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With the reliable, hardworking baby boomers retiring at a fast pace, younger workers are beginning to take their place. Unlike the boomers, most enter the workforce after completing college, still living at home with their parents. Though bright and energetic, they bring different work habits and job expectations that others may see as disadvantages in a traditional work environment.
Most younger workers have never used or even seen a desk phone. They grew up with cellphones, PCs and the Internet. Their lives are contained in their smartphones, and they can do everything with the hundreds of app downloads on a touch screen. Young workers are used to instant messaging and tweeting friends multiple times a day. They do not consider these activities diversions from work, just productive multitasking. Their addiction to technology takes time away from work and others may find it distracting as well.
Sense of Entitlement
In their world, everyone is a hero and a winner. In their experience, competition was frowned on and everyone got a ribbon at the end of the race. Everyone earned an E for effort alone. Indulgent parents rarely said no. Young workers expect this same attitude from their boss. Young workers are less likely to settle for or stay in an entry-level job for long before expecting a promotion. Armed with a brand new college degree, they feel they deserve a management position.
Difficulty Accepting Feedback
Because young workers were always regarded as winners, they have difficulty accepting negative feedback. The ability to accept and learn from mistakes is critical for developing job skills and working as a team. Young workers are not impressed with titles, will challenge a manager and persist in doing things their own way.
Young workers that a company hires as supervisors or managers may have a difficult time leading older staff members. They lack management experience and the interpersonal communications skills -- so important to building rapport and building a team. Accustomed to building a network of friends on social media sites, they do not have the patience or desire to work with someone they did not choose for their team.
Mary Nestor-Harper has more than 12 years as a human-resources director and more than 19 years experience as an HR/management consultant. She has been published in "Training Magazine," "The Savannah Morning News" and on the Web. A television and radio business, career and motivation expert, she shares career and job search tips as Ageless Media Network's career expert on WTKS-AM 1290, Savannah, Ga.