The Trophy Generation & Work

A few days ago I was talking to a friend and asked how his businessman son was doing. He said, “Great!” He went on to talk about a new assignment his son had in North Carolina which required him to travel to the state and stay there most of the week before flying home to see his family on weekends. As we chatted he mentioned that the assignment had a budget and a time line. It was a three month assignment and had to be completed within that time and within the assigned budget.

But my friend said there were problems.  Several of the people who were part of the team were handicapping the project.  They were new college graduates hired by the corporation.  They were learning the business and applying their knowledge to completing their assigned task at the same time.

When I asked what were the problems, he surprised me with his answer.  “Several of the team members don’t like the idea that they have to start on the assignment early in the day.  They are constantly late which disturbs the work schedule,” he said.  “Furthermore, they want to leave early.” As if that wasn’t bad enough, he went on to say that they complained that his son was “mean” because he criticized their work and lack of punctuality. “Yet if the work isn’t done corrected and on time”, he explained, his son’s corporation will not receive another contract.

That was all bad enough.  My friend elaborated on his son’s worries. “These people,” he said, “are addicted to their cell phones. When they should be working, they are texting their friends.”  I responded that they didn’t fear that they could be fired for not doing their work. “That certainly seems to be the case.” he responded.

I have heard this type of story before from many small business owners and corporate trainers.  They have lamented how good working employees are hard to find.

I’m not surprised that the present “everybody gets a trophy generation” has these problems. They are the same college students who cried when Trump was elected President.  They were so distraught that they received psychological counseling, coloring books, legos and sweets to get them through the pain of Hillary Clinton not being elected. They acted like babies and the liberal colleges treated them like babies.

The reality of the work world tends to be stressful. Normal! However, the” trophy generation” wants their childhood prolonged.

As an AT&T Vice President told the workshop participants years ago, “Some trainees seem to think the corporation exists for them. They need to realize they exist for the corporation which is paying them. If you keep giving them breaks for subpar work, you are not preparing them for the world of work.” He blasted the academics in the room for being too lenient on their students. He told them that AT&T no longer relied on school transcripts because they were not an accurate indication of the students’ knowledge and ability. This was 15 years ago.

So now we have a generation that will probably be hired and fired several times before they learn that the world of work requires them to be responsible, productive employees. They will blame others for their failures and become very bitter employees who are not promoted.

Coming from the world of academia, I can vouch for the fact that many academics never held a job outside of academia. Academia is a cloistered, insular world devoid of any real contact with the work world. (I have had a number of jobs outside of academia including factory work.) Like typical liberals, they perceive the world as they would like it to be not as it is.

Here is one of the failures in our education system. This is why Silicon Valley hires so many foreigners rather than Americans.

American education keeps slipping down the ratings because our students are NOT prepared for the world of work.  If American education doesn’t change, we are doomed to have college graduates doing mindless work because that is all they are capable of handling. We need to wake up and change or suffer the consequences.

I don’t see academia changing.  Too bad for our children!


About camden41

Retired public school administrator Retired history professor: Taught Western Civilization, American Civil War, United States History, Economic History, Ancient & Medieval Foundations, American History Since 1945
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