I'm in the midst of reading Ron Alsop's most excellent new book, The Trophy Kids Grow Up.
It's a fascinating tome that sheds light on why Millennials (those born after 1980) act the way they do in the workplace. It's chock-a-block full of riveting case studies, anecdotes and "how to motivate them" lists. Alsop dove deep to speak with the "kids" as well as their parents and employers.
The book's message is simple: employers need to bend the rules and accept the quirky ways and beliefs of trophy kids (who earned the moniker by receiving trophies in their childhood years for simply showing up to a school or athletic event). When a trophy kid shows up at work in flip flops and jeans, or multitasks during a job interview or makes it clear she needs to take a sabbatical to explore her spirituality, employers need to suck it up and say, "OK, well your generation is in great demand and you'll soon be our middle and senior managers so, sure, chill out."
Alsop quotes one Millennial after another who complain about being bored by a project or needing a new work challenge. Most possess so little corporate loyalty that nearly half of the 18- to 24-year-olds Ron interviewed said they planned to job hop in the next year.
The trophy kids may indeed be job hopping in the next year. But, most of it won't be of their own making. Ever since September 15th when Lehman Brothers collapsed and the financial markets went into their cataclysmic tailspin, the trophy kids' luster has started to fade.
Now, the "free to be me" kids with high expectations who told Alsop they'll keep job hopping until they find their ideal position are, well, up the proverbial creek.
I wonder what will happen to an entire generation that was brought up to believe it could have whatever it wanted. How do they suddenly change lifetime habits overnight and start toeing the line? Or, do they?
It's a fascinating subject that demands at least a sequel. For now, The Trophy Kids Grow Up, published in the late summer, is about as relevant as a Bear Stearns stock option.