Interview Notes

June 25, 2009

The interview went pretty well. It was actually kind of cool. I thought I might run out of things to say (yeah, right…) but actually I could have talked for an hour. That’s not really the point of a radio interview, of course.

I received a number of emails from friends and colleagues.

All that said, I’m excited that The PWAC Manifesto is starting to get some traction. I believe it is important for us to understand the issues facing our society, our economy, your company and your career.

This recession has been painful and while it might not seem like it, is only a respite before the demand for talent resumes its upward climb.

Take this time to refresh your skills and take a few minutes out of your day and start thinking about how you want to live and work when things start to improve, which I believe will be later this year.

Remember, all those Gen Y’s started graduating from college in 2007 and in about 3-4 years will be starting to buy houses and fill them with all the stuff we already have in our houses. Then the market and the general economy will rush to supply those new households with goods and services.

So, spend some time thinking about the future. Which one do you want?


An interesting book about Gen Y, “Not Everyone Gets a Trophy” by Bruce Tulgan talks about the challenges of managing that generation. Full of anecdotes about how managing them is like herding cats and often more like parenting than managing.

Will this recessionary time recalibrate Gen Y expectations? Simple economics suggests so, especially as the enormous size of that cohort increases competition for the “good jobs’ as economic strength returns.

A recent Harris Interactive survey of Gen Y employees found that three out of five respondents said that their first employer did not provide a clear path for advancement. Of course, the reality is that few employers provide a clear path to anything, much less to the corner office.

Other key findings:
Describing how their first job made them feel, 13% said they couldn’t wait for Friday to arrive, 10% wanted to quit every day and 8% felt it was a waste of their time

19% of 18-34 year olds wanted to quit their first job every day, compared to 3% of those 55 years old and over

So, does this represent unrealistic expectations by Gen Y or the typical angst of first time employees? Based on the research in the PWAC Manifesto, I suspect that we are seeing a continuation of the trend that started when they were kids. After years of being told by their parents and teachers that they were “special” many really believe that a few months or years into a job they should already have a clear path to the top. Did we all think that way when we were that young? I don’t recall feeling that way.

Here’s the paradox: there is a shortage of PWACs of all ages. So on one hand you do want to retain them even if they might need to recalibrate their expectations.

On the other, the Gen Y generation is huge so you might be time to consider letting the most unrealistic ones go and cast your net back into the pool.

How do you manage Gen Ys or UNREALISTIC expectations regardless of the age of your employee?