Thanks, but No “Thanks.”

You’ve given your precious time to a Millennial. Waiting for a “Thank You”? Good luck.

Thanks

 

 

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 ask.

That’s it.

“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.

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College Kids: Looking to Land a Summer Job? Take Off Your Earbuds and Listen.

Spring Break is approaching.

Kids are boarding trains, planes and automobiles to visit family or friends. College kids are scrambling to figure out what they plan to do over the summer and how they plan to pay for school and/or expenses. What to do? I read somewhere recently that 20% of college-aged students in America do not have a summer job. Hmmm.

Let me share a story: Last year my college-aged daughter was on a place returning home for break (lucky her.) She was working on her physics homework when the woman seated next to her struck up a conversation. They  ended up chatting the entire flight about science, physics, women in the sciences, mutual interests, etc. (My daughter loves science – especially physics!) At the time, my daughter was somewhat concerned that her love of physics was not strong enough relative to the ability of her peers at school. The woman with whom she spoke convinced her to stick with it if she loves it; that there will always be others brighter than she but women in science who are articulate and understand the subject are needed. For the first time, my daughter was relieved that she could follow what she loved and be able to find a career – even if she was not the best in her class at it. Further, the woman offered my daughter her business card, and suggested my daughter follow up with her.

Follow up she did. My daughter  contacted the woman several times over the next several months. As it turned out – the woman was one of the top females in America at a Fortune 500 company in the energy services arena – nuclear, in particular. After arranging for interviews, my daughter landed a summer internship last summer and will work there again this summer. Dumb luck? Maybe. But I’d like to think that taking off earbuds, talking to those around you when there’s an opportunity is an amazing opportunity – one which we should all recommend to our children.

So this Spring Break  – or any vacation for that matter – remind your children to take out their earbuds. Talk to strangers. Engage. You just never know where the conversation may lead.