What is it so hard to believe you should be the best you can be, and work for someone else? Why do so few people genuinely want to be employees? Why is it impossible to believe you can be a person with great self-worth who also respects the opportunity to work?
Apparently, most Millennials believe that going to the office looks like The Office, the television show that makes working for someone else look ridiculous. I thought The Office was a really good comedy, with high quality writing and amazing actors. The show used an office setting much like I Love Lucy used marriage. The relationship problems made us laugh, primarily because marriage seemed like a bunch of pranks that husbands and wives played on each other.
In New York magazine, Richard Greenwald, a labor scholar at Brooklyn College, “says he’ s struck by how many of his students chafe at the notion of traditional office jobs.”
How could that be? How could a generation of educated people come to think that working for an organization is ridiculous? How could earning a living cause “chafing?”
As an educator, I wonder what curriculum we are teaching that would make working for Unilever, Zara, Nestle, Coke, Apple, Google, and so on, look ridiculous. Have we somehow run down the reputation of organizations? Have we diminished the idea that you are lucky when you are chosen for an opportunity in a business that someone else has built?
I am most concerned that abject disrespect that has become a meme. I’m also concerned that watching a comedy show would actually convince anyone that it’s depicting real life.
My daughter has a cat. We never mistake him for Grumpy Cat on YouTube. We don’t think that Esther the Wonder Pig is the average pig.
Where is the genesis of the respect problem? As an employer and a career coach, I see exactly what Greenwald is purporting. There are a lot of people who treat working like it’s a joke. Bosses have to prod, push, demand, become vexed and bent out of shape in order for work to get done. They have to have a cruise ship mentality – making sure there are plenty of snacks, fun activities and a morale officer, formerly known as a human resources director. In between all that, some small amount of work needs to be accomplished.
I’m sorry to seem like the Grinch right now. I know you are just kicking off your year. You hopefully have grand plans for your personal brand as well as your career. I want you to have all that – and more.
So here’s a hot tip. If you want to be a real stand out, it’s pretty easy. Bring your respect for the organization, proof that you take work seriously, and have your high jinx on your own time.
This has been a public service announcement on behalf of employers everywhere.