A Counting School - Hardcore Chartered Accountancy

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Hiring disasters and the writers who poorly document them

This is a continuation of the examination of WSJ's article "The 'Trophy Kids' Go to Work" started previously - see part one here.

You know you're dealing with a train-wreck of an article when it spouts phrases such as, "they needn't worry about their next paycheck because they have their parents to cushion them."

Sure, some people are lucky and for them that's true. But for many others it's not: if they aren't gainfully employed, they're out on the street. Not pretty.

Or they may be at home, but they're still expected to help their parents - and it's not just a matter of "pulling your weight around", it's a matter of keeping the family simply fed!

Does the reporter really think everyone's parents look like Uncle Moneybags?


I don't have a lot of Uncle Moneybags-style stock photos. Sorry. Though he has the mustache, and a pipe too.

It's kind of sickening really to think that someone can be this ignorant and has a team of editors working on their writing, polishing it to this level of empty generalizations.

This feeling of nausea, naturally, leads me to find out who exactly wrote the drivel in front of me - ah, Ron Alsop, respected columnist and writer for the WSJ - this is apparently an extract from his book. No doubt his clever editors twisted the text they ran to be as inflammatory as possible.

Sneaky devils, that much I'll credit them.

My suspicions were confirmed by reading this interview where Alsop balances his tart criticism with some balanced points in favour of young employees.

So he has a book to sell - that's understandable, you need a make a living somehow.

But his shock tactics grow stale; I certainly wouldn't waste money on the book to hear anecdotes about

They want to be treated like colleagues rather than subordinates and expect ready access to senior executives, even the CEO, to share their brilliant ideas. Recruiters at such companies as investment-banking firm Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Amazon.com describe "student stalkers" who brashly fire off emails to everyone from the CEO on down, trying to get an inside track to a job.

If you work with a tight organization where firing off e-mails to the CEO makes sense, good for you, 150 employees certainly is a good size for a company. If you work in a huge enterprise, this might be silly.

Which leads to one question.

Did you include "student stalkers" in your article on a dare? Or was it because you lost a drinking contest? Or just a simple bet?

Regardless, the "ironic twists" are also unattractive:

In the final analysis, the generational tension is a bit ironic. After all, the grumbling baby-boomer managers are the same indulgent parents who produced the millennial generation. Ms. Barry of Merrill Lynch sees the irony. She is teaching her teenage daughter to value her own opinions and to challenge things. Now she sees many of those challenging millennials at her company and wonders how she and other managers can expect the kids they raised to suddenly behave differently at work.

You start by throwing the accusatory bile that this generation is lazy and completely clueless about basic business protocols and work ethics. This was debunked in detail previously.

And now you're patting the kids on the back saying, "oh, we raised you to be little hell raisers, well done."

Poor show.

The upside for those of you despairing for any sign of people reading about something truly awesome is that at least I finally found a better Uncle Moneybags to share - this one from Paris.

It's not really about the the moneybags. It's all about the mustache.

Posted: Nov 03 2008, 02:28 AM by Krupo | with no comments
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