Todays organizations are filled with individuals making up at least three generations baby boomers, Gen X and Gen Y. Each of these groups looks at the workplace differently. These differences play a pivotal role in the answer to todays question.
Jill is a gen Y’r fresh out of College. She is a wired girl, more comfortable with her virtual friends than the “senior” folks at the office. She approaches her work collaboratively. Myspace, Youtube, Wikopedia, Google these are her resources. She is confident and extremely smart finishing in the top of her computer science program at a division I college she is expected to have a bright future. Promotions, travel, large salary, she knows its only a matter of time before she gets the number one job in a small tech start up.
Well that was six months ago and the shine on that future is starting to tarnish. Working for a mid size tech company as an intern, she never imagined the types of tasks she would be asked to do. But she was taught to be a leader so she took it and did what was asked of her.
When her Baby boomer boss invites her to attend the big project meeting she gets excited. Will this be my chance to show these people what I am capable of? Will this project leader role become my big break? She is bubbling with anticipation. The day of the meeting she dresses for success, she shows up a little early and gets a seat at the conference table. Not just any seat, she sits directly across from where her boss normally sits. She wants to convey confidence, poise, professionalism.
As the meeting starts, she tries to contain her excitement. How will I set the team up to make this a smash success she ponders. Then is happens…
That 40 something guy down the hall with all the answers and a smug look, Don, was just given your project leader role. Jill struggles to maintain composure, to contain her disappointment. She thinks about the other contract positions she turned down to take this job. This was supposed to be a great company, a great place to cut your teeth, learn the game. So far all it has been is a bunch of menial and meaningless bit parts while other more senior employees get the glory and the experience. I Have been here for six months now! How can they treat me this way?!
Then it happens, like the final straw dropping onto the back of a fully loaded camel your boss turns looks at you and asks you to take the team documenter role. He drones on about how important it is that in this company we keep impeccable records after all if we get audited these will be critical. You are mentally checked out at this point. If he were not looking directly at you, you would already be texting your friends with the details of this latest insult.
Thankfully the meeting ends and you leave the conference room looking for virtual comforting from your friends online. Just before you turn to enter your cube, the boss calls you into his office.
He is concerned that you looked distracted during the meeting, checked out in fact. Not only that but you have been working only 40 hours a week and have come in late twice in the past week, once by 15 whole minutes! He finds himself questioning your commitment and your ability to be a more meaningful contributor to the team.He wants to know what you will do to improve your performance
How do you approach this situation?
How do you connect with your boss in a way that will allow you to succeed?
How do you convey to him your ability to take on a larger role on the team?