October 14, 2015

Fisking the Millennial Whine

Neal Dewing, at "The Federalist" blog, has already fisked this post by Lisa Earle McLeod and her (millennial) daughter, Elizabeth McLeod: "Why Millennials Keep Dumping You: An Open Letter to Management." But it needs more response. I just have to try and get my emotions under control and try to be somewhat charitable, at least in tone.

Let's start at the very beginning: This post was cowritten with Elizabeth McLeod, a millennial and cum laude graduate of Boston University, and daughter of Lisa Earle McLeod.

If this is a post about why millennials keep quitting their positions, why is Mom a co-author? What role could she possibly fill in writing about why her daughter is quitting? Is there some truth to the claims that millennials, in addition to being "raised to believe [they] could change the world," also have difficulty managing their lives and, in some cases, an inability to function at university at all" due to helicopter parenting? Dear Ms. McLeod (the Younger): if you want anyone to take you seriously, change the world without involving your parents at every step. Everything you write and publish like this is a job interview - if an employer thinks Mom is going to be ghosting around the workplace, helping out, offering suggestions, and doing your job, you're not going to be hired. As noted by Ashley Stahl, in Forbes (which also links to this study), when she discovered a woman made a conference call with her Mom in situ:
The client paperwork I printed in advance of the call confirmed that there was no confusion on my end: Rachel was a 26-year-old Cornell graduate. She spent the last two years serving with Teach for America . She had a master’s degree in education.
She was looking to hire me because she wanted to get clarity on her next career move – arguably one of the most important and independent decisions any of us will tackle in adulthood.
… So why did her mom need to be on the call?
With that said, early in the letter comes: "One of us, Elizabeth, wrote this letter." 

Wait. You said Mom was a co-author.  Then, she's explicitly taken out of that role. Apparently, Mom is not a "co-author" but simply a person who gave you a place to voice your concerns. But, one is left with the sneaking suspicion that Mom was also involved in the editing and composition of the letter itself.  Let's talk about this for a moment. Soon after your authorial confusion, you (both of you? one of you?) claim that retaining millennials is a "burning issue" because:
We’re the ones who’ve mastered social media, who have the energy of a thousand suns, and who will knock back 5-dollar macchiatos until the job is done perfectly.
Except, apparently, many of you cannot do the job perfectly. Look at your incoherence about who, exactly, is filling the roles in the blog post. Many millennials cannot write, and they often cannot read. For example:
I'm a millennial, but quite frankly, I'm embarrassed by our laziness. We have a hard time reading something longer than an odd-numbered numbered listicle. We don't have the patience to absorb a text or question the arguments embedded in the sentences. We want to reach a conclusion without having to think critically. Preferably, in under 140 characters - Madeline Hill
While they are undoubtedly social-media savvy, living their lives online in 140 characters or fewer, many of the younger potential workers lack very basic skills because of it, according to some employers.
“Writing skills -- people don’t write as much as they used to. They’re texting, so they forget to write in complete sentences and articulate their written skills professionally,” said Jeff Dunn, an Intel campus relations manager. - Claire Doan
“I spent a considerable amount of time explaining the process, sent a detailed document on how to write a nonfiction book proposal, and offered help along the way in his preparation of the proposal,” says Garner, author of the book “Raising Respectful Children in a Disrespectful World” and founder of Manners of the Heart, which teaches children, parents and business professionals how to increase respectfulness in daily communication.
His response: “Oh, I understand. You don’t want to really help me. You want me to do all the work.” (Mike drop.) - Mackenzie Dawson
Your mastery of social media has come at the expense of being able to write and read coherently. Of course, you may have been informed someplace along the line that grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc. are not important in "today's world." You were fed a gigantic lie.

Dewing has addressed the issues with your desire to tell people how to do discipline your co-workers, how you want to "make a difference to...customers" and have "on fire" co-workers. I do not think I can, nor need, add much to his on those counts. But I will note the conspicuous lack of something in your blog post.

You never, anywhere, address doing it yourself. Oh, you want to "give you everything I’ve got" and you "need to know it makes a difference to something bigger than your bottom line," but you cannot conceive of going out and doing something to actually make a difference? Mark Zuckerberg became a billionaire at age 23 because he dropped out of Harvard and took a huge risk. G Adventures was founded out of an apartment by a 22-year old risking his credit and the easy life to found the company. Google was founded by two Stanford Ph.D. students who had to go around seeking venture capital, reaching out to giants of industry, and putting working for other companies on hold.

Let's face it. You want it your way, right away, without having to work for it, and without having to take risks to get it. You don't want to actually risk anything to change the world - you want to get hired by someone else to do it and let someone else worry about the hard work. And, if you don't like the way they want to save the world, you can always quit....

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