I can't take credit for coining the term praise inflation
seen in the title. The credit goes to Mr. Jeffrey Zaslow of the
WSJ. Having said that, I did pick up (AKA click to) the article read it
and 'borrow' the title...so can I please have my damn cookie now? I'll be
out to lunch in a few hours...can you please make sure there is an applause
note from my celebration assistant on my desk? Please don't ruin my day
by disappointing me because I'm having dinner with my uber-attractive
girlfriend tonight on my ego-lifting dinnerware.
No, I'm not this much of an ass...or maybe I am? I am from the same generation the article titled, "The Most-Praised Generation Goes to Work," mentions. Twentysomethings are now coming into their own in the workforce. Some right out of college, some seemingly hot shot MBAs...they expect praise for everything they've done. I've mentioned several times in the past about crippling people with such low standards of achievement. Employers and professors are finding it necessary to compliment every little thing that students/young workers are doing today for fear that they might damage their already fragile ego. According to Zaslow, major corporations, like Bank of America, are hiring consultants to teach older managers how to deal with the sensitive younger crowd. Or for instance, the Scooter Store and Container Store:
"The 1,000-employee Scooter Store Inc., a power-wheelchair and scooter firm in New Braunfels, Texas, has a staff "celebrations assistant" whose job it is to throw confetti -- 25 pounds a week -- at employees. She also passes out 100 to 500 celebratory helium balloons a week. The Container Store Inc. estimates that one of its 4,000 employees receives praise every 20 seconds, through such efforts as its "Celebration Voice Mailboxes."
Those two examples are so ridiculous that I couldn’t' paraphrase it. My initial thought was, "You must be kidding me!!" However after thinking about it, like the kids coached by Dr. Phil, I'm going to blame the parents. I really want to blame my peers believe me, but everything is usually someone else's fault (insert sarcasm).
When I think about it, I'm not really surprised. We have completely coddled our youth. The pattern is evident. (Here comes sports analogies.) When my dad was in high school in the 60's, they got a trophy in basketball for championships only...there was no second place trophy. When I was young (in the 80's) playing soccer/basketball, everyone received a trophy. In tournaments, medals were awarded to 1st/2nd place teams. Now, my godson (7) plays baseball in a league in which everyone gets to bat once regardless of the number of outs. The poor kids must be sorely confused when they watch the games on TV; and they must be even more upset when they realize how wrong they were about the rules of the game and require a hug to get over their initial shock.
Seriously, a basic human need exists for encouragement, but it should be used as a way to increase drive therefore increasing self-worth/confidence. Instead, we have turned encouragement into a crutch that is required for someone to function on a daily basis. It's almost impossible for me to blame my generation though because the majority has been raised so weak that as soon as something doesn't go their way, they fold up like a cell phone. The strength of character is extremely low. It's so blatantly obvious today. I don't watch American Idol, but Simon Cower from the show is the perfect example. I've never understood why everyone hates him. He tells it like it is and people simply can't handle it. They cry on stage. My job requires me to do many presentations. When my President has the time to come with me, I invite him to accompany me. He would come anyway, but I'm proactive in my approach because I want to improve based on actual merit and not fluffy compliments. As soon as we get out of a presentation, I immediately inquire as to what areas I need to improve on and how to do it. The man has twenty years on me...the best thing I can possibly do is listen. I'm no saint, but one thing I realized (too late as most of us do) is that the best thing I can do is listen. I realized this in my early twenties, and I truly believe it's contributed to my success. I've proven to myself because as I've gotten older I've had to work harder to listen and noticed that when I don't tasks can be harder to accomplish. I'm no one to talk about being sensitive. Anyone that knows me, probably is aware that I can be quick to get down on myself if I hear something negative and sometimes I will 'fish' to get myself back up. It's important to realize it and take control of it. If I got down on myself every time I didn't get praise for something, then I'd literally be checked into a clinic on medication right now. People now want credit for things they're supposed to do. Chris Rock said it best, "I take care of my kids! Hey, Dummy!. You're supposed to take care of your kids!" I never been to jail! So what do you want? A cookie!!"
This really scares me because I do plan to run my own company one day, and I will be in charge of these so-called men and women. I don't think I will be good at this coddling thing, but I need to be because most don't know any better. And maybe I won't get the smartest cookies in the jar, but honestly I'd rather have the average guy/girl with a heart and character.
I truly believe it all goes back to the parents where your foundation is laid. It doesn't have anything to do with video games, music or movies. It has to do with the people you surround yourself with on a daily basis...your parents are the first ones you're surrounded with. Of course, I'll have a chance to walk the walk when I have kids of my own. I can only hope and pray that there is someone around to pat my back each time I tell my kids how godlike they are.