To Tell Or Not …


Recently I was invited to a dear friend’s for dinner and joining us (unbeknownst to me) were the young adult children of my friend’s partner. In my consulting practice I often help Gen X and Ys figure how to survive in the crazy life of job searching (or is it really the crazy job of life searching)?

Anyway, I took it upon myself to strongly communicate the challenges for many young job hunters or the career confused. Post dinner I learned that my words of wisdom (I’m close to being a Boomer) were not received in the vein intended. My friend told me frankly how upset they were by my opinions and advice. They are both in transition and in a cultural industry.

Was I wrong? Well partly yes, because ultimately I feel a deep responsibility to young people as I too am navigating both the complexities and challenges in BOTH organizational life and the labour market. Let alone parenting two spirited Gen Ys. Without sharing the sordid details,  some of the topics I lambasted them with:

  • Always have a Plan B – even as an experienced worker but especially for those under 30
  • Be prudent about spending too many resources that are necessary for overseas higher education – let alone domestic graduate school. (My own teen’s lead teacher warned parents last September that there are plenty of MAs working in Starbucks.)
  • Independence is a good thing – even though it means working hard at unappealing jobs – it helps us to grow. I skipped saying the last bit by the way
  • Be prepared to change and potentially still have a dozen plus jobs post graduation before 35

Leaving home early, paying own way, was a reality when I was coming up – I still believe it is possible even though I repeatedly hear “It’s so different now”. (I’m not convinced but I didn’t say this.)

Yes, I’m sorry that they shut down the minute they felt threatened, I’m also sorry they didn’t argue with me – my kids would have not hesitated disagreeing with me had they been in the room that night.

As a coach I feel slightly guilty that I didn’t know a little bit about these budding youth. I feel bad that they felt bad versus inspired and slightly more informed about the big bad world. I can only hope that they (secretly) didn’t hate me but may have digested snippets of my loaded lament.Everyone is different and I need to remember this and be more careful when I get on my soapbox and actually believe wholeheartedly that I can help by ramming my opinions down vulnerable youth’s throats.

Oh the perils of wisdom and gift of increased self-awareness. Thank goodness for friends who provide ME with an opportunity to come down a notch. I said to my friend I may have very well been been talking out of my hat but no one begged to differ. I choose now to reflect on the adage “keep your knowledge to yourself” especially when it’s my first invite to dinner! Finally, I guess my company GOYAworks – signifying that to Get Off Your Ass works may be a better starting point next time with a known captive audience and microphone!

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