Gen Y and the Dreaded “C” Word

March 1, 2011

a classroom, old wooden desks and a chalkboard

Have your career goals changed since high school?

By Eric Chester

Try this little career exercise.

Draw two horizontal lines on a blank sheet of paper.

On the first line, write the response you gave your friends, teachers, and family members when they asked what you were going to do with your life after graduating from high school. (e.g. “I’m going to be a scientist, lawyer, psychologist, etc.”)

On the second line, write your current job title.

How close are the two?

For most of us, the responses are as different as east is from west. As a teen, we had no idea what the road ahead held for us and we knew even less about the job title we spouted off when asked what we were going to do or become. (I told others I would someday be a color commentator for Monday Night Football, ala Howard Cosell.)

Choosing a career is one of the most important decisions an individual will ever make. There are hundreds of thousands of possibilities, and a person’s path can change several times over time. But the key to making that journey successful—no matter what twists and turns it takes—never changes. That key: Developing work ethic.

Well-meaning parents tell their young children they can grow up to be anything they want to be as long as they believe in themselves and put their minds to it. But not long after they discover the truth about Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy, they learn that getting where they want to go is going to take more than belief in self and focusing their minds.

With the rapid advances in technology and shifts in global economics, no one can accurately predict what the future will hold with regard to jobs. Many of today’s students will find themselves in career fields that don’t yet exist, requiring skills that haven’t been invented. That is why it is more important than ever to instill within our youth the fundamental underpinnings for achieving and sustaining success in every job, in every industry, and in any career they choose. And the foundation for that success is work ethic.

Work ethic is the most common term leaders use when describing the superstars in their organization. It’s also their most frequent utterance when explaining what’s missing in the low performers they are letting go.

The book I am releasing this fall, Valued: Developing Work Ethic in the Emerging Workforce to Build Your Business and Launch Their Careers, is the first book written on the topic of work ethic since 1904. With the input of more than 1,500 employers, the book defines work ethic using seven distinct attributes: attitude, reliability, professionalism, initiative, integrity, respect, and gratitude. These core values are not new or trendy, but because they are becoming increasingly harder for employers to find, they are prized more than ever. Workers who possess and demonstrate these traits are of the highest value to employers, and organizations are competing hard for them. Employees deficient in one or more of these areas are of little or no value in the workplace.

In the next seven months, we’ll take a deeper look into these seven attributes and delve into what leaders can do to instill and develop them within their emerging workforce. If you have thoughts, a story, or a strong opinion on one or more of these areas, I invite you to send them to me at eric@successinsurance.com.  Your submission could end up in my eZine or even in the book.

In the meantime, if you really want to straighten kids out and point them in the right direction, tell them that if they are a positive, enthusiastic person who shows up for work on time each and every day appropriately dressed and adequately prepared, will consistently strive do their job to the best of their ability and then some, will follow the rules and accept direction from their supervisors, will remain honest and forthright, and will serve others cheerfully regardless of the circumstances, they can grow up to be anything they want to be.

Eric Chester is a hall of fame keynote speaker and bestselling author on the topic of teens and young adults entering the workforce. His soon-to-be-released book, Developing Work Ethic in a World that Fights Against It is the first book published on that topic since 1904. Eric is also the Founder and CEO of Bring Your A Game to Work—a training and certification program that has been dubbed the ‘Driver’s Education for the Workplace.’

http://TeneoTalent.com offers a new process of sales recruiting that uses sales assessments for both employers and job seekers to create long term fits.  We also offer career development tools through our sales career coaching program, including resume writing. We offer career advice, career matching and although our organization has a national focus, and have many Denver and Boulder sales jobs available at the moment.

Photo Credit: alamosbasement


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