Over at Marketing Magazine, Zac Martin wrote an open letter to potential employers outlining the kind of things Gen Y look for in employment. Zac is his usual abrupt self and so I thought it would be fun to play devils advocate and write a “I’ll tell you what I want” open letter to Gen Y from the point of view of an employer. Make sure you read Zac’s article before reading on …
Look, I am a bit old school but I think I kinda get this social networking stuff. It looks like great fun. However, you Gen Y are always carrying on about how you need it for work and collaboration. Deep down I don’t doubt it. Only problem is I never see any actual evidence of this. I am starting to think it is just an excuse to stop me from banning it at work. In fact, every time I walk pass your desk it looks like you are “poking” some girl or looking at photos from the weekend.
Here is why I kinda think the whole “I need it for work” argument is all bullshit. You see, over at Marketingmag you say “Chances are I’ll need Facebook and Twitter to work” but then over at Matt Granfield’s blog you left a comment that says “For the most part, my Facebook is just my friends, people I’ve met a number of times and have an ongoing relationship.”
Seems a bit contradictory to me. You can bet your next pay cheque that the mobile phone I provide for you and pay the bill for isn’t because “chances are you’ll need it for work but for the most part it is just for your friends”. Why should Facebook be any different?
Wasn’t happy about those pics I saw of you. Just because you did that stupid stuff on the weekend and now it has ended up on Facebook doesn't matter that it happened in personal time. Our clients, and potential clients, don't care that it happened on Sat night at your local pub. All they see is a drunken idiot dressed up in girls clothes with vomit all over them. It’s cool to a certain extent because most of our clients have a good sense of humour and believe me, we have all done stupid stuff in the past. In fact, I remember a great night that involved a gorilla suit, a dancer, a beer keg and some fireworks. But seriously, we didn’t have this internet stuff back then so nobody knew what we got up to (I had to dig this photo out and scan it in!). Now everyone has a bloody camera on their mobile and sticks the pics up on Facebook or MySpace.
I realise it is all about trust but you see there is an old saying “once bitten, twice shy”. Your generation always says we should trust you but just a couple of months ago a couple of Gen Yers, that I trusted, used a whole month of our download limit in just one week when they used work PCs to play World of Warcraft. Then we all had to work slower cause the internet speed was rooted. That’s just not fair and very disrespectful.
Now listen close. You see this business? I worked my friggin arse off to build this. I am talking me working more hours than you have even spent being alive. My marriage suffered and I didn't spend as much time with my kids as I probably should have. I am pretty sure one of them actually hates me. I even used to have a full head of hair and weigh 35kgs less. You’’ understand that this company is my life’s work and I take it very seriously.
I've learnt a lot along the way and I don’t want to blow my own trumpet too much but I recon I could teach you a thing or two. Now, these are not things that you have already learnt at uni nor something you can learn of the internet. These are things that you can only learn on the job. The thing is, you haven’t been gainfully employed full-time for all that long so I recon you should stop telling me what you want for 5 minutes and pay attention to me.
It is things like how to get access to power in an organisation. “What?” I hear you say. Access to power, you know, the person that can actually sign the cheques and has the power to buy. We don't want to get caught talking to someone who is just going to gather info to tell their boss and act like a gatekeeper. So please don’t book us in to just go and speak to anyone who rings up asking about our services. Instead, I will teach you how to ask questions the right way so that they say "Oh, maybe you should meet with my boss because I can't answer that”.
It is also things like what we can and can’t do for our clients. You know that big government client we have? Well we can’t treat them the same as the private company clients we have. They have rules they have to adhere to. We can't just take them out on a boozey lunch and pick up the bill because they are not allowed to accept stuff like that because it may open them up to being biased in buying our services. Not a good look for them when they are spending tax payers money. Instead we have to respect the position they are in or we may end up not doing any more business with them.
At the end of the day we are a team, and I truly believe that. I hired you because you have some great skills, drive and a lot of potential. But you are not God’s gift to my company. I need you to realise that in the cold hard light of day it is my family home that the bank will re-poses if this business goes under so you'll forgive me if I might get a little jittery if I think you spend half your time on Facebook and Twitter instead of working.
Now get back to your desk and get on with what I pay you for ;)