You’ve given your precious time to a Millennial. Waiting for a “Thank You”? Good luck.
It’s time to take matters into your own hands.
I learned the hard way. “Go to school” on me! You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the results.
True story: a few years ago my mom casually mentioned to me a year after the fact that one of my children (plus a few friends) never really thanked her for some substantial time she had invested in them. She wasn’t being rude – but clearly my mom was bothered.
On SO many levels I had missed the “teachable moment” that we all desire as parents, bosses, mentors, etc. Furthermore, the millennial offenders are just fantastic kids! (After all, 3/5 of my kids are millennials). They are our future.
So, here’s how I have solved the problem:
“I’ve given my time to you. This is what I expect in exchange.”
From now on, each time I help someone (particularly a millennial!) whether it is in a job search, a resume review, college recruiting support, etc. I use it as an opportunity to explain my expectations. Crystal clear. I am no longer waiting. I do not want to be disappointed. I do not ever want to have the feeling my mom did. Rather, I have chosen to take the matter into my own hands and use it as a chance to “shape” someone in a positive way.
Here’s what I asked of a very capable young woman recently for whom I offered to write a college letter of support:
1) Please alert me as to when I need to complete my letter. (Note: timelines need to be her responsibility, not mine.)
2) Please follow-up with the school to be certain they have received my letter and it is appropriately in your file. (Note: I am asking her to “own” the process.)
3) Please write me a handwritten thank you note. (Note: while it seems so obvious, it’s not. These kids have SO many means of communication. They need to understand that the world is noisy. Stand out with a handwritten note. Period.)
4) Please let me know as soon as you hear of an acceptance, denial or deferral (Note: I am asking her to keep me in the loop; I have invested my time and merit inclusion of information.)
5) Please keep me posted over the next few years. I have taken my time. I care about you, your school career and probably even your post-college career. (Note: while she probably does not even realize it, I am “coaching” her for how to interact when she begins job prospecting. Further, to the extent that she really does keep me posted – it is likely that I will somehow help her!)
6) Lastly, please remember that “in life” there will be people who help you get where you are going. Please treat those people as “people in your life” and stay in touch. Drop them a line every so often. Send a Christmas card. Whatever. (Note: The important thing is that the gift of time comes with a responsibility. I gave her my time. If she plays her cards right, we can have an amazing relationship.)
Postscript: The young lady was denied admission (early admission) to the college she so desperately sought to attend. Not even a deferral. She and I have communicated a few times since her deeply disappointing news. It is my hope that she takes my “advice” and stays in touch. Trust me: if she does just that I would be thrilled to help point her in a direction, introduce her to possible internships, and even help her land a job after college, etc. [After all, she already successfully completed steps 1-4 with terrific success!]
Invest in yourself. Invest in others. Say thanks.