I’m feeling a tiny bit optimistic that as a society we are finally beginning to deal with our Weasel infestation problems. After a long period of societal denial, we are finally facing up to the fact that we have a problem and are bringing in the exterminators. We seem to be overcoming our "CEO-Worship" issues. The fast and false riches at the beginning of the Dot Com age caused many to perceive corporate CEO’s like new rock stars; bad boys that could do no wrong even as they squandered shareholder money like drunken sailors. Perhaps it was wishful thinking on our part. If we were suddenly billionaires we would like the latitude to occasionally blow off steam like Steven Tyler after an Aerosmith concert.
But now many have been revealed as the Weasels they are – no talent bums that didn’t deserve a night out, much less the power to blow our money – and we’re sending them off to prison cells and firing warning shots for those that would follow them with the same sociopathic intent. And though we have far to go, we’re even making a little progress on the political front, indicating a few of the fast talking chiselers that masked their nefarious actions with the claim of patriotism and/or the fact they they were doing God’s Work.
But real and long-lasting Weasel eradication begins at home. There is a dirty little reality that most employers talk about when they can be completely honest. There is a problem with new job recruits coming out of college. Though there are certainly many budding Warriors and hard Workers that are exceptions to the problem, by and large the new generation entering the business world suffers from a lack of drive and an extreme sense of entitlement. They have been made soft by parents that worshiped them like little Sun Kings and told them they have an absolute right to success – as opposed to the right to try to be successful.
Last week I was visiting my Alma Mater, and I heard the same sad refrain from all the Professors. Their students are often lazy and have an unrealistic sense of self-importance. They assume they can graduate in mediocrity and someone will give them a terrific high paying job. And the educators blame the parents. I heard several stories with the same sick ending. Student turns in bad work – receives a D or F – and the Professor receives a call or visit from the parents claiming their little precious deserved something better. The message to the child is simple; it’s ok to be lazy and mediocre because society still owes you all possible riches. And in the workplace we see this played out. A generation of young people that don’t want to pay their dues and learn the trade. They perceive job advancement and raises as a reward just for showing up – as opposed to a bonus for great performance.
OK – let me state this one more time so everyone under 25 does not send hate mail. This is not indicative of everyone. I have some incredible young people in my organization that are motivated and hard working and are on their way to greatness. But, instilling an attitude of entitlement in young people is a recipe for a generation of Weasels and supporting their mediocrity cripples them and the country. We need a smart, motivated, hard working generation of Warriors and Workers to take us to the next level and fix some of the problems the current ruling generations have screwed up.