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Op-Ed: Look Out Boss - Here Comes The Trophy Kid

By Mark Sierra     Oct 23, 2008 in Business
In our not-too-distant past, there was a paradigm shift in parental behavior where children were protected from all kinds of things that might possibly harm a child's ego - for better or worse. The result is the Trophy Kid.
A parent wants their child to feel special and protect them from harm. That's natural and a sign of a good parent. But taken too far, it can produce spoiled children. Enter: the Trophy Kid.
The Trophy Kid is someone born between 1980 and 2001. They were taught that it was too harsh for a teacher to grade their papers in red ink. So they enjoyed more softer, pleasing colors like purple so that an "F" didn't seem so bad.
In an effort to soften - or perhaps remove - the blow of losing a game or contest, parents supported the idea of giving everyone an award making them all feel special. Another triumph in the effort to keep a child from having to learn how to deal with defeat.
And for those parents who just couldn't wait to celebrate high school graduation, grade to grade graduations were invented, thus taking a special milestone in someone's life and reducing it to something more routine.
All these things and more have created a weakness in a generation of kids who have a strong sense of entitlement and struggle to deal with adversity, creative thinking, and expect people to change for them. They are now entering the workforce, but are they prepared? Or is it better to ask if the workforce is prepared for them?
The Wall Street Journal reports:
More than 85% of hiring managers and human-resource executives said they feel that millennials have a stronger sense of entitlement than older workers, according to a survey by The generation's greatest expectations: higher pay (74% of respondents); flexible work schedules (61%); a promotion within a year (56%); and more vacation or personal time (50%).
Lavishly praised by teachers, parents, and coaches while growing up, we now face employees entering the workplace who expect to be coddled by those who pay them. And what happens when a Millienial receives a less than stellar job review? Some managers have reported saying that they've seen the over-protected employee break down in tears, some even quitting their jobs.
Lacking accountability is also another characteristic the Trophy Kid exhibits. If they miss a deadline or fail in some capacity, they are more likely to blame others for their shortcomings.
Their definition of work is also different than the traditional meaning. For example, work is something you do, not where you go to do it. So a flexible routine is expected along with an expectation of being treated like colleagues rather than subordinates. If their needs are not met, they are more likely to quit their job rather than sticking around to make things work out.
All of this has presented a challenge to businesses. It has even created a new niche for consultants to profit from. Support is now given to baby-boomer managers and Trophy Kid employees to help them adapt to each other's expectations.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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