In our last blogs we wrote about the Gallup essential elements of well-being are:
- purpose: liking what you do each day and being motivated to achieve your goals
- social: having supportive relationships and love in your life
- financial: managing your economic life to reduce stress and increase security
- community: liking where you live, feeling safe and having pride in your community
- physical: having good health and enough energy to get things done daily
And the Gallup Purdue "Big Six" Collegiate Experiences, the result of a broad survey of alumni success metrics:
1. I had at least one professor at [college] who made me excited about learning.
2. My professor(s) at [college] cared about me as a person.
3. I had a mentor who encouraged me to pursue my goals and dreams.
4. I worked on a project that took a semester or more to complete.
5. I had an internship or job that allowed me to apply what I was learning in the classroom.
6. I was extremely active in extracurricular activities and organizations while I attended [college].
These two surveys seem intuitive in talking about keys to success coming out of college and then the continuity to well-being in life. Gallup’s work puts a perspective on how college experiences, encouraged by parenting and mentoring can be so impactful later in life.
One of the ramifications of technology and asking Alexa and Siri to answer all our problems is that curiosity and intuition are taking a beating. We talk to thousands of students a year and despite what most of the media describes millennials and Gen Z as entitlement and laziness, we view it quite differently. If you look at the two Gallup polls both lists seem self-evident. Yet why do so few of our youth accomplish the needed college experiences? More importantly why don’t they know of the keys to success and well-being and how to pursue the list diligently?
Over 90% of employers speak of college grads being unprepared for the workforce. They cite primarily communications skill and conflict resolution skills amongst other reasoning shortfalls. Past generations whined about baby boomers and previous generational unpreparedness from work ethic to “liberal thinking” in the 1960’s. Work ethic is a result of a generations’ upbringing. Parents of baby boomers fought in multiple military engagements and shared a generation of prosperity with their children. Baby boomers responded to a disciplinary parental model by revolting thru experimenting in everything from drugs to entrepreneurism to lifestyles (remember spouse swapping?). Today the demographic transition is no less impactful. Dual earner households and divorce rates for a second decade hovering at 50%, financial crises, school shootings, terror threats and 24 hour a day news coverage of foreign wars that parallel the plots of video gaming just to name a few. The New York times in August remarked on this phenomenon and Janet Adamy in the WSJ also wrote (9/7/18) on factors we refer to as the basis of the “guilt household”.
The result of the “guilt household” was participation trophies and residual youth apathy. The indifference is reflected in that they know better but want to find the shortcuts to the top of the mountain as Simon Sinek portrays Click here. A recent intern of TrustNavigator told of the dilemma of college,” I have my social life and I have to get my diploma (the ultimate participation trophy). Where do I find the time to pursue a career?”. He smiled knowing the answer, but his comments are reflective that time management is a generational shortfall from helicoptering parenting. His attitude changed once he said that out loud (and after experiencing an internship at TrustNavigator). Today he works for an NBA team in his chosen world of Sports Management. When motivated this generation works as hard as any generation, but motivation is hard to acquire thru shortcuts, it takes work. Our youth enjoy a lifestyle that they were awarded and encouraged to pursue “independence”. They are outspoken on balancing their lifestyle with a workplace that confuses them in its demands. The hard work that Gallup identifies as the way to prepare for success after college is met with confirmation, but also that apathy again. A recent student called and asked for a list of contacts, so he could call a group of strangers to hire him. No recommendation, no referral just simply “please send names”. This from a student with two consulting internships in prized positions with a “Big 4” Firm and a large public company. He knows better. But this time he doesn’t need to get a participation trophy. He needs to work for this one.
We are excited for the prospects of Gen Z and Millennials. Their advantages from growing up in a new era of technology and their prospects of advancement parallel the opportunities of baby boomer’s creativeness and entrepreneurship in their youth. Let’s engage and provide mentorship and resources to onboard this generation. We taught “don’t talk to strangers” and other lessons with the intention of protecting them from harm. Now they at times struggle to communicate and resort to Google. Participation trophies may encourage inclusion but losing provides growth and education.Knowing how to be a winner befuddles narcissism. The recognition that they are a result of their upbringing (like us) will help us to help them.
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