• 12 Armadillos

Does The Younger Generation Need to Get a Clue?

I am 36 years old and I remember the days before the internet, cell phones, and social media.  I remember having to use a card catalog in high school to do a research paper.  When I got to college, my friend had a word processor and we thought that was the coolest thing.  We didn’t have to use a typewriter.  Our group of friends used to all borrow the word processor.  The internet was a new thing and we used to go to the computer center and get in a “chat room” and talk to each other, even though we were in all in the same “real room.” We thought it was the neatest thing that you could talk to someone over the computer. 

Things are definitely a lot easier with technology.  However, I think that technology is also a reason that the generation after me  is much lazier.  They are the “instant gratification generation.”  If they can’t get an answer to a problem instantly, they give up.  They are also very entitled.  When I was growing up, we hardly ever went out to eat.  We got presents only for our birthday or for Christmas.  We didn’t get new things throughout the year.  If we couldn’t afford something, we rarely bought it.  Today, people would rather have things now and be in debt.  People say all of the time “I can’t afford this”….(things that are important) but you see them always with an iPhone, freshly manicured nails, a nice vehicle, and freshly highlighted hair.  Just say it how it is “I don’t want to spend my money on ____________.  I would rather spend my money on things that make ME feel better.  Don’t say I can’t.  Just tell the truth.  I don’t want to. 

I worry about the younger generation and obviously I am not the only one. 

Jason Nazar wrote an article for Forbes Magazine entitled “20 Things 20 Year Olds Don’t Get”


At 34 years old, Nazar sees a lot of mistakes his co-workers in their twenties making. He gives a list of advice. I will include the ones that I think are most relevant.

You’re Talented, But Talent is Overrated – Congratulations, you may be the most capable, creative, knowledgeable & multi-tasking generation yet.  As my father says, “I’ll Give You a Sh-t Medal.”  Unrefined raw materials (no matter how valuable) are simply wasted potential.  There’s no prize for talent, just results.  Even the most seemingly gifted folks methodically and painfully worked their way to success. 

Just because you are born extra smart doesn’t mean you are going to be successful.  Brains plus laziness usually equals the word LOSER.   I know people who think that they are so much smarter than others.  Maybe they are, maybe they aren’t.  Smarter doesn’t equate to success.  The best people are the smart hardworking people who are humble about their brains. 

Pick Up the Phone – Stop hiding behind your computer. Business gets done on the phone and in person.  It should be your first instinct, not last, to talk to a real person and source business opportunities.  And when the Internet goes down… stop looking so befuddled and don’t ask to go home.  Don’t be a pansy, pick up the phone.

One thing I learned while teaching for twelve years was the importance of relationships.  Relationships, relationships, relationships…Picking up the phone is much more personable.   Lots of things can be lost in translation through email or texts.

Be the First In & Last to Leave ­– I give this advice to everyone starting a new job or still in the formative stages of their professional career.  You have more ground to make up than everyone else around you, and you do have something to prove.  There’s only one sure-fire way to get ahead, and that’s to work harder than all of your peers.

Even if you think people aren’t keeping track of when you are coming into work and when you are leaving, they really are.  People will notice if you are always the last to come in and the first to leave.  Even if you work a million hours at home, its all about perception. 

Don’t Wait to Be Told What to Do – You can’t have a sense of entitlement without a sense of responsibility.  You’ll never get ahead by waiting for someone to tell you what to do.  Saying “nobody asked me to do this” is a guaranteed recipe for failure.  Err on the side of doing too much, not too little.  (Watch: Millennials in the Workplace Training Video)

Take initiative in whatever you do.  Don’t wait for others to tell you to do something, take the initiative.  Be a go getter.  You will set yourself apart from all of the slackers.  When I was teaching, I had a few co-teachers that would just sit there and wait for me to tell them what to do.  This would drive me crazy because I was already too busy….I wanted to say to them “Get up and figure out what needs to be done.”

A New Job a Year Isn’t a Good Thing ­­– 1-year stints don’t tell me that you’re so talented that you keep outgrowing your company.  It tells me that you don’t have the discipline to see your own learning curve through to completion.  It takes about 2-3 years to master any new critical skill, give yourself at least that much time before you jump ship.  Otherwise your resume reads as a series of red flags on why not to be hired.

This is a red flag that you are never happy. 

Speak Up, Not Out – We’re raising a generation of sh-t talkers.  In your workplace this is a cancer.  If you have issues with management, culture or your role & responsibilities, SPEAK UP.  Don’t take those complaints and trash-talk the company or co-workers on lunch breaks and anonymous chat boards.  If you can effectively communicate what needs to be improved, you have the ability to shape your surroundings and professional destiny.

Don’t trash talk your co-workers, your boss, or your job on facebook or in the lunch room.   Nothing good can come of this for you.  Be positive on social media about your job, your boss, and your co-workers. 

Both the Size and Quality of Your Network Matter – It’s who you know more than what you know, that gets you ahead in business.  Knowing a small group of folks very well, or a huge smattering of contacts superficially, just won’t cut it.  Meet and stay connected to lots of folks, and invest your time developing as many of those relationships as possible. (TIP: Here is my Networking Advice) Network, network, network….You never know when you may be laid off of work and will need someone to help you get another job. 

You Need At Least 3 Professional Mentors – The most guaranteed path to success is to emulate those who’ve achieved what you seek.  You should always have at least 3 people you call mentors who are where you want to be.  Their free guidance and counsel will be the most priceless gift you can receive.  (TIP:  “The Secret to Finding and Keeping Mentors”)

Be open to advice.  Always ask people you work with that you respect “What can I do to make this better?”

Read More Books, Fewer Tweets/Texts – Your generation consumes information in headlines and 140 characters:  all breadth and no depth.  Creativity, thoughtfulness and thinking skills are freed when you’re forced to read a full book cover to cover.  All the keys to your future success, lay in the past experience of others.  Make sure to read a book a month  (fiction or non-fiction) and your career will blossom.

I admire my husband for doing this.  He is always reading a business book that can help him grow professionally.  He only goes on  social media when he is at home and never at work. 

Spend 25% Less Than You Make – When your material needs meet or exceed your income, you’re sabotaging your ability to really make it big.  Don’t shackle yourself with golden handcuffs (a fancy car or an expensive apartment).  Be willing and able to take 20% less in the short term, if it could mean 200% more earning potential.  You’re nothing more than penny wise and pound-foolish if you pass up an amazing new career opportunity to keep an extra little bit of income.  No matter how much money you make, spend 25% less to support your life.  It’s a guaranteed formula to be less stressed and to always have the flexibility to pursue your dreams. Live below your means.  This is the only way that you will ever have anything in life. 

Your Reputation is Priceless, Don’t Damage It – Over time, your reputation is the most valuable currency you have in business.  It’s the invisible key that either opens or closes doors of professional opportunity.  Especially in an age where everything is forever recorded and accessible, your reputation has to be guarded like the most sacred treasure.  It’s the one item that, once lost, you can never get back. Always be honest and act respectable.  There is nothing worse than a person who is slimy.  Act respectable at work.  If you are married, don’t flirt with your co-workers, even if you have no intention of cheating on your spouse.  It is disrespectful to your spouse and your marriage.  It shows low self esteem because you need the attention of someone other than you spouse. Remember it is all about perception, even if you aren’t cheating.  Protect your reputation and don’t let people even think that about you.   Don’t be mean at work.  Just because you don’t like someone (their personality, etc) doesn’t mean you have to be mean to them.  I once had a department chair who didn’t like me.  She sent out an email to a co-worker telling her to leave me off of the department lunch email.  It was mean spirited and it hurt my feelings.  I still think of that today and how mean it was. 

In conclusion, be a hard worker and nice person. 

My question for you is this:  Do you have faith in the future generation?  I actually do. 

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