As a boomer closer to 60 than 55, I offer these well-meaning tips as graduation looms and a new crop of young professionals begin to make their way into careers. They are derived from a combination of my professional experience as a small business owner, overlaid with my decade plus of adjunct professor observations. I submit them with only good intentions and as a gentle reminder to my friends and colleagues who are in the position to make a difference or who oversee those who are…we were all beginners at one point in time.
1) It is not only polite, but also the right thing to do. Please return calls, respond to emails and answer communication from those seeking jobs with your company or organization. THAT is good public relations, and it doesn’t take that much time. Have an assistant key them up – but please, respond. Even with a polite and even better – instructive – piece of guidance if needed.
2) Think about the culture you are creating by your behavior. Do you sit on your phone in meetings? Do you interrupt your team when they are speaking? If so, you are setting a precedent that it’s okay to do so.
3) Find the teacher in you and take five minutes to help the next generation learn the ropes, the history and/or the ‘why’ behind your choices, direction, strategy, etc.
4) While reviewing your team, review yourself. Ask them – “How am I doing?”
5) Accept constructive feedback from your team just as you ask them to do.
6) Get out when it’s time. We get tired and weary, and we lose touch. Know when that time has come and find a graceful way to exit. Make a plan and execute. We all reach our professional, logical ending.
7) Don’t close your mind to what this generation has to offer because you are too afraid to ask for help or guidance. Technology is a tricky thing, but they often know more than we do.
8) Help young professionals find balance. They may tip the scales toward too much time ‘off’ but we tend to tip with too little. #TogetherWeAreStronger
9) Rekindle your creative mojo. Find ways to integrate their ways with ours. They don’t want offices, so let them roam. They want to be appreciated so give it to them. Not a trophy of course, but your time and authentic guidance.
10) Put yourself in their shoes. It is scary out there and in those beginning days, even more so. Give time and attention to onboarding and weaving them into your culture. It costs way more to replace them than to train them. And remember – THAT is the FUN part too!