“You’re Probably Wrong About Millennials” or ” Are we?”
The blog evaluates the ”likes’ and ‘dislikes’ of the Y-generation and appears to invite a global conversation around the need to understand and accept our young workforce / apprentices, especially keeping in view the future torch bearing responsibilities of these emerging vanguards in world economy, market and business! Not resistance to the ‘manners’ of the Y-generation, but ‘understanding’ and reviewing ‘perceptions’ and ‘meanings’ of how one must think and act , appears imperative! In sync with the author of the blog, I concede that, if not embraced and their skills honed by the host or potential host organizations, they will indeed be lost to competitors!
In relation to the ”happy worker-productive worker’ thesis, I am interested in the expectations of the generation Y from their employers and life; and explore how their personal traits, states, values and zeal for excellence shape their work-style and lifestyle; and how they might influence the remaking and development of new HR policies in Australia and cross the globe. As a sequel, another burning investigative query, coming from an ethnic background, nurtured most of my living years in a collectivist Indian society, and having adapted to an individualist Australian culture for the past 14 years, is an intent to examine the respective Y-generations,( of the collectivist-individualist divide) for their relative perceptions and criteria for ‘happiness’ or ‘well-being’ and its relation to individual and organizational outcomes.
I have been toying with some of the positive psychology concepts (part of my search for concepts that are worth explaining ‘what keeps us going despite adversities and brings out the best we can, at that point of time and space?’) and I stumbled upon the concept of ‘grit’ and an interesting blog (http://mappalicious.com/2013/08/26/grit-the-key-for-long-term-success/). Since, I found this word ‘grit’ emerge in my mind like a relentless yoyo! So I will borrow a description of ‘grit’ by the researcher Angela Duckworth at the University of Pennsylvania,and then through reflection argue on the key concepts proffered in the above mentioned blog…
Duckworth in her 2007 article wrote, “Grit is described as perseverance and passion for long-term goals.” On this key concept the blogger Dr. Rose elaborates (see his blog) that some people are gritty and some may not be gritty at all (that is separate from intelligence and may be present or absent irrespective of having or not having intelligence). First I would argue that I cannot imagine some sort of emotional intelligence not being at play when persevering long-term life goals notwithstanding misfortunes; I come from the cognitive school of understanding human actions in which we must consciously or unconsciously perceive our life situations, make meaning and decide and ‘will’ to persevere! Grit is an action tendency, argued to be an emotion-cognitive attribute..therefore not free of one’s sensibilities, I contend, and that are influenced by one’s way of interpreting life situations. Second, and as important as the first point, I believe all human-beings have the potential for ‘grit’ ; some may have developed that innate ability – either, temperamentally they have been ‘gritty’ from the wake of life, or through life’s developmental stages and associated untoward experiences they have had a spiritual growth on ‘grit; or they may well have modelled significant personalities – ‘real-life’ or from ‘reading’ biographies and autobiographies of successful personalities, like Mahatma Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln, Walt Disney, to name a few. Finally, grit has to be supported by other virtues, like patience, tolerance, resilience, optimism a hope, would my reader agree? It is not an attribute that can function on its own!
Simple suggestions to improve personal happiness is often embedded in the word ‘balance’, which means to continue to adhere to diligent and fulfilling ‘work’, ‘parenting’ or/and ‘caring for disabled’/ ‘elderly parent’ (which individually, despite expected sources of satisfaction, can be serious hard work, stressful and even grim at times!), but also taking time out for self and forming closeness with ‘significant’ other’s.
Some specific ideas would be:
- List down your needs? Being in denial, minimising and intellectualising about how everything else is important ultimately makes you an unauthentic person!
- List what issues are unresolved and not addressed (talked) about in your close relationships? Analyse how is it helpful or unhelpful? You may get a few counselling sessions to get started! Many prefer to fathom out a way themselves before deciding on professional help and that is fine too! However you may consider telephone counselling. Now-a-days ‘Skype’ counselling is also available!
- List reasons why you avoid confronting these conflicts? Often I hear people say “What is the point of talking about the ‘issue’ as it will invariably lead to arguments; So I do not want to talk about it with ‘you’ (sounds condescending, doesn’t it!) anymore”; hence they prefer to keep silent on issues that are problematic and prefer to treat the ‘other’ as an imbecile!
- Finding other distractions(even the most perfect and legitimate ones like ‘work’ or ‘children’ does not resolve or help with the issue that leads to feelings of detachment and disconnection (unless one is seriously planning to become a recluse!). Have you noticed how some couples who lack intimacy only talk about their kids and at other available times focus either on their work or home responsibilities? Interestingly I have observed some engage in intellectual discourses, showcasing one’s depth of knowledge but may fail to make time to convey hurt, discuss ways out (problem solve) and even deny physical needs like the magic of a hug and a cuddle! The result? Quite obvious!
- Talking about problems, conveying one’s needs and expectations, setting boundaries, negotiation skills, willing to take risks and trust again if there is a history of enough demonstrated credits and evidence of positivity in the relationship – like specific examples to experiencing dependability, support, friendship, will renew vigour and hope to give intimacy another chance! Look into the positives instead of only focussing on the negatives!
- Finally make a habit of smiling and controlling aversive and hurtful words: If transgressions have occurred, make a habit of admitting compunction; acknowledge the unhelpful ways of conveying your resentments (humans err, we all do!) and invite the ‘significant other’ person to discuss what makes you angry or sad, and mutually listen and discern what might be better ways of communicating these natural and valid emotions. Given, all problems cannot be ‘fixed’, but being mutually ‘heard’ makes a lot of difference!
It is very common to find that even though unhappiness or stress at work or overworking (either as an escape or as pursuing success) may invariably contribute to disappointment in one’s private life (referred to as a work to life ‘spill’ impacting one’s life-style, way one feels and functions), some individuals lack the ability for personal and interpersonal nurturing, even though at work willingly plan & prioritise to have the time to make some effective changes. Perhaps the skill is there but only applicable to the preferred domain…example work; and somehow this same ability ‘blocked away’ when it comes to looking after one’s own physical, emotional and social needs or that of family.
Related to my research interest in well-being, I will draw on my clinical practice experiences as a psychologist and recall some of the most common and perceived reported barriers for personal time and intimacy(I have found some of these elements popping its head up in myself too!):
1. Avoidance. For example, bringing home work and/or staying up to unearthly hours working/ studying/ on the net, every night, instead of having some regular nights of going to bed to maintain good sleep hygiene and allow one’s body and mind for rest, may indicate denial of one’s needs.
2. Parenting duties and prioritising child rearing. This is a perfect excuse to not address personal and intimacy issues at all! It may have been too confronting in the past! Maybe one lacks the effective communication skills. However, instead of persistence and working on developing and mutually encouraging those skills, one may prefer to create legitimate reasons to talk of responsibilities and duties but feelings!
3. Inflexibility. As exemplified by ‘name calling’, ‘labelling’ and ‘giving –up too soon’ – could be your own projections of feeling invalidated and inadequate. The reality is that we may feel like this sometimes: The trick is to work on an attitudinal shift from cynicism to engagement in our-selves and with the world outside which is the context in which we perform! The intent by choice is not easy but achievable with mindful-awareness of what comes out of one’s mouth and a control over one’s hands and legs! The idea is to deliberate openness…you do not have to agree, but damaging gadgets, smearing public property or being in rage will probably not resolve anything either.
4. Inability to listen and accommodate the ‘other’ person’s perspectives: Wait till the other person finishes his or her side of the story. Note down your disagreements mentally or in writing but wait till the other has poured out her feelings. Validate and reflect what you have understood and then give your perspective of the story, without having to be ‘right’ or ‘wrong’.
5. Fear of rejection. I think we fear that in being transparent the’ significant other/s’ will think less of us: That our needs would be criticised and we may even invite blatant denials and contempt.
6. Myths like ‘it is selfish to think about yourself: These are thoughts that are imbedded from our childhood, family, society and not necessarily validated through real life-experiences. Fact is we all need help and support. Question such myths to decide whether you will maintain them and if so why? Would you discard them and if so, why?
7. Procrastination. There may not be another time! Please do not defer life’s most valuables- you and your loved ones, to be experienced and cherished at a scheduled time once or twice a year (holidays) or at another time when we retire or upon another condition being fulfilled down the time line. There is no guarantee that you will get that chance. More importantly it really might be too late!
How come in well-being research we have not looked into these barriers and appear to prescribe some ad hoc positive anecdotes for a pleasant and functional life!? As researchers are we not focussing only on one side of the story, risking a ‘fit for all’ solution that may be redundant and a total waste of time!? More reflections in the next blog!
‘Understanding Employee Wellbeing Practices in Australian Organizations’
A ‘snapshot’ from a 2011 survey, to gauge the awareness of HR managers and the perceived benefits reaped from some existing ‘wellbeing programs’ in organizations…
Grit: the Key for long-term Success?.
When intelligence is not enough…grit will help you moving gradually and slowly toward your destination!
Excited being introduced to ‘blogging’ at the Sydney Business School, University of Wollongong, in one of my first year Ph.D (I) program subjects on research dissemination, this is my first attempt to showcase my research interest across the globe for those who may be interested in academic research and HR practice. To this end, I have reflectively borrowed an audio-visual clipping from a very famous BBC sitcom ‘The Two Ronnies’ that was freely available on You-Tube.
My doctoral thesis broadly is encompassed in the title ‘Well-being in Citizenship’; ‘well-being’ marked by pleasant feelings (subjective well-being) and also by purpose in life, personal growth, autonomy, positive relationships and self-acceptance (psychological well-being, Ryff 2004); whilst organizational ‘citizenship’ behaviours (OCB) marked by voluntary unrewarded, helpful behaviour at work.
The precise 3.42 mins of inserted feature from You-Tube, highlights the epitome of what citizenship is NOT!!! Especially when you consider OCB dimensions of ‘altruism’ and ‘courtesy’ (for more see Organ 1988; 2006) toward one’s co-worker. Moreover, it raises one to question and signify ‘well-being’ of both the perpetrator and the victim, the sender and the receiver, the attacker and the attacked in the workplace and workplace-events!