last week, my nephew graduated college. over the past years, it was painful to hear about how much the pandemic impacted his college experience. despite moving away to go to college, he spent one of those years living at his home doing remote learning. for those similarly situated, you have my sympathy. many of these grads must feel “cheated.” their four years of frolic and fun was not so great. now, the big bad real world is await.
their new real work has a labor market both beset by inflation and lay offs. desirable companies are pruning their labor force.
with this in mind, we must begin:
you, graduates, enter the world in the greatest of individual times. you, yourself, have an opportunity to stand out like no other generation of the past. despite being in a time beset with post-pandemic complications and a constricting labor market, you have perhaps the greatest advantage ever. the advantage is that your predecessors- those who have recently graduated in the past few years- “suck”.
in other words, those ahead of you are viewed as “toxic.” they are entitled, demanding, and worthless. as an employer, viewed collectively, they are mostly unemployable. this sentiment is not my own. it has been shared with me by many other law firm partners and managers. simply put, these grads, immediately before you, don’t understand or comprehend what is a workplace. they think it is a playground where they can act as either social justice warriors or self-entitled. jobs, for them, in reality serve as young adult daycare.
as such, i offer you the following advice that will blow you past the competition for a career of success:
most jobs involve training. as such, businesses lose money and time when they are training you. therefore, you are not worth much to the company until you have completed your training. this can take weeks, months, and sometimes years. take your time and learn as much as you can. the more you learn, the more you earn.
workplaces have become toxic. refrain from discussing religion, politics, and sex at work. avoid using “slang.” leave your social media at home. do not discuss work on any platform.
put them away. they are addicting. any moment you are texting or looking at your phone is a moment that your boss knows you are not working. texting is a sign of a poor worker.
your mental state:
new jobs are mentally taxing. you will often be frustrated. learning new things can be nerve racking. making mistakes can be embarrassing. employment can be a tortuous dungeon of humiliation. accept the fact that there will be a period for which you will feel uncomfortable. this is part of the process. eventually, you will start to feel better about the job as it comes more naturally. remember, work is a four letter word!
you are not the victim:
i hired an intelligent young worker. bathroom soap running out led to me receiving a page long memo to accusing my offices of misconduct. it blew my mind that this individual did not have the mindset to simply ask “is there more soap?” this generation was raised and taught to have no common sense. they were taught that “everything” is about them.
a huge problem with current employees is that they take far too much time off of work. absenteeism and showing up late to work are pandemics in the workplace. personally, sicknesses happening on mondays and fridays are a sign that someone does not care much about working.
in conclusion, i offer you two thoughts. one is from author harold kushner, “something dangerously corrosive happens to a person’s soul when he no longer takes his work seriously enough to give his best.” the other is from the townie in the movie waterboy, “you can do it!” yes. be great!
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