Please, Don’t Do That!
Rude interns, an ungrateful job seeker, sexist new hires, and a video.
These are examples of what you don’t want to do…
While working my way through college, I was fortunate enough to have a position at the corporate headquarters of a Fortune 500 company. We were located near a prestigious university which shipped in a group of interns one summer I won’t soon forget.
My colleagues and I began to notice this group taking long lunches, waltzing through the halls chatting and laughing, not a care in the world. They didn’t seem to understand the rest of us were working while they played. I recall several in the office commenting on the interns and how they couldn’t wait until their summer stint was over.
The interns made several mistakes. First, they needed to respect the fact this was a place of business. Second, taking a long lunch everyday wasn’t winning them points with the office staff. Third, if they hoped to work for the company after graduation, they needed to make a good impression–certainly not a bad one. Please, don’t make the mistakes these interns did. Take your internships seriously, treat them like a paid position.
Ungrateful Job Seeker
Recently, I came across a grad complaining about his current situation. Out of a job and unable to pay his bills, he was angry that he had a Bachelor’s Degree, but not much to show for his academic efforts. Wanting to help, I gave him several suggestions. The tone in which I was being addressed began to bother me, it wasn’t of someone who appreciated my efforts, rather one of entitlement and impatience.
Finally, he asked if there was anything else I had to offer. I said that I did, and told him I was happy he appreciated my advice and the only thing I would add would be he needed to change his attitude. Not only did my hint go over his head, so did my unveiled comment about his attitude. It could be, he was let go from his job because of that very attitude.
Please don’t treat people badly who are helping you. Yes, being unemployed is frustrating–but don’t take it out on the one who could possibly change your luck! That’s the person who should get your full attention and appreciation for taking time out of their busy day to do something for you. A sincere “Thank You” should always be in order.
Sexist New Hires
Working for a female–do you have a problem with that? If so, it will be evident to her. I have a friend who is a high level manager at a well-known computer company. She explained she once hired a recent graduate who interviewed well, had gone through an excellent academic program, and graduated at the top of his class. But, once on the job, his attitude disturbed her and she began to deal with him in her calm, but firm way.
Realizing her new hire resented the fact he was working for a woman, she set about giving him menial work to do. He quickly became bored and complained. It was explained to him that his attitude was inappropriate for that office–and this century.
It’s a big mistake to carry a sexist attitude. Women made up 49% of the workforce in the U.S. (at the beginning of the recession), that means you’ll have a good chance of working with, and for, women in your career.
Another grad from a prestigious business school in California was handed a great job opportunity on a silver platter–by his father who worked for a financial institution. Being an executive in the industry, this grads father wanted his son to follow in his footsteps. He may have taught his son a great deal about business, but taught him nothing positive about dealing with women–both in and out of the office. It didn’t take long for the son to offend every woman on his floor. His father’s position couldn’t help him in the end. He was fired from a job most grads would walk over hot coals to obtain, but this one threw his future away. Sadly, he never changed and is working in a small office for a friend, making a fraction of what he could be making in his former position.
Recently, a damaging video one UCLA student made went viral. It was basically a rant about how she didn’t appreciate certain ethnic groups (she has since issued a formal apology). Guaranteed, this person is going to have a rough time finding employment now. Other people post items to their Facebook and MySpace pages that are equally as damaging.
Prejudice needs to be openly addressed. Children usually learn how to dislike, or even hate others, through what their families have taught them. Granted, it may not be anything a parent intentionally teaches their child, but rather it’s leading by example. If a child hears a parent make a comment against an ethnic group, they learn that prejudice.
For minorities, or those entering the U.S., the same holds true when they criticize Caucasians, or the American people. I’ve heard derogatory comments aimed at the American culture and whites in particular, prejudice can be held by people of all colors and ethnicities. I once had a student who felt he was not prejudiced, simply because he was a minority making the derogatory remarks against Caucasians. Not so, it’s still prejudice no matter who is making the comments. What we should do is look for common ground… instead of focusing on our differences.
In most offices located in highly populated areas today, the likelihood a worker will encounter several ethnic groups at once is certain. The U.S. has always been a desirable country, where people flock to from all over the world, that won’t change any time soon. All non-Native Americans are descendants of immigrants or are immigrants. No one group can claim the U.S. as their own, we all share this country. Nowhere else can you find a country more diverse. It is that rich diversity which makes America strong.
Be sure, whether you are an intern, job seeker or new hire, you enter into the workplace on the right foot. Look carefully at how you view work, maybe you need help with your work ethic. Examine attitudes regarding your unemployment, since that is evident in interviews and to those who help you with a job search. Be honest with yourself about negative views you possess against women, people of color, or those who are from other countries. Since you’ll be exposed to many different people in the workplace, it’s best to change those negative views towards others before they become your undoing.
Please enter into whatever you do with the best intentions, it ensures your success.
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