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Submitted by MattJBeckwith on


In today's WSJ there was an article titled, "Employers Rethink How They Give Feedback".

(B5 if you have the paper)

My personal opinion is that it has nothing to do with young workers, it's just the right thing to do.

I really like the example at the end of the article. The employee set up "weekly one-on-one chats" with her manager. Hmmmm, the manager didn't start O3s first?!?

US41's picture

This is the most dangerous line in the article:

[quote]These employers and others say they are responding to employee demand, particularly from younger workers.[/quote]

Younger workers: Do not be fooled by this statement. In an economic downturn where jobs become scarce and experienced workers flood the unemployment lines, companies do not care at all about what you demand from them.

In fact, you don't demand anything from companies nor your boss. To be demanding is to behave in exactly the opposite fashion from what you are being paid to do: serve.

When you:

* go to your boss's office and demand anything
* complain around the office that you don't get enough feedback
* complain about your boss or the company during your exit interview

Here's what happens:

* You don't get promoted
* you are seen as a trouble-maker
* you are marginalized.
* when the next layoff opportunity presents itself, you will be tossed out into the street.
* You will not get a good reference.
* You will not be re-hired in a boomerang situation.

When someone is paying a professional to do a job, ideas are welcome, but demands are insubordination.

The author of this article missed this important nuance while writing this article. I worry that some who read it will get the idea that it is a green light to demand more at work. The idea that young people at the office will be walking around the office with their noses in the air even thinking, "I demand more from a company than what I am getting today" causes me to cringe imagining how subtle resentment could be expressed in idle conversations changing the tone of boss interaction.

Employees demand from companies? The opposite is true, and in our current economy where managers are ranking their people to protect their top performers from layoffs, it is even more true.

"It is all about relationships" is on the sign over the door to the MT Halls of Learning. Poisoning your relationships by seeing yourself as empowered and demanding will not be an effective approach for anyone.

If you want to change the face of corporate life, then become the boss and implement change yourself.

bug_girl's picture

41--I'll be interested on your take from this research institute that specializes in the transition of young college students to work:

The research brief about parental involvement in the hiring process is particularly appalling....

US41's picture

:shock: Appalling is an appropriate adjective. I find the entire site a bizarre exploration of the imaginations of people who have no idea what they are talking about. If someone showed up to a job interview with their parent, I wouldn't even consider them and would decline to begin the interview.

Several thoughts:

* This isn't 1995 any longer. Unemployment is rising.
* The world is flat. Migrant workers from other nations are coming in with 20 years of experience and are interviewing and taking jobs that college graduates can no longer compete for
* Recent college graduates are the least qualified people on the market. Hiring them is an act of mercy and compassion.
* Students' parents are likely not any more qualified to succeed at interviewing than the student.

Suggestions to parents:

* Stay home
* Role play with your son/daughter before they go to interviews
* Let them borrow the car - don't drive them - it gives a bad first impression
* Explain to your child that they are begging for work - the company is not begging for employees

Maybe this sort of thing applies more to Ivy League graduates who have IQs off the scale and who are terribly brilliant in some particular area of science and are being recruited by companies to do some specific work for which there are only five candidates in the country?

For the rest of us, that site looks like insanity.

BJ_Marshall's picture
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Looking at the table depicting types of parental involvement honestly made me ill.

• Attending the career fair?
• Helping complete work assignments so that deadlines are met???
• Attending the interview???!!??

Are we hiring elementary school children or adults? Is Mommy going to be there to help you complete your 3rd Quarter Shareholder Spreadsheets? Is Mommy going to help you answer the "Weakness" question? Unless it's bed-wetting, I think not. And even then, you probably don't want her to chime in.

The brief also mentioned that, when being reprimanded or disciplined (see Brief 1-07), the employee refused to meet with or respond to the supervisor before talking with his or her parents. If you have the gall to refuse to meet with me, and - not only that - but it's because of something so baseless as wanting to run and cry behind your Mommy, then I'm going to refuse to keep you on my payroll.

Not that I would have ever hired you in the first place.

[quote="The article"]"Several employers could not resist adding comments on their experiences with involved parents. One employer had advice for parents submitting resumes, "Please tell your student that you have submitted a resume to a company. We have called a student from our resume pool only to find they did not know anything about our company and were not interested in a position with us."[/quote]

It's funny in a sad way. *sigh*


stephenbooth_uk's picture

[quote="US41"]* Let them borrow the car - don't drive them - it gives a bad first impression[/quote]

If they cannot drive then fair enough driving them there but drop them off at the front door or gate and go away until they call for a pick up. Shocking as this might be to some, not everyone can drive (I can't drive due to a disability) and unless it's a requirement for the job, and isn't necessary to get to work once recruited, that shouldn't really be a factor in the recruitment.

I also think that leveraging your network to help them find leads would be OK. Beyond that, parents should have minimal involvement beyond perhaps advice (e.g. my sister has been given a task where she has to do a PESTLE analysis, something she's never had to do before, so I sent her some information on how to do one). 'Doing their homework' is unacceptable, in my opinion, but then it should be in school as well, however, I'm sure we all know parents (and some may even have been parents) who have completed one or more school assignments for their child.


AManagerTool's picture

Their "research" made me smile...and then cry.

We seriously need to overhaul the educational system in the US. OMG!


bug_girl's picture

As someone who works extensively with undergrads (I run our internship program, and still teach an occasional class as an adjunct) that report doesn't even do the problem justice.

It's just amazing how both students and their parents are willing to scream and shout at me for not giving them what they want. (ie. job, grade, details about what their kid is doing at midnight on a friday while they are interning with us.) Yes, Mommy (and more often, Daddy) WILL be there to bail them out.

AManagerTool's picture

I guess that the general population of the US does not see the global talent tidal wave crashing down on these shores. We seem to be caught up in the post WW2 glory days of world domination and still walk around with our big foam "we're number one" fingers stuck up in the air.

Why fix education? Arn't we number one?

Stay tuned. :?

bug_girl's picture

What I see is a huge have/have-not divide.

The Poor kids will bust their behind...but they are not academically prepared, because their school district wasn't well funded.
Sometimes they also have little or no perception of what work at the collegiate level is about, since there is no one in their family to give them a frame of reference. So, they'll try hard.. but you have to give them lots of extra feedback. They keep me humble, and remind me what an privileged life I lead.

The rich kids are a PITA, and want it all now. But they also can perform better, because they have been better challenged and trained the whole way through the system.


US41's picture

This conversation is turning toward politics. Politicians and their fans are notorious for taking something terribly complex and multi-faceted and creating deceptively simple (sometimes just deceptive) perception about root cause and possible solutions. The purpose of introducing such belief systems is to encourage us to vote for a particular individual in the hope that he can fix the problem that is incorrectly described and in nature cannot actually be solved.

I recommend we stay on the topic of behavior and our own reactions to it or recommendations and avoid wondering about causes and what is wrong with us.

AManagerTool's picture

:roll: :wink:

bug_girl's picture


I work with some students that have NO money. They can't cash our travel stipend checks because no one in their family has a checking account. How do I get them here to do their internship?

That's an economic thing that I think it's important to remember. Things we may never think about as obstacles may actually be a problem for some students.

stephenbooth_uk's picture

I work with some students that have NO money. They can't cash our travel stipend checks because no one in their family has a checking account. How do I get them here to do their internship?[/quote]

Wire them the money using something like [url=]Western Union[/url]? I know a number of people who use such services to send money to their family overseas (mostly India and Pakistan but increasingly Somalia, Nigeria and South Africa). It's not a perfect (fees &c, I've also heard of some people having issues paying for goods bought on ebay via them but I think that's more people using the fact that they can collect the money untraceably rather than Western Union not delivering funds) but it's a possibility.


US41's picture

[quote="bug_girl"]politics? huh?[/quote]

Generalizations about rich kids, poor kids, haves and have nots, class warfare - that's all political ideology - not fact, not behavior. I respect your right to your own personal belief system, but you need to be aware that when you state such things as if they are fact, there are people around you who may not say anything who think, "That is a very wrong view of the universe" and will like you less for having not censored your remarks more.

I have noticed in my company that the people a level higher than myself and higher up are incredibly disciplined in their avoidance expressing any beliefs about how the world works. They don't mention faith, they never talk about politics, they never utter any opinions about anything at all. They stick to behavior, and they stick to facts and business recommendations with financial justification. When others try to drag them into conversations that involve ideology, speculation, philosophy, politics, or anything opinion based, they turn and walk off or send them away from their office immediately.

bug_girl's picture

Whatever, 41.

and Stephen, it took a very long time to get our accounting office to agree to do that, but Western Union is in fact what we now use.

Perhaps it's because I work in agriculture that I see a lot more of the have nots than the average cube dweller.