Michelle Bergquist interviews Joanie Connell about the many ways that women are building and trampling their reputation. Listen here.
The helicopter parenting trend made unpaid internships very popular for the Millennial generation. Well-meaning, high-achieving parents thought that giving their children experience in a professional environment would give them a leg up on their college and job applications. They reached through their networks to find friends and family members in positions of power to give their children experiences in highly specialized fields.
Internships moved toward being unpaid because the students didn’t yet have the skills or knowledge to contribute significantly to the organization and they didn’t want to do menial work. Rather, they were looking for educational experiences.
When this trend caught on, it became normal and even expected for students to have flashy unpaid internships listed on their resumes under “work experience.” The problem was, the internships often did not really include work experience.
In fact, the U.S. Department of Labor added new language to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to protect students from having to do any work when they are not paid for it. Currently, unpaid internships in the U.S. are legally required to be “for the benefit of the intern,” not the employer. Students have since expected internships to be fun and exciting, not tedious and boring as work often is.
The problem is, much of the time, work is tedious and boring. It’s why we get paid to do it. Taking on an unpaid internship to indulge in fun and education doesn’t prepare someone for a job. In fact, it does just the opposite. It sets up false expectations of work.
I recently had a graduate-student intern who was learning what it was like to become an instructor. One day she called me with less than 24 hours notice to tell me she couldn’t teach her portion of a class she had taken on because she had too much schoolwork.
I was not pleased. I saw it as a failure to follow through on a commitment. She never even thought to apologize. Instead, she said she was sorry to miss an opportunity for an experience.
The question was, what kind of experience was she hoping to gain? Did she want to learn what it’s like to teach a class? If so, the most fundamental lesson is to show up. On-time and prepared are the second two lessons. You can be a great executive trainer, but if you miss any of these three pieces, you are likely to get fired.
Unlike unpaid internships, paid work is for the benefit of the employer, subject to many employment laws. Thus, it is important to understand that unpaid interns are not necessarily learning what it means to work. And that’s exactly where the problem lies. Instead of requiring companies to create exciting showcases of jobs for students to get unpaid experiences, it might be more useful to go back to paying students to get real on-the-job experience—a win-win.
But would students want this kind of experience? After all, many students don’t take paid jobs precisely because they don’t think it is the kind of experience that will land them a professional job upon graduation. They feel pressure from companies to have job-relevant experience on their resumes and they feel the only way they can get it is to take unpaid internships.
On the other hand, companies feel pressure from students to have educational experiences and they don’t want to have to pay interns for that. The government says you can’t have students work for free if the experience is not for them. I think we’re getting tangled in the definition of what job relevant experience really is and whether it is educational.
Working at a drug store is job relevant experience for an executive trainer: you have to show up on time and be prepared to work. If I see a year of part-time work at a drug store on someone’s resume, I know they have had to demonstrate responsible, reliable, customer-service oriented behavior. Participating in a 3-week showcase of attention-grabbing events, on the other hand, demonstrates that the person has seen some great stuff. It does not give me a sense of their work ethic or abilities. Both, however, are educational to a student.
In the case of my unpaid intern, I had put significant time and effort into training her and finding opportunities for her to gain experience doing front-line work, such as teaching executives. I considered this my part of the deal. It would have been quicker and easier for me to do the work myself, but I wanted to give her opportunities. I structured the class to have breakout groups where interns could moderate. When the intern called to cancel with a day to spare, I had to drop what I was doing and spend extra time to restructure the class to teach it with one less facilitator.
Did my intern learn anything from this unpaid educational experience? I certainly did. Whether or not interns need to get paid, they definitely need to learn how to behave responsibly if they want to succeed in the workplace.
Joanie Connell was interviewed on Conscious Millionaire Podcast, named by Inc Magazine as one of the Top Business Podcasts for 2017. The show is for business coaches and consultants who want to attract more clients, make a positive impact, and achieve their First Million.
Joanie is honored to be included with guests such as Chris Brogan, John Gray, Sharon Lechter, Jack Canfield, Joe Vitale, Dame DC Cordova, and Joe Calloway.
Here is the link to give her interview a listen. Let us know your big take away!
Also, she’s featured on their blog as well. Take a look and join the conversation.
You’ll hear answers to questions like these:
- Are there really generational differences or is it just an age gap?
- What can we do to better Understand Millennials in the Workplace?
- Are Millennial women different from women of previous generations?
- What are your top tips for attracting and retaining Millennials?
Joanie Connell’s article appears in Lifestyle Business Magazine!
The Millennial generation is profoundly influencing our society in many ways that may impact your business a great deal. According to a recent Pew Research study, Millennials are currently the largest generation in the workplace in the United States. They outnumber both Generation X and Baby Boomer workers. By the year 2020, they will have more than 50 percent of all jobs.
The BizWiz podcast is a short, 15 minute interview on a targeted business issue. In this episode, Doug Sandler interviews Joanie Connell on Millennials at work.
Questions you’ll get answers to:
- How are Millennials changing the way people do business?
- Why is there so much friction between the older and younger generations?
- What are some of the myths or stereotypes about Millennials that need to be debunked?
- As business leaders and entrepreneurs, what trends do we need to pay attention to that aren’t just passing fads?
- What does it take to be a successful leader in a Millennial world?
- Why are Millennials facing midlife issues so young? How is it affecting their careers?
- Millennials aren’t kids anymore. Many are in their 30s and some are approaching 40. What kinds of challenges are they facing as they approach midlife?
Increasingly, parents are getting involved in the job hiring process. This presents a challenge for employers because you don’t know how much of the candidate you’re getting vs. their parents.
Things parents do for their adult children today:
- Go to job fairs and open houses.
- Write resumes and cover letters.
- Fill out job applications and send them in.
- Call employers to set up interviews and follow up.
- Attend lunches and interviews.
- Negotiate salaries with employers.
- Decide which job to take.
Too much parental involvement in the job hiring process is detrimental to both the candidate and the employer. The employer needs to assess whether the candidate is qualified and is a good fit for the job. The applicant needs to assess whether the organization and job are a good fit for them. When parents take over, neither side gets an accurate picture of the other.
What can employers do to move parents to the sidelines?
- Make it a policy not to talk to parents during the hiring process.
- Discourage candidates from involving their parents.
- Politely but firmly refuse to speak to parents when they call or show up.
- Put your no-parents-during-hiring policy on the website for all to read.
A bad hire is detrimental to both the employer and the employee. Too many times I’ve heard employers complain that the person they hired “looked great on paper” and had “all the right things to say” in the interview, but wasn’t able to perform once hired. This is a bad situation for the employer but an awful situation to be in for an employee. Failing at your job, especially your first job, has long lasting effects on self-esteem. It’s better for everyone involved—including parents—if the employee is hired for a job they can and want to do.
How can employers tell parents to back off?
Pushing parents away can be touchy for both the parents and the candidates. How do you do it without losing good candidates? Here are some suggestions from College Recruiter: How Employers Should Deal with Helicopter Parents. One of the suggestions is mine.
I saw the play Tiger Style! last night. The story is about two seemingly successful 20-something Harvard grads who are actually falling apart inside. As a doctor and a computer programmer, they both have achieved success in their parents’ and society’s eyes, but they are in crisis because they don’t know who they are.
They blame their parents for promising them success and assuming happiness came along with it if they dedicated their lives to achievement. But when they are finally in these high-status, well-paid jobs, they realize they never stopped to figure out if this is what they wanted along the way. Indeed, these empty careers mean nothing to them.
Who am I? Where does love fit in? Where’s the fun? What’s this all for? These are the questions of the “quarter life crisis.”
The quarter life crisis is a newly coined phenomenon, an accelerated form of the midlife crisis. Why is it happening? Why are so many 25-year-olds having identity crises that there’s a new name for it? Because this generation of kids was never allowed to explore their identities during adolescence. Instead, they were directed (and often pushed) into the singular path of going to the best college they could get into.
The fallacy of the college dream is that it assumes this path leads to happiness and success in life. Sadly, it’s taken a generation of 20-somethings in crisis to show us the error in our thinking.
College is one path to success and happiness in life. It is not the path. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to success and happiness in life. Each person has to figure it out along the way.
Probably one of the biggest disappointments in life is when your child wants to do something different from what you want them to do. Face it: there is a good chance that will happen to you, no matter how much your force your dreams down their throat. They are their own people and they have to figure it out for themselves.
I am pleased to support my fellow Generations Expert and San Diegan, Dan Negroni, by sharing some of his tips with you in this post.
We all catch ourselves complaining about the “other” generation—millennials, boomers, Xers, you name it. Dan says:
- STOP pointing out problems and saying others are the problem.
- START asking yourself, “What about me is not connecting and getting results? What am I doing to widen and maintain this gap?”
What’s the best way to help others succeed? Listen to the podcast for fascinating—and practicable—advice on leadership that you can use at home, at work, or both!
In this BYB episode, you will . . .
- Hear insight on getting the most from young people
- Understand how to lead by allowing others to endure challenges
- See how parents can inadvertently hinder their children’s success
- Get essential tips for better leadership