Tough love

If you’re Gen-Y and sick of the bad rap your generation is getting, only you can do something about it. MICHAEL PHILLIPS

Michael Phillips

By Michael Phillips

As a typical “boy” I spent a lot of my junior years getting patched up from incidents suffered biking, playing football, or on some occasions providing “handyman” solutions around the house. Knees, elbows and wrists were taking a constant battering from trying to keep myself occupied from sunrise to sunset.

The big thing I seem to remember though is minimal sympathy from my mum, and I got the same treatment when it came to being bullied or having problems with my teachers. The same old response came firing back to me – “Don’t whinge, and if you have a problem, you need to start dealing with it yourself”. How’s that for “tough love”.

So, while at the time I thought I was hard done by and was jealous of all those kids copping sympathy and happy meals from their mums, it’s only now that it all makes sense.

The truth is if you’re not going to look out for yourself, you can’t expect others to. The same goes for your career.

Mentors, life coaches and Anthony Robbins types can lead you to water, but they can’t teach you to drink. If you don’t have that inner desire to get the most out of yourself, you’ll find it hard to find that perfect role for you, commit 100% and work diligently on achieving some goals for you and your organisation.

This also seems to be a big criticism of Generation-Y.

They’re said to have a lack of respect, no loyalty and the attention span of a goldfish. This is definitely true in some cases, but in most I find it results from a few factors.

First, these employees obviously didn’t get the tough love they needed when they were young. Second, they are not motivated to get the best out of themselves. And last but not least, they’re bored.

So inevitably, it’s a battle for the manager to get any value out of them and the employee counts down the hours each day by searching recruitment websites and day dreaming about fantasy jobs or winning lotto.

In the spirit of tough love, if you’re one of these people – stop blaming everyone else, giving Gen-Ys a bad name and being a drain on society. You need to look inwards rather than outwards, and if you’re not happy and are performing below your ability, it’s time you wake up to yourself and make a change.

As mum said: Don’t whinge, you need to start taking care of yourself.


Michael Phillips is a 30-year old CPA managing a business full of Gen-Ys. He’s the Commercial Manager of Cremorne Group which wholesales and retail mens and womens apparel, including the Tommy Hilfiger, Blazer and Perri Cutten brands. He offers his experience as a pioneering Gen-Y managing Gen-Ys, covering issues such as how to recruit, retain and get the most out of Gen-Y – the notoriously difficult younger generation of employees aged 15 to 30.



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