Did Christina Seethe When She Saw This Headline?

Maybe seethe is too strong, but the girl must have at least rolled her eyes. "The girl" is a brilliant young reporter, Christina Rexrode, who reveals her talent in The Wall Street Journal.

The headline in question is from a Journal article found here. I love WSJ headlines like no other news organization, they have entertained me since college. This one is an exception because it, and one particular quotation in the body of the article, reveal a judgmental, anti-millennial nastiness. Unless things have changed since I was in a news room, editors, not reporters, write headlines. What's wrong here?

"Citigroup to Millennial Bankers: Take a Year Off" 

What's wrong is that it's misleading. Some background: Citigroup announced a new program that allows a select few of its young executives to take a year to WORK in a developing country. It's not a year off. I know, I've taken as long as a month to work in the majority world helping people get out of grinding poverty. My guess is that these young bankers will do a lot more in a month than I did, and they 12 months! It will likely be the hardest year of their young lives, and the most rewarding. (Thank you, by the way Ken and Brian at K&N Management for my experiences on your dime.) 

I think Citi has a great idea and the world will be a better place because of it. The article goes on to say several things about how long hours were once a rite of passage to the C-Suite, and yes, I agree with that too. Long hours are now a rite of passage to the B- D- and entry-level cubicles as well (the data don't lie, right Amazon?). 

But now, the millennials are changing it all. Hurray! I confess gratitude. If one up-and-coming generation can make life better for the world and the poor sap grinding it out in the USAmerican office--WAY. TO. GO!

I am not advocating a slothful work day. I am, rather, believing that the new generation may be our best ever. Before they can reform the rest of us, however, the rest of us need to shut up.

Case in point: the article goes on to quote a Park Avenue recruiter: "I still think it's the nature of millennials to get bored and to move every two or three years." I wonder if the recruiter knows how condescending that sounds. Moreover, it's bull-you-know-what and by that, I mean not true. Please, please, please, fellow Boomers, stop the negative waves, man! (A quotation from my generation.) You sound like idiotic, old people hollering for more tapioca. You're boring me for crying out loud--I can imagine what you're doing to the younger set. 

Look, it's not that tough: if the company keeps the employee engaged, she won't get bored! Whose job is engagement? I believe that task sits with whomever wrote the job description and whomever manages the day-to-day operations. I guess it's also true that were there no job to which she may relocate, she'd stay and be bored and disconnected and unhappy and unproductive. Ick. 

You may also agree that if Citi is spending a year's lost productivity in their bank to keep the millennials in question from bolting from boredom, then it must cost a hell of a lot to replace a young banker. What's turnover costing your company? (A lot is not objective - how about a number?)

The rest of the article highlights some creative ways that companies are keeping their employees engaged. What's your company doing? If "nothing" comes to mind, guess what? You'll have the bored out of their young minds millennials taking a hike with or without that year off! You will fail. They will not.

On the other hand...perhaps the future is yours to determine. 

Jack works with leaders to help them discover, balance, and achieve. With specialization in developing Millennials (emerging leaders) in business environments, clients set up key employees--and the entire company--for long-term success. Clients maximize engagement and performance, reduce stress, improve communication, and develop people faster. The goal is that you are preferred in your field.