Wednesday, January 14, 2004

“These people are very difficult to market. We need to keep their feet on the ground”.

Recently said* Peter Richards, business manager with Management Recruiters Australia (MRA), apropos of burnt-out gen X professionals looking for a change of job/career, in order to strike a better work-life balance.

Nothing new here, of course – just some sweet Schadenfreude. MRA is a subsidiary of Adecco, the global recruitment/outsourcing company embroiled in an emerging financial scandal**.

With corporate financial scandal now so commonplace, a clear pattern has emerged as to the culprits. Since Enron in late 2001, the chief perpetrators and ringleaders have invariably been baby boomers (although in Adecco’s case, it’s still too early to tell).

Which all leaves gen Xers feeling exquisitely, if hollowly vindicated. In case the implications of MRA’s Peter Richards aren’t clear enough (viz, that gen Xers should stick with the working-to-the-bone job/career they’ve got, coz employers will think they’re shirkers, otherwise), here’s Margaret Locke, general manager with MRA:

Staff hit their prime in their 30s when they are skilled, experienced, and can really contribute to a company’s bottom line. This is when management earmarks individuals to become future leaders and executives. Ironically, it is at this point that employers lose their talented staff, often through lack of planning*.

No, Margaret – gen X are not “lost”; they walk, with or without their “feet on the ground”. That gen X is walking away, just when the rewards of seniority are supposedly about to heaped upon them, doesn’t reflect a lack of employer “planning” (nor, of course, a generation-turning-hippy). Rather, it is to do with the belated realisation that boomers have kicked the ladders out from underneath. There is simply no employer “planning”, in this sense, just boomers pillaging for as long as they can get away with it.

And now this boomer (I’m assuming) rampage has caught up with your very own employer, Mr Richards and Ms Locke. A just reward for keeping your feet on the ground and playing by the(ir) rules, eh?

* Paul McIntyre "High Xpectations sends a generation packing" The Age “My Career” 10 January 2004 (no URL)

** Vanda Carson “Fears grow for Adecco” The Australian 14 January 2004 (no URL)

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