After interviewing many newly minted college graduates in recent years, I've concluded that the days of the employer determining if a prospective employee is suitable for a corporation or other, type of firm, are over.
Today’s young adults determine if the company is suitable for them.
They expect an entrée level job to pay lots of money, have flexible hours, casual dress codes, plenty of vacation, perks, and also to be secure and fulfilling.
The job cannot interfere with their personal life or weekend plans, so overtime to meet deadlines is a no-no. Columnist Diana West, in The Washington Times, noted that what these kids lack "is an appreciation for what goes along with maturity; forbearance and honor, patience and responsibility, perspective and wisdom, sobriety, decorum, and manners— and the wisdom to know what is 'appropriate' and when."
From day one on the job, many young folks are an employer’s nightmare.
These over-indulgent, cocky children reject command management.
They are colleagues of bosses, not subordinates and assume everyone can be addressed by their first names. They have trouble adjusting to the work world because they expect to get immediately whatever they want.
They become emotional and irrational and lash out at co-workers or supervisors when events don’t go their way. Since they are not accustomed to being held personally responsible for their actions, job setbacks are, therefore, the fault of others — never themselves.
They expect to be praised every day. Brought up to believe that living up to standards destroys one’s self-respect or "sense of omnipotence," they are thin-skinned, entitled whiners unable to deal with criticism.
How these young grads became "snowflakes" who believe they are entitled to get through life without their feelings being hurt, is the subject of a fascinating new book by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt, "The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure."
The book's thesis is that parents and university administrators have created a safety bubble, one that "interferes with young people’s social, emotional, and intellectual development."
As a result, many college graduates have become "fragile, anxious and easily hurt" and are not prepared to face the real world where the playing field is not necessarily level or fair. This helps explain why "anxiety, depression, and suicide rates have risen sharply in the last few years."
The seeds of disaster have been planted by helicopter parents who do not steep their children in traditional moral values, orderliness and respect for authority that guided earlier generations.
"Stay busy and don’t hurt yourself," have been the new golden rules to get through one’s youth.
Lukianoff and Haidt, observe that paranoid parents overprotect their children and restrict their lives. Hence, they "have been deprived of unsupervised time for play and exploration.
They have missed out on many of the challenges, negative experiences, and minor risks that help children develop into strong, competent, and independent adults."
Overprotective, doting moms and dads, fail to realize that they have denied their children the opportunity to "develop the skills of cooperation and dispute resolution that are closely related to the 'art of association' upon which democracies depend."
This coddling is compounded by administrators in most U.S. universities.
To keep students "safe" scores of regulations and codes have been issued that restrict freedom of speech, laughter, facial expressions — and the right to disagree.
Maintaining the self-esteem of snowflake students at all costs impacts school curriculums:
Standards have declined, less course and homework is required.
Teachers using red ink to critique student work is considered harsh treatment.
All opinions are treated equally; there are no valuable or superior ideas, cultures or philosophies.
The young narcissists are equal to their teachers and, therefore, free to express themselves at any time in the classrooms. These prevailing attitudes the authors call "vindictive protectiveness." Such behavior makes "it more difficult for all students to have open discussions in which they could practice the essential skills of critical thinking and civil disagreement."
To save the next generation, Lukianoff and Haidt call on parents and educators to raise children to be "anti-fragile," and to educate them more wisely by encouraging open inquiry and by also preparing children "for the road not the road for the child."
They should heed the words of the founder of the University of Pennsylvania, Benjamin Franklin:
"Nothing is of more importance to the public weal, than to form and train up youth in wisdom and virtue. Wise and good men are, in my opinion, the strength of a state: much more so than riches or arms, which, under the management of ignorance and wickedness, often drawn on destruction, instead of providing for the safety of a people."
George J. Marlin, a former executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, is the author of "The American Catholic Voter: Two Hundred Years of Political Impact," and "Christian Persecutions in the Middle East: A 21st Century Tragedy." He is chairman of Aid to the Church in Need-USA. Mr. Marlin also writes for TheCatholicThing.org and the Long Island Business News. To read more George J. Marlin — Click Here Now.
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