noise barrages, swearing, cussing and cursing while speakers were speaking gives you a sneak peek into the profile and psychology of the new generation. Some social commentarists have even referred to this new generation as the “unemployables.”

The marketplace is the arena for the battle of ideas. While we may not agree with each other at least, we have agreed to disagree agreeably. Not so with these young people who do not know how to accept opposing ideas with an open mind. As a speaker, I have personally encountered this in university settings, and I can assure you that the experience was, least to say, exciting and shocking to the older generation in the audience.

Many of Generation Z have grown up too fragile and unable to cope with adversities and criticisms. Let me explain why this is not a good thing. The curriculum vitae may be impressive; the academic records may be majestic and the educational degree came with Latin honors, but before hiring, companies will do their due diligence. They will do a thorough background check, they will look into their social media accounts. Credit and background investigating agencies even have technology doing the job for them. There are now algorithms that can predict with an impressive amount of accuracy a general profile of the candidate’s pattern of behavior, speech, and translate their predictable attitude. Some of what they learn will not be flattering or kind.

During job interviews, THEY WILL BE CRITICIZED. They will be asked very sensitive questions that these young people, while in school, may have considered “offensive” and “unsafe.” If they pass and escape this close background scrutiny and get the job; THEY WILL BE CRITICIZED and whatever their personal opinions and views are and should they oppose the views and opinions of their bosses, guess which side will prevail? When they deal with clients and customers, guess what happens? THEY WILL BE CRITICIZED. Will they have the stamina, the endurance, the patience and the tenacity to deal with these situations?

When in school, the parents may have bought into the books, teachings and the commencement speeches of famous personalities and echoing the worn out cliches such as “Follow your dreams.” “Pursue your passion.” “The purpose of life is to be happy!? “ Really!!! But when they are in the real world they will suddenly realize they are no longer the center of the universe and the planets do not revolve around them.

While speakers and managers still rant about “The problem with the millennials” should they actually be in the business of training the millennials to lead the next generation of young people who are going to join the workforce. Gen Z is now doing OJT in companies and they will join the workforce soon. Are we prepared to lead them or better still, will the young people be ready to cope with the realities of real world experience? What surprises me is the “shocked” reaction of my participants when I talk about this in my leadership seminars, and this proves that they are still not in the know.

The economy is growing. Competition for talent is heating up; attracting, acquiring, and retaining talent has become even more challenging for many companies. But my more progressive and future-ready HR practitioners and their learning and development people are bracing themselves for this generation. The question here is: are you?

(Sign up for two exciting and inspiring days of leadership training with Francis Kong. Attend his highly acclaimed Level Up Leadership seminar-workshop from Sept. 10 to 11 at Makati Diamond Residences. For registration or inquiries contact April at +63928-559-1798 or register online at

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