I sit in a room with a high-profile company and customer. Listening intently and asking them relevant probing questions. As the customer describes the process, journey to this point, and the pains it has caused, I notice something out of the corner of my eye. It’s a young woman with a closed notebook, on her phone off and on, between checking her phone and blankly staring at her notebook (closed still). We finish the customer meeting about an hour later and they all leave. This gives me a chance to meet this mystery woman.
I looked over inquisitively. Her head buried deeply in her phone. “Hi, I’m Doug. Who are you?” She answered amazingly enough. We got to talking a little and I found out that she was looking at her social media because she is an “Influencer”. Excitingly she told me she made $500 dollars last year doing this. We finished up our pleasantries and I couldn’t help but wonder why the group that sent her didn’t cover consulting 101 on site behavior. I also felt that she had years before she could empathize with the customer. Really the wrong fit for the role.
So, what does this story have to do with the commission or work in general, how we affect the workforce and influence people to the behaviors we are looking for? I like to call it “the plight of the millennial”. For a while now we have been told to cater to this group. They are large and influential. We need to understand how they work and think.
Welcome to the world of Gen X. We made Amazon, Google, and Twitter. We run the world now. We work hard and long. We weren’t coddled. What the hell is a participation trophy? Millennials will need to wake up soon and figure out how to live in our world or become obsolete. See, the problem for all the millennials that want a job, which translates to real money and influence, is that we are looking at them as lazy and not in touch with work ethic.
Because of their inability to adopt the Gen X work ethic they are being outsourced or automated. As an owner having interviewed many of this younger generation, the sense of entitlement is unbelievable. Great you have a degree in social media, that crap is ever changing (and people are pretty much starting to revolt). Even worse, the only job most of them are qualified for is protesting. They want to be overpaid for the value.
Many will read this and think I’m a class A asshole, others will completely understand. You see, I just value effort. I come from a generation where if we were on a project together, you didn’t leave until the other person begged you to, or the work was done.
If you are a millennial reading this. I feel for you. See, I was 26 when jobs started moving to India. It was the beginning, but the good news was I could type and spell the word computer. That got me a job. The hard work and effort kept me going. For you, this is a much tougher road. Everyone knows how to type now, and logon. Many of you know how to “Influence”, I’ve heard. But what you don’t know is the value of individual hard work and pride in what you are doing. Group think has killed you.
I blame Dr. Spock and all the hippies who are your parents. So how do you succeed? How do you get out of this problem? It starts with putting the damn phone down and listening. Understanding what is being asked of you. Not bitching all the time about equality or work life balance, because you haven’t earned it. It’s showing up to work early and meeting with people who understand who your customers are, and where your company is going.
Keep one thing in mind: YOU ARE NOT SPECIAL. I DON’T OWE YOU ANYTHING. If you can’t provide value, you are fired. Once you figure that out, you will be successful. Also, talk to your grandparents more, they know the true meaning of hard work.
And for the group of us who work in HR, commissions, and Total Pay. Stop rewarding this lazy behavior with badges and participation trophies. Show them their stack ranking and keep the good ones, let the others protest their unemployment.