I apologize to the young adult workers

Because the majority of the jobseekers who attend my workshops are mature workers—40 years and older—I spend a great deal of time talking about the benefits they offer perspective employers. We’re easily spotted with hair that is graying or has gone completely white. We dress conservatively and usually appropriately for the job search. We prefer to talk on the phone as opposed to texting–imaging that.

I harp on how dependable we are, our extensive job-related knowledge and excellent interpersonal skills. I impress that we want to work and put in a day’s work, earn our dollar. Our ability to handle difficult situations or accept loss is second nature, as we’ve lost (people, jobs, finances, etc.) in the past.

But I have to apologize. What I have been neglecting are the growing number of young adult workers who are slowly but surely occupying seats in my workshop rooms. They’re attentive and respectful of my and others’ opinions. In a sense, they have matured in a very short period of time. To say they’re apathetic about their job search is incorrect. From what I see, they’re putting as much effort into their job search as the mature workers.

I’m apologizing to these folks who are among the 18% plus unemployed, who face a daunting task of finding work in a competitive work environment, who question their abilities to fit in with the 30 somethings and Baby Boomers. These are young bucks, wide-eyed and hesitant, not knowing what to expect after graduating form college or high school.

It makes me sad to have to apologize to these deserving folks. Why? Because they should be working. All my customers should be working. But now I’m presented with people who dress differently–not entirely professionally like my older workers, more Abercrombie, The Gap, Red Sox paraphernalia. They don’t yet have the workplace lingo, don’t quite understand how to show their dependability. They may not understand how to interact with the highest of upper management.

More to the point, I need to develop a vocabulary for “younger workers” and intersperse it with my mature-worker speak, so the younger workers can feel part of the workshops and see themselves as valuable additions to the workforce. I’ll be working on it in the future and pay attention to the college career advisors who have a way of marketing their customers, who have no become my customers.


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