Wednesday, May 17, 2017

GRADUATION - NORM DID IT



Every now and then the Almighty, ever gracious and loving as He is, gives you a blessing which leaves you soft and all mushy inside for weeks, eternally grateful that things turned out the way it did, settling down years of anxious wait and expectations, leaving you peaceful inside.



I suppose its nothing new as millions of parents all over the world go through the same thing several times of the year, but for me its a big deal. Like many parents prior to that big day, you wonder whether it will come at all, what with all that divergent teenage inclinations, leading to subsequently divergent views and expectations, not to mention disagreements on both sides.



Suddenly, there he is before your very eyes, strutting around in his brand new suit, looking good and so matured, ready to take on the world. His friends said he looked like James Bond, but he said James Bond actually looked like him. His mother said his strut and cockiness comes from me, but I beg to differ. His great grandfather most likely.



Your heart ache as you see that little boy in crumpled and dirty shorts, and equally dirty T-shirt, disappeared forever, except in your dimming memory and photographs, and in his place stands an adult seemingly ready for the world. Your ache mingle with pride at the transformation. Suddenly you are seized by panic, for you know what the world has in store for him. Very soon the reality of the world will come crashing on him with all its greed and competitiveness, business and me first mantra which has left many of us badly shakened and sometimes broken. Gone are the sheltered world of schools and parents, your fall back option for everything from school bullies to pocket money.



For a while we can stand by and provide advice and moral support as they navigate the treacherous waters of the corporate and the business world, but soon enough we will be out of touch with the ways of the ever changing world and we will fall into a sad and confused silence.



In the early difficult years of my career, I used to talk to my late father and I valued his advice and encouragement. In the latter years, his advise became lesser for as he told me, he no longer understood how the world functioned. He could only look at me sadly as I run through my litany of problems and grouses. Strangely enough however, just having him there to listen was comforting enough. I invariably felt better afterwards, and would go back well resolved to make things work.Perhaps too that resolve was due to my guilt at putting him through such pain.



Well, I shall try to be there for him as I had for his other siblings. God, you wouldn't believe what I had to listen to as they all unload all their office problems and politics, as if I have the answer for everything.  And one can get really long-winded.



Our children, all born after 1980 are all millennials, That in itself will be a great challenge as they struggle to fit into the business and corporate world still very much run by the earlier generation. Now some people may debunk this issue outright, but I believe there are pertinent points to be recognized and addressed.

Being born and raised at a time of greater prosperity, affording them better quality of life, through their parents of course, and witnessing and experiencing the explosion of new technologies, plus being highly connected to the world, the expectations of this generation are far more complicated than that of the older generation.

For a start do not expect them to stay around and take all the nonsense the company has to give in the name of building a career. Given their connectivity and network, they have great access to other opportunities. Do not just give them instructions and expect dutiful execution. Often times they require rationale for what they are doing, a sense of awareness and belonging in the entire scheme of things. One of our girls having got into her much coveted position in one of the Big 4 accounting firm, asked after a while "what is the meaning of all that?". So she promptly got herself a mortgage, to provide some meaning, I guess.



The issues with millennials have been address in volumes but I guess, the key thing here is not to see their trends as disruptive, but rather opportunities to expand our horizon and maximize on their special skills, tendencies and outlook to bring organizations to greater heights. The sooner this is realized the better, for very soon the working world will be full of them, and those who can extract the best from them are the winners.

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