The Question Matters


Advocates for Millennial Workers Needed: Full-time Positions Available

Posted in Career,Change,Coaching,Generation Y,Leadership by treyfinley1008 on May 28, 2010
Tags: , , , ,

Troy Stirman, ACU

A final thank you to Troy Stirman, who has played the role of conversant this week.  I appreciate Troy’s generosity with his time and his advocacy for Millennials entering the workforce.  I hope to have an opportunity to collaborate with Troy again in the future.  Troy is a career coach at Abilene Christian University in the College of Business Administration.  He also remains a business owner and is a certified resume writer.

The final piece of the puzzle today is the person. We’ve reviewed the pressure-packed job market.  Troy described the prime directive of Millennials entering the workforce: work/life balance.  You read the story of one Millennial student’s entrepreneurial response to a job he neither enjoyed nor believed in.  Then, you read of the Millennial willingness to buck the odds of a tough marketplace and consider moving jobs anyway.

It’s easy to lose sight of the very human dilemma that is being a young and hungry businessperson in a job market with fewer openings and more experienced workers available who are also in the market for a job.  It’s a tough situation, and here are some of the responses that Troy is seeing to the uncertain job market:

Parental Pressure:  The well-intentioned parent who encourages their student to “just get any job you can” create the real possibility of stifling hope in a young businessperson.  In Troy’s words, they’re “setting them up for failure.”

Paralyzing Fear: “Fear is a major motivating factor with this group…I’ve had some students show up to a career fair–where hiring managers were eager to talk to them–only to watch the student-graduate talk themselves out of approaching those who would ultimately change their destiny.”

Blissful Ignorance:  “Those graduates who have unrealistic expectations about job offers without doing their homework have a pretty rosy picture of what might be available to them.  While they are eager to begin their careers, many have not spoken with their career services professional about what is reasonably expected in today’s environment.”

Realism: “There are those who have prepared who understand what is at stake prior to graduation and have put in their time both in the classroom and in the public sector through internships.  These students have a healthy view of the job environment and their search proces is better vetted through this knowledge.  They tend not to give up as easily and persevere when the rejection letters come.”

Those of us 5,10, 20 years or more ahead of the newest members of the workforce must become advocates for these young workers.

If you’ve read my blog once, you know one of my biases.  No matter the hand dealt your/my generation, we each have a responsibility to coach and encourage those who will follow us.  Failure to understand a different age group is an excuse many hide behind.  So take a young employee or business owner out for coffee, and ask them some of these coaching questions:

  1. What’s most important to you right now?
  2. If you could go to sleep tonight knowing something about business would be forever altered in the morning, what possible change is going to keep you awake that night?
  3. What can you teach me about the under-30 workforce?  What do I need to understand that I don’t yet?  What can I learn from you?
  4. What’s one thing that everyone is convinced can’t be changed, but you think it can/should be changed?
  5. Imagine a time when you’re living your business dream.  What’s had to happen between then and now to get you to that point?

Thanks again, Troy!

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  37. You’re welcome, Trey.

    Great juxtaposition of thoughts and experiences regarding realities within the multi-generational workforce in today’s business world. The last series of questions you pose should serve as a reminder for all of us that learning isn’t reserved for those with a minimum of 20+ years’ experience, nor is it terminal. We learn from all of those who partner alongside us within the workforce.

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  40. Troy said,

    You’re welcome, Trey.

    Great juxtaposition of thoughts and experiences regarding realities within the multi-generational workforce in today’s business world. The last series of questions you pose should serve as a reminder for all of us that learning isn’t reserved for those with a minimum of 20+ years’ experience, nor is it terminal. We learn from all of those who partner alongside us within the workforce.

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  41. […] He’s written all week long about trends and statistic about how it’s a tough in the marketplace.  This post is about real college students and young professionals who face a very uncertain career fu… […]

  42. 2mannasisters said,

    Very nice. Your questions at the end are very useful. Thanks for that practical tip on how we can be advocates for the under 30. –Marla

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    • Thanks–read the article and it’s a good constructive criticism of Gen Y. I’d like to read a full article of his dedicated to strategies for engaging them at work. This group will work hard provided it’s something they believe in.


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