So many young people are disillusioned with the concept of ‘work’ and ‘careers’. And, when you think about it, it’s no surprise.
Clear career paths no longer exist; few jobs offer any personal satisfaction; few employers take an interest in their staff; the pressure and boredom just aren’t worth it.
Many of those who do have jobs hate them. So many young people live either for the weekend when they find release in drinking to excess or for holidays when they can get away from daily dreariness.
But why do so many people hate their jobs?
After all, there have always been boring jobs. Repetition is a factor in most work, but previously many people still took a pride in what they did.
Is it because of immature management?
By this we do not mean young managers, but the style of management that focuses exclusively on the exciting, ra-ra elements of motivation at the expense of the more serious responsibilities of managing people.
Anyone turning up at work on a cold and dreary morning wants to feel that they are doing something worthwhile; that they are valued; that they are part of a group of people with whom they can get on well; that the next eight hours of their day are going to be tolerable, if not enjoyable.
The reality is that many people dread the eight hours of work in front of them; they need to shut out the boredom by listening to their personal stereos; to forget tedium by surfing the internet; to pass the time by gossiping with colleagues or friends; to escape the drudgery by going outside for a cigarette; to do anything, but work.
Immature management relies heavily on brought-in programmes and processes to improve or change the culture, rather than examining the day-to-day interaction between employees.
But overlaying these generic processes on an existing company structure is bound to fail, because the inflexibility inherent in any process guarantees failure. Such processes may be acceptable for companies satisfied with average success, but for those seeking higher levels of performance, culture change has to start with the individual.
Mature management acknowledges the value of each individual, their need for recognition and respect, their need for job satisfaction. It recognises the dangers of commoditising staff through over-emphasis on the value of teams, which can be highly damaging both for individuals and the company as a whole.
A mature manager knows all the people working for them; takes a genuine interest in everyone; shows courtesy to everyone; demonstrates how each individual is valued by the company; spends time managing people, not processes.
Is it surprising that a company that does not practise a mature management style suffers from low morale, high staff turnover, poor productivity?
Like any aspect of courtesy, mature management adds no extra cost and requires only effort and commitment.
If mature management were more widespread, then perhaps younger people would feel more enthusiastic towards work and businesses would enjoy access to a larger pool of readily available, motivated jobseekers. Staff would be more productive and happier to do their jobs, rather than waiting to get out of the door and escape from their employers at the earliest opportunity.
And if companies genuinely want to play a responsible role in the wider community, then there is nothing more worthwhile than creating a more optimistic outlook for young people at the start of their working lives.
After all, why shouldn’t anyone want a job?