There are truly a lot of things we like about GenY and other young people just entering the workforce. For one, you have a fantastically cool nickname, “The Millennials.”
The last time that nickname could reasonably be applied, women didn’t even have an exclusive right to vote in the United States (The Nineteenth Amendment was passed in 1920), Hawaii and Alaska were still fifty years away from becoming states and the United Kingdom and the Ottoman Empire were the world’s sole superpowers.
GenY is technically savvy, very familiar with social communication, digital technologies and have never known a world without personal computers at their disposal.
GenY is also a lot of fun. They have a great wit. See the world through rose-colored social sunglasses, enjoy ideas, love memes and meeting people and often accept others who are radically different than them without much critical thought. You don’t even think it is weird that the US has an African-American as president.
Those of you who are of college-age are chipper, upbeat, passionate, have plans and goals. You genuinely want to succeed and you want to do so quickly. You are amazingly ambitious.
We dig that. We totally dig that drive.
But from a professional standpoint, there are a few things, which GenY really, really need to fix as they transition from college into the professional world – at least until all the old-school guys are out of the system; and then you can bring it all down from the inside and reshape the world into one where koala bears are our personal companions, we all commute on unicorns and eat nothing but BLT sandwiches.
Okay, that is my dream, but you understand.
Yes, the following gripes will be gross over-generalizations and not applicable to everyone (indeed you should note, however, there is some powerful truth to them), but we’ve chatted with several University career counselors and talent acquisition managers over the last month and here is what we all agree on. Unfortunately there is no easy way to say this…
Your handshakes suck.
I can’t fully describe to you the weak-ass handshakes that GenY will deliver. Neither can I impart on how much this reflects poorly on you specifically.
Your handshakes are weak, like a limp, post-rigor dead iguana. Your handshakes are often disturbingly moist. Your hand feels like I picked up an old sock that hasn’t fully dried from the sweat after a long run. As soon as I touch it, I want to shriek and throw it far away or stomp on it.
I haven’t decided yet.
I’m going to use the word disgusting here. It may not be the right word, but it’s the first word that comes to mind. Also coming to mind: grody and repellent.
GenY does this all of the time and I can’t figure out why. Its like my own personal torturous Kryptos cipher and it is driving me nuts!
You consistently give this limp candy-ass handshake to professors, you do it before and after job interviews, you do it to people you’ve just met or wherever else society tells you to extend a hand.
The weak-ass handshake sucks and it tells the person on the other end that you are a weak-ass person with no backbone. Period.
You have got to fix this problem. Both men and women. Practice your handshake. A handshake is not so much a bunch of phalanges going up and down, as it is a “grip.” You want to grip the other person’s hand firmly. Don’t seek to crush their hand, but let them know you are there and you are serious, you are in control and you can be trusted to make clients feel like you are serious.
Look them right in the eye and hold both the eye contact and the grip, until they look away. Your confidence will radiate from your grip and out your eyes like Superman’s heat vision through steel.
Be present. Be serious. Be there. Now you have the power. Use your confidence and dominating handshake to drive your professional goals.
And our final gripe: Learn to tie a real tie. A goddamn Windsor double-knot tie.
Like the one your Dad used to wear when he worked for IBM.
Seriously though, GenY is legit and a lot of fun. We really like you guys. We just want you to learn some of these skills so someday, on a rainy Friday afternoon, you too can write a semi-grumpy advice blog for young people who are trying to earn their first professional gig.
Have a good weekend and go kick some butt on your next interview.