What’s Kickin’ Blog
Fran Kick, M.A. Educational Psychology, CSP

When Trophy Kids Go To Work

Parents who spoiled their kids growing up are now surprised how “entitled” these same kids seem to be as employees in the workforce? The price employers will pay for what many parents and teachers did to carrot-and-stick their kids to “do what they told them to do” might challenge the workplace. That’s according to Ron Alsop, a contributor to The Wall Street Journal and author of The Trophy Kids Grow Up: How the Millennial Generation Is Shaking Up the Workplace.

Apparently, managers are starting to see how many Millennials “flounder without precise guidelines, but thrive in structured situations that provide clearly defined rules.” Perhaps that’s because kids born between 1980-2000 have always been told “what to do and when to do it?” Let’s face it, there’s little time to “figure things out for yourself” when you’re being shuttled from one adult-led activity to the next as a child growing up.

Imagine what your attitude would be growing up with most of your time spent as a student mainly being motivated with carrot-and-stick incentives-and-threats? So much for developing self-motivation. Upon graduating into the workforce would it be a surprise that you would respond to any given task with: “What will I get if I do?” and “What will you do if I don’t?”

To his credit, Ron does admit that “in the final analysis, the generational tension is a bit ironic. After all, the grumbling baby-boomer managers are the same indulgent parents who produced the millennial generation.”

  • By Fran Kick
  • |November 8, 2008
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