This (at least)
WHAT is going on with young people these days? I’m allowed to say that, by the way, because I am one of them. Born in 1982, I’d like to be proud of my generation. It’s not easy. I know of a fellow 20-something who attended his girlfriend’s grandmother’s funeral wearing board shorts and thongs. Instead of being thrown out for what would once have been considered an unforgivable act of irreverent disrespect, nothing was said except, ‘‘Oh well. At least he came at all. That’s nice.’’ Is it? Is this really the best we can hope for from tomorrow’s leaders?
When I was running my own restaurant (or rather, it was running me), I learned first-hand how inexplicable gen Y employees could be. One girl thought it appropriate, in her clearly inebriated state, to text me at 3am, four short hours before the start of her shift, to ‘‘inform’’ me she was ‘‘tendering her resignation’’. She wouldn’t be in that morning. Why, oh why, did she bother? I suspect she felt satisfied she was doing the right thing. Should I have been grateful? At least she let me know.
I saw another classic gen Y incident the other day. A 22-year-old guy was due at 10am at our cafe for an interview and trial. When he didn’t show up, we were hardly surprised (about one in four actually turns up). At 10.10am, he rocks up at the counter and declares he’s here for the interview. No introduction, no smile, no acknowledgment, let alone apology for being late. In addition, he was carrying a plastic bag for his change of clothes and reeked of alcohol.
The worst part is that we spent half an hour with him anyway. Is this how desperate we have become? Why didn’t we dismiss him immediately? That way we would have demonstrated to him that regardless of his experience and capabilities, he had proven himself to be unreliable, irresponsible and unprofessional. By giving him the time of day, we condoned his attitude. How can we blame him for being genuinely surprised he didn’t get the job? This is, at least in part, our fault.
Our standards have fallen too far. When did simply turning up to a job interview become worthy of praise? We shrug and say, oh well at least they turned up. What’s going on? The hospitality industry pays better in Australia than anywhere else in the world. In fact salaries in Australia are generally pretty high. Why then, do we accept such mediocrity?
We asked Mr Hung Over, who had been in a management position for two years at a prominent coffee chain, for an example of a difficult situation he had handled well. A customer was unhappy that her coffee had not been sugared for her. He graciously offered to do it for her next time, but not before telling her, ‘‘The sugar sachets are right in front of you. It’s not hard.’’
Oh well. Perhaps she should be grateful. At least he didn’t spit in her coffee.