Millennials have a Stupid Mentality

millennialnametag_0You know how millennials are staying home longer than the previous generation and are protected by Mommy and Daddy well past their teens? Well the nest isn’t the only safety net 20-somethings have nowadays. This is so ridiculous I could hardly believe it.

Millennials are bringing Mommy and Daddy to their job interviews. No shit. They bring one of their parents because they are so used to Mommy and Daddy doing everything for them. Sometimes Mommy even participates in the interview. Good grief.

Other parents are known to call corporations and try to set up interviews for their adult “kids.” If you were the hiring manager would you take that potential employee seriously?

There is another way that parents have failed their millennial children. They have given their kids everything they ever wanted. They constantly tell their children they are special and better than everyone else. There is no such thing as losing: parents want everyone to win all the time. They demand teachers give their children an “A” even when it isn’t earned.

millenialsThis results in a generation of loser workers. They have been dealt a bad hand. They are tough to manage. They feel a sense of entitlement. They are narcissistic. They have a lot of demands on their employers even when they are just starting out. They all think they are working at Google where there is free food and a playground. A playground. Dear God. Right back to where Mommy and Daddy used to tell them how special they were and when childhood was a fun place to be.

Millennials have been caught doing all kinds of weird things at work. One employer found his 23-year-old employee uploading penis pictures to their company Dropbox and drinking wine.  A 26-year-old woman billed a company 12 hours a day but she spent 6 hours on the computer playing video games. Another millennial worker quit a good job when a new video game came out so he could play it all day.

Are there any good millennials out there? Of course there are. And many early 20-something’s will work for low pay because they need a job to pay off their student loans. Others are eager to please because they actually want to get and keep a job, and start climbing up the corporate ladder. There is hope for the millennials. But they have a long way to go.




Job Hop in Order to find Stability

business-woman-jumpingSounds like a paradox but it’s not. Gone are the days when you worked for 25 years at the same corporation then retired with a gold watch. Finite. Forget it. Nowadays companies are always looking out for the new up-and-comers with more skills and better ideas. That means that you need to always be on the lookout for a new job or even a new career.

The trick is not to get laid off or fired to make room for someone else. That means you need to keep your network current so when you need to change careers there are people who have your back and may be able to help you. It also means paying attention to your work atmosphere and noticing when people start disappearing from the office. That should be a red flag that it’s time for you to update your resume.

In other words the stability comes from being one step ahead of your organization. You need to leave it before it leaves you. People in their 20s change jobs about every 18 months. “Being in a new position and doing something for a year or two is great. But later, the things that are not as appealing about the job start to wear on you.” That’s when work becomes – work – and a chore, rather than anything that can provide you with satisfaction.

stuffmomnevertoldyou-podcasts-wp-content-uploads-sites-87-2014-01-bossy-600x350That’s the thing about 21st century workers. It isn’t enough to have stability and a good salary. We want it all: a good salary, interesting work, time off, opportunity for promotion, decent sick leave time and on and on. Worker demands have increased and companies have to stay in step with these demands. That means they are only going to keep the creme de la creme and they’ll fire or “lay off” the rest.

Some people suggest that you do what you love to do. For those people this formula seems to have worked but these people are usually few and far between. For most of us finding a job we are good at and getting paid a decent salary is the best we can hope for. And even then after a while you aren’t going to be satisfied because the humdrum and the stressors will inevitably set in and it will be time to go.

So try lots of job. Maybe find an industry you like and go from there. And I mean literally go from there.

Your Job will Never totally Satisfy You

blogSo put any idea that it will out of your head. Your job will not complete you unless you are incredibly lucky and do wind up with a career that you absolutely love (most of us don’t). And if you do you probably aren’t making a good salary which leads to depression so the bottom line is if you do what you love you are probably screwed. How fun is that?

You will spend over half your life working. That’s a somber thought. Don’t worry. You will probably career hop at least 3 times so you won’t necessarily be stuck in a career you hate. Even when you’re in a good job you won’t be totally fulfilled by it. We are multi-faceted beings and it is impossible that any one thing will ever fully satisfy us.

You might love to take ballroom dancing lessons, blog, play football, collect stamps, hang out with friends, gossip and drink beer. But clearly if you only did one of these things all the time you would soon hate it. Because it would get old and boring. You have to have variety in your life.

familyThe same is true of your career. Even if it has lots of variety and you are excited at the beginning, over time it will not be completely fulfilling. You will probably fall in love and want to have kids. You may wish to complete your education. You might want to travel or take singing lessons. Your job simply won’t cover all the bases.

So find a good career that hopefully you enjoy and that pays well. Just don’t be surprised when it isn’t enough to keep you entirely happy. That’s normal. It’s not you. It’s life.

Doing what you Love is Stupid

Because you’ll never make any money. What are the things that many women love doing? Blogging. Spending time with their families. Getting or giving make-overs. Fitness. Taking courses in areas of interest which tend to be in things they love and aren’t going to contribute to their business goals. Sometimes.

downloadLet’s say you love to teach yoga and you’re a good teacher. It’s really hard to make money as a fitness instructor in any capacity. Take it from one who knows. I taught at the YMCA and various private studios eons ago, teaching high and low impact aerobics and step classes (remember those)? I barely made a penny. I was a great teacher and I had fun but the earning potential was zero.

I have a trainer. She tells me the pay rate is competitive which means it’s not great. There are no benefits and no pension. If you take days off you don’t get paid. She finally quit and returned to university to complete her Ph.D. in linguistics. She’d already started it then quit to enter fitness. She spent a few years in the field, realized she’d never make any money from it, quit and returned to her academics. That makes more sense to me. Maybe she’ll be a prof or a translator. Who knows? She’s married and her husband can support them both so she has time to finish this thing.

Yoga is everywhere nowadays and there are all kinds. There are different membership rates and different locations. There are even webinars when you can’t make it into a studio. The competition is so fierce I bet the only way you might make money is to open your own studio. And that is a big risk at best.

blog.jpgOther things you might love, such as writing or blogging, are absolutely abysmal pay (if any). You just don’t usually make money blogging unless it is part of a larger job description for a corporation.

And figuring out what you love to do can be a burden unto itself. How many things do you love to do? Probably a hundred. So which one do you want to do? Probably a hundred. Now what?  You will drive yourself insane figuring that one out. So don’t bother. Do what you like to do, are good at doing and will get paid very well to do. Hopefully you will also choose a career that is not only in demand now but will remain so for years to come. That all depends on the industry you choose (not necessarily your specific job).

Have you ever watched the bad auditions for American Idol or X Factor? These people are terrible and they are so shocked when they don’t make it to the next round. What’s even more startling is that they don’t know how bad they are. So much for doing what you love.

You probably have a diploma, certificate or a degree. So use it to start you in the right direction. And if you don’t have these and are young and not burdened with kids, get one. Before you do, figure out your strengths (not your loves) and then enroll. Try this quiz.



Cosmetic Surgery is Good for your Career

Sometimes. It depends on what business you are in. If you’re in the teaching or medical profession you probably don’t have to worry about that. In that case, plastic surgery would be strictly for the self-esteem and there’s nothing wrong with that.

mouthSome people argue that you should accept yourself as you are and that it’s shallow to bend to media ideals. I don’t agree. If you feel better about yourself by improving your appearance, why not do it?  How is that any different than going to a gym and eating well to lose and maintain healthy weight? Certainly there are health gains with the latter that you don’t always get with the former but there is no way every person who goes to a gym does so strictly for the “good of their health.” But, I digress.

Here’s the thing about your career. Once you start to get into your 40’s (middle-age) it shows. Yes there’s the expression “40 is the new 30” but that truly depends on your weight, wardrobe, state of mind and health. It’s the whole package, babe.

Once you’re into your 50’s you are really going to show your age if you aren’t hitting the gym and investing in plastic surgery. And that puts you in danger of“>ageism. For those of you who don’t know that expression it refers to being pushed out of your career due to the more youthful, better-looking up and comers behind you. When you apply for a new position in a new company, your skills and experience are very important. But if yours closely matches that of a person 10 – 15 years younger than you, guess who usually gets the job?

Ageism includes a lot of factors of course. Not staying current with technology and refusing to better your work performance through seminars and business courses is as foolish as “letting yourself go,” (if not more so). This isn’t a new concept. The term was coined in 1969 by Robert Neil Butler. Butler used it to refer to discrimination against ageism-1024x604seniors but in the 21st century this applies to middle-aged people and older in the work place. Consider plastic surgery. A make-over. A new hairdo. Whatever makes you look better and feel better. Watch a video about psychological benefits of plastic surgery here.

Here’s a blog from a career woman who was asked by via an email to recommend a “younger her” for a job opportunity. Surprisingly, this woman had enough experience and sophistication not to take the request as an insult but as an opportunity. Impressive. I’m not sure I could do that.

Gary Vaynerchuk (whoever that is) has some interesting viewpoints on aging and the workforce. One thing I truly agree with is that people in their 50’s have a lot more time ahead of them in the workforce than our parents once did. That being the case, start feeling and looking it.He refers to modern medicine in terms of keeping us healthy and wanting or needing to work more years than we previously thought would be the case when we were younger. I agree with that and go one step further by stating use the other medical technology that is affordable and accessible for most people: plastic and/or cosmetic surgery.

It can help you stay on the business market longer than you might think.

Simon Cowell is a Jerk and a Great Career Counsellor

simon_cowell_in_december_2011You must know who Simon Cowell is – the producer and brainchild behind American Idol and X Factor among other “reality” shows. He’s not a nice guy. We know this. Funny, insulting, handsome and wildly successful, yes. Nice? No. But you can’t argue with his success. He’s worth about $600 million American. That’s flabbergasting. So I tend to think when Cowell advises people they are not recording artist material, he knows what he’s talking about.

Another thing that astounds me about Cowell’s productions are the contestants who audition to become the next American Idol. These utterly delusional (Cowell says deluded) people show up to audition. Most of them are god-awful looking (they really ought to read my blog about getting an image consultant), can’t carry a tune in a bucket and yet are somehow flummoxed when they are told they aren’t recording artist material. Some of them are furious when they walk out of the audition. Some threaten Cowell, flip off the cameraman and yell obscenities as they are escorted out of the building. What’s that all about? What’s wrong with there weirdos?

And that’s a great way to attend an audition. I’m sure the judging panel will regret rejecting freak-shows like that. Do these contestants expect Cowell to jump out of his seat and chase them down the hall yelling “wait! I’ve made a mistake!” So far I haven’t seen that happen but if it ever does I expect Simon to then turn to the camera and say “psych!”

Here are some of my favourite freak contestants in the series:

  1. Ariel Burdett – This freakshow donned craft wool braids and stormed into the audition room pulling off her contestant number whilst declaring “I’m not a number. I’m a human being!. then proceeded to roar an “academic construction” to demonstrate holistic talent for Cowell and his judging panel.
  2. The Narcissist – this woman stated she was “better than Madonna.” She wasn’t.
  3. Holly Jervis – Cowell’s feedback sums her up nicely, “[your mouth] is like a cave.
  4. 16-year-old Sofie Stoker – who is known on Youtube by the unfortunate distinction as the most embarrassing X Factor audition.  Her proud mother’s comment was “I can’t believe that’s coming out of my little girl. It can bring me to tears.” Her voice did the same to the audience.
  5. Mary Roach – even her name doesn’t sound promising.
  6. Andrew Fenlon – he informed the interviewer for American Idol that he’d be able to perform well if he “didn’t have to interview all the time…’s messing me up.” I have a great stage name for him: The Spawn of Ted Bundy. I hope he didn’t pick up any hitchhikers on his way home.
  7. Jules versus the Judges – Jules managed to isolate himself from all 3 judges in about 5 minutes telling Randy he needed to “go to the gym”, informing Paul Abdula she wouldn’t have made it in the industry “15 years ago” and Simon that he “stomped on souls”. I wouldn’t recommend this approach at a job interview.

Before I became a teacher I wanted to be a lawyer. I wrote a good LSAT. I had a decent profile. My GPA was good but not great. I was wait-listed at the University of Ottawa so when I visited a friend in that city, I attended a meeting with a nice lady on the admissions committee who informed me I was 75 on the waitlist (ouch) and that my GPA really wasn’t as high as it looked on the transcript (she did the math in front of me). Was I devastated? Yes. Did I feel like jumping off a building? Yes. Did I yell obscenities at the woman, flip her off and have to be removed by security? Uh, no. I realized law school wasn’t in my future and that sucked. I didn’t know at the time that teacher’s college was in my future and that it would prove to be a great career. There’s always a silver lining in rejection, no matter how much it sucks.

Yes it’s lousy when your dreams or goals turn out to be unrealistic especially for young people. They don’t have enough life experience yet to appreciate that when a professional with decades of experience informs them that they should re-consider their career choices, this is actually valuable and helpful advice. Okay so, no one wants to receive this feedback from Simon Cowell. His communication methods are somewhat … controversial. And I doubt that telling someone he looks like an African bush baby is necessary for career success, even if it’s true.  In that same video he told a young man named Jonathan “this is not the career path for you.” Now that sounds like reasonable feedback.

And when Simon Cowell tells a contestant that their performance is “about as bad as it can get”, the unhappy contestant might wish to retire from the room (and her dreams) with a little more dignity than responding with “f—k you.” I would suggest the same is true when you attend a job interview and aren’t offered the job.



How Not to Behave at the Office Christmas Party

offThat holly jolly time of year again at the office. As usual, your colleagues and you are welcome to imbibe in a few refreshments together to welcome the holidays and the new year (although hopefully without ending up like the – lovely – lady on the left).Before Holly gets too jolly it is always wise to keep in mind some sage (pun) advice in order to keep your career intact. For an animated example of how to get fired at the party, click here.

I once had a friend who got so drunk at a large company party attended by about 200 or so employees that she could remember very little of the evening the next day. Now you know that cannot be a good sign. Her work friend, Haley, filled her in on a few deets the following day. She’d lifted up her skirt over her waist while dancing. Some of the male employees frantically searched for their cell phones to get that on film. So far it hasn’t gone viral – not that she knows about.

The coup de grace however was slow dancing with a male colleague with whom she had a pleasant, platonic comraderie and telling him apropos of nothing “I want to fuck you.” She then went to work on Monday and sulked, ignoring him as if he had done something wrong. Oopsie. Her bad.

Here’s another gem for you. 

party“My boss told me a story about a former intern who had to leave the company because of her Christmas party antics. She was the niece of a big boss who’d managed to get an internship through her family connections and was invited along to the Christmas party at the end of the year. They’d hired somewhere out for the Christmas party and things got very messy as soon as the booze started to flow. The intern was chucking back the shots and ended up vomiting all down herself during the party, but instead of taking her home for some reason they sat her on the pool table, where she carried on throwing up. She then proceeded to poo herself on the pool table. She didn’t go back to work after Christmas.”

I’ve always dreamed about shitting all over the boss – at least this woman had the chance to live my dream.

When 33-year-old Dana Humphrey arrived at her company’s Christmas party a few years ago, she knew it was going to be a bad night from the get-go. “I got stuck at this awkward three-person table with the receptionist — who was rather outspoken and annoying — and her husband,” says Humphrey, who downed three cocktails before the appetizers even appeared. Afterward, at a music venue down the street, Humphrey ended up dancing “totally drunk” onstage. Even worse, she insulted a superior — telling the company CFO that she didn’t like her brooch.While the CFO never confronted Humphrey about the incident, she was mortified. Her boss took to calling her “party girl” the next day.

Here is an odd, alternative perspective by a CEO on how to behave at an office Christmas party. A parody of The Office and their Christmas cheer. And a 32-second vid of the real Office Christmas party. However you decide to party with your work colleagues, do what works for you and perhaps worry about the consequences in the morning (if you can remember the fun you had the night before).  Cheers!