Dear Aunty B,
I am so angry. I just asked our young new staff member very nicely to do the coffee run.
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Yesterday morning he did it, reluctantly. But this morning he flatly refused, saying he had not done five years study at university and given up two weeks of work to come and be an intern, only to walk across the road and get coffees.
I then sent the big boss to talk to him and he still refused to get the coffee. It was explained to him on the interview phone call that he would do the coffee run every morning and he agreed.
But now he says he thought that was just a joke.
Fortunately, someone else got the coffee so we are not all suffering from caffeine withdrawals as well.
Is this a Gen Y thing? Or is he a one off? Can I expect more Gen Ys to refuse to get coffee?
What? You still expect Gen Ys to get your coffee? Are you nuts? Don’t you understand that he is a young master of the universe? That he is doing you a favour by simply by turning up? That you are demeaning him, negating his status and undermining his potential by asking him to get coffee? That what you have to teach him and your time that you will spend at his side, gently teaching him the tools of your craft mean little because he knows EVERYTHING?
In fact, it is good to see that all those years of being told by the school system, his parents and psychologists that he is the centre of the universe and can do anything are paying off!
I was going to suggest you ask the coffee shop in future to deliver the coffee but then suddenly I came to my senses. You would probably get a Gen Y standing hands on hip refusing to deliver the coffee, yelling that he had not spent five years in Barista University to be a bloody delivery boy.
If I were you I would ignore it. Take it in turns to get the coffee for the next few weeks. And then when recruiting your next intern, make sure they are really, really happy to get the coffee by asking pointed trick questions like: What would you prefer? To come and be an intern and get the coffee? Or to bugger off, never grace our doors and NOT get the coffee?
Your Aunty B
Aunty B is currently on holidays sailing the South Pacific and sipping piña coladas, but she will be back soon with fresh advice for your business.
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This article first appeared on September 14th, 2009.