Saturday, June 6, 2009

Helpful Advice for Job Seekers (Part 2 of 2)

Now that all of you are well-versed in "making it your own," I'd like to focus on my second piece of adivce...

"Respect leads to respect."

We've all heard the phrase "respect your elders" about a zillion times, but for a minute let's contemplate how valid that statement is. There are almost always going to be people in this world who have experienced what we are experiencing now and they might just have some helpful insights that are applicable to our own lives. Currently in industry, many companies are facing an issue where there is a huge gap in their age demographic. Because of heavy layoffs in the 1980's, most large companies have a demographic that is rich in people who are in their early 20's to early 30's and then from their early 40's to retirement age. That leaves a gap of almost a decade in age. Think I'm lying? Check it out for yourself. It's actually true. While there are exceptions to the rule and variations among companies, this is actually a big deal in many large companies. Especially since a lot of the older demographic will be retiring in the next 5-15 years. Now where does that put the younger folk? As a result of this demographic, younger employees are being prepared to take over substantial leadership positions in large companies. This is good and bad. It is good because younger employees are being given more responsibility faster. This is bad because when the older generations in the work force retire, a vast expanse of knowledge is going to be lost in industry.

Now how does this affect how respect leads to respect?

The phrase "respect leads to respect" represents the notion that if you respect an individual, they will respect you in return. While this isn't always true, approaching relationships in this manner can be incredibly valuable. Being able to reflect on your relationships with other people in the work place or outside of work and having a goal of respecting the people around you can lead to some fantastically positive results.

For example, when I was getting ready to study abroad in Ireland, we were told that there was a significant chance that initially we would be stereotyped as greedy, pushy Americans. The way we needed to crush that stereotype was by respecting the communities we were living in and showing a genuine interest in our new cultures. By taking this approach, our program participants were able to kick bad stereotypes to the curb and also embrace our host culture. If we hadn't been able to step back and respect our new cultures, we may have had much less positive experiences.

Now let's look at how we apply this principle to working in industry. Like I said before, much of America's work force has a substantial age gap. One way of closing this gap is by respecting seasoned co-workers who have a great deal of knowledge to share. I'm not saying you have to suck up to everyone, but if you are sincere about your interest to learn and willing to listen, there's a solid chance that someone will be happy to help you out.

Now that you have learned Eva McSpartan's top two lessons for life, hopefully you can apply these ideas to your own lives. Think I forgot something? Leave comments on guiding principles you believe vastly improve your quality of life inside and oustide of work.

That's all for now. Like always,

Good Luck Job Seekers!

1 comment:

  1. As a member of the "older" demographic group, I am with you 100% on this one. The old hires will help the new hires navigate the organizational politics and history if there is mutual respect and listening! They've seen the ups and downs. Find a good mentor at work!