Spoiled Rotten (By Us)

Following up Friday's talk about Slacker and Alpha parents, let's take a peek into what our kids might be like in the future through ABC News'
Meet the New Millennials. "Millennials" are Americans born after 1981, the invisible tipping point where it suddenly became de rigeur for parents to micromanage our children's lives with flashcards, Baby Einstein videos, playdates, violin lessons, sports therapists, and tutors for every kind of special need, real or imagined. Now these "kids" have entered the workplace, with interesting results.

"They grew up with an 'everyone gets a trophy' sense of entitlement," one 57-year-old employer says of his 20-something Millennial employees. "They are members of a generation that thinks it should get a trophy just for waking up in the morning."

Typical problems include arriving to work on time, working towards long-term goals, dressing appropriately (the same employer had to tell a young female employee that his was not an "underwear optional" workplace), and loyalty to employers. It's also apparently hard for employers to keep parents at bay, despite the reality that their children are now adults. "I had a human resources manager call me about a worker who received her performance review [followed by] her mother calling up to complain that 'she's better than that,' " the employer relayed.

Part of the problem -- and maybe the solution -- is that for the first time in history, four generations of Americans are working together. ABC News quotes a study prepared by Manpower, one of the nation's largest employment services companies, that breaks out the four generations as follows:

* Traditionalists -- Born before 1946. Respect authority, avoid challenging the system, place duty before pleasure.
* Boomers -- Born between 1946 and 1964. Values: work, material payoffs, personal empowerment.
* Generation X - Born from 1965 to 1980. Work to live, cynical, skeptical, value flexibility and work/life balance.
* Millennials -- Born between 1981 and 1994. Question everything, live in the moment, very family-oriented.

So what's your experience at work -- and as a parent -- as a Millennial, Boomer, X-er or Traditionalist? What kind of generation are we raising? How can such diverse generations become one big, happy family?

By Leslie Morgan Steiner |  May 21, 2007; 7:30 AM ET  | Category:  Raising Great Kids
Previous: Are You A Slacker Mom? | Next: Generation Gap With Mom


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Comments

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Posted by: Bryn Mawr | May 21, 2007 7:34 AM

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Posted by: Bryn Mawr | May 21, 2007 7:35 AM

Third, dammit!

Posted by: Jack Bauer | May 21, 2007 7:40 AM

As a baby boomer, I've seen in the workplace the same things as what was mentioned in the article, but not the one about "underwear optional" :(

Some new graduates, even from engineering schools, walk in the door asking how long it will be before they can be managers (hint: 8-10 years if a position is open and you do good work), if work hours are flexible so they can come in at 10:00 (uhhh, no), what is 'acceptable business wear' (apparently ripped blue jeans and old T-shirts are given some of the garments around here), and a general "here I am, now pay me for lackluster work" attitude from many (not all) of the new hires. Many of them want immediate gratification (i.e. high salary, low responsibility) and often they leave within a year when they realize their chosen career in our office isn't what they expected it to be.

Our office has changed working hours to be more flexible, both in number of hours/day and how early/late to come in, but we do highly technical work that is directly related to the safety of hundreds of thousands of people every day, and some level of high standards and performance is expected from even new hires. Many of them don't seem to get that, or accept it.

Posted by: John L | May 21, 2007 7:49 AM

"What kind of generation are we raising?"

You are raising a generation of morally bankrupt conspicuous consumers in constant need of gratification.

"How can such diverse generations become one big, happy family"

They can't.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2007 7:52 AM

As someone born in 1983, I find it extremely offensive that I am categorized with these people. I show up for work 15 minutes early everyday, I dress appropriately (more dressed up than most people), and I wear underwear everyday. (Shocker, eh?) I think that Manpower has their years a little mixed up; they may want to change it to people born a few years later, like 1985 or 1986. I have run across these teenagers/20-somethings in college. They are generally a couple of years younger than I am. The people I grew up with were not micromanaged the way that is spoken of in this blog and none of my coworkers' parents would ever have the nerve to call into our supervisors.

In general, we may not be as loyal to our companies as other generations, but this is only because we have grown up with parents being laid off by their companies. For example, where I grew up, the only company that supported our town closed down and all of the jobs were shipped overseas. Can you blame us for not being loyal after you have watched your peers' families struggle trying to make ends meet?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2007 8:03 AM

I am between boomer and Gen X. My colleagues and I have noticed for the last several years the phenomena you describe.

An anecdote to support millenials as self centered: I was a leader of a department. I noticed that most of a certain level of workers were coming in late. Not 5 minutes late, but 30-60 minutes late. This was a serious problem for the rest of the department. I waited 1-2 weeks to make sure this wasn't a one time thing (a spate of flat tires perhaps?). It wasn't. So I sent out what I thought was a polite e-mail reminding everyone that we expect everyone to be on time and I outlined how being late was a problem for the department. At the next department meeting I was attacked. How could I send an e-mail asking people to be on time? Was I trying to ruin morale? And on and on. I thought I was in the twilight zone. I explained how those who were consistently late were the ones actually ruining morale, that it was their professional responsibility to be on time and that it was my responsibility as leader to make sure that they were on time. Not one person in the group could intelligently articulate how what I had done (send an email reminder to be on time) was wrong or how it could have been done better (I asked, I was ready to learn how I could have done this better).

I have since left and I hear that these same immature jerks are back to their old tricks.

So, I do see a difference in work ethic between the generations. I hate to make generalizations because I have worked with some great Millenials, but I see time and again a significant number these younger workers behaving in ways I could never have imagined when I was their age.

Posted by: working mother | May 21, 2007 8:05 AM

"I sent out what I thought was a polite e-mail reminding everyone that we expect everyone to
be on time"

working Mother, if Joe, Bob, and Susie are late, send THEM the email.

Don't include me in the group spanking, I follow the policy! That's how you sabotaged the morale.

Posted by: Father of 4 | May 21, 2007 8:18 AM

I'm Generation X.

I've actually led training on getting along with/managing types other than yourself. I think every "type" has a lot to offer, actually. There isn't a single one that stands out as better than the others in every category. In training, I focus on getting people to look past the prejudices they have about working with youngsters/old fogeys/kids in diapers/senior citizens and seeing the good things -- the energy, the wisdom, the historical knowledge (of a company or just of being in the workforce for a few decades), the ability to seamlessly integrate technology into every aspect of life. I know it probably sounds a bit "Up with People", but I've never been in a situation where you can't learn SOMETHING even from a person with whom you really don't click. If nothing else, you learn new conflict resolution tactics . . .

Posted by: WorkingMomX | May 21, 2007 8:19 AM

Ah, yes, the sky is falling yet again. Just like it has every time a new rat worked its way through the python. Oh, those darn young people today, what's the world coming to?

I'm pretty sure that everything that was said above -- including even possibly the "underwear optional" workplace -- was said about the Baby Boomers when they hit their 20s and had to support themselves. It's called being young and immature. Trouble getting to work on time? Trouble with long-term goals? Wanting immediate gratification? Expecting a parade for getting your clothes on in the morning? Gee, it sounds like a lot of people I knew in college -- me included. It's called immaturity, and most people have some degree of it until life forces them to grow up. I was 36 before I finally figured out how to be on time.

I suspect that the current generation looks particularly immature because we still contrast them to the generation that came of age in WWII. But I doubt the differences are somehow immutable. The fact is, life forced our grandparents to grow up a lot faster than it has our kids. My grandfather was a bomber pilot at the age of 21, responsible for a team of men younger than him. Two year later, his plane was shot down, leaving my Granny a widow with one toddler and pregnant with my dad. I asked her how she got through it, and she gave me this blank, slightly confused look, and said, "because that's what you did -- there wasn't any other choice."

I can guarantee that my Granny was more mature and responsible at a younger age than most of the people of this generation. But it's unrealistic to expect that same degree of maturity and responsibility in someone who hasn't gone through what she did.

Don't get me wrong; there are things I worry about within our society, including the apparent loss of a real sense of personal responsibility. But it's not just reserved for the current young generation. If they are in any way worse than past generations, it is because we taught them to be.

Posted by: Laura | May 21, 2007 8:20 AM

In no way was I saying that all
20-somethings entering the jobplace were nothing but whiny, self-absorbed slackers; I know many people in that age category who are caring, hard working and very dedicated to whatever they put their mind to. In fact, I told one young woman's mom that, should I have a daughter, I hope I can raise her as well as her daughter turned out to be.

But, I've worked in my office for nearly 25 years and been a supervisor for almost 20, and there are a lot more of these "what's in it for me" attitude types now than there were say, 15 years ago.

I have one worker right now who constantly whines about how dissatisfied he is with his job, how he wants to become a supervisor in another section, but when I try and point out his amazingly scant amount of experience (so far about 3 years, less than one related to what he wants to do), he just says "that is what my supervisor will be there for" (presumably to show him how to do his job). He talks about how he only wants to "get ahead" that it impacts his productivity, and when I point this out to him he complains I don't respect him and his needs.

Sheesh.

Posted by: John L | May 21, 2007 8:21 AM

While I agree with anon at 8:03, the primary criticism of younger workers put forth here seem to be their work ethic (or lack thereof) and sense of entitlement. I am old enough to be anon's mother, and my generation also has no real sense of corporate loyalty -- I was entering the work force right about the time the term layoff became a synonym for mass firing.

If anon keeps arriving early, dressing professionally, and wearing underwear (wow, who ever thought that would be necessary to have in a 'professional conduct' checklist), she should be far more successful than her peers who don't do those things.

And the parent who called to criticize the performance review is the ultimate helicopter parent. I pity the human resouces department staffers -- I know exactly what that's like.

Posted by: educmom | May 21, 2007 8:25 AM

Okay, I'm a "late" Boomer - born fairly close to the end of the "boomer" cycle. I work for a company that's now hiring "Millenials".

I think that some of things Leslie mentioned are true from my experience, but others are over-generalizations and not really issues IF you hire the right people.

Loyalty to employer: that one's true, and quite frankly I don't see anything wrong with it. In today's environment, it's pretty ridiculous for anyone to plan on spending a lifetime working for the same employer. There will be a few who do so, but with changing technology and economic situations, global competition and offshoring, etc, planning on doing so is naive. (My brother's been running the same plant in NC for 13 years. They're on their third different owner; this one's a huge multinational that just announced they're closing the plant on 31 December and moving all the jobs to China. Hard for him to be loyal, n'est-ce pas?)

Dress: okay, there are some lines, but this is always changing. I'm an engineer; I dress funny. I can remember my first few years at work when older co-workers were mortified by the fact that I wore jeans, tennis shoes and golf shirts to work. How could I not wear polyester double-knits, white perma-press shirts and polyester ties? That was what any decent engineer wore. (For the record, I've never seen any co-worker have to be reminded that underwear isn't optional, or been that far out of line. Okay, there are a few men who would be better off with t-shirts under their white dress shirts, but let's just not go there, okay?) Actually, the worst I've seen in this regard is some offices in Canada, where on a warm summer day (they have a few of them) everyone breaks out the shorts. That took me quite a while to get used to, but it wasn't age related, it was EVERYONE in the office wearing these really hideous shorts.

Work ethic? Not so much of a difference. Oh sure, my friends and I work both harder and smarter than everyone else we've ever met (that's a joke, for the humor-impaired), but we try to hire the dedicated types, and we get some in all age groups who qualify as dedicated and some who don't.

Parents calling in to complain? Never happened in my experience. There are a few cases where I personally know the parent of a co-worker, but those are social contacts, not work-related.

Timeliness? Flexibility? Again, it seems to be more of a case-by-case thing. Yes, there are some Millenials who will be late after a night of clubbing, and if that happens too much we'll suggest they find employment elsewhere. But there are also a number of people we run into who are "retired in position", and we try to make their retirement more permanent, quickly.

Bottom line? I (and my friends) are more dedicated, productive, hard-working, trustworthy, helpfuly, friendly, loyal, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent than anybody else I know, but this new generation ain't so bad.

Posted by: Army Brat | May 21, 2007 8:25 AM

I want to know how the supervisor discovered the employee wasn't wearing underwear...

Posted by: John L | May 21, 2007 8:26 AM

Good point made by Anon 8:03 -- and the article cited pointed out that there are exceptions within this Millenial group, people who mysteriously understand the importance of showing up on time and actually working at work. Go 8:03 -- it's going to be pretty easy for you to get ahead if these are your peers.

Also agree that some of this is the standard generational strife. We will see if this group grows up over time...and it will be interesting to see how they balance work and family.

Posted by: Leslie | May 21, 2007 8:30 AM

I am a boomer; and my kids do not have the same work ethics that I had when I was their age. I was raised dirt poor and ate from the free lunch program. I wanted better as an adult and better for my children. Compared to most; my kids do not have a lot of material things but they have far more than I did at their age. My ex says I did too much for them; that I didn't let them fail enough when they were younger. What did I do too much? Rode their arses to get their homework done because it was my responsibility as a parent to do so? Make them go to school every day even when they tried to get out of it? My kids are the strong-willed type and they were a challenge to parent as they grew up; even now today as older teens. My oldest son opted to move in with his Dad than to abide by my very fair house rules. To my son's credit; he has recognized he needs more discipline and has joined the miliary leaving later this year.

I don't know what is driving today's youth. Maybe they did get too much; maybe they needed to wear holey clothes and starve a night or two to appreciate things. Maybe they need to suffer the pain of a rotten tooth because their parents couldn't afford a dentist. Just maybe.

Posted by: C.W. | May 21, 2007 8:30 AM

John L

"I want to know how the supervisor discovered the employee wasn't wearing underwear..."

Pretty hard to miss when an employee flashes her snatch

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2007 8:31 AM

John L:
I want to know how the supervisor discovered the employee wasn't wearing underwear...
____________________________________

See my comment above about male engineers, white dress shirts, and no t-shirt underneath. Add heat/humidity and a generous helping of back hair. Ewww - just don't go there anymore, okay? :-)

And as for women, well, some things are obvious to the most casual observer...

Posted by: Army Brat | May 21, 2007 8:32 AM

I completely agree with 8:03 in regards to loyalty. By Leslie's breakdown, I'm technically a Gen Xer (although I always thought Gen X ended around '75), and our generation and the one that followed us grew up seeing our friends' parents and our own get completely screwed by employers they'd been loyal to for 20+ years. We know what "at will" employment means, and while we wouldn't betray our employers, we aren't going to be naively loyal to them either. If a better job comes along, that's life.

I wonder how much of the current self-centered crap that the younger 20-somethings display is the same sort of behavior that arrogant young people have always displayed, only it seems worse these days because for the first time, we're getting the same behavior from the girls as well as the boys? Even ten years ago, there was still a "proving yourself" mentality to the women I knew, particularly in male-dominated fields. But I think that's pretty much eliminated now for young women - they don't see it the same way we did - so maybe it makes the immaturity of that generation seem more prevalent?

Posted by: Md Kate | May 21, 2007 8:33 AM

Some girls will tell people exactly why they don't have panty lines, and guys have been known to brag about 'going commando' (yuck).

Posted by: educmom | May 21, 2007 8:37 AM

I've had younger co-workers and employees who've had to be reminded to wear underwear (those of you wondering how you know haven't seen someone wear a see-through skirt or sheer white pants to work), that flip-flops are not acceptable office attire, that the primary purpose of work is to WORK, not talk to everyone in the office for 30 minutes each.

But there have also been lots of hard-working, focused, diplomatic, appropriately dressed people at my various workplaces. They really stand out -- especially in contrast to their peers -- and everyone wants them to stay, do well, etc. Pretty easy playing field, if you ask me.

What shocks me the most is that the biggest "slackers" have the most highly educated, successful parents. Why don't these parents have a nice little work-education chat with their kids before sending them out into the work force? It seems that the children of blue-collar workers and lower level employees have the best work ethic, common sense and most determination. Maybe these days it's a disadvantage to have a well-educated professional parent?

Posted by: Leslie | May 21, 2007 8:37 AM

Today's topic overlaps a lot with last week's "Slacker Mom" topic .

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2007 8:39 AM

I think this topic brings out a lot of over-generalizations. I actually don't know of too many Millenials in my profession yet - I think they haven't gotten out of law school yet. Perhaps - as a generation - they are a bunch of slackers though I doubt it. I suspect that the entire generation gets a bad rap because of a few bad apples combined with media hype. It is the same thing with the whole "mommy wars." The war doesn't really exist IMO but that doesn't mean there aren't some SAHMs and working moms who are at war with each other.

As to Leslie's comment about the biggest slackers being from the most highly educated parents. I think this is true of ALL generations. If you spoil your child rotten, you are more likely to have a child who does not appreciate working hard.

Posted by: londonmom | May 21, 2007 8:46 AM

Well yes, the bra-less types don't exactly work in engineering fields, at least I've not seen any yet. They'd kind of stand out in the crowd, I think.

The men who wear no undershirts in hot weather tend to look pretty disgusting too, no matter what their age is.

I agree that the dress standards have relaxed since I came to work. Blue jeans, tennis shoes, T-shirts with no offensive words/images, are all accepted in our office now. Even jeans with the knees missing are allowed (especially on the attractive 20-ish intern)...

Posted by: John L | May 21, 2007 8:49 AM

Let's see. Mommy and Daddy recognize the importance of a "good" education to get a "decent" job nowadays and spend tens (possibly hundreds) of thousands of dollars to send their spawn to a liberal institution to get that needed "education".

So...

The kid goes off for the next 4 years and doesn't have to worry about a roof over their head, where their next meal is coming from, and they are still on their parent's health and auto insurance policy.

And all they are expected to do is show up for class, maybe, for what, about 15 hours a weekaand do a little homework and handholding with their friends?

What else is there to do? Get drunk every night starting on Thursdays going through Sundays, and go to parties, and have sex with at least a dozen partners before graduation...

And now they are expected to show up on time, sober, and work a 40 hour week???

I think us older people are being a little harsh. You think?

Posted by: Father of 4 | May 21, 2007 8:51 AM

I agree with Father of Four,
I have had bosses who do the same generic e-mail/make statements at meetings. The people it is directed never get it and those of us it isn't meant for get angry.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 21, 2007 8:55 AM

WorkingMother was right sending e-mail to everybody. Then people who don't come late will see that habitual lateness of others is not unnoticed, and won't be allowed to last forever.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2007 9:00 AM

To the 8:03 anon poster: I am smack in the middle of GenX. 10-ish years ago, when the first stereotypes of GenX came out, I thought they were all bunk. Thanks not me, thats not my friends. Yet now, I look at the stereotypes, and realize that yes, I do fit in the GenX type. Especially the ones above work to live, flexibility, etc. Plus, the think about stereotypes is there are *always* people that don't fit them, and frankly, its hard to find someone who fits them perfectly.

Posted by: RT | May 21, 2007 9:02 AM

"Then people who don't come late will see that habitual lateness of others is not unnoticed, and won't
be allowed to last forever."

All I get from the group email is that everybody else is coming in late and the only recourse is, wel, the group email that says that everybody is coming in late.

Poor management!

Posted by: Father of 4 | May 21, 2007 9:05 AM

"I agree with Father of Four,
I have had bosses who do the same generic e-mail/make statements at meetings. The people it is directed never get it and those of us it isn't meant for get angry."

Only if you are insecure.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2007 9:06 AM

Re: Leslie's comment about the biggest slackers being the children of the best-educated, most "successful" parents: There are of course exceptions, but in general that's true from what I've seen, but it's been true of every generation, I suspect.

I remember college days, when certain kids were just goof-offs, but it was clear that after a college and then business or law school, they'd be joining the parents' companies/firms. They didn't have to work hard, or have part time jobs, or buy cars of their own.

And if they got in trouble - a little drunk driving, or a fight in town, a pregnancy, or whatever - Mom and Dad could get them out of it. Not a problem. They learned that they didn't have to work hard; life was taken care of for them. Given that, why would you work hard.

(When I was a Fed, I used to moonlight teach college computer science and engineering courses. I used to tell people that by the end of the semester, I could go around my classroom and tell you which students were paying for their own education, and who was getting a free ride from mom and dad. It was easy. It didn't correlate to grades; it showed up in their attitudes. Kids paying their own way paid attention, asked questions, came in for help. Even if they got C's, they worked hard. Kids getting a ride from Mom and Dad tended to be much more laid back. Only the most motivated of them asked questions, came in for help, etc.)

(And I say this as I'm preparing to sign a 5-figure check for oldest DD's first year of college. Sigh - what am I doing here?)

Posted by: Army Brat | May 21, 2007 9:06 AM

Working Mother was right to send the email to everyone. In the first place, since public discipline of employees isn't really legal, sending an email to everyone is a good first step that lays down the law and lets everyone know that the boss is on the job. Secondly, it can act as a first "warning" -- a written warning -- if you are on the fun path of trying to separate an undesirable employee (of whatever generation) from your company/firm.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | May 21, 2007 9:07 AM

Leslie you have just described my little BIL. His mother used to tell him all the time that he was the best at everything and that someday he would be my husband's boss. My husband wanted to get him an internship this summer but after looking at his cover letter and resume, we decided that he should get his own. Here is the summary.

I want a good paying internship.
I am finished with my last internship and need to learn new skills.
I need to benefit from this internship so that I may get a good job in the future.
I want to live in an area of the country that is warm.

IIIIIIIIIII

I have never seen anything like it before in my life. I am a generation Xer myself.

Posted by: scarry | May 21, 2007 9:09 AM

Rereading my comments, I also fit the stereotypes mentioned in Friday's On Parenting blog. I can't spell, don't type well, and don't proofread. *blush*

Posted by: RT | May 21, 2007 9:12 AM

I was born in 1946 and raised by parents who lived through the Depression and WWII. My father worked nights in a meat packing plant. Mom stayed home to raise us until my youngest brother was in school, then she went to work part-time so she would be home when we were home from school. We never had babysitters, nannies or au pairs.

We wore handed down and homemade clothes. We had a large vegetable garden so what was canned and frozen during the summer months kept us fed during winter. We did not have a phone until I was about 15 years old. The only car belong to my father who used it to go to and from work. I never knew him to take a sick day from work and the two weeks vacation each summer were spent working around the house and garden.

We have all been gainfully employed all of our lives. In fact, when Dad retired he still worked part-time until the day he died. No drug problems, no suicide attempts, no runaways, no illegetimate children, no jail terms, only one divorce between 4 siblings. I am sickened and disgusted at the work habits of the Gen X and Millenia co=workers, the spoiled brats being raised now and the entitled attitude of just about everybody.

Posted by: Traditional Boomer | May 21, 2007 9:20 AM

Sorry, but I have to agree with poor management.
If someone is not performing up to your expectations, invite them into your office to explain thee expectations, and the effect on the group's performance.
If they don't perform, terminate them for non-performance.
Dropping an email is a passive-aggressive act, expecting all recipients to read your mind to determine the desired behavior. It offends those already on time, and the slackers need more direct communication.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2007 9:22 AM

Well, Father of 4, if you are the only one who is coming to work on time, the e-mail won't help. But usually there are 2-3 worst offenders, and mass e-mail would make it easier for me to tell them "wow, they are really getting serious about that!" without directly overtaking HR responsibilities..

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2007 9:22 AM

I was a grad student teaching at a very good university (students were typically top of their class) and I actually had a parent call not only me but the head of the math dept cause her poor son failed calculus.
My parents would have yelled at me and wouldn't care if I lost my scholarship-i would then have to figure out what to do.
So yes, I do think this is a problem with this generation.

Posted by: atlmom | May 21, 2007 9:23 AM

Another reason for the mass email - I have been in offices where we had a performance problem like that - someone showing up chronically late (30+ minutes), not performing their job properly etc. Everyone was told about showing up on time. I was later told that this was so that the people who were not the problem, were on notice not to be a little late (5 minutes because the line at Dunkin Donuts was long) - not because management cared, but because then the poor performer couldn't say "but you didn't get on so-so's case for being late" This was especially important in this particular case because they ended up firing this person and she made some rumblings about suing. I didn't get offended (I knew I wasn't the problem) and because I needed to know that the general workplace flexibilty was being suspended because of others abuse.

Posted by: Divorced mom of 1 | May 21, 2007 9:26 AM

Back in the late 80s, I had a parent call me and another come into my office to protest their child's grade in an engineering class. So Atlmom, I don't think it is purely this generation. There have been overinvolved parents for a while, albeit more prevalent now?

Posted by: dotted | May 21, 2007 9:27 AM

These stories made me remember once when I was giving an intern advice. She'd just had an interview for a fulltime job she really wanted. I suggested she write a nice thank you note to let the interviewer know how much she wanted the job.

Her response?

"Are you kidding? They should write ME a thank you note for interviewing!"

She didn't get the job. And I didn't give her any more advice.

Posted by: Leslie | May 21, 2007 9:29 AM

I am glad that you have a nice work ethic and had nice parents, but I would like to point out the suicide is not a "generation" issue that can be solved by having either of the above.

Often time's suicide is the result of a mental illness or depression.

I have also seen that most generation X workers are decent workers, they just won't put up with someone telling them that they have to work 24/7. I think that is a good thing.

Posted by: scarry | May 21, 2007 9:29 AM

Should read: students were top of their class in high school.

And: that was well over 10 yrs ago. I can only suspect it has gotten worse.

Posted by: atlmom | May 21, 2007 9:30 AM

"So Atlmom, I don't think it is purely this generation."

Righto, Socrates complained about the lack of work ethic in his students a LONG time ago.

Posted by: Dilbert | May 21, 2007 9:35 AM

The real source of the problem is the babyboomer generation, who continues to think it's all about them, their music, their "protesting," their lives. Who do you think parented the so-called Millenials? The boomers need to face the fact that they have screwed up pretty much everything, and now they're working on doing it to the next generation. (And I speak not as a Millenial or GenX-er, but as someone who fits within the last couple of months of the above definition of boomer).

As an aside, the NYT had an article about Obama a few months back, pointing out that at his age (45 or 46, I think), he's really not of the boomer generation or mentality, and that the boomers really are those born from 1946-60. So please leave those of us in our early 40s out -- we don't want to be tarred by association with the boomers!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2007 9:36 AM

To Boomers, Xers, etc...If you are sickened and disgusted at the work habits of your Millenia co-workers, why did you raise them this way?

Posted by: hmmmm | May 21, 2007 9:37 AM

Dotted: perhaps. I just see my sil who had her parents hold her hand thru an *ivy league* school and then grad school (and, she has never held a job, etc). Part of that is sex-ie, she is a girl and dh is a boy-so they were never as involved in his life, but part of it was that he pushed them away. I mean my inlaws knew about each paper/ exam my sil had. I guess that might be because she was the youngest and they didn't want to let go.

But for me, I learned that if I had an issue-it was my issue, and I had to get it resolved myself. No parents calling. Which really surprised me when yrs later I found out mom used some connections to get sister into the state school after she had been on the waiting list.

Posted by: atlmom | May 21, 2007 9:37 AM

I'm definately a product of Generation X, but I have seen the "Millenial" generation growing up in my two younger sisters. My immediate family then spans three of these generational gaps, and we've actually talked about this subject a good bit around the holidays when we are together(this is generally started by my father making similar remarks about his youngest co-workers).

The first thing my sisters usually say is that any attempt to make these broad sweeping statements is pretty insulting. This seems fair to me. They did offer these interesting tidbits to explain where the stereotypes come from:

-Their generation wants to feel that they are making a difference. They crave respect and recognition for what they do (trophies for everyone?). On a positive side there is plenty of evidence to suggest their generation does more volunteer work and is more active in their communities. On the downside, in the workplace of the disposable employee, they are very quick to show how much they disrespect you if they feel you do not respect them.

-In classic terms, they see many of their workplace superiors as being too old. The older of my two younger sisters is very fond of pointing out that it is rarely the young people who are against practices such as telecommuting. In a generation of cell phone and internet users, they don't really value face time as my parents generation do. I, personally, also think this accounts for a lack of caring about how they dress at work (who cares about what you look like when you see your friends on MySpace?). Again, lack of respect for older managers who, in the case of those my father's age, can barely use e-mail.

-No sense of loyalty from companies means no sense of loyalty or respect from employees. Their generation has grown up with Dilbert and Enron, so it should not be surprising that they don't really respect a company and hence it's policies.

-Related to the last point. Many of their generation believe that corporations are evil Re: Enron, etc.

On a personal note, it should not come as any surprise that companies are now having to deal with what schools have had to deal with for years. Perhaps, now, parents will start to feel the need to actually step up and parent, as opposed to spoil.

Buisness might learn something from asking their local schools. That said, I'd add that the most effective way to harness your millenials is to deal with them one on one and mentor/train them. My experience teaching suggests that they will be very responsive if you treat them as individuals.

Posted by: David S | May 21, 2007 9:39 AM

But what made me cry yesterday (and, before anyone makes any assumptions, there aren't many people out there who are more prochoice than I), was the article on 'selextive reduction' in the post.
Another reason I am so uneasy about the ivf thing.

Posted by: atlmom | May 21, 2007 9:45 AM

Mmmmm....

People have been going without underwear for thousands of years (or more) and still managed to get their work done!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2007 9:46 AM

I'm 39 and fit the Gen X description above. While I put the hours in and am there when needed, I don't expect much from the job and believe that hard work only gets me so far. I can sympathize with the younger generation only because I think you never get paid what you are worth and companies will cut you if necessary to improve their bottom line. A greater sense of entitlement might be the perfect antidote.

Posted by: Bob | May 21, 2007 9:48 AM

Sending a company-wide email about coming late to work (or anything else) makes sure no one is being singled out (you know who you are; so does management), reminds everyone not to be 'just a little late', and avoids embarassing anyone by calling them into the boss' office to talk about it.

That can wait for the next infraction, at which time the boss can ask "you did get the email about coming in late, didn't you?".

Posted by: John L | May 21, 2007 9:53 AM

I'm a major X-er. I work to live and want flexibility. I also want to be really great at my job.

This is a very timely topic for me, as I'm the youngest person in my job, and we act as "customer service," among many other things, for the feds. Everyone is trying to figure out how to reduce the number of calls and emails they get, so they can spend their time on the other parts of the job. I had to snort when this came up at the last meeting. I said it's only going to get WORSE, and they said WHY? I was kind and said IT'S GENERATIONAL, ie the Millenials will want lots of hand-holding. Handling the calls is my favorite duty, so I think it's great. Hopefully their mommies and daddies won't be calling, as we give grant money at a 15% success rate!

Posted by: atb | May 21, 2007 9:58 AM

"I was born in 1946 and raised by parents who lived through the Depression and WWII."

So what? Most people don't get to pick their parents or chose when and where they will be born.

Do you have anything helpful to add to the discussion?

Posted by: Ninotchka | May 21, 2007 10:01 AM

David S -

I think this is really true -- we can't just focus on the negative ways that different generations are different. It's critical to talk about the positive differences too.

The Millennials I know -- while fitting a somewhat slackerish profile at work -- DO volunteer a ton, enthusiastically support environmental causes, work to end pollution and racism, and are really good listeners.

Good points. Thanks.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2007 10:02 AM

'The denunciation of the morals of the young is a necessary part of the hygeine of the old'

Tacitus

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2007 10:04 AM

I wonder how class relates to these categories. I would imagine that the millennials with the work ethic described here are of an advantaged economic class - upper middle income or high income. I don't think poor millennials are risking losing their jobs.

Posted by: MV | May 21, 2007 10:05 AM

Part of the problem for ALL generations is the idea of instant gratification. Nobody has to wait for the mail anymore. Reports are done and emailed instantly rather than send via snail mail. Everybody has their pager and blackberry in order to be available at the drop of a hat. Waiting for a signature - either fax it or get an electronic signature. When one of the systems breaks down the frustration is wide ranging. We expect everything to happen now!

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 21, 2007 10:06 AM

Am I the only person who likes the idea that kids/young adults think "everybody should win?"

I am proud that my children have friends of other races and that they are open to new thing.

I don't care if they don't wear underwear in the workplace. It was that kind of fussy stupid stuff that my generation was rebelling against. Vanity will get them in the end anyway. Once you get to be old those flip-flops just don't do it for your feet - they can find that out themselves.

I think our kids are what we raised them to be and we did that because of the way we did and didn't like the world.

As an aside: my college grad has moved home until his job starts. As my personal save-energy act I decided the TV and cable box should be un-plugged unless someone was watching it. It's supposed to save up to 40% of the used energy.

That ended in a minute when Millennium son-of-cable TV arrived home! "But Mom" he whines, it takes forever to reload when you turn it on. So much for saving the earth!

Posted by: RoseG | May 21, 2007 10:10 AM

Too funny about the person's mom calling in after the poor performance review...
I am technical staff in a research lab in a big 10 facility. We depend on undergraduate student workers to do the "grunt" work in the lab, but the reward for doing the grunt work well is exposure to research and a GREAT letter of recommendation. A small handful of students have been absolutely inspiring, in terms of work ethic, commitment to the project and desire to learn. The rest have needed some SERIOUS work, mostly in regards to work ethic and workplace behavior. Most of them need to have explained to them that if they cannot make it in due to a "real" reason, then they need to call and let us know in a timely manner. In order to strengthen the idea that "cutting work" is unacceptable, as well as give them some sense of responsibility for the work, if they can't make it in, they need to arrange a substitute for their shift (the available substitutes are on a list for each day, and they need to call down the list until someone agrees to come in). Surprisingly enough, once this protocol was in place, all of the students became much healthier. Other issues include pathological tardiness, too much time on-line, chatting instead of working, CONSTANT complaints about the work assigned (this is boring. I can't do it, blah, blah, blah.), etcetera. Haven't had the no underpants issue, but the "muffin-top" look has been a terrible one as far as I am concerned. We do a lot of bending in our work, I just wish that parents had told kids about the importance of a belt. Speaking of parents... Parents are the worst. Parents seem to think that it is our privilege to get to work with their child, and that their child is the shining beacon of hope and intelligence that our lab has been desperately craving in the dark ages before a happenstance job announcement brought their son or daughter to our attention. As such, clearly, their child does not need to commit to a work schedule, or adhere to the set of work conditions outlined in their interview. Apparently the parent's needs always trump the job's needs (in the eyes of the students). "I can't come in for my scheduled time on Sunday because my dad needs my car and gas is too expensive for me to drive my brand new full size truck" was my recent favorite. I am not sure that this has ever been an acceptable excuse, but the thing that blows my mind is that the FATHER suggested that this would be a good reason to not work. If the parents don't respect the job, why should the kids?

Anyway, the good news is that for the most part we try to whip the students into shape for entering the "real" work world (even though they still have incredibly unrealistic expectations as concerns pay and their various "entitlements". Hopefully by the time that they are supporting themselves, they are better employees than they would have been otherwise. I certainly hope so, or else I have done a lot of work for nothing!

Posted by: MIMom | May 21, 2007 10:14 AM

I don't know what's wrong with these kids today!

Kids!

Who can understand anything they say?

Kids!

They a disobedient, disrespectful oafs!

Noisy, crazy, dirty, lazy, loafers!

While we're on the subject:
Kids!

You can talk and talk till your face is blue!

Kids!

But they still just do what they want to do!

Why can't they be like we were,
Perfect in every way?

What's the matter with kids today?

Kids!

I've tried to raise him the best I could
Kids! Kids!

Laughing, singing, dancing, grinning, morons!

And while we're on the subject!

Kids! They are just impossible to control!

Kids! With their awful clothes and their rock an' roll!

Why can't they dance like we did

What's wrong with Sammy Caine?

What's the matter with kids today!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2007 10:14 AM

What's stranger than 4 generations of co-workers is 3 generations of parents. I'm a late Gen-xer (1980), who feels young/immature in comparison to the late Boomers with kids my son's age.

Posted by: md | May 21, 2007 10:23 AM

by MIMom at 10:14am:

"Anyway, the good news is that for the most part we try to whip the students into shape for entering the "real" work world (even though they still have incredibly unrealistic expectations as concerns pay and their various "entitlements". Hopefully by the time that they are supporting themselves, they are better employees than they would have been otherwise. I certainly hope so, or else I have done a lot of work for nothing!"

It takes a village to raise a child (even if that child is in their 20s). In my opinion, doing this sort of thing is great. Perhaps ironically, the lessons you teach about personal conduct are more valuable to those that need it than those stunning letters of recommendation for the ones who don't.

Posted by: David S | May 21, 2007 10:24 AM

by MIMom at 10:14am:

"Anyway, the good news is that for the most part we try to whip the students into shape for entering the "real" work world (even though they still have incredibly unrealistic expectations as concerns pay and their various "entitlements". Hopefully by the time that they are supporting themselves, they are better employees than they would have been otherwise. I certainly hope so, or else I have done a lot of work for nothing!"

It takes a village to raise a child (even if that child is in their 20s). In my opinion, doing this sort of thing is great. Perhaps ironically, the lessons you teach about personal conduct are more valuable to those that need it than those stunning letters of recommendation for the ones who don't.

Posted by: David S | May 21, 2007 10:24 AM

David S

"It takes a village to raise a child (even if that child is in their 20s). "

Not for me. I raised my kids without any help from the workplace. This is silly.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2007 10:31 AM

Someone in their 20s isn't a child - they are a son or daughter/man or woman.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 21, 2007 10:35 AM

I was born in 1980, so technically I'm Gen X by Leslie's breakdown, although I've seen other breakdowns that put me in Gen Y. I definitely feel more Y than X. When "Generation X" became part of the lexicon, referring mostly to "slacker" 20-somethings, I was still in middle school. At the same time, though, I cannot relate to these whippersnappers who have had the Internets since they were in kindergarten. I didn't have email until I was a hs senior and I didn't have IM until I was in college. Now get off my lawn!

Anyway, I'm also kind of offended by the whole "millennials are slackers" thing. EVERY generation gets labeled "slackers" when they're in their teens and 20s. It's all relative. I think it's a positive thing that Generations X and Y don't worship work like the Boomers and are more family-oriented. (And I speak as the daughter of two wonderful Boomers). Let's face it - to your family, you're everything. To your place of employment, you're a cog in the machine. They're only going to pay to just enough so that you won't quit; therefore, you should only work just hard enough not to get fired.

I have a Gen X boss who's only about 10 years older than me, and she's great. She's all about work-life balance, which is great since I have a 3-year-old. (What is she? Generation Z?) Very different from my previous Boomer boss who worked around the clock and expected me to put in much longer hours. As my boss says, you should be able to get your job done in 35 hours a week or less (at least at my level and salary).

Posted by: Wannabe SAHM | May 21, 2007 10:48 AM

By Anonymous at 10:31am

"David S

'It takes a village to raise a child (even if that child is in their 20s). '

Not for me. I raised my kids without any help from the workplace. This is silly."

From my perspective, the teachers and administrators at the school where you sent your children to be educated, as well as their mentors, coaches, bosses all contributed to raising them. Heck, arguably even some of their friends might have done so. It's not to diminish your role in any way, just to say that all adults in a child's life have a role to play (even if that role is played later than maybe it should because they are still a child in their 20s).

Posted by: David S | May 21, 2007 10:54 AM

Er... to clarify:

"It's not to diminish your role in any way, just to say that all adults in a child's life have a role to play (even if that role is played later than maybe it should because they are still a child in their 20s)."

should probably be:

"It's not to diminish parents role in any way, just to say that all adults in a child's life have a role to play (even if that role is played later than maybe it should because they are still a child in their 20s)."

Not that you aren't a parent, Anonymous, just that I don't wish to cast any inferences on your children.

Posted by: David S | May 21, 2007 10:56 AM

I was born in 1981 and I agree that the majority of the people born during this time define work ethic as described in Leslie's entry. However, what do we expect from children raised by permissive parents? I have encountered many of the problems that others have outlined in earlier posts. The pride that some people take for just trying and producing lackluster results is embarrassing for my generation. Even worse is the fact no one is willing to admit when they have made a mistake and try to pass on responsibility to anyone they can find.

Even though I am categorized with this generation that does not know how to work, I am fortunate enough that my parents raised my brothers and me with work ethic. I grew up on a small family farm where the animals' needs came before your own. You also develop alot of character mucking out stalls. We were additionally helped by having parents who were budget conscious (you have to be running a farm) and would not buy us every newest fad/toy/game system just to keep up with everyone else. My brothers and I are all the better for it.

And for suffering from the Millennial generation in your work place - be prepared. I think the next generation is going to be even worse.

Posted by: BiochemGirl | May 21, 2007 10:57 AM

Born in 1981, I will admit to feeling a sense of entitlement and having some of the Millenial qualities listed above. I always thought I really was smart and talented and extremely capable. That's what I was told growing up, and that's what I believe to be true, even now.

What I've learned from being in the workplace for a few years is that being smart and capable does not automatically make me any more special than my smart and capable co-workers who have been in the workforce for years. I bring fresh ideas and energy to the table, and my more experienced co-workers bring a wisdom that can only come from, well, experience.

In my current job as a solo HR coordinator, I am surrounded by people who demand productivity and expect that I will deliver. They do what it takes to support me so that I can be productive, just as they do with everyone else. For me, that means letting me take a break from intense concentration to post on chats like this, because I tend to be a little ADD. For others, it means extra vacation or flex hours. Every generation and every age groups have needs.

I feel like there needs to be some give and take, clear boundaries of what is expected, an understanding that change in the way things are done isn't always a bad thing (on the traditionalists' side) and an understanding that your way isn't always the best way (on the Millenial side).

Posted by: rva | May 21, 2007 10:58 AM

"Other issues include ..... too much time on-line"

I am sure noone on this blog ever has had problems with this in their own behavior!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2007 10:59 AM

"You also develop alot of character mucking out stalls"

How is that?

Posted by: Madame X | May 21, 2007 11:00 AM

I know many parents raising young children; some are extremely permissive, others are very controlling, most somewhat in between.

The ones that get me, though, are the ones where their children can do no wrong, whether it is on the sports field (soccer, softball, whatever), where everyone gets recognition and a trophy, or in the classroom (why, it is the teacher's fault that little Naomi did so badly!).

The parents that I know that appear to be doing the best in raising their kids, IMO, are the ones that are either older than the usual 20-somethings starting their families, or had to work hard to accomplish where they currently are. Those children come across as bright, respectful and understand the need to do as well as they can in school.

Posted by: John L | May 21, 2007 11:06 AM

To biochem girl: this will serve you well. You will be the one promoted, etc. And others will wonder why they weren't.

Just like when I look at my peers with 20 plus thousand in consumer debt or whatever and our more frugal life will serve us well.

Posted by: atlmom | May 21, 2007 11:07 AM

To anon at 9:36 -
The term generation traditionally meant "The average time interval between the birth of parents and the birth of their offspring." Webster's II New Riverside Dictionary. I believe that has been adjusted by general understanding to be 18 years, from birth to adulthood. So the Baby Boom generation was born between 1946 and 1964, Gen X from 1965 to 1983, etc. You can't arbitrarily decide that the Baby Boom generation birth dates only extend to 1960, just because you don't want to be identified with them. Whatever definition is used for a generation, I don't see how you can reduce it to only 14 years. (Or 15 or 13 years, as Leslie and Manpower do for Gen X and the Millenials.) Pretty soon we'll have a new "generation" for every decade. Maybe we need a new term.

Posted by: carrot | May 21, 2007 11:08 AM

Leslie and others:

We all know that labels polarize people. So why perpetuate the divisiveness by putting people in these categories?

It's the same old "kids today" kind of crap that we saw and heard in the '50s, '60s, '70s,... ad barfum. Anyone remember "Bye-Bye, Birdie"?

Sure, some kids today show the unfortunate effects of helicopter parenting. Lots of kids a generation ago showed the effects of permissive boomer parenting. And lots of boomer kids were the result of parenting by post-war, authoritarian types.

But these generalizations don't really mean anything, because they're too broad, vague, and ambiguous to characterize an entire generation of human beings.

Let's dispense with the labels and look at the actual people -- one at a time. We're not put together on an assembly line.

Posted by: pittypat | May 21, 2007 11:12 AM

I have to tell you that the work ethic of my own generation has been an absolute advantage to me, both academically and professionally. I am seen as "outstanding", I am given promotions, raises, scholarships...why? Because of the way my parents raised me. I am seen as above average and what is so depressing is that the average bar has been so lowered that I don't even have to do my "best" to be seen in this light. I still strive to do so, but it is sometimes embarrassing to receive accolades for what I consider my duty to my own character.

Posted by: docksdox | May 21, 2007 11:15 AM

I have to tell you that the work ethic of my own generation has been an absolute advantage to me, both academically and professionally. I am seen as "outstanding", I am given promotions, raises, scholarships...why? Because of the way my parents raised me. I am seen as above average and what is so depressing is that the average bar has been so lowered that I don't even have to do my "best" to be seen in this light. I still strive to do so, but it is sometimes embarrassing to receive accolades for what I consider my duty to my own character.

Posted by: docksdox | May 21, 2007 11:15 AM

According to Leslie's article I am the very beginning of Generation X. I actually don't see myself as either a Gen X or baby boomer. I feel vastly older then most Gen Xs and grew up in the shadow of the baby boomers. I don't work with that many young Gen Ys closely, so I don't know much about their behavior. But I don't hear much different about them versus Gen Xs. There does seem to be more generation labeling lately. I wonder what they will say about my daughter's generation (born early in 2000+). BTW, I went to my daughter's distinguished student awards ceremony and I thought you should know that they did not give out awards to every student or even every class. So I am not sure how much things have changed.

Posted by: foamgnome | May 21, 2007 11:17 AM

"BTW, I went to my daughter's distinguished student awards ceremony and I thought you should know that they did not give out awards to every student or even every class. So I am not sure how much things have changed."

Well, the fact that they even have a "distinguished student awards ceremony" at a PRESCHOOL says that things HAVE changed. That's disgusting.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2007 11:23 AM

"BTW, I went to my daughter's distinguished student awards ceremony"

Ha, ha, ha!! For a kid born in 2000?????

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2007 11:25 AM

These broad generalizations and categories are designed to create full employment for consultants who trek from workplace to workplace offering programs on "understanding and working across generations." It's bull-mularkey, and creates more misunderstandings than it solves.

People are people and you need to learn to work with them on an individual basis without assumptions that impede your understanding and waste your time.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | May 21, 2007 11:28 AM

My daughter is in preschool but it is part of an elementary school. I am not sure why they choose to offer awards to the preschoolers as well. I think it was to raise self esteem. To be honest, I don't think the preschoolers understood they were getting an award.

Posted by: foamgnome | May 21, 2007 11:28 AM

Obviously you can't choose your parents, but parents are the ones who instill the ideals of work ethic, morality, courtesy, and respect for other generations. These ideals can't be instilled if the parents are not around, if they are morally corrupt, or they are basically dysfunctional themselves. Dysfunctional parents raise dysfunctional kids, ad infinitum. There are jerks and *ssholes in every generation, and apparently they all gravitate toward blogging on the internet.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2007 11:28 AM

I'm a gen x-er, which I just discovered. I think that for one thing, this is very culture specific, these generalizations may hold true only in the US, and only in specific parts of the US.
And who knows, I am in grad school right now, but I haven't always been an ideal employee in the past. Sometimes I have been very good, coming in early, staying late, learning job related skills on my own, going above and beyond. Sometimes I have come late, had meltdowns, done personal things at work, quit.

It was good for me that I lived with my mom during some of my early jobs. When I bought a cocktail dress, pink satin with black lace over it, and announced that I was glad to have new clothes for work, she quickly told me that she didn't think it would be appropriate. Some people somehow learn that kind of thing on their own, some of us need it told to us, point blank. I thought, it's a dress, it is dressy, so it is appropriate for work.

Some of these issues, like dress code violations, seem to me to be issues of "first job." Someone needs to directly tell the new employees what is expected in terms of workplace attire. Business casual is vague, and to someone who knows that last year everyone came in suits it means something different to someone who has been on college dress codes for the past four years.

I also know that at several jobs that I have had, I have been told that there was flex time, and as long as I got my work done, there were no set hours. I have had to read between the lines to figure out if there really is flex time, if it is really okay for me to come in at 9:30 one day or leave at 5, or if I had really better join the competition to be the first one in. Again, that is something you get better at with experience.

In terms of the list, it seems to me like my gen (x) is starting to have kids now, or has young kids. An ideal age to be looking for balance. And of course balance is more important since our generation is the first one to come of age with the advances of feminism, so that both parents are working and have lots of home responsibilities.

Posted by: liz | May 21, 2007 11:28 AM

Oh my daughter is three years old. I said born in 2000+ (meaning her generation of kids born in the new century.) I would think a 6 or 7 year old would understand getting an award. Therefore an awards ceremony for a kindergarten or first grader seems appropriate.

Posted by: foamgnome | May 21, 2007 11:30 AM

Boy Gets Trash Duty for Roughhousing
By Associated Press
Sat May 19, 7:24 AM

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - A woman whose son was suspended from school for roughhousing with a teacher punished the boy by making him wear a sign while he picked up litter on a city street.

Travis Griffin earned the 10-day suspension from Creston High School after putting a teacher in a headlock while horsing around Thursday.

Rather than letting him stay home, his mother, Veronica Griffin, made the 15-year-old wear a sign on his back that read, "I made a bad choice in school now I'm living with it."

"He has to know when his actions are not appropriate that there could be consequences to those actions and those consequences could be humiliating," Veronica told WOOD-TV Friday.

For his part, Travis said he picked up trash, was chased by dogs and stared at by passers-by as he walked the 5-mile-long street.

"Walking with the sign I didn't care too much about," he told WZZM-TV. "Picking up the trash, yeah, I did care about that. I thought that was a little humiliating."

He said he's learned his lesson.

"I know I am not going to do that again, put teachers in a full nelson," Travis said. "Although, I was joking around with him and he took it too seriously."

Posted by: We need more parents like this!! | May 21, 2007 11:36 AM

foamgnome

"Therefore an awards ceremony for a kindergarten or first grader seems appropriate. "


"distinguished student awards "
Ha, ha, ha!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2007 11:37 AM

"My daughter is in preschool but it is part of an elementary school. I am not sure why they choose to offer awards to the preschoolers as well. I think it was to raise self esteem. To be honest, I don't think the preschoolers understood they were getting an award."..... " Therefore an awards ceremony for a kindergarten or first grader seems appropriate."

It's not appropriate when it's called a "distinguished student" award. Are you telling me that they actually are giving academic awards to kindergartners? Give me a break. Save it for high school graduation and quit putting that kind of pressure to excel in school on eleven year olds, much less FIVE year olds. How sad.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2007 11:37 AM

Self esterrm is not given, it is earned. You cannot create self esteem in a child by giving them accolades they have not earned. They see that everyone else got an award too, they are not stupid.

My son and daughter have two teachers: one who is more nurturing and one who is more hard line. The hard line teacher does not hand out praise willy nilly. Let me tell you, when the kids get priase for a job well done from hard line teacher they literally walk taller. They know that they really DID work hard and do a good job. That praise truly means something to them. I love her for that. My kids are 4 and 6 and they get this.

Posted by: Moxiemom | May 21, 2007 11:41 AM

I think that these twentysomethings will get what every generation gets a big slap of reality. It is only a matter of time. Get fired a couple of times or miss payments on your car and all that "do I have to wear underwear, it's not my style" nonsense will be burned away. As a gen xer, i will be glad to see the self absorbed powwer/money hungry baby boomers put out to pasture.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 21, 2007 11:42 AM

I don't know what the older kids got their awards for because we left after the preschoolers got their awards. The older kids were sitting under signs that said the subject matter. I don't find it surprising that a kindergarten can excell in certain subjects, maths, reading, art etc... I would think the criteria was probably just different. The preschoolers that I saw got communications (my daughter), leadership, and motor skills. But the elementary kids got them in things like science, social studies, reading, math, art etc... Don't you think some of those top students in HS, were once the brilliant kindergarteners? Or do you think that level of excellence is only apparent in older students?

Posted by: foamgnome | May 21, 2007 11:42 AM

My niece's elementary school give "honor roll" awards for all children, at least they did in the first grade - they had some "awards" ceremony and they gave awards for "A Honor Roll", "B Honor Roll" and "Honor Roll", but everyone got something - my sister could not believe they were serious. Not only does it give children a sense of entitlement, it also takes away from those children who do something that deserves recognition. I mean, I cannot imagine playing softball at the local parks dept. when I was younger and everyone getting a trophy for participation!

FWIW - I am towards the later end of GenX.

Posted by: Betty | May 21, 2007 11:43 AM

"I cannot imagine playing softball at the local parks dept. when I was younger and everyone getting a trophy for participation!"


Please don't even get me started!

Posted by: pATRICK | May 21, 2007 11:46 AM

foamgnome

"Don't you think some of those top students in HS, were once the brilliant kindergarteners"

Ha, ha, ha!!!!!!!

Only in America are parents such saps!!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2007 11:48 AM

"Don't you think some of those top students in HS, were once the brilliant kindergarteners? Or do you think that level of excellence is only apparent in older students?"

You are so completely missing the point. Of course some children excel academically at an early age. But at that age you're rewarding natural intelligence and natural motor skills and natural speaking ability - you're not giving them an award because they worked hard to achieve something. You really don't see anything wrong with telling a kid "you're smart you're smart you're smart you're smart but Joey isn't and Susie isn't and Johnny isn't and Brittany isn't?" At the elementary school level the only reward a child needs is to know that they're learning and growing and being given the opportunity to keep learning and growing.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2007 11:51 AM

I think as long as people don't drink the kool aid and actually think these awards mean anything, it might be ok. My son got to walk across a stage and get a diploma for graduating pre school. We thought it was cute and certainly did not put any weight behind it.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 21, 2007 11:51 AM

"Don't you think some of those top students in HS, were once the brilliant kindergarteners? Or do you think that level of excellence is only apparent in older students?"

No - I don't think you can tell which 5 year olds are going to excel in math and science and to award them as such seems a bit off to me. It just doesn't sit well with me to have "distinguished student" awards at such a young age (I'm including children up to around 4-5th grade here at least). I don't recall ever having such awards when I was in elementary school and definitely not before 6th grade. I do remember there being science fair awards at that level, but let's face it - the parents were the ones doing the science projects - not the kids.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2007 11:53 AM

The post at 11:53 was mine.

Posted by: londonmom | May 21, 2007 11:55 AM

"Don't you think some of those top students in HS, were once the brilliant kindergarteners? Or do you think that level of excellence is only apparent in older students?"

You are so completely missing the point. Of course some children excel academically at an early age. But at that age you're rewarding natural intelligence and natural motor skills and natural speaking ability - you're not giving them an award because they worked hard to achieve something. You really don't see anything wrong with telling a kid "you're smart you're smart you're smart you're smart but Joey isn't and Susie isn't and Johnny isn't and Brittany isn't?" At the elementary school level the only reward a child needs is to know that they're learning and growing and being given the opportunity to keep learning and growing.

Posted by: | May 21, 2007 11:51 AM
On some level all awards are partially based on natural talent. Sure some genuine work goes into the awards given to older students but the base of natural talent is usually a big factor. No matter how hard a mentally challenged student tries, they will never achieve the same level of academic performance as some of the naturally brightest. Even in early sports, the children with natural motor skills will have advantage over the ones without coordination. And once that natural ability is there, it helps to facilitate the desire to learn more skills. Most people will not stick with things that are terribly hard. For all you realists out there, this is more a reality check. Because you are awarding reality. Not hard work. As much as we would like to think hard work pays off, it doesn't always work that way.

Posted by: foamgnome | May 21, 2007 11:57 AM

Not hard work. As much as we would like to think hard work pays off, it doesn't always work that way.


Not True! Effort is an integral part of success. Smart people make horrible decisions too. Most of the well off people in business were NOT at the top of their class but their effort propelled them.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 21, 2007 12:01 PM

I do think that kids of all ages see through the "self-esteem raising" focus in education and sports. It probably teaches them that all praise is suspect, but not much else. Maybe that's why the younger generations are so cynical and jaded at an early age.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | May 21, 2007 12:05 PM

foamgnome

"As much as we would like to think hard work pays off, it doesn't always work that way."

If hard work always paid off, Scarry's Dad would be a rich man. Heck, so would a lot of people.

How can a little kid be a "distinguished student"?

Posted by: Dilbert | May 21, 2007 12:05 PM

I'd be worried about a preschool giving awards for "motor skills" -- given that some parents hold their children back so that they're actually 6 when they graduate from preschool, and some kids are actually 4. It's been our experience that usually when you give an award to a child before preschool you're generally rewarding children for being older than their classmates. Talk about a sense of entitlement!

Posted by: Armchair Mom | May 21, 2007 12:06 PM

Back in the day when Washington Post subscribers enjoyed door-step delivery, I noticed that one of my customers had a huge, 3 foot tall trophy with a sculpture of a bowling ball on top that was placed right in the middle of their living room bay window.

One day, I got a little closer to the window to read the inscription at the bottom.

36th place!!!

Since that day, I concluded that bowling is a great sport for losers.

Posted by: Father of 4 | May 21, 2007 12:06 PM

Oops! Should be 'before fourth grade'. That's how long the advantage for being the oldest generally persists.

Posted by: Armchair Mom | May 21, 2007 12:07 PM

I am a Gen Xer- barely (1978). So I relate on a certain level to Millenials as well.

I completely disagree that Gen Xers are lazy, etc...Never have I met so many workaholics in my life. Never before has a generation done multiple internships on top of working their way through school so as to avoid tens of thousands of dollars in debt, studied abroad and been so willing to be open to other countries, and planned so relentlessly for the future- including retirement planning- since we know we're not going to get much/any benefits- plus planning for our children's education.

So who cares if we want some flexibility in working 10-7 or 7-4 if we have a project-based job? Who cares if we don't want to wear ties and suits and heels everyday? Give us some credit for trying to focus on the job, rather than trivial formalities-


Also, why on EARTH did the manager KNOW that a young worker wasn't wearing underwear?? I wear thongs and so it could appear that I don't wear underwear- but i am.

Maybe the older guys should be focused on something other than a 20-something's ass.

The difference between the generations? It's all very overwhelming. I think we're pressured like never before. it's not a luxury to go to college- it's a VERY EXPENSIVE necessity. you'd want to make a lot of money as well if you had $80,000 in debt from undergrad.
Getting an advanced degree is pretty standard now to move up in the world- that's more schooling ,more debt.
It's just different- neither of my parents went to college, yet "worked their way up" to powerful, fruitful positions. No way that would happen to me now.
You need a degree to be an Exec Assistant in DC now...
Terrorism, etc...No one else has grown up with CNN and news 24/7. We're scared of bombs and planes and bio attacks in the Metro, and our kids getting kidnapped and eaten by sharks and shot at school. It's in our face- all the time. It always has been.
I think it'd be pretty shocking if we weren't cynical and looked at the world in a different way.

Not to say we're "better"- I just don't think the older generations "get" that it IS different.

Posted by: SAHMbacktowork | May 21, 2007 12:22 PM

You sound like you've been backed into a corner and are using absurd arguments to win some credibility for your point.

Regardless of my opinion on awards for preschool and elementary school aged kids, I think it's ridiculous to argue that the kids that are winning awards at any age are winning them for their "natural" talent. You sound like you're arguing in support of the Bell Curve.

Some races must then be "naturally" smarter than other races. Some classes must be "naturally" smarter than others. What a dangerous point of view you are espousing...

Posted by: to foamgnome | May 21, 2007 12:23 PM

"I think that these twentysomethings will get what every generation gets a big slap of reality. It is only a matter of time. Get fired a couple of times or miss payments on your car and all that "do I have to wear underwear, it's not my style" nonsense will be burned away. As a gen xer, i will be glad to see the self absorbed powwer/money hungry baby boomers put out to pasture."

To Patrick: Sorry, but I doubt that these 20-somethings will EVER get that dose of reality that many of them desperately need. After all, their Boomer parents will be waiting in the wings (with open doors and wallets) to bail them out, time after time.

Posted by: JennyK | May 21, 2007 12:25 PM

Why not just have an automatic policy of firing any employee whose parent contacts the employer? That would cure the problem pretty quickly, and shouldn't be in violation of any anti-dscrimination laws.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2007 12:26 PM

You're all decrying the notion of recognizing simple participation as award-worthy, and I don't entirely disagree.

However, there is a huge deficit in the public school system nowadays that makes it harder for a range of kids to do well. I'm referring to the curtailment -- or abolition -- of many of the "special" subjects, like art, music, phys ed, etc.

A lot of kids don'do well academically because that's not where their strengths lie. Often, a kid who can't fathom math or language arts has real art or music ability or is a terrific athlete. These classes allow them to shine and to gain the self-esteem that they may never find in academics.

These kids used to have a forum in which to excel. Now, if they can't perform academically -- and have no opportunities to use the talents they do have -- they're doomed to a sense of mediocrity.

Seems to me that, instead of enthusing over awards and putting "My kid is a genius at Blah-blah Middle School" bumper stickers on their cars, parents ought to be agitating for the full range of educational opportunities in the public schools.

Posted by: pittypat | May 21, 2007 12:28 PM

about trophys and sports at a young age, the kids know everyone gets a trophy. They know it's for participation. It's not a big deal. They all keep score too, at the young level where the children aren't supposed to know the score.

Let's talk about trophy wife horror stories. That would be more fun!!

Posted by: experienced mom | May 21, 2007 12:29 PM

There are jerks and *ssholes in every generation, and apparently they all gravitate toward blogging on the internet.

Posted by: | May 21, 2007 11:28 AM


Speak for yourself.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2007 12:30 PM

Dilbert is right. If my dad's back breaking work was all it took to succeed then he would be rich.

I think that you also have to have the knowledge to find the resources to get ahead, plus the hard working drive to do it.

Posted by: scarry | May 21, 2007 12:31 PM

"Often, a kid who can't fathom math or language arts has real art or music ability or is a terrific athlete. "

And often the kid does not. Then what? Warm body awards?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2007 12:32 PM

I'm an Xer, but only two years removed from the dreaded Millenial category. I have noticed some of the things Leslie points out. People my age do tend to be pretty clueless in the office work environment.

I think that some of it has to do with not being prepared for that environment in college. In some respects, I think that universities should be more like vocational schools. How else will we be prepared for work?

I was pretty dumb when I first started out even though I had two internships under my belt. I had no idea about proper e-mail etiquette and wardrobe. Thankfully, my superiors gave me lots of advice.

I predict that the Millenials will grow up and learn how to act in the office. It's only a matter of time before their spirits are broken like ours :). Some people, however, never learn. I worked with a few Boomers who wore tie-dyed broom skirts and bandanas to the office. Yikes.

As for the underwear thing, like John L., I'm curious to know how one notices something like that.

Posted by: Meesh | May 21, 2007 12:33 PM

'knowledge to find the resources'

it's who you know who can open the door to a good job, then you have to prove yourself once hired.

it used to be called the good ol' boy network.

that's why people want their kids to go to the top colleges. there you meet the movers and shakers.

Posted by: experienced mom | May 21, 2007 12:34 PM

I am a Gen Xer- barely (1978). So I relate on a certain level to Millenials as well.

I completely disagree that Gen Xers are lazy, etc...Never have I met so many workaholics in my life. Never before has a generation done multiple internships on top of working their way through school so as to avoid tens of thousands of dollars in debt, studied abroad and been so willing to be open to other countries, and planned so relentlessly for the future- including retirement planning- since we know we're not going to get much/any benefits- plus planning for our children's education.

So who cares if we want some flexibility in working 10-7 or 7-4 if we have a project-based job? Who cares if we don't want to wear ties and suits and heels everyday? Give us some credit for trying to focus on the job, rather than trivial formalities-


Also, why on EARTH did the manager KNOW that a young worker wasn't wearing underwear?? I wear thongs and so it could appear that I don't wear underwear- but i am.

Maybe the older guys should be focused on something other than a 20-something's ass.

The difference between the generations? It's all very overwhelming. I think we're pressured like never before. it's not a luxury to go to college- it's a VERY EXPENSIVE necessity. you'd want to make a lot of money as well if you had $80,000 in debt from undergrad.
Getting an advanced degree is pretty standard now to move up in the world- that's more schooling ,more debt.
It's just different- neither of my parents went to college, yet "worked their way up" to powerful, fruitful positions. No way that would happen to me now.
You need a degree to be an Exec Assistant in DC now...
Terrorism, etc...No one else has grown up with CNN and news 24/7. We're scared of bombs and planes and bio attacks in the Metro, and our kids getting kidnapped and eaten by sharks and shot at school. It's in our face- all the time. It always has been.
I think it'd be pretty shocking if we weren't cynical and looked at the world in a different way.

Not to say we're "better"- I just don't think the older generations "get" that it IS different.

Posted by: SAHMbacktowork | May 21, 2007 12:22 PM

Wow, I hope you don't get bashed for any of your post- because I think you make some great points.
I also got a good laugh at the needing a degree to be an admin in DC now (making 32K/year , 40K in debt, sky high rent) Let's see- why are we unhappy?? haha..

I don't think we're given enough credit either. Older generations don't see how the world is changing around them- so we get a "I had to do it, so do you" kind of crappy attitude!

Posted by: DCworker | May 21, 2007 12:39 PM

"To be honest, I don't think the preschoolers understood they were getting an award."


Like the time my kids peewee soccer team got their little butts kicked and all the moms and dads gave encouraging comments like -- good job, you played a good game, you tried your best. And my little girl looked up at me with a grin on her face and asked, "Who won?"

Posted by: mammamia | May 21, 2007 12:42 PM

true genXers refuse to be labeled as such...

Posted by: 1975 | May 21, 2007 12:43 PM

Meesh, do you think it's OK for me to let my 12 year old daughter to wear a thong to school?

Just wundering, it's becoming an issue...

Posted by: Father of 4 | May 21, 2007 12:43 PM

I find it sad when there's an
end-of-season party for a soccer team where my single mom friend works, and I hear the coaches giving out trophies to everyone. They really struggle sometimes to find something good to say about the 3rd string backup goalie, for example, who got to play maybe 5 minutes in a game, but everyone (especially the parents!) still claps and cheers for such a useless award.

I also feel that giving out "awards" for kindergartners and first graders for knowing their ABC's and counting to 50 (or whatever) is appalling, and more of this "everyone is special" attitude this society is trying to turn into.

Posted by: John L | May 21, 2007 12:45 PM

SAHMbacktowork: Excellent. Enough said.

My daughter is going to be a professional bowler. Mysterio said so. It's good to know she can get an enormous trophy for 36th place. Roll on, baby...

Posted by: atb | May 21, 2007 12:46 PM

do you think it's OK for me to let my 12 year old daughter wear a thong to school?

only with jeans, the boys congregate at the bottom of the stairs, waiting to observe the girls who wear thongs with short skirts.

Posted by: experienced mom | May 21, 2007 12:46 PM

"And often the kid does not. Then what? Warm body awards?"

You miss the point.

I'm saying that we should be looking toward offering the widest possible range of experiences so that kids have more opportunities to discover what they're good at. (Might even help them to channel their interests toward an eventual career.)Throwaways.

You make it sound as if there are some kids who are just duds. And that's ridiculous.

Posted by: pittypat | May 21, 2007 12:50 PM

Meesh, do you think it's OK for me to let my 12 year old daughter to wear a thong to school?

Just wundering, it's becoming an issue...

Posted by: Father of 4

I'd vote for no. She may or may not be interested in their comfort, or their sex appeal, but they definitely do not give off "Take me seriously" signals.

And at 12, most girls WANT to be taken seriously.

I know, it should be about her character, but packaging can make it prohibitively hard to do so.

Ask the 15 year olds who are wearing Goth-garb. That look was old in the 1980's for crying out loud!

My kid is older and occasionally asks for a cell phone (NO). It's a powerful word.

Even if you do say "No way!", and refuse to buy them, she MAY go off to the mall with friends, buy them, then hide them in her locker (to change into during the school day sometime). I wonder if she'll think about how to get them laundered without comment though?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2007 12:52 PM

It doesn't matter how old you are, where you went to school, what your parents do for a living.
Doing well at work is like doing well at school. Complete all assignments, ask questions, learn from those willing to teach you, SHOW UP...ON TIME, leave the attitude at home...
I do agree that those who have been in the workplace longer can often be a bad influence on the younger generation. They have learned how to work the system and pass that knowledge on. Eventually, it catches up with them.

Posted by: Almost not a boomer | May 21, 2007 12:55 PM

When supervising a young person for their first real job, don't assume they know ANYTHING about corporate culture. Unless you're trying to test them for common sense, just take a few minutes and spell out your expectations as specifically as possible. For example:

1) Arrive 5 minutes early. This will make you look good.

2) It is ok to wear khakis and a collared shirt, but not a t-shirt and jeans.

3) You can wear leather sandals but not rubber flip flops.

4) We monitor your Internet use. Don't use it more than 30 minutes a day.

You can argue that you shouldn't have to be this explicit, but what does it hurt? This is part of mentoring and it's much easier to talk about these things before the person has committed the offense than after. I'm an X'er and my mentor told me this kind of thing right up front and I have always been grateful for it.

Posted by: AB | May 21, 2007 12:55 PM

I wonder if she'll think about how to get them laundered without comment though?

Posted by: | May 21, 2007 12:52 PM

Maybe she will do (does) her own laundry :)

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2007 12:56 PM

"You make it sound as if there are some kids who are just duds."

Bingo!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2007 12:58 PM

Father of 4

"do you think it's OK for me to let my 12 year old daughter to wear a thong to school?"

You don't have the slightest influence over what your older kids do. Give it up!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2007 1:00 PM

I just thought of something that would make millions off teenage girls: disposable thongs!!!

Posted by: Father of 4 | May 21, 2007 1:02 PM

..."My kid is a genius at Blah-blah Middle School" bumper stickers on their cars...

I spotted the following on a bumper sticker in a parking lot "My Siberian Husky is smarter than your honor roll student".

Posted by: ha ha | May 21, 2007 1:05 PM

"Older generations don't see how the world is changing around them- so we get a "I had to do it, so do you" kind of crappy attitude!"

Omigod! I said this exact same thing 30 years ago.

Really, there ain't much new under the sun, honey. Right now, it feels like you're being held down or pushed under by your parents' generation. But the same thing has happened to every generation before you.

Someday you'll see the situation for what it is, and you'll probably think it's pretty funny.

I know I do.

Posted by: pittypat | May 21, 2007 1:09 PM

You sound like you've been backed into a corner and are using absurd arguments to win some credibility for your point.

Regardless of my opinion on awards for preschool and elementary school aged kids, I think it's ridiculous to argue that the kids that are winning awards at any age are winning them for their "natural" talent. You sound like you're arguing in support of the Bell Curve.

Some races must then be "naturally" smarter than other races. Some classes must be "naturally" smarter than others. What a dangerous point of view you are espousing...

Posted by: to foamgnome | May 21, 2007 12:23 PM
I am not sure why you think it is absurd to believe that natural talent has a lot to do with achievement (ie. an award). But since we can't agree, we should just agree to disagree.

Posted by: foamgnome | May 21, 2007 1:10 PM

"Father of 4

"do you think it's OK for me to let my 12 year old daughter to wear a thong to school?"

You don't have the slightest influence over what your older kids do. Give it up!"

NOT TRUE! That is what hollywood and madison avenue would love for you to do. Give up. Don't a good father is an oasis in a cesspool world. By the way, sorry no thongs.


Posted by: pATRICK | May 21, 2007 1:10 PM

"I just thought of something that would make millions off teenage girls: disposable thongs!!!"

You need to get out more, Fo4; someone already thought of them. They're called edible underwear and I doubt you'd want your 12 yo daughter wearing them.

Posted by: John L | May 21, 2007 1:10 PM

I think we suffer from the problem of PLENTY.

there is plenty of everything going around. There is no struggle or need for anything only want. We need to make life harder for our kids not easier at this juncture of time.

With parents suffering from guilt and the need to be popular and friends with their kids at all costs. Trying to relive their own 'deprived' childhood. (I use the term deprived, because the parents often mentioned things/opportunities that we did not have. We are raising a society that we will be hard put to be proud of.

We must not forget that the best gift we can give our kids is CHARACTER.

Posted by: dg | May 21, 2007 1:11 PM

"My kid is a genius at Blah-blah Middle School" bumper stickers on their cars"

Those wunderkids are usually spotted eating snot out of their noses and playing with their private parts 24/7.

Great bunch.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2007 1:11 PM

"I wonder how class relates to these categories. I would imagine that the millennials with the work ethic described here are of an advantaged economic class - upper middle income or high income. I don't think poor millennials are risking losing their jobs."

My guess is that "poor millennials" have the sort of jobs where you punch a clock or sign a timesheet. You may not be fired for being late, but you don't get paid when you are an hourly employee on a timeclock.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2007 1:12 PM

"Older generations don't see how the world is changing around them- so we get a "I had to do it, so do you" kind of crappy attitude!"

Talk about slamming a generation! Many many "older" folks are not quite into our dottage yet and are very well aware of what is going on in the world.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 21, 2007 1:15 PM

dottage

Do you mean dotage?

Although dottage,"dotty" + "dotage", sounds like it could become a candidate for a new word!

Posted by: Maryland Mother | May 21, 2007 1:18 PM

Participation trophies/medals: our program gives participation medals to the 8-and-under league. That's an instructional program; they don't keep score or standings. (Although, yes, the girls always keep score, their own way.) The medal is intended not as an award signifying "you're so great", it's a memento of the three months they spent learning about softball, sports and teamwork - "remember when I used to play for the Huskies?"

Above 8, trophies are for first and second. Although a lot of coaches give out certificates to all their players at the end of season team party. Again, it's a memento.

Re: recognizing the "third string backup goalie" - remember, in team sports it's often not the star but the role players who determine who wins. That's one of the great things about team sports.

Want some examples?

How many championships has Kobe Bryant won lately?

How many Super Bowls did Peyton Manning win with Mike Vanderjagt as his kicker? How many times were the Colts eliminated because Vanderjagt missed a crucial kick? Manning is supposed to be the best quarterback of his generation, but it took replacing the place kicker, of all people, to get past the Ravens and eventually win the Super Bowl. Adam Vinatieri made 5 field goals in the Colts' 15-6 win over the Ravens; how many of those would Vanderjagt have missed?

So be careful what you say about that third-stringer who rarely played - that's the person who's going to be on the foul line, or at bat, or with the ball at the end of the game.

...there is no joy in Mudville...

Posted by: Army Brat | May 21, 2007 1:19 PM

So I guess I call myself a Millennial? Gen Y or Z had a better ring to it...

During high school and college, I worked part time at grocery stores and Wal-Mart. I had a very strong work ethic going in, but those stores killed it. I learned that if I work hard, I get more work, typically the dirty work. Plus, the other workers just got to work less. I think this experience is typically of a lot of people my age; we learned to not work any harder than those around us, thereby letting the slackers dictate the workday.

Also, now that I am a working professional, I see another side of the story. For the last 18 years of my life (grad school included), I was evaluated and graded often, at least weekly. I always knew how well I was doing, and if I needed to improve. If I was doing well, I knew it. Now, I might get that evaluation once a year at a performance review. The lack of grades keeps me wondering if I am doing what I'm supposed to. Maybe I'm doing too much, too little, I don't know. So maybe evaluating young employees more often would be beneficial. As someone else eluded to, we do need some mentoring, as we can't be expected to fully understand your company's corporate culture straight out of school.

Posted by: born in 81 | May 21, 2007 1:19 PM

Don't include me in the group spanking, I follow the policy! That's how you sabotaged the morale.

Actually, I sent the e-mail to only the group who was guilty of being late. No one mentioned that they felt they were targeted somehow. They were miffed that it went out by e-mail. Sorry, you're wrong

Posted by: To father of 4 | May 21, 2007 1:20 PM

Right now, it feels like you're being held down or pushed under by your parents' generation. But the same thing has happened to every generation before you.

Posted by: pittypat | May 21, 2007 01:09 PM

I would have to disagree. Nowadays the average home costs something like 3 or 4 times what it did in the 50s (adjusting for inflation) and college tuition has skyrocketed. Social security is no guarantee for millenials/x-ers. It's MUCH harder these days.

Posted by: Wannabe SAHM | May 21, 2007 1:20 PM

Maryland Mother, I stand corrected. Maybe I am in my "dotage" after all :-)

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 21, 2007 1:24 PM

"I would have to disagree. Nowadays the average home costs something like 3 or 4 times what it did in the 50s (adjusting for inflation) and college tuition has skyrocketed. Social security is no guarantee for millenials/x-ers. It's MUCH harder these days."

Would you like some cheese to go with that whine?


Posted by: DC lurker | May 21, 2007 1:27 PM

Not to mention the fact jobs that used to require a HS diploma require a bachelor's and jobs that used to require a bachelor's require a master's.

And as a "born in 80" I agree with "born in 81" that college grads can't be expected to understand corporate culture right away. The skills required for doing well in school are completely different from the skills required to do well in the real world. My teachers, professors, parents, etc. did nothing to prepare me for the corporate world. It was a huge culture shock.

Posted by: Wannabe SAHM | May 21, 2007 1:27 PM

"I would have to disagree. Nowadays the average home costs something like 3 or 4 times what it did in the 50s (adjusting for inflation"

Sorry you miss some important points. You and I have greater expectations too. The average house of the 50's was a tract house mabye 1400 sq feet. People had one car, maybe a tv and relatively low salaries, virtually no access to the stockmarket,and a corporate stucture that looked down on mobility and youth. Every generation has its struggles. By the way i am an x'er

Posted by: pATRICK | May 21, 2007 1:29 PM

"They're called edible underwear"

These were available 30 years ago - just weren't thongs then.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2007 1:30 PM

Wannabe SAHM: I would have to disagree. Nowadays the average home costs something like 3 or 4 times what it did in the 50s (adjusting for inflation) and college tuition has skyrocketed. Social security is no guarantee for millenials/x-ers. It's MUCH harder these days.

______________________

It's MUCH harder these days; it always was much harder; and it always will be much harder.

Which is just a way of saying that it's different. Today's young adults have to deal with rising populations, global competition, high housing costs, and retirement insecurity. They also have the advantages of advanced communications (the Internet) yielding better opportunities; generally easier global travel than has ever existed before, generally better health and nutrition than ever before, and a number of other advantages that make it easier for them to succeed.

Previous generations of young adults faced world wars, depressions, lack of education, etc. etc.

Future generations will no doubt face new challenges brought on by environmental issues and the change they'll bring; overcrowding on a global scale; a new socio-political world; and a bunch of things we haven't even dreamed of yet. But they'll also have more new opportunities than most of us could dream of.

My point is that it's not "harder" now or before or in the future; it's 'different'. The members of any given generation who are prepared and motivated will succeed in their own time. Others might not do as well. As it has always been, as it will always be.

Posted by: Army Brat | May 21, 2007 1:32 PM

Biochemgirl, you will be punished for your work ethic and people will say you think you are better than everyone else for having mucked out stalls to build up to success. Don't you know it is not PC to work hard and earn promotions? You have to have them handed to you for them to be legit. ;-)

Born in 1980... what can I say?

Posted by: Chris | May 21, 2007 1:32 PM

"I would have to disagree. Nowadays the average home costs something like 3 or 4 times what it did in the 50s (adjusting for inflation) and college tuition has skyrocketed. Social security is no guarantee for millenials/x-ers. It's MUCH harder these days."

My house costs less than 20k. The kids wnet to crappy state feeder schools. DRop the violin.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2007 1:32 PM

So foamgnome - did your daughter win an award?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2007 1:33 PM

"Nowadays the average home costs something like 3 or 4 times what it did in the 50s"

And what was the average salary in the 50s?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2007 1:33 PM

Re: The group email. Not sure about other companies, but where I work the mass email is a prerequisite to starting the HR file. So, everyone has to be "reminded" about the policy before individual employees can be called on the carpet.

Re: Underwear. We've had several, both male and female, and you could tell in those cases because the cut of the clothing was such that it *couldn't* be worn with undergarments. The real problem was the choice of garment, not really the presense or absense of undergarments.

Posted by: Corey | May 21, 2007 1:34 PM

Army Brat

I have zero interest in sports, so I don't have the answers to any of your questions.

No fake awards!

Posted by: Elmo | May 21, 2007 1:36 PM

"What I've learned from being in the workplace for a few years is that being smart and capable does not automatically make me any more special than my smart and capable co-workers who have been in the workforce for years. I bring fresh ideas and energy to the table, and my more experienced co-workers bring a wisdom that can only come from, well, experience."

This bears repeating.

Posted by: xyz | May 21, 2007 1:37 PM

Yes, my daughter did get an award but as I said I don't think it is very effective for preschoolers. They don't even understand they are getting an award. I should also point out that it is a preschool for developmentally delayed children. None of these kids are stellar in the major preschool areas. But what they can show is great progess towards their goals. My daughter was only saying maybe 15 words in the beginning of the school year. She now talks in complete sentences. So the older child getting the motor skills award doesn't really fit. All these kids are behind their age group for these basic skills. Again, I really think they could have skipped this part for the preschoolers but really don't see a problem with doing it for kids who show their skills beyond their classmates in early elementary school.

Posted by: foamgnome | May 21, 2007 1:37 PM

"Typical problems include arriving to work on time, working towards long-term goals, dressing appropriately (the same employer had to tell a young female employee that his was not an "underwear optional" workplace), and loyalty to employers."

Uhh, this is an age thing, not a generational thing. It's called growing up.

And what does it say about our society that we can even get angry over something like a participation trophy for little kids. This is a board about us v them, and however we define "us" there's always a "them". Kinda weak.

On participation tropies-- Last year my youngest participated in a mile-long race with 100 or so kids her age. She placed in the top 10 and got a ribbon. I expected her to -- she's a runner. But there at the end of the race was the last-place girl. She finished that race even though she was completely out of her comfort zone. Participation breeds character. That's worth celebrating.

Posted by: free bird | May 21, 2007 1:38 PM

"She finished that race even though she was completely out of her comfort zone. Participation breeds character. That's worth celebrating."


No, its not . I participate at work, I don't get a raise for showing up or for dead last.Conditioning people to think your way will only lead to a confused demoralized generation that wakes up to find that they were played for the fool by a spineless group of parents. Life is a competition, for schools, girls, jobs, postion, power and comfort.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 21, 2007 1:42 PM

"Born in 1980... what can I say?

Posted by: Chris | May 21, 2007 01:32 PM "

That explains a lot.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2007 1:43 PM

Participation breeds character. That's worth celebrating.

Posted by: free bird | May 21, 2007 01:38 PM

But doesn't providing external validation for her efforts rob her of the ability to look within and find the satisfaction of:"I did something that was difficult for me and even if I didn't win, I'm proud of myself for finishing." That's the reward, not the trophy.

Posted by: Moxiemom | May 21, 2007 1:44 PM

"Social security is no guarantee for millenials/x-ers."

Who are you kidding? It's no guarantee for boomers, either!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2007 1:46 PM

"These were available 30 years ago - just weren't thongs then."

Try 40 years ago. No lie.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2007 1:48 PM

The future of this nation is in peril because of political correctness. The strengths of each generation listed above are being exploited as weaknesses. We avoid challenging a broken system, we are taught to "empower" others, we are skeptical to a point, but only of anything we are not ingrained with, and we live in the moment, never thinking about any long-term implications beyond what we are told.
Between the media and the education system we are raising a generation that will be incapable of standing up for what is right for fear of offending someone.

http://www.vigilantfreedom.org/910blog/

Our rights are taken away in the name of fairness, and handed to those who publicly state they want to kill us. We say it is their right to talk this way, and call anyone intollerant who would disagree!

The press ignores the fact that Jamaat ul-Fuqra, a radical extremist group, has set up training camps in several US states. These groups, with proven ties to international and domestic terrorism are allowed to flourish, as it is politically correct, and the media, in this example goes to great lengths NOT to publish information about a community and ties to terror:
http://gatesofvienna.blogspot.com/2007/02/charlotte-county-files.html

"America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves." -- Abraham Lincoln

http://americaholds.blogspot.com/

We are closer to the brink of chaos than we are allowed to see, and America is blindly marched toward this chaos, in the name of politically correct peace, and we are told not to pay any attention to the writing on the walls because it is not PC to do so. The generation being created can not and will not be able to see what is being done until it is too late- and even then they will be told who to blame. The "religion of peace" is here and its followers want to kill you. Meanwhile, we are taught how bad America was/is. After 9-11, look how many people jumped on the PC bandwagon to defend, if not the terrorists, those who espouse hate for America. In the past, we were taught to love America. Today self-loathing is part of the curriculum. Anyone who disagrees or seeks truth gets called an extremist, intollerant, or worse, while the true extremists get praised as activists. Little things like this slowly but surely undermine America more and more with each generation.

Yes, things are getting worse. Back in the day you only had to duck and cover from a nuke. Now you have to worry about rights being taken away, terror groups inevitibly spilling their violence into our streets, bio-chem war, FDA inspections and/or the lack thereof, more nukes of various shapes and sizes, no retirement, etc. But, just deny it all and think happy thoughts and everything will be ok. ;-P

Posted by: Chris | May 21, 2007 1:48 PM

"Participation breeds character."

No, mucking out stalls builds character.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2007 1:49 PM

I love this blog, I love Foamgnome, and I am laughing so hard about Distinguished Students Award for kindergartners!!!!

These awards are for US, the parents, not the kids, who as Foamgnome pointed out can hardly understand the concept of an award anyway.

My kids play tons of sports, and so they have tons of trophies. Any good recommendations for what to do with the 50 cheap trophies we have accumulated over 10 years of parenthood? Maybe a work of art ridiculing our generation of parents? Maybe we can all get together and have a Trophy-In protest about having too many trophies.

Posted by: Leslie | May 21, 2007 1:52 PM

Someone finishing a race they didn't think they were capable of shouldn't need a medal, or award, or certificate to help them feel good about their accomplishment.

Army Brat,

I understand what you're saying, but I've heard these parent/coaches struggle so often to find the words to go with the award to the backup 3rd string whatever that it's just painful to listen to.

As for awards in kindergarten or first grade, they aren't for the students, they are for the parents. Foamgnome is right; the kids hardly know what they are getting an award for in the first place.

Posted by: John L | May 21, 2007 1:52 PM

"Again, I really think they could have skipped this part for the preschoolers but really don't see a problem with doing it for kids who show their skills beyond their classmates in early elementary school."

So when she is a 2nd grader and mainstreamed and gets no awards because she is behind her classmates and wonders why, you'll just tell her "sorry sweetie, Jimmy is naturally smarter than you and doesn't have developmental delays so he gets an award. That's life. Suck it up."

Seems to me the time off from work would have been better spent taking her to the park and spending time with her than watching her get a meaningless award.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2007 1:53 PM

"Participation breeds character."

This is a sign of the problem, merely showing up is celebrated, while the person who excelled, trained and won the race is marginalized by the losers.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 21, 2007 1:54 PM

1850

Do you know what happened this week back in 1850, 157 years
ago?

California became a state. The State had no electricity.
The State had no money. Almost everyone spoke Spanish.
There were gunfights in the streets.

So basically, it was just like California is today, except
the women had real breasts and the men didn't hold hands.

Posted by: If you think things are bad now! | May 21, 2007 1:55 PM

"I also feel that giving out "awards" for kindergartners and first graders for knowing their ABC's and counting to 50 (or whatever) is appalling, and more of this "everyone is special" attitude this society is trying to turn into."

Posted by: John L | May 21, 2007 12:45 PM

Actually, what I don't like about these awards is that they target ONE student and say "You are special and deserve special recognition and all your classmates don't." that's what happened at our elementary school-- each teacher selected one student for recognition at a student assembly and was awarded a gift card. So there were kids in the Pre-k program getting an award. My child didn't get an award and asked why his teacher gave to one child and not to everyone. All I could say was I don't know. the parent of the child that did get an award was pretty embarrassed-- I hear she just gave teh gift card back to the teacher to use for buying things for the class. These awards are wrong on so many levels and I'm planning to make sure that this won't happen again. No awards-- whatever happended to a good job is its own reward? I sound like such a grinch (oh-- and of course this was having just before Christmas-- because they wanted to help those kids use the gift cards to buy stuff before christmas-- as if that is what Christmas is all about and that everyone celebrates Christmas. Ran for PTA officer for next year basically with a platform of "no more cash awards" and won handily. give the money directly to the teachers as supply stipends . . .

Posted by: Jen S. | May 21, 2007 1:56 PM

Want to talk generational issues? Read The Mill on the Floss. Only if you can say something that Eliot didn't already cover should you be allowed to say anything at all on the issue.

(though I admit no one talked about whether or not Tom was wearing appropriate undergarments. Of course, for the period in which the story is set, undergarments were not a necessity. I guess I'll let that one through.)

Posted by: MB | May 21, 2007 2:01 PM

"No, its not . I participate at work, I don't get a raise for showing up or for dead last.Conditioning people to think your way will only lead to a confused demoralized generation that wakes up to find that they were played for the fool by a spineless group of parents. Life is a competition, for schools, girls, jobs, postion, power and comfort."

That's very one dimensional. The person who hangs in there to the end while outside their comfort zone is a person who is going to be a real team asset when they're working within their specialty. When I pick a team to get a job done I want to absolutely know who'll be in there working to the completion of the task.

Posted by: free bird | May 21, 2007 2:01 PM

"That's very one dimensional. The person who hangs in there to the end while outside their comfort zone is a person who is going to be a real team asset when they're working within their specialty. When I pick a team to get a job done I want to absolutely know who'll be in there working to the completion of the task."

You like to use the phrase "paradigm shift" a lot too I bet, don't you?

Posted by: pATRICK | May 21, 2007 2:06 PM

" merely showing up is celebrated, while the person who excelled, trained and won the race is marginalized by the losers."

People keep telling me I need to read a book about that... in fact if you stand out at all you are to be punished for making someone feel inferior.

Posted by: Chris | May 21, 2007 2:09 PM

I started to read "Mill on the Floss" one day. I was sitting on a pier and the book fell into the water. That is where it stayed!

Posted by: Fred | May 21, 2007 2:15 PM

" merely showing up is celebrated, while the person who excelled, trained and won the race is marginalized by the losers."


How? Examples?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2007 2:15 PM

"My kids play tons of sports, and so they have tons of trophies. Any good recommendations for what to do with the 50 cheap trophies we have accumulated over 10 years of parenthood? Maybe a work of art ridiculing our generation of parents?"

I guess I'm Generation X, and I agree that a lot of these issues are nothing new. My trophies are in a box in my parents' basement, and my 69-year-old FATHER refuses to throw them out or let me throw them out. So Leslie, rest assured, there are trophies ridiculing previous generations of parents.

Posted by: Arlington Dad | May 21, 2007 2:17 PM

Arlington Dad -- So, would it be okay with you if your father threw out the trophies?

Just want to know if I can be guilt-free when I throw out all of ours in ten years.
We may need to institute a special nationwide trophy recycling program.

Posted by: Leslie | May 21, 2007 2:21 PM

I think that FOAMGNOME's child and other's like them should be excluded from this attack on rewards. Delayed children have special needs and particpating and not giving up is a worthy goal deserving of celebration.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 21, 2007 2:23 PM

There is a difference between giving each child a certificate of participation and giving each child an award for best grass watcher in soccer. You can acknowledge participation without turning it into something more.

Posted by: nona | May 21, 2007 2:23 PM

Well, we have one group here that says giving trophies to everyone is bad, and now another group is chiming in to say singling out a few children for recognition is bad.

I guess the only answer is to abolish trophies altogether!

I know we hashed this out last week, but really, I think participation trophies are fine for very young children (5-7ish) playing on a team, as that's about all they're doing out there -- participating. Ever see 5-year-olds play soccer? Mine ran off the field in the middle of the game to try and catch the ice cream man, LOL. I think a trophy in those situations engenders a positive attitude so that they will return and play again, developing their skills.

Around 2nd or 3rd grade, the participation trophy needs to go. By this time, they are developing skills and know about winning and losing. I think coaches can (and should) recognize every member of the team for some achievement at some kind of year-end party. That doesn't have to mean giving a trophy. I think a shout-out from the coach (Susie improved so much this year playing defense, and wow, Mary just took to the position of goalie like a natural and Lisa has turned into a real team leader, etc.) makes a huge difference to a child.

But it's also appropriate to recognize just a few students to give the others something to strive for. DD's school has each classroom recognize one student each month for exemplary behavior/citizenship. They receive a certificate and their photo hangs in the office for the month. They also give out certificates to students on the straight-A and A-B honor role. These aren't public ceremonies that involve the parents, but the principal does take the time to visit each classroom and give the students their certificate.

Posted by: Vegas Mom | May 21, 2007 2:26 PM

"As someone else eluded to, we do need some mentoring, as we can't be expected to fully understand your company's corporate culture straight out of school."
_____________________

"The skills required for doing well in school are completely different from the skills required to do well in the real world. My teachers, professors, parents, etc. did nothing to prepare me for the corporate world. It was a huge culture shock."
______________

This sounds harsh, but you have a college degree. You need to use your analytical skills to figure some of this stuff out. Some of it may take a while to figure out. This is why promotions sometimes don't come that quickly. Previous generations didn't have corporate culture lessons either.

If you want to figure out corporate culture, keep your eyes and ears open. Look at/listen to experienced people at work who seem on-the-ball. Pay attention at meetings--don't engage in text- or instant-messaging. Others will notice, and will question your seriousness. It's in your interest to take responsibility for educating yourself; don't count on someone else to do it for you.

If you want a mentor, find a way to make yourself valuable enough to be in the company of those you admire. If you work hard, you may find someone willing to take some time to help you. A mentor is a privilege, not an entitlement. It's up to you to demonstrate that you are worth someone taking the time to mentor you.

Dress conservatively, even prudishly. Professional dress is not rocket science. For women who came of age post-Valley Girl era, watch your vocal intonation and vocabulary. "Valspeak" and its derivatives do not give people of previous generations great confidence in your abilities. Realize that you need to have a more formal demeanor and appearance in the workplace than you did in college. Don't expect work to be like the internet start-up boom culture.

From a definition of Valspeak found on Wikipedia:

A certain sociolect associated with valley girls, referred to as "Valspeak", became common during the 1980s. From 1980-1984, "Valspeak" grew in use by both boys and girls.

Qualifiers such as "like", "way", "totally" and "duh" were interjected in the middle of phrases and sentences as emphasizers. Narrative sentences were often spoken as though they were questions (high rising terminal).

Posted by: Marian | May 21, 2007 2:27 PM

Leslie -- It would be fine if Dad threw out the tropies -- I'd do myself if he wouldn't act weird about it. But I'm OLD now.

10 years might be a little soon. Best to wait until the kids' have their own houses and basement to store these trophies, just in case. That way, it's their decision, not the whim of a parent on a cleaning spree.

Posted by: Arlington Dad | May 21, 2007 2:27 PM

If it were just certificates (or whatever) for being on the team (soccer, softball, lawn darts, whatever) it's not a big deal. Then it's a recognition of participation in a team sport, nothing more, nothing less.

The ones that make me roll my eyes are the "the best backup 3rd baseman" awards, or "award for keeping the stats best" (I am NOT making those up) that are given out just to make sure everyone gets recognized for doing something best. Now if there are TWO backup 3rd basemen, I wonder what the other player gets?

Posted by: John L | May 21, 2007 2:30 PM

"As someone else eluded to, we do need some mentoring, as we can't be expected to fully understand your company's corporate culture straight out of school."
_____________________

"The skills required for doing well in school are completely different from the skills required to do well in the real world. My teachers, professors, parents, etc. did nothing to prepare me for the corporate world. It was a huge culture shock."

____

To tag on to Marian's comments, which I agree with (totally, to the max), whatever happened to internships? I had to complete 2 (unpaid) internships before I could graduate. Learned a lot about corporate culture, appropriate dress, arriving on time, management expectations, etc. during those internships. Don't college students do this anymore? Graduated in '87, FYI, so it's entirely possible I'm out of the loop, LOL.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2007 2:32 PM

"As someone else eluded to, we do need some mentoring, as we can't be expected to fully understand your company's corporate culture straight out of school."
_____________________

"The skills required for doing well in school are completely different from the skills required to do well in the real world. My teachers, professors, parents, etc. did nothing to prepare me for the corporate world. It was a huge culture shock."

____

To tag on to Marian's comments, which I agree with (totally, to the max), whatever happened to internships? I had to complete 2 (unpaid) internships before I could graduate. Learned a lot about corporate culture, appropriate dress, arriving on time, management expectations, etc. during those internships. Don't college students do this anymore? Graduated in '87, FYI, so it's entirely possible I'm out of the loop, LOL.

Posted by: Vegas Mom | May 21, 2007 2:32 PM

Leslie, when I was 13 years old, I was scrounging around the basement looking for something to do. I found the Purple Heart in a shoebox full of odds and ends along with a small newspaper clipping that said how the airplane had lost radio contact off the coast of Alaska, July 1943.

So that's what happened to my "real" grandfather.

Some trophies are worth keeping.

Posted by: Father of 4 | May 21, 2007 2:33 PM

My brothers and I would do all kinds of great things with our trophies....we melted them down...we cut off the heads and glued them to funny places on our sister's dolls...we would see how many peices we could smash the marble base into by throwing it against rocks. 3 of us played sports on the college level. But none of us ever, ever cared about trophies, except for maybe how much fun we could have with them.

As an adult, I keep getting lame medals for finishing races. When my kid gets older, I'll let him melt them down...

Posted by: 1975 | May 21, 2007 2:34 PM


"whatever happened to internships? I had to complete 2 (unpaid) internships before I could graduate"

There's a BIG component to an unpaid internship. It's called being able to afford work for NO PAY.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2007 2:36 PM

I think a trophy in those situations engenders a positive attitude so that they will return and play again, developing their skills.

Vegas Mom, I'm gonna disagree with you. If my child needs a trophy to keep playing a sport then maybe he shouldn't be playing the sport. Maybe he/she isn't developmentally ready to play yet, or maybe they just plain aren't interested.

Posted by: Moxiemom | May 21, 2007 2:38 PM

"As someone else eluded to, we do need some mentoring, as we can't be expected to fully understand your company's corporate culture straight out of school."
_____________________

"The skills required for doing well in school are completely different from the skills required to do well in the real world. My teachers, professors, parents, etc. did nothing to prepare me for the corporate world. It was a huge culture shock."

As Yogi Berra said:
"You can observe a lot by watching."

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 21, 2007 2:41 PM

pATRICK, LMAO!

Additionally, no doubt buzzwords such as 6 Sigma (grade-school problem solving steps hyped up with useless important "cool" sounding titles like "Champion" and "black-belt" and such that only measure productivity because obviously not enough people grew up mucking out stalls!), TQM, and verbage including "do more with less!"

Posted by: Chris | May 21, 2007 2:41 PM

"whatever happened to internships? I had to complete 2 (unpaid) internships before I could graduate"

There's a BIG component to an unpaid internship. It's called being able to afford work for NO PAY. "


I think these are the biggest corporate ripoff. Let's see employees we don't pay, won't hire later probably, no benefits and all we have to do is give them a nice letter. No payee, no workee, that is what I will tell my son. It is the same great advice my dad gave me.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 21, 2007 2:42 PM

"People keep telling me I need to read a book about that... in fact if you stand out at all you are to be punished for making someone feel inferior."

Thers IS a story by Vonnegut exactly about that. A kid is being chased down in order to "bring him to th eaverage level". A virtual trophy to a person who remembers the title.


Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2007 2:44 PM

Anon at 2:36, I don't think I understand your question about not being able to afford an internship.

When I went to school, an internship was required, and you got credit for it as if it were a class. You couldn't graduate if you didn't complete two internships of 1 semester each.

As for being able to afford to work for free, I couldn't afford that either. That's why I kept my paid job (30-35 hours per week) while doing my internship three afternoons per week and completing another 9 credits. As a commuter student, I also commuted about 2 hours total per day.

And it was all uphill, in the snow, etc. Well, that part isn't true, but perhaps my experience is why I don't understand the problem here. You're getting college credit. It's required for graduation. You're not getting paid to complete English Lit or Calculus either.

Posted by: Vegas Mom | May 21, 2007 2:47 PM

Meesh, do you think it's OK for me to let my 12 year old daughter to wear a thong to school?

Just wundering, it's becoming an issue...


I am not Meesh, but hell no! She is 12!

Posted by: scarry | May 21, 2007 2:50 PM

"Thers IS a story by Vonnegut exactly about that. A kid is being chased down in order to "bring him to th eaverage level". A virtual trophy to a person who remembers the title."

Harrison Bergeron.

Posted by: Lizzie | May 21, 2007 2:50 PM

"Thers IS a story by Vonnegut exactly about that. A kid is being chased down in order to "bring him to th eaverage level". A virtual trophy to a person who remembers the title."

It's "Harrison Bergeron," and it's been made into a film that is actually quite good.

Basically, everyone in society is obliged to have their talents eliminated through a system of handicapping, thus ensuring consistent mediocrity throughout the land.


Posted by: pittypat | May 21, 2007 2:51 PM

Throwing out trophies is probably OK, but don't just "clean out" your adult son/daughter stuff. My husband is still reeling about his mom and stepfather cleaning his stuff out of their basement (before he got his own). In his mind the stuff feels more and more valuable each year.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2007 2:52 PM

I have had a pretty easy time dealing with hiring Millenials as employees. I stumbled onto the answer fairly early on:

~~Make sure to hire at least a couple of conspicuous Type-A Millenials, and reward them IF they succeed.~~

In my workplace, we have at least one super-talented Millenial each year. The slackers cannot complain that they are being undervalued, because they can look across to the next cube and see the smart, sharp-dressed young lady doing twice as much work with double the quality that they are producing.

It is obvious to even the looniest of them that they do not deserve to be promoted ahead of the peer that is eating their lunch.

Posted by: Proud Papa | May 21, 2007 2:52 PM

scarry

"Meesh, do you think it's OK for me to let my 12 year old daughter to wear a thong to school?

Just wundering, it's becoming an issue...


I am not Meesh, but hell no! She is 12!"

Could you really stop her?

Posted by: Dilbert | May 21, 2007 2:53 PM

"Meesh, do you think it's OK for me to let my 12 year old daughter to wear a thong to school?

Just wundering, it's becoming an issue...


I am not Meesh, but hell no! She is 12! "

KATHY HILTON called, she sees no reason why your daughter shouldn't wear a thong. Says that it shouldn't affect her later in life.....

Posted by: pATRICK | May 21, 2007 2:53 PM

"Again, I really think they could have skipped this part for the preschoolers but really don't see a problem with doing it for kids who show their skills beyond their classmates in early elementary school."

So when she is a 2nd grader and mainstreamed and gets no awards because she is behind her classmates and wonders why, you'll just tell her "sorry sweetie, Jimmy is naturally smarter than you and doesn't have developmental delays so he gets an award. That's life. Suck it up."

Seems to me the time off from work would have been better spent taking her to the park and spending time with her than watching her get a meaningless award.


Posted by: | May 21, 2007 01:53 PM
Now you are being silly. She won't even remember this event a week from now not to mention four years from now.

Posted by: foamgnome | May 21, 2007 2:53 PM

No, that was Britney's mom who called. Can't you take a message right pATRICK?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 21, 2007 2:54 PM

In any case, for those paying attention, basic work adjustment skills can be attained in all kinds of environments. I learned customer service skills and respect for co-workers in several different "grunt job" environments. These skills do translate to working for clients and working in a team environments. Some of these jobs taught me about perserverence too.

Posted by: Marian | May 21, 2007 2:56 PM


foamgnome

"Now you are being silly. She won't even remember this event a week from now not to mention four years from now. "

Then why hold the event in the first place?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2007 2:57 PM

"No payee, no workee, that is what I will tell my son. It is the same great advice my dad gave me."

That's a very short-sighted attitude.

Internships can be invaluable when interviewing for jobs because they combine practical experience with a clear willingness to do what's necessary to learn a job.

Often these folks get the inside track on paid positions, and they've already proven their abilities.

At least that's the case in my business -- publishing.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2007 2:57 PM

2:44, they do it in school all the time.
I remember taking all sorts of challenging classes and getting decent grades of As and Bs (I was bored with school so I didn't apply myself all the time), only to find out that your hard earned grades were lumped in with those of the kids who took easy classes anyway...

Posted by: Chris | May 21, 2007 2:58 PM

"No, that was Britney's mom who called. Can't you take a message right pATRICK"

Maybe it was Lindsay Lohan's mom, they all were built from the same bin o parts....

Posted by: pATRICK | May 21, 2007 2:58 PM

"Then why hold the event in the first place?"

That's easy, it's not for the students, it is for the gratification of the parents, who want to see their child succeed at something even at that young age.

Posted by: John L | May 21, 2007 3:00 PM

Thanks a lot, Lizzie and Pittypat! Each of you gets a virtual sandstone round trophy in a random shade of grey to keep up with a theme of mediocrity.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2007 3:00 PM

pATRICK,
Tru dat!

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 21, 2007 3:01 PM

So what is the appropriate age that a teenage girl can were a thong?

Mona, can you help me on this one?

Posted by: Father of 4 | May 21, 2007 3:03 PM

My children went to an elementary school where there was a Cal Ripkin award. It was given to one child in each class for the child who showed the best effort on the most consistent basis. There was also a Principal's award for each grade. The only children eligible for the Principal's award were the Cal Ripkin award winners.

Basically, each class recognized their own "hardest worker" and the principal recognized the "hardest worker" from each grade.

The winner was not necessarily the smartest student or the one with the best grades. Each child knew they had a chance to win the award as long as they worked hard consistently.

I thought this was a great award and was very motivating for all children.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2007 3:03 PM

Again, I don't know why they included the preschoolers. It seemed odd. And no, I did not take off time from work to be there. I was on my way picking up my daughter anyway. I did seem some parents who looked like they were in business attire. But it wasn't the parents of the preschoolers. Like Vegas mom said, first people seem annoyed all the little kids are getting awards for participation. Then others have a problem with singling out a few children for awards. Others feel one can not do anything note worthy until they are in HS. BTW, the award my daughter got was a paper certificate that the school printed off their computer. There was not a cash award attached to it. Not sure why a teacher would bother giving a kid a gift card. If they are motivated by awards, I think they would be motivated by a noncash award.

Posted by: foamgnome | May 21, 2007 3:03 PM

I'm a Gen-Xer.

I don't see anything wrong with trophies for everyone. Seems to me that we've all been under-appreciated for a long time. I believe praise spawns productivity.

And if it doesn't, then fire their sorry asses. They'll get it together at their next job.

Posted by: Charmaine | May 21, 2007 3:04 PM

Chris -- I think your concern (lumping all high grades together, retardless of the difficulty of the class) is being addressed these days by awarding extra GPA points for AP and Honors classes.

I was in the same position as you in HS, but I see kids graduating from HS these days with GPAs in excess of 4.0. A young lady at my church is a graduating senior with a 4.63 GPA. She achieved this by taking AP and Honors courses and receiving higher grades in those classes.

Not sure how I feel about this, by the way. It seems like a reasonable way to differentiate, but there's something about a 4.63 GPA that seems overkill to me.

Posted by: Vegas Mom | May 21, 2007 3:05 PM

"Now you are being silly. She won't even remember this event a week from now not to mention four years from now. "

I'm being silly? You're the one who can't seem to think past this moment in time. She won't ALWAYS be a preschooler. Think about what it will be like for her 4-5 years from now and other kids receive awards for academic excellence and you don't have answer for her as to why she doesn't get an award, even though she tries really hard and does her personal best at all times, other than "sorry, she has more natural intelligence than you do."

And about the park thing - so you only do things for your daughter that she will remember when she's older? Like the Go Diego Go show? I'm sure she'll remember that.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2007 3:06 PM

"Often these folks get the inside track on paid positions, and they've already proven their abilities"

Yes, fetching coffee, stapling papers, getting the bosses cleaning, all very important tasks.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 21, 2007 3:06 PM

Foamgnome I think you are really missing the point by the original poster-- IMAGINE in a few years that your child is in a similar award ceremony only she is in 2nd grade. How would it make her feel? the poster wasn't asking about how is will feel as a 2nd grader about the event that happened years in the past-- it's about the event happening when she is in 2nd grade. (at least that is what I got from the original post)

Posted by: Jen S. | May 21, 2007 3:06 PM

Whew, with all this talk of group spanking, it's amazing I was able to respond at all...

Kudos to Rose G's post, totally loved it and agree with it.

First off, I was born in 1980 and am so NOT a Gen-Xer. Do NOT blame me for those 80s fashions, thank you.

I'm so atypical as a person, you really can't use me as a rubric for any generation. I do think a lot of the issues brought up here are due much more to the elongation of growth from child to full adult that our society has fostered rather than a sense of entitlement.

I think a major issue, as others have said, is the corporate mindset of growth which we learned very hard first hand from our parents. There is no loyalty, companies gobble up companies, redundancies, layoffs, and all that. Pensions are disappearing into 401(k)s. Most employees are nothing but drops in the bucket compared to the CEOs with their planes and severance packages.

Exactly how should an employee learn to feel appreciated and useful and show loyalty in that environment?

And then there's the overall world climate- I don't think it's really that much worse in global terms, but generationally in the states it's about as unstable OR MORE as it was back in the late 60s. And since the "give peace and love a chance" thing gave way to Starbucks, Ipods, and Walmarts, we buckle down, earn that darn 401(k) and live for what we have to live for.

We're also a lot less stable- we move a LOT. We know we'll move A LOT. We want a life that affords us ease of moving as much as possible.

As I said, you really can't use me as a diagnostic of anything normal, but I know I'm a night person who likes to come in a little early to get stuff done when it's quiet, read emails in between work instead of smoke and snack breaks, work hard and eat lunch at work during normal business hours so I can go home, snuggle with my Captain, and not worry or think about the job as much as possible.

Posted by: Liz D | May 21, 2007 3:07 PM

"Each of you gets a virtual sandstone round trophy in a random shade of grey to keep up with a theme of mediocrity."

Cool! I've never gotten a trophy before.

:>)

Posted by: pittypat | May 21, 2007 3:08 PM

""sorry, she has more natural intelligence than you do."

That's why Einstein had some awards I'll never receive, he had more natural intelligence.

It's a fact!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2007 3:10 PM

I didn't read all the comments concerning the preschool awards ceermony <: ( ) but I think that marching 5-year-olds across a stage and praising them for 'achievements' that are almost entirely based on innate abilities (and referring to them as academic achievement awards, at that) is a mistake, for several reasons.

In the first place, everyone understands that some kids are getting extra attention, which strikes the others as unfair. Fairness is BIG with preschoolers.

In the second place, it feeds into the 'self-esteem is given' travesty.

In the third place, it starts the student competition behavior at an early age (I have a rule -- if I see or hear you talk about your grade on an assignment with another student, you BOTH lose 10%).

IMHO, awards should be saved for the end of elementary school, the end of middle school, and high school graduation. There are ways to do something nice for young children without giving achievement awards.

Posted by: educmom | May 21, 2007 3:10 PM

I didn't read all the comments concerning the preschool awards ceermony <: ( ) but I think that marching 5-year-olds across a stage and praising them for 'achievements' that are almost entirely based on innate abilities (and referring to them as academic achievement awards, at that) is a mistake, for several reasons.

In the first place, everyone understands that some kids are getting extra attention, which strikes the others as unfair. Fairness is BIG with preschoolers.

In the second place, it feeds into the 'self-esteem is given' travesty.

In the third place, it starts the student competition behavior at an early age (I have a rule -- if I see or hear you talk about your grade on an assignment with another student, you BOTH lose 10%).

IMHO, awards should be saved for the end of elementary school, the end of middle school, and high school graduation. There are ways to do something nice for young children without giving achievement awards.

Posted by: educmom | May 21, 2007 3:10 PM

LIZ D, you are right. We should consider ourselves mercenaries. Your CEO and staff consider themselves that. The sooner you understand it the better off you will be. I have been at buyouts and mergers where the guy who sacrificed everything was laid off just like us. The pure shock on his face was something I will never forget.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 21, 2007 3:11 PM

"Now you are being silly. She won't even remember this event a week from now not to mention four years from now. "

I'm being silly? You're the one who can't seem to think past this moment in time. She won't ALWAYS be a preschooler. Think about what it will be like for her 4-5 years from now and other kids receive awards for academic excellence and you don't have answer for her as to why she doesn't get an award, even though she tries really hard and does her personal best at all times, other than "sorry, she has more natural intelligence than you do."

And about the park thing - so you only do things for your daughter that she will remember when she's older? Like the Go Diego Go show? I'm sure she'll remember that.


Posted by: | May 21, 2007 03:06 PM
I can't believe you still want to argue about this. I will explain to my daughter that sometimes awards are given for the highest achievement and sometimes awards are given for the most progress, sometimes for team spirit etc... Some people will always be naturally better at some things then others. I would help my daughter find things that interest her and help her find things that she is naturally good at it. But it would be lying to say that everyone is born with the same amount of ability. It would also be lying to say that everyone will get awards for simply showing up. I don't know what you are talking about when you talk about the park. And no, I don't do only things that she will remember. I went to her awards ceremony and I doubt she will remember that. And no my daughter won't remember the show Go Diego Go but she will remember that through out her childhood, her parents took her to nice places and showed up at her school events. What is wrong with that? Again, we clearly don't agree, so let's just agree to disagree. I don't mind if they give all kids awards, some kids awards, or no kids awards.

Posted by: foamgnome | May 21, 2007 3:12 PM

"I don't know what you are talking about when you talk about the park. "

Of course you don't know what I'm talking about. Because you're the type of person who actually thinks that sitting in a gymnasium watching a 3 year old get a meaningless certificate (in your own words - meaningless to her now, 4 days from now, and 4 years from now) is a more important use of your time and more beneficial to her and to your relationship than taking her to the park and enjoying the time with her.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2007 3:16 PM

"Basically, each class recognized their own "hardest worker" and the principal recognized the "hardest worker" from each grade."

Can young students judge how hard another students works? Do they even notice or care? (I never did.)

Isn't here some level of popularity in the vote? There goes the "hardest worker" theory.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2007 3:17 PM

educmom: The other preschoolers were not there. The award ceremony was after preschool pick up. The other kids had left for the day.
JenS: Getting awards and not getting awards is a part of life. I would explain to my daughter that not everyone can win the race, be the best speller etc... Do you really expect them to ban all awards or give everyone an award. If you ban all awards at the elementary school level, then they won't learn that lesson till middle school or HS. So your just postponing the real life lesson that not every one will be awarded or be the best at something. Now for preschool, like I said earlier, it seems silly because the kids don't realize their getting an award. But by early elementary school the kids have some idea of achievement. And this is nothing new. We had spelling,math, and art awards when I was in elementary school.

Posted by: foamgnome | May 21, 2007 3:17 PM

Ummm....I would guess that the teacher decided who worked the hardest, not the students.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2007 3:18 PM

I'm a Boomer, and my son and daughter are Millenials. I think there is a big difference between my kids' work ethic and my work ethic when I was their age. I can think of a couple of reasons for this:

1. Academic and extra-curricular demands on today's high school students make it very hard for them to hold part-time jobs. When I was in high school, I had a part-time job in fast food where I learned some basic lessons about the work place, such as coming to work on time, calling in if I was sick, and getting along with others (fellow employees, supervisors and customers).

2. My daughter used to earn over minimum wage for babysitting, which involved calling out for pizza for 1 - 3 children and watching movies with them for a few hours while the parents went out. She didn't have to fix dinner, clean up the kitchen, supervise getting kids into PJ's, read bedtime stories or tuck them in for the night. From this she got the message that she could make a lot of money by doing very little work.

I think my children will eventually realize proper work place behavior and expectations, but it will come to them at a later age than it came to me. Yes, I think kids today are more immature as young adults than I was as a young adult, but it doesn't mean they can't learn to thrive in the work place.

Posted by: boomermom | May 21, 2007 3:18 PM

I don't know what you are talking about when you talk about the park. "

Of course you don't know what I'm talking about. Because you're the type of person who actually thinks that sitting in a gymnasium watching a 3 year old get a meaningless certificate (in your own words - meaningless to her now, 4 days from now, and 4 years from now) is a more important use of your time and more beneficial to her and to your relationship than taking her to the park and enjoying the time with her.

Posted by: | May 21, 2007 03:16 PM
Obviously I take my daughter to the park. We spent two days there this weekend. What makes you think I don't take her to the park. Just because we go to a 15 minute awards ceremony on a Friday afternoon, doesn't mean that I don't take my kid to the park.

Posted by: foamgnome | May 21, 2007 3:20 PM

"more important use of your time and more beneficial to her and to your relationship than taking her to the park and enjoying the time with her. "


Regardless of your views,post your name, only cowards and troll post anonymously.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 21, 2007 3:22 PM

I don't know what you are talking about when you talk about the park. "

Of course you don't know what I'm talking about. Because you're the type of person who actually thinks that sitting in a gymnasium watching a 3 year old get a meaningless certificate (in your own words - meaningless to her now, 4 days from now, and 4 years from now) is a more important use of your time and more beneficial to her and to your relationship than taking her to the park and enjoying the time with her.

Posted by: | May 21, 2007 03:16 PM

Hmm, maybe your the type of person who spends an enormous amount of time judging other people. Get a life.

Posted by: adoptee | May 21, 2007 3:22 PM

"Regardless of your views,post your name, only cowards and troll post anonymously.

And me!

Posted by: gutless coward | May 21, 2007 3:25 PM

"Regardless of your views,post your name, only cowards and troll post anonymously.

And me!


Posted by: gutless coward | May 21, 2007 03:25 PM "


At least you have a name now...

Posted by: pATRICK | May 21, 2007 3:26 PM

"Um, you don't take your kid to the park."

wWat an odd and random accusation / insult. How do you respond to that?

"Well, you eat paste."?

"At least I don't quack like a duck, like you."?

"You know what you are? It rhymes with 'orange.'"?

Posted by: Arlington Dad | May 21, 2007 3:27 PM

I've been wanting to comment all day, but I've been busy WORKING. About me:

I was born in 1982

I have received a participation trophy or two in my life

I paid for college by taking out loans

I live in a basement apartment that floods when it rains and I drive a car that's old enough to vote

I work at a nonprofit that pays so very little because I like the nature of the work.

I mentor an underprivileged high school student

I'm an intake volunteer at DC's Employment Justice Center

I've been working all day while many of you have been (apparently) spending a better part of the day reading and commenting on this blog.

I just wanted to check in with you all so you could make some nasty generalizations about me and properly pigeonhole me in my rightful place. Please tell me how I act.

This is an interesting article that might help some of you gain perspective:

http://www.reason.com/news/show/120293.html

Posted by: BL | May 21, 2007 3:28 PM

Liz, yep. We see it all the time- company first! It's all really about dollars first in the long run, and not people, no matter what they tell you. More for the top, less for the bottom. That said, my company is pretty people friendly. No pension or anything, but still very flexible and will let you adjust your schedule for emergencies. I think everyone across the board would be better off if the CEOs of all the companies didn't make obscene amounts of money when compared to the workers of said companies. You could think of it as a trophy for success and all that, but at some point you have to consider the people who make it all possible. I think CEOs should make lots of money, but not a hundred times the average worker of their company.
You would see a lot more motivation and dedication if more was reinvested into the workforce. I love my company now (because everyone I work with is great), but I (and everyone else) would LOVE them if they offered a pension or if the CEO maybe made a few hundred thou less or whatever so everyone could get a big $10,000 raise. In general, it was said earlier and bears repeating: The reward for working hard, is more work.

Posted by: Chris | May 21, 2007 3:28 PM

I am a boomer who was raised by my mother. I learned my work ethic from her. She was rarely late (bus problem usually), didn't take a sick day unless she couldn't get out of bed, and didn't expect anything other than her paycheck. Rewards and bonuses were greatly appreciated, but not expected as a "right". I never had a high-school job. My first job was after high school graduation. I knew before I started that you were supposed to be on time, dress neatly and not provocatively, be respectful, speak without using profanity or slang, follow instructions and rules, etc.

It was a clerical office position. My supervisor explained my basic duties and turned me over to a co-worker for mentoring. She told me how to identify the office when answering the phone, when it was appropriate to take lunch and break, and that 45 minute lunch meant 45 minutes, not 50 or 60.

It's hard to believe people can graduate college and not know appropriate workplace behavior.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2007 3:29 PM

As a parent of a 1-year-old who was born in 1982, my husband in 1981, I think our generation was raised with very traditional values (family, volunteerism, faith, etc.) I believe that the over-dependence on the parents that some members of our generation exhibit is more a result of the high barriers to entry that now surround adulthood. In our approach to parenthood I find myself wanting to restrain the number of scheduled activities for my child to a reasonable number, so that he has a little more free time than I had growing up.

(By the way, I never heard of a playdate until I was in college, that is new!)

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2007 3:33 PM

As a parent of a 1-year-old who was born in 1982, my husband in 1981, I think our generation was raised with very traditional values (family, volunteerism, faith, etc.) I believe that the over-dependence on the parents that some members of our generation exhibit is more a result of the high barriers to entry that now surround adulthood. In our approach to parenthood I find myself wanting to restrain the number of scheduled activities for my child to a reasonable number, so that he has a little more free time than I had growing up.

(By the way, I never heard of a playdate until I was in college, that is new!)

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2007 3:33 PM

"Pakistan's woman tourism minister tendered her resignation today after hardline Islamic clerics accused her of obscenity for hugging her instructor after a charity parachute jump."

These are the medieval thugs we are up against. A hug is "obscene". Revolting!

Posted by: pATRICK | May 21, 2007 3:34 PM

Yes foamgnome, i do expect "them" to ban awards in elementary school. It was PTA funded event and now that I'm on the PTa executive board, I'll do what I can to cut it out. I didn't have any award ceremony at all when I was in elementary school, and yet I was perfectly on the ball about the fact that some people were better at things than I was.

I think having a huge graduation party for all the 6th graders is fitting for elementary school. We are talking about a school where the teachers don't get stipends to purchase needed classroom equiptment and instead have to purchase with their own salary. I think the priority belongs with getting those supplies and not with meaningless awards to elementary students.

I mean MEANINGLESS-- there was no articulation what so ever on how students were selected beyond the teacher of the class selected the student-- so it wasn't even really setting an example to the other kids since it was a bit of a mystery how the child was selected by the teacher-- out of a hat? their parent volunteered the most? cutest? hardest working? don't know, but that kid got money to spend because they were selected by the teacher for the award and no one else in the class got it.

the award for "hardest worker" sound great. If that had been the title, it would have been better. But i still think that children should learn to value themselves on their own and without external validation of any kind.

Posted by: Jen S. | May 21, 2007 3:35 PM

"Yes, fetching coffee, stapling papers, getting the bosses cleaning, all very important tasks."

No, Patrick. Not in all businesses.

Our interns get a thorough grounding in editing, design, production, and marketing, as well as web publishing, if they're interested. They emerge from their internships with us quite prepared to take entry-level positions in the publishing field or in publications departments or divisions of companies, agencies, or academic institutions.

Now, on the other hand, I once did a summer internship in a law office, and I WAS asked to get the boss's car washed. I said no.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2007 3:36 PM

JenS:The award ceremony you describe was slightly different then the awards ceremony at my daughter's school. The children at our school recieved paper certificates that were printed off the computer. As far as I can tell, the children were given awards based on specific criteria: a subject matter, marked improvement in an area etc... So on the other hand, how do you feel about awards given on sports teams, scouting etc? Again, I could careless one way or another. But at some point, there will be awards that your child will not win. And you don't always have control over what the school plans to do. I agreed with you about the cash award. I did not see the point of it.

Posted by: foamgnome | May 21, 2007 3:39 PM

"Our interns get a thorough grounding in editing, design, production, and marketing, as well as web publishing, if they're interested. They emerge from their internships with us quite prepared to take entry-level positions in the publishing field or in publications departments or divisions of companies, agencies, or academic institutions."

Really, How many are hired on average? Why would your company train people for your competition? I know in my industry (finance)they are used as gofers and do what others don't want to do. Once again, no workee, no payee.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 21, 2007 3:40 PM

Geez people born in 1981 are old enough to be responsible parents? Where did the time go.

In 1981, at Church Camp for intermediate school kids, I won the award for "Best Christian."

How twisted is that? How did they decide that?

Posted by: how this for an award | May 21, 2007 3:40 PM

"Um, you don't take your kid to the park."

What does it mean when a sentence is started with the word "Um,"?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2007 3:43 PM

What does it mean when a sentence is started with the word "Um,"?

That you are not as smart as foamgnome

Posted by: Arlington Dad | May 21, 2007 3:46 PM

"Obviously I take my daughter to the park. We spent two days there this weekend. What makes you think I don't take her to the park. Just because we go to a 15 minute awards ceremony on a Friday afternoon, doesn't mean that I don't take my kid to the park. "

You're so incredibly literal. I wasn't saying that you don't take your child to the park - it was a METAPHOR pointing out that you think it's more important for you and your child to experience pointless awards ceremonies than to spend meaningful time together. The original METAPHOR was made when I thought you had taken time off from work to go watch the entire ceremony. You have since clarified that you simply stopped by for 15 minutes when you were picking her up on your way home from work. Fine. Forget about it.

Posted by: anonymous troll | May 21, 2007 3:46 PM

I don't know what you are talking about when you talk about the park. "

Of course you don't know what I'm talking about. Because you're the type of person who actually thinks that sitting in a gymnasium watching a 3 year old get a meaningless certificate (in your own words - meaningless to her now, 4 days from now, and 4 years from now) is a more important use of your time and more beneficial to her and to your relationship than taking her to the park and enjoying the time with her.

Posted by: | May 21, 2007 03:16 PM
Just for clarification. I did not write the sentence in question.

Posted by: foamgnome | May 21, 2007 3:47 PM

i think specific awards are great-- especially scouting awards that lay out exactly the criteria necessary to win the award-- and if I remember correctly provide several means of achieving the award rather than just one narrow path. that reflects reality.

Another thing that was different about your event is that evidently not all the students in the school were there-- whereas the awards happened at a full student assembly event. Scouting awards are achieved and awarded without a lot of fanfare, if I recall correctly-- just as life's achievements typically occur.

Posted by: Jen S. | May 21, 2007 3:49 PM

"Just for clarification. I did not write the sentence in question. "

Clarify a bit more - what sentence in question?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2007 3:49 PM

the sentence is a metaphor

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2007 3:51 PM

"Just for clarification. I did not write the sentence in question. "

Clarify a bit more - what sentence in question?

Posted by: | May 21, 2007 03:49 PM

"Um, you don't take your kid to the park."

What does it mean when a sentence is started with the word "Um,"?


Posted by: | May 21, 2007 03:43 PM

What does it mean when a sentence is started with the word "Um,"?

That you are not as smart as foamgnome

Posted by: Arlington Dad | May 21, 2007 03:46 PM
The sentence starting with Um.

Posted by: foamgnome | May 21, 2007 3:52 PM

FOAMGNOME, give it a rest...

Posted by: pATRICK | May 21, 2007 3:53 PM

Um, I think that was AD's point - that because a poster starts a sentence with "um" that they're not as smart as you.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2007 3:54 PM

I wrote the sentence in question -- paraphrasing the poster who apparently picked a Metaphoric fight with Foamgnome over not going the park or attending an assembly or some such offense.

Posted by: Arlington Dad | May 21, 2007 3:56 PM

pATRICK: Are you getting annoyed because I am answering their questions? I will get off now. Have a good night. :)

Posted by: foamgnome | May 21, 2007 3:56 PM

Foamgnome -- sorry if sarcasm got in the way -- I'm in your corner. You shouldn't have been criticized for sharing your story.

Posted by: Arlington Dad | May 21, 2007 3:58 PM

good nite all.
Good night, John-Boy.....

Posted by: Bryn Mawr | May 21, 2007 4:00 PM

AD:I lied. I guess I am still here. You don't have to apologize. On this blog, there is always someone who has an issue with what ever you say.

Posted by: foamgnome | May 21, 2007 4:01 PM

"And you don't always have control over what the school plans to do."

I'd just like to say just one more thing about this - the original bash of the distinguished awards ceremony was not a foamgnome bash but a foamgnome's-daughter's-school bash. Foamgnome got all needlessly defensive about it. You don't always have control over what the school does but that doesn't mean you have to think what they do is OK.

Posted by: anonymous troll | May 21, 2007 4:01 PM

"And you don't always have control over what the school plans to do."

I'd just like to say just one more thing about this - the original bash of the distinguished awards ceremony was not a foamgnome bash but a foamgnome's-daughter's-school bash. Foamgnome got all needlessly defensive about it. You don't always have control over what the school does but that doesn't mean you have to think what they do is OK.


Posted by: anonymous troll | May 21, 2007 04:01 PM
Sounds like you got all defensive. You were the one accusing her of not having good values because she went to the awards ceremony instead of something like going to the park. People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.

Posted by: adoptee | May 21, 2007 4:04 PM

Ha ha. Metaphoric fight. I LOLed.

Posted by: atb | May 21, 2007 4:04 PM

"People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones."

They should throw trophies. It's far more...rewarding.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2007 4:05 PM

"People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones."

happy metaphor day.

Posted by: Arlington Dad | May 21, 2007 4:05 PM

"You were the one accusing her of not having good values because she went to the awards ceremony instead of something like going to the park."

How exactly is this being defensive? Judgmental, maybe - but it wasn't like someone criticized me for going to the park instead of attending a meaningless awards ceremony. If that had happened and I had freaked out, that would be defensive.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2007 4:09 PM

You were the one accusing her of not having good values because she went to the awards ceremony instead of something like going to the park."

How exactly is this being defensive? Judgmental, maybe - but it wasn't like someone criticized me for going to the park instead of attending a meaningless awards ceremony. If that had happened and I had freaked out, that would be defensive.


Posted by: | May 21, 2007 04:09 PM
If your version of freaking out is politely responding, then we are all defensive and freaking out. Are you being defensive now???

Posted by: adoptee | May 21, 2007 4:11 PM

"Are you being defensive now??? "

No, but I'm annoyed with you and wish you would s t f u.

And I'll just go ahead and post for the next person: "we wish you would s t f u too, you gutless, cowardly troll."

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2007 4:25 PM

Freaking out rules. I taught my son to shout "FREAK OUT" and make the music sounds after it while bopping his head. Now whenever he has a tantrum I start doing that, and when I have a tantrum he says mama don't FREAK OUT

Posted by: Freak Out!! | May 21, 2007 4:27 PM

I went to a very competitive high school-and no they didn't (back then) give you extra points for honors ap whatever. I am opposed to that. Life isn't fair and if someone only took art and got a 100 gpa then that's great for them but they are still not getting into most colleges. The colleges are well aware that you took ap and that it was more difficult and they can reward you for that

Also, I do think 'parading' preschoolers across a stage is a good thing. Why? Because most people's number one fear is being in front of a group. This gets the kids more comfortable at a young age. We do it at our synagogue-each week at the end of the sat services. So that the kids are comfortable at the synagogue and in front of the crowd etc. No it won't make your kid a thespian actor, but it doesn't hurt

And. As for non loyal employees-someone out ther has to be the new ceo and it won't be the ones who slacked off.

Posted by: atlmom | May 21, 2007 4:29 PM

"Are you being defensive now??? "

No, but I'm annoyed with you and wish you would s t f u.

And I'll just go ahead and post for the next person: "we wish you would s t f u too, you gutless, cowardly troll."
-------------

Exibit One on "Why we should ignore the trolls. We are only rewarding them by responding to their button-pushing behavior."

Maybe if we ignore them, they'll go bother someone else's blog.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2007 4:29 PM

Sorry, 4:29 was me, not another gutless anonymous troll, LOL!

Posted by: Vegas Mom | May 21, 2007 4:31 PM

Dang, this is why I hardly post here anymore. The going off topic I can take, but it's the needless and junior high squabbling that gets to me. Need we look anywhere else for our problems?

(and yes I realize the irony of adding to the problem)

Posted by: Liz D | May 21, 2007 4:36 PM

Time for another millenial profile...

I am a millenial. I agree with a LOT of the generalizations made about my generation. Many of us were told we were special the whole way growing up and that we would be successful so long as we went after what we were passionate about and worked at it. Not exactly true in the real world, just the optimism of the boomer's that raised us. Boomers have the same ideals of Millenials in many ways (wanting time with family, steady/flexible job, hope for future/environment, high pay/management responsibility) only difference is Boomers are old and therefore feel that they've "earned" their perspective and that Millenials haven't earned it yet.

I've been in college quite a few years now and many of the kids I am in school with could be your stereotypical millenial college student. Privileged, nice car to take with you to college, parents (or sometimes loans their parents signed for) paying for the whole operation. They graduate and expect a big paying job straight off the bat. Why? Because getting a college degree used to mean that. It used to mean you'd get a real job where you did something related to your job and your degree set you apart from your peers. Everyone has college degrees now so that's no longer the truth, but because Boomer parents haven't adjusted neither have Millenial children.

I am behaviorly a typical Millenial. I love my family and visit my parents once every week or two weeks. I lived at home through college and got a job. My parents helped with tuition but I paid parking/gas/clothes/toys/books out my student salary. I think working consistently at the same job for 3 years while I was in school (I graduated in 3) helped give me an idea of what the work place is about that a lot of kids my age don't have. I was given a lot of grunt work and got used to that. When I graduated it was a slap in the face, however. I got a BA that is almost entirely useless (I suppose because my parents told me to "follow my dreams" though I can't blame it entirely on them, they know it was not practical). So I started working as an administrative assistant and am now working full time while going back to school part time for a better degree. Most people my age are not willing to work this much. I am married and support 50% of my household even though my husband makes a little more than me.

I think Millenials *can* have a really strong work ethic. I agree with above comments that overprivileged Boomer parents lead to overprivileged demanding Millenial children. I think in a few years once all the Millenial kids have gotten slapped around a few times in the cold, harsh corporate world (though unfortunately, not all of them do) my generation will prove to be brilliant and hard working.

Posted by: Miles | May 21, 2007 4:40 PM

VegasMom,

I agree with your insightful post.

My DH coaches soccer and tries to do the 'shout-out' thing too --- as each girl gets her team trophy, he comments on the role they've played/new skills they've developed this season. Usually it's very easy to say a few words of appreciation after having spent hours and hours coaching the girls, whose personalities and playing style come to the fore very quickly. It's always nice to have your efforts noticed, the girls beam with the reinforcement! Really the only time it is ever forced involves the few girls who are disruptive and cause fights or hard feelings within the team - this is rare.

Of course this is very young, rec level, everyone plays equally and tries out all positions, just early days of skill development.

Our elem school is an IB school and promotes a list of valued characteristics, both behavioral and as learners. They cycle through those characteristics through the year, 2 a month, with each classroom recognizing a student who most exemplifies each trait. The chosen students have their pictures displayed along with the word and definition --- for example persistent, thoughtful, etc etc. It's a nice way to recognize students and also to promote behaviors and values the school wants to encourage.

I for one appreciate the work our school does in giving diverse students many opportunities to shine --- to get their accomplishments announced on the morning announcements for a huge variety of activities --- chess team tournaments, math tournaments, science fairs, reflections contests, other arts/writing contests, getting to be a 'featured artist' presenting their portfolio on the morning announcements, musical productions, etc. Awards/recognition generate excitement, not just about the students recognized, but about the underlying activity itself, and encourage everyone to value accomplishment in math, arts, performance, writing, etc. It shows we value both the child *and* the activity.

Posted by: KB | May 21, 2007 4:42 PM

"It's always nice to have your efforts noticed, the girls beam with the reinforcement! Really the only time it is ever forced involves the few girls who are disruptive and cause fights or hard feelings within the team - this is rare. "

I was so glad just to hand a trophy to some kids. To try to find something good to say about some players who acted like they were in a coma on the field would have been difficult. The different athletic ability and prowess of children the same age is astonishing.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 21, 2007 4:47 PM

"2. My daughter used to earn over minimum wage for babysitting, which involved calling out for pizza for 1 - 3 children and watching movies with them for a few hours while the parents went out. "

that was my problem too. My company could have paid my daughter for programming, which she is good at, much more than she earned at CVS, but I was glad she found the CVS job herself, and advised her to treat it as a "leadership school". So, being smart, good with computers/cash registers/counting quickly, and very punctual, she became a supervisor at 17, bypassing the older guys for promotion. She is in college now, doing RAship, but those 2 years of "real work" at high school give her clear perspective.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2007 4:48 PM

"Everyone has college degrees now"

Miles...poke your head outside the beltway. Close to 80% of Americans do NOT have a college degree.

Posted by: reality | May 21, 2007 4:49 PM

"Everyone has college degrees now"

Miles...poke your head outside the beltway. Close to 80% of Americans do NOT have a college degree.

Posted by: reality | May 21, 2007 04:49 PM

I guess I mean that my useless BA is about equal to 3-4 years of general experience. Now, an engineering degree or computer science degree, that means something. But if you were one of those foolish people who majored in art history, english literature, or even chemistry, best of luck being anything but a teacher. And yeah, I probably am a bit biased as I live in Southern California where there are more colleges than movie theatres and the competition between educated and educated is very high.

Posted by: Miles | May 21, 2007 4:58 PM

I still find the relative arbitrariness
of these catagories a hoot. I was born in 1957 and actually have darned little in common with the Classic Boomers who, I think, are those born from 1946 to 1950 or 52. While I have the work ethic of a Classic Boomer, having seen what I've seen
in the work world I'm quite skeptical and cynical like Gen X. I have thought for a long time that 1946 to 1964 is just
much too wide, taking in everything and everybody from World War II to Viet Nam.
What a laugh!

* Boomers -- Born between 1946 and 1964. Values: work, material payoffs, personal empowerment.
* Generation X - Born from 1965 to 1980. Work to live, cynical, skeptical, value flexibility and work/life balance.

Posted by: SFMom | May 21, 2007 5:11 PM

I'm a Gen X, although I've never been particularly comfortable with the title. I do fit into the mold expressed above for that moniker, for the most part. As one who works in order to live, however, I'm very professional and I was taught by some very demanding people.

Boomers are the original helicopter parents. Odd how much control they want over their children's lives after being all about casting off control over their lives.

I can tell you how I'm trying NOT to create this problem in my kids. I say the following, frequently and with gusto: "I'm sorry, but we just can't afford that." I'm working hard to keep everybody in shoes that fit, and when they complain about me not being there, I say "I have to work so that we'll have money for x y and z." I'm working to make them understand the connection between effort and advancement, between income and work. It's a piece of the puzzle that some of these kids we're talking about apparently didn't understand along the way.

As someone already said, it's hard to do if they aren't permitted to fail on their own and feel the consequences. Sure, distinguishing between healthy and necessary mistakes and those that will ruin your life is HARD except in hindsight, but it is the dilemma all of us working to raise responsible adults struggle mightily with every day.

Posted by: bad mommy | May 21, 2007 5:13 PM

"* Generation X - Born from 1965 to 1980. Work to live, cynical, skeptical, value flexibility and work/life balance."

This actually fits me to a T.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 21, 2007 5:15 PM

Michael Eisner (Disney) - double major in english and theater

Neal Rabin (Mirimar) - creative writing

Michael Dell (Dell) - nada

John Loose (Corning) - East Asian studies

Sue Kronik (Federated) - Asian studies

Terry Jones (Travelocity) - history

Small sample of the hundreds of successful folks who aren't "anything but a teacher" (as insulting as that is in its own right).

Posted by: reality - C-levels with Liberal Arts | May 21, 2007 5:15 PM

I think a trophy in those situations engenders a positive attitude so that they will return and play again, developing their skills.

Vegas Mom, I'm gonna disagree with you. If my child needs a trophy to keep playing a sport then maybe he shouldn't be playing the sport. Maybe he/she isn't developmentally ready to play yet, or maybe they just plain aren't interested.

Posted by: Moxiemom | May 21, 2007 02:38 PM

A 5-year old is fully developmentally ready to play t-ball, or soccer, or gymnastics. Maybe he's not "interested" in t-ball vs. playing in the creek with some rocks. So what? I'm the parent. Who's in charge at your house?

We owe our children exposure to physical fitness activities that will last a lifetime. Most of us like to do things we're good at. The way we get good at something is to do it. If my child is motivated by a participation award for a couple of years before he's motivated to beat the stuffing out of the other team -- oh, sorry - to do his best, I see no downside.

On the other hand, if I wait until she comes to me at 10 years old and begs for ballet lessons, she will be the only 10 year old in a sea of 5 year olds at dance class. Do you think she will find that fun or interesting? Will she beg to be allowed to drop out after 1 class or 5?

Kids need to be introduced to sports and activities at a time when their peers are also beginners. They all learn at the same time. There is a reason why no one, other than 3-sport athletes, starts a sport for the first time at 14.

Posted by: cousin of devils advocate | May 21, 2007 5:19 PM

According to the U.S. Census, 24% of the U.S. population had a Bachelor's degree or higher in 2006.

However, that percentage is significantly higher for certain age groups. For example:

32.6% of people 35-39 have a college degree.
31.5% of people 31-35 have a college degree.

And in the 25-29 category, where there is a lot of competition for entry-level positions, the percentage is 28.4%.

FYI, you can do a lot with a liberal arts degree besides be a teacher. The business world values good writers and they can be hard to find in the group that graduates with a degree in "business." However, I'd encourage anyone majoring in a liberal arts subject to either double major or minor in business unless they plan to teach.

Anecdotally, I heard from many friends in law school that the students with English and Philosophy degrees were the best prepared for all the reading, writing and deductive logic required in law school. The business majors, by and large, struggled.

Posted by: Vegas Mom | May 21, 2007 5:23 PM

They all learn at the same time. There is a reason why no one, other than 3-sport athletes, starts a sport for the first time at 14."

You are right. In my 4 year old daughter's ice skating class, they are already zipping around.

Posted by: pATRICK | May 21, 2007 5:24 PM

Michael Eisner (Disney) - double major in english and theater

Neal Rabin (Mirimar) - creative writing

Michael Dell (Dell) - nada

John Loose (Corning) - East Asian studies

Sue Kronik (Federated) - Asian studies

Terry Jones (Travelocity) - history

Small sample of the hundreds of successful folks who aren't "anything but a teacher" (as insulting as that is in its own right).

Posted by: reality - C-levels with Liberal Arts | May 21, 2007 05:15 PM

There's also a lot of CEOs without bachelor's degrees, and probably some who never even graduated high school. I am sure exceptional people will succeed with or without a degree. And I am sorry to those who are teachers I didn't mean that as a slight, just that many getting their "art history" degree *don't* want or plan to be teachers. In my case my three years of clerical experience is what got me a livable wage as an administrative assistant. Sure, I could have bummed off my parents for another few years or tried to get some venture capitalists to support my new business scheme, or maybe even gone in to "business" and "moved my way up" to CEO. But doubtful. Asian studies actually makes sense in a business scheme. Art history, not so much. And most of these business leaders and CEOs got into the business and achieved high places *before* getting a degree became the standard it is now. I am willing to put in my work as an administrative assistant for a few years. I don't see it as beneath me. I'm just saying it's totally unconnected to my degree, I don't paid more for getting a degree, and the BA is probably something I'll leave off my resume once I get a BS.

Posted by: Miles | May 21, 2007 5:26 PM

According to the U.S. Census, 24% of the U.S. population had a Bachelor's degree or higher in 2006.

However, that percentage is significantly higher for certain age groups. For example:

32.6% of people 35-39 have a college degree.
31.5% of people 31-35 have a college degree.

And in the 25-29 category, where there is a lot of competition for entry-level positions, the percentage is 28.4%.

FYI, you can do a lot with a liberal arts degree besides be a teacher. The business world values good writers and they can be hard to find in the group that graduates with a degree in "business." However, I'd encourage anyone majoring in a liberal arts subject to either double major or minor in business unless they plan to teach.

Anecdotally, I heard from many friends in law school that the students with English and Philosophy degrees were the best prepared for all the reading, writing and deductive logic required in law school. The business majors, by and large, struggled.

Posted by: Vegas Mom | May 21, 2007 05:23 PM

I agree about it making me a good writer. However, no one was willing to pay me for having a general skill. Possibly if I had gotten more internships, a "business" track job would have been easier to get. Or maybe it's my being a woman that made people assume I'd make a better secretary than business woman. I also didn't want to go to law school, though I think that's a good anecdote for liberal arts majors, not everyone wants to be a lawyer. And really, I'd like to see another early 20s person speak up and admit it's a bit harder to get "entry level" jobs now than it once was. Your degree isn't a sign you can do anything and when I applied for jobs mine created more questions than answers. People didn't get why I picked that as a major or why I'd want to expand that and work in another industry. It's continued to be my hard work that has gotten me recognition in my job, my degree didn't help me get it and won't help me move on.

Posted by: Miles | May 21, 2007 5:31 PM

It's NOT "graduated high school" or "graduated college" etc.

It's "graduated FROM..."

They should recall your degree, on grounds of functional illiteracy.

Posted by: To Miles | May 21, 2007 5:35 PM

I was much older than any of my ice skating classes and always asked if I wanted to keep going or be in the public dances with them. Of course I did, I loved skating!!

But, there I go, being all abnormal and independent and being raised to be true to myself and not need to fit in all the time.

Posted by: Liz D | May 21, 2007 5:36 PM

Father of 4, sorry I took so long to reply; I had too much work.

I think 12 is too young for a thong. I would say 15 is better. But I wasn't allowed to shave until 13 or wear a bra until 15, so maybe I just think everyone should be a "late bloomer."

But if she's headstrong, she'll do whatever she wants. Good luck!

Posted by: Meesh | May 21, 2007 5:37 PM

Vegas Mom,
"Chris -- I think your concern (lumping all high grades together, retardless of the difficulty of the class)..."

Your typo made me laugh out loud!!!

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 21, 2007 5:38 PM

Doh!

It made me laugh too, but I confess I was hoping no one would notice!

Posted by: Vegas Mom | May 21, 2007 5:43 PM

Someone (maryland mother) caught mine earlier ("dottage" vs "dotage").

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 21, 2007 5:45 PM

Altmom --

You really subscribe to some strange notions.

"Life isn't fair and if someone only took art and got a 100 gpa then that's great for them but they are still not getting into most colleges."

ONLY took art? You think art is easy? Philistine!

"Also, I do think 'parading' preschoolers across a stage is a good thing. Why? Because most people's number one fear is being in front of a group. This gets the kids more comfortable at a young age."

Yeah, either that or they become completely traumatized (much more likely) and develop all kinds of psychological problems as teenagers.

I hope you cut your kids a little slack on this stuff. Doesn't sound like you have much patience with people who are more sensitive than goal-oriented.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2007 5:59 PM

To KLB and Vegas Mom:

Paging Dr. Freud...

Posted by: catlady | May 21, 2007 6:00 PM

It's NOT "graduated high school" or "graduated college" etc.

It's "graduated FROM..."

They should recall your degree, on grounds of functional illiteracy.

Posted by: To Miles | May 21, 2007 05:35 PM

Thanks. As stated before recalling my degree would change absolutely nothing of my current job status. They did not hire me for the degree and in fact asked why I listed it on my resume at all. I guess another bad habit of Millenials is the tend to typo or not caps in emails/blog comments since we are used to using textual communication for non-business purposes. Apprecative someone on here is good with the grammar and hope that it helped you in whatever job you work in.

Posted by: Miles | May 21, 2007 6:03 PM

Well, while I think its unfair to judge Miles' writing skills based on what she's posted on this blog, I will take the opportunity to raise a related issue.

Many states now give full college scholarships to students graduating from HS with a minimum GPA. Here in NV, a majority of those students need to take remedial classes once they arrive at college because they aren't prepared for Freshman Lit or college-level math or science.

At the risk of being branded a snob, why are 4-year colleges even offering remedial classes? If a student needs to take a remedial class, they don't belong in a 4-year college. That's what a 2-year community college is for.

And there is nothing wrong with that path, by the way. My closest friend when I graduated from college completed her first two years of college at a community college. She went on to get a law degree from an "elite" institution.

Just seems like a waste of taxpayer dollars to send HS graduates on to a 4-year college when they aren't prepared, both in terms of paying those students' tuition (these are scholarship students) and hiring and paying remedial reading and math teachers.

Posted by: Vegas Mom | May 21, 2007 6:03 PM

"I am behaviorly a typical Millenial."

Oh, for god's sake. What the h*ll does this mean?

Someone throws a bunch of labels out, and everyone scrambles to attach the right one to their forehead.

It's like lemmings. Just follow along without asking...

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2007 6:03 PM

"I am behaviorly a typical Millenial."

Oh, for god's sake. What the h*ll does this mean?

Posted by: | May 21, 2007 06:03 PM

On the other hand, since grammar, punctuation and proper word use are deemed optional by more than a few Millenials, it's apropros.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2007 6:08 PM

btw, according to the US Census Bureau, as of 2004, 28 percent of those 25 and older had attained at least a bachelor's degree.

The District of Columbia's population had the highest proportion in the US with a bachelor's degree or higher at 45.7 percent. Thirty-five percent of Maryland residents 25 and older had attained at least a bachelor's degree.

Posted by: The Real Statistics | May 21, 2007 6:11 PM

"But I wasn't allowed to shave until 13 or wear a bra until 15"

You weren't allowed to wear a bra? I know this is a terribly personal question, but was that because you didn't really "need" one, or because your parents just chose to ignore the need? I can understand the shaving thing (my parents were the same on that), but it seems that wearing a bra is different, in that at some point it's actually functionally desirable, and that point may come a lot earlier for 15. Sorry, that just made me really curious...

Posted by: Megan | May 21, 2007 6:11 PM

"I am behaviorly a typical Millenial."

Oh, for god's sake. What the h*ll does this mean?

Posted by: | May 21, 2007 06:03 PM

On the other hand, since grammar, punctuation and proper word use are deemed optional by more than a few Millenials, it's apropros.

Posted by: | May 21, 2007 06:08 PM

What's with the grammar police today? This coming from a generation that needs newspaper articles to tell them how to "sort" their email and deal with hundreds of emails they get without wasting hours a day. Ridiculous. Someone in their 20s reads, organizes, and discards half of their emails in the same time it takes other people to read the darn article. If you have to have your secretary read your email for you I don't think you should be in management. And seriously, this is a blog. If the President can make up words in speeches, I think I can make up words for blog use.

Posted by: Miles | May 21, 2007 6:12 PM

"I've been in college quite a few years now . . . "

and to think, we used to joke about students being on the 5 year plan.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2007 6:15 PM

Miles,

It's not the making up of words that's the problem. It's the lock-step conformity of obediently assigning yourself to one of the categories without asking if they're valid, if they apply to your life, or if they even make sense.

Make up all the words you want. But if you can't separate yourself from the herd -- even while the herd is forming -- then you're doomed.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2007 6:15 PM

"Life isn't fair and if someone only took art and got a 100 gpa then that's great for them but they are still not getting into most colleges."

ONLY took art? You think art is easy? Philistine!
_______________________

I took a studio art class (2-D Foundations, i.e., "Drawing 101") at an "elite" public university. I earned a C. I didn't skip classes, and I really tried. I just didn't have the talent. Grades were earned by the quality of the work, not by the earnestness of the effort. I still think it was valuable to have taken the class as part of a liberal arts education.

Posted by: Marian | May 21, 2007 6:16 PM

i took basketweaving in college. easy A

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2007 6:20 PM

I was much older than any of my ice skating classes and always asked if I wanted to keep going or be in the public dances with them. Of course I did, I loved skating!!

But, there I go, being all abnormal and independent and being raised to be true to myself and not need to fit in all the time.

---------

Liz -- I think the poster who said that children must be introduced to sports by age 5 or be forever lost was being a little harsh. And I think it's great that you had the confidence to start skating when you did regardless of the age of the other people in the class.

As with most discussions here, there's a balance here. I would never force my child to continue to play a sport or continue in an activity if she didn't enjoy it because I thought it might take her a few years to learn to appreciate it. On the other hand, if getting a participation trophy was the tipping point between playing or not, then I'd let her play again. I really think that a kid who's playing ONLY for a little plastic trophy won't last for more than a season or two. It's just not enough of a pay-off for the time commitment, especially if you're not having fun while you're there. It's up to the parent to recognize the child's motivations and not to push them into something in which they have no interest.

I don't think a parent should ever discourage a child from trying something they seem passionate about just because they are "too old." If they have the time and you can afford it, then let them try. Better they make the decision to quit on their own rather than feel like you held them back from their dream. And who knows? They may achieve that dream!

Posted by: Vegas Mom | May 21, 2007 6:21 PM

N.B. My depression-era parents did not call the professor to complain. ;-)

Posted by: Marian | May 21, 2007 6:22 PM

Vegas Mom, as always, very good points on participation in sports and arts. It's one thing I wish were also more open to adults - I know there are a lot of rec leagues for adults in various sports, but they seem to be mostly aimed at people who already know the sport. I've also found a real dearth of dance classes for adults (ballet or modern, I know there's a lot of ballroom these days) and I wonder about other performing arts. I danced through college and would love to find a dance class that I could take now, but I've never found something at the right level.

BTW, on the "business major," I was under the impression that was the new catch-all degree that doesn't mean anything. I guess not! Funny story - when I was called for jury duty a few months ago there was a guy who wanted to be excused because he had a 30 page report due. The judge asked him what it was for and the guy said for his "business class." The judge asked what it was about, and the guy said, "Business."

Posted by: Megan | May 21, 2007 6:31 PM

"I've been in college quite a few years now . . . "

and to think, we used to joke about students being on the 5 year plan.

Posted by: | May 21, 2007 06:15 PM

Fine, I'll clarify. I graduated with a BA in 3 years, while working 20+ hours a week the whole time. I took about a year "off" just working full time. Now I'm back in school part time working on my engineering degree. And to the comment about me being part of the herd, maybe so. But to deny that I share any of the "slacker" traits attributed to my generation would be arrogant, untrue, and silly. I can agree we all have a lot in common. I think by working my way through a BA, and now an engineering degree, I am doing plenty to set myself apart. I wore a full women's skirt/jacket suit to my interview and have seen young men with engineering degrees come in here with t-shirts or short sleeved, untucked polo shirts. So yes I am different. But to try to claim only the positive traits and deny all the negative ones would make me more hypocritcal than I need to be right now.

Posted by: Miles | May 21, 2007 6:32 PM

i took basketweaving in college. easy A

Posted by: | May 21, 2007 06:20 PM
_____________________________

To the vulgarian who would mock my study of the fine arts. . .

phil·is·tine
-noun 1. (sometimes initial capital letter) a person who is lacking in or hostile or smugly indifferent to cultural values, intellectual pursuits, aesthetic refinement, etc., or is contentedly commonplace in ideas and tastes.

Posted by: Marian | May 21, 2007 6:32 PM

If the President can make up words in speeches, I think I can make up words for blog use.

Posted by: Miles | May 21, 2007 06:12 PM

Miles, One of the things you might learn along the way to age 27 is how to determine the skills you need to develop and choose a mentor and/or role model who possesses those skills. Justifying your malaproprisms and general sloppiness with words by pointing to an elected official well known for his mis-use of the English language is a classic example of choosing the wrong role model for the wrong skill set.

If you want to learn to communicate, pay close attention to someone who can communicate. Blogs are a written form. Learning to communicate is key to having your ideas taken seriously.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2007 6:39 PM

If the President can make up words in speeches, I think I can make up words for blog use.

Posted by: Miles | May 21, 2007 06:12 PM

Miles, One of the things you might learn along the way to age 27 is how to determine the skills you need to develop and choose a mentor and/or role model who possesses those skills. Justifying your malaproprisms and general sloppiness with words by pointing to an elected official well known for his mis-use of the English language is a classic example of choosing the wrong role model for the wrong skill set.

If you want to learn to communicate, pay close attention to someone who can communicate. Blogs are a written form. Learning to communicate is key to having your ideas taken seriously.

Posted by: | May 21, 2007 06:39 PM

Thank you for the advice. I do have multiple mentors in my life. I guess I was trying to crack a joke at my making up a word. From now on, I'll take full blame. I made up a word. My bad. And what most people my age know about blogs is "Arguing on the internet is like competing in the Special Olympics. Even if you win you're still retarded." Politically incorrect, but true. Most online talk is for flamers and trolls. This blog is sometimes more of an exception, likely due to its older crowd. I am enjoying being the target today, lots of posts criticizing my grammar, my life decisions, my justifications for my grammar and life decisions. Fun times. I guess there is the real possibilit you all do hate Millenials since perhaps if I was older you'd let a spelling slip by, but being young, I should get a mentor and learn to be a better person. Will get right on that.

Posted by: Miles | May 21, 2007 6:45 PM

I graduated with a BA in 3 years, while working 20+ hours a week the whole time.

You should've taken longer so you could spend more time studying.

Posted by: To Miles | May 21, 2007 7:05 PM

possibilit, should be possibility
Millenials, should be Millennials
if I was older, should be if I were older

And sometimes Politically Incorrect is just plain rude, not something of which to be proud.

You indeed have much to learn.

Posted by: To Miles | May 21, 2007 7:09 PM

Vegasmom- thanks for the great points of elaboration and making me feel less snarky.

I think the key was that they always asked and always let me choose. When I got to the freestyle level and realized I'd either have to get really serious and that as an overweight kid whose mom really couldn't afford the hobby anymore it really wasn't my path, I moved on.

I'll also say it's easier to get into an individual sport on your own than it is a team sport. But there's still tons of options!

Posted by: Liz D | May 21, 2007 8:23 PM

There is nothing wrong with art. I just was making a point regarding it and ap/honors. I did not believe that there were ap or honors classes -*in high school*- for art.

Sorry for the confusion.

Posted by: atlmom | May 21, 2007 9:17 PM

Miles, thanks for putting yourself out there today. Few people have the guts to make their personal lives available to public scrutiny, even semi-anonymously.

Some of us respect you for that and for your honest self-evaluation. Don't let the nitpicking turkeys get you down.

Posted by: Proud Papa | May 21, 2007 10:57 PM

"Arguing on the internet is like competing in the Special Olympics. Even if you win you're still retarded." Politically incorrect, but true.
Posted by: Miles | May 21, 2007 06:45 PM

I really hope you don't use that at work. I'm sure you will say that you know better, but do you realize how much it can just slip out? I just had to get on to my 20-somthing team lead for saying "we are all going to look like retards." Talk like that is inapproriate anywhere, but especially in the office.

Posted by: RT | May 22, 2007 9:27 AM

I heard that even South Park got slammed for saying "retard." You have to say "R-tard" now. That is the new PC term for being a total F-up. LMAO!

Posted by: Chris | May 22, 2007 10:01 AM

Poor management is at the root. At 21, newly married and pregnant, I had started arriving late. The boss calls me into his private space, and mentions that fact. I reply,"but I go home early", laughed sheepishly and quickly apologized. No excuses. I was never late again. I got great reviews and great sleep.

Posted by: Jo ellen | May 22, 2007 11:12 AM

When I started out in the workplace, my generation (X) had many of the same criticisms leveled against it as the Millenials do today--we were lazy, entitled, didn't want to work hard, bad dressers, etc. Those stereotypes pretty much disappeared, though, when the dot-com boom hit and so many of us started working 60-70 hour work weeks at our own start-ups. Sure, most of those businesses crashed becuase it was all so much smoke and mirrors, but it put to rest the generalization that we were lazy and didn't want to work. No doubt something similar will come along for the Millenials that will obliterate the stereotype as it's applied to them.

Posted by: tom | May 22, 2007 4:21 PM

The entire subject is interesting and endlessly provocative; as a retired English teacher of the 'traditional' generation, I dealt with about 2 1/2 generations of high school students who just couldn't understand why I insisted on timeliness as well as correctness. Finally, I pointed out to 17+year-olds that "you can be fired for being late" but NOT usually for incorrect or poor work habits.(the first time) I retired early to 'get away' from the pathetic student teachers I had to supervise, who were frequently not only NOT prepared in their subject area but were also lazy & hostile and pitifully dressed. Professional appearance was just not a concern. I've had MANY parents thank me for trying to advise sons/daughters in post-high school attitudes & behaviors; other parents challenged the school's right to expect much at all.

Posted by: ksdemocrat1 | May 22, 2007 5:17 PM

The entire subject is interesting and endlessly provocative; as a retired English teacher of the 'traditional' generation, I dealt with about 2 1/2 generations of high school students who just couldn't understand why I insisted on timeliness as well as correctness. Finally, I pointed out to 17+year-olds that "you can be fired for being late" but NOT usually for incorrect or poor work habits.(the first time) I retired early to 'get away' from the pathetic student teachers I had to supervise, who were frequently not only NOT prepared in their subject area but were also lazy & hostile and pitifully dressed. Professional appearance was just not a concern. I've had MANY parents thank me for trying to advise sons/daughters in post-high school attitudes & behaviors; other parents challenged the school's right to expect much at all.

Posted by: ksdemocrat1 | May 22, 2007 5:17 PM

Sorry about mistaken double post.

Posted by: ksdemocrat1 | May 22, 2007 5:20 PM

I'm at the older end of the Millenials, circa 1982. I have a master's degree, but can't get a job in my field - museums - because I have to wait for a Traditionalist to die for a job to open up.

So for now, I work as a writer for a ad agency that's... OK. "OK" meaning they pay enough that I can afford exorbitant DC rent. I show up every day, and I do my job - quickly and incredibly well, I might add. Who cares if I wear jeans and a T-shirt to work or show up at 10 (and stay until 6:30) or decide to work from home in my pajamas? Not me.

Because at the end of the day, my work is still done and my paycheck is still the same. Because in the time it takes my Boomer boss to check his email/decipher the inner workings of a phone with voicemail/get mired down in office politics (or for my Generation X co-workers to complain about their kids' constipation around the water cooler), I've already done a whole day's work.

As for loyalty to the company? Please. I'm just waiting until something better comes along. Because it will. At the end of the day, A JOB IS JUST A JOB. And I can always get another one.

Although I make it a point to always wear underwear.

Posted by: daisyriot | May 24, 2007 6:26 PM

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