No Manners, No Jobs: Gen Y Learns Expensive Lessons
Manners mean money: That's what some members of Generation Y are learning. To get hired for good jobs, they are enrolling in seminars or one-on-one coaching programs to be trained in the finer points of etiquette. If they're already on the payroll, their employers might be ponying up $400 an hour for that type of education, reports the New York Post.
In Manners 101, the twentysomethings are introduced to corporate social skills. These range from how to talk on the phone or in person, to how to eat soup in the setting of a corporate dinner. Without those abilities, they'll have trouble getting past certain gatekeepers and dealing with clients who were reared in a more formal era.
That was an age when men wore suits and women wore stockings and heels to the office. It was also a time when people conducted business primarily either on the phone or through face-to-face meetings, often over lunch or dinner. Back then, no one ever dreamed that a new generation would be able to communicate while hiding behind a computer screen, posting on Facebook, texting, and tweeting -- and generally, navigating life in flip flops.
The need for fine tuning regarding the proper way to conduct yourself in a professional setting is not exactly new. Most new college graduates had a brutal time leaving behind 'Animal House'-style campus values, and taking on the personas and behaviors of working stiffs.
Previous generations, ranging from the baby boomers to the members of Generation X, had the incentive of good jobs as motivation to adjust their behavior. Back then there were plenty of great jobs with upward mobility not only possible, but probable.
With a more than 15 percent unemployment rate, some members of Gene Y might see little reason to conform to workplace norms. Those are the ones still slurping their soup. The graduates of etiquette school, on the other hand, just might beat the lousy odds for success that members of their generation are currently suffering from.
Jane Genova, coach, book author, and lecturer on careers, specializes in transitions. Her talk on professional shifts at the New York State Bar Association has been published in VITAL SPEECHES OF THE DAY. Her latest book is OVER-50: HOW WE KEEP WORKING. She blogs on the subject at http://janegenova.com, http://lawandmore.typepad.com, http://careertransitions.typepad.com and http://over-50.typepad.com.more...