I was having lunch with one of my colleagues from the Inc. Small Business Council last week. He owns a very successful and growing marketing company but he expressed frustration with solving the HR conundrum. He was opening new offices and was trying to organically develop leadership and staff that would stick with him; that would want to cherish and help mold his company over a goodly period of time. He expressed concern that what he experienced from his younger employees was a ubiquitous generational sense of unearned entitlement and expectation of immediate gratification.
This problem is a growing one, if not an endemic one, for ambitious entrepreneurs. That is, the work ethic of the rising workforce.
To this point, Michael Goodwin of the NY Post recently wrote an article headlined, “‘Gimme’ Culture Imperils Nation.” (February 23, 2011) He argues compellingly that the US has an increasingly spoiled workforce. He states:
“[Entitlement culture] is contagious and so ingrained in how we live and think that we no longer think twice before demanding total satisfaction and express outrage when we don’t get it. We are entitled to it now because we want it, whatever it is. If somebody else has it first, then we have been cheated and are doubly furious.”
John Krakauer, in his book “Into the Wild,” says, “It is easy, when you are young, to believe that what you desire is no less than what you deserve, to assume that if you want something badly enough, it is your God-given right to have it.”
For my own executive outsourced sales company, Corporate Rain International, I decided many years ago to follow a non-traditional route of only using sales executives of a certain age. Without exception my sales executives are between the ages of 35 and 60. I’ve always preferred older, experienced sales executives because of their corporate experience from the client’s side and because of their unteachable treasure of a “lived life.” All of us after a certain point in life have had some hard knocks and have experienced many things. I know this breeds empathy in a sales executive and ability to see from the client’s point of view. The other advantage of older employees is simply the stronger generational work ethic referred to by Michael Goodwin.
Mark Twain said, “Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living; the world owes you nothing: it was here first.” Thanks, Mark.