Bad economy will be wakeup call for ’20-somethings’

    As we batten down the hatches – or perhaps run to the hills – to prepare for the economic tsunami that is about to hit, let’s consider this potential positive outcome: The bratty Entitlement Generation will be affected!

    The "Entitlement Generation" – those born between 1979 and 1994 – have been described as impatient, self-serving, disloyal, unable to delay gratification – in short, feeling that they are entitled to everything without working for it.

    They will struggle to win and keep jobs in their fields, just like the rest of us. They will learn to interview with respect; no more "How many weeks of vacation do I get? But rather, "How can I put my talents to work for the good of the business and all of its stakeholders?" 

    The Labor Department reported an October job loss of 240,000, higher than economists predicted. Those jobs cuts impacted a variety of industries, from service, to retail, hospitality and banking. Not only are jobs rapidly vanishing, but many holding on to the ones that are left are feeling the pinch through reductions in commission or mandatory salary cuts. Those who will hold onto their positions are those who are hard-working, flexible, creative, talented, and loyal.  

    The worst offenders will not last long in today’s workforce.

    The unemployment rate has reached 6.5 percent. It hasn’t been this high since 1994, which is when the last of the Entitlement Generation were born. This generation needs to grow up and grow up fast.

    I offer the following tips to that group of "20-somethings":
    1. Stop worrying about perks and benefits. If they exist now, they might not soon. Pretend they don’t exist. 2. Work longer hours – or at least work a full week. Employers are having to make cuts in every area. If you prove your value, you are less likely to get cut.
    3. Feel lucky to be employed in a field where you are learning skills that will help advance your career.
    4. Know that if you weather the storm with your employer, you are likely to find great rewards when it is over.

    Perhaps you’ll receive monetary rewards – but more importantly, rewards such as a developed sense of loyalty and purpose.

    Susan Falk is president and chief executive officer of The Falk Group in Milwaukee.

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