February 2, 2017
C-Stores typically hire part-time people. This can leave their employee base to be largely among the young. The reasons c-store operators get mad may be age-based. Remember, their life is shorter than many Boomers have been paying their mortgages. People often complain about the young being arrogant. They have known little failure, most have experienced little of life’s abuse and received trophies, stickers and awards their entire lives. Little has happened to them that would hurt their self esteem. Plus, they have been exposed to so little, they have total recall of everything and can express what they know with absolute and utter certainty. Why wouldn’t they be confident and think they are infallible? Didn’t we feel the same when we were younger as well?
As a “Baby Boomer” I can remember people of my parent’s age saying things like “Kids today have no backbone. They never work as hard as we did.” This was usually followed by tales of walking 5 miles through the snow to get themselves to school, having a job when they were only 14, and many other hardships faced by those coming up through more difficult times. Back then, I thought the advice they offered was ancient and not applicable. I now realize that they weren’t complaining. They were educating. To their credit, though I have not experienced any of their hardships, I still learned a lot from those tales they told.
It is our turn to pay it forward and teach values we have learned in life. The only reason we should judge the youth of today is to determining where we might be able to help them grow. If you don’t think we have anything to offer, just ask yourself what you would do if to encounter the hardship of a 3-day power outage. Then ask a millennial the same question.
So, what can one do in order to keep themselves from getting angry when someone much younger argues that what you know to be correct is not correct? Just do what our parents generation did and count to three:
#1. We have to keep in mind that it is not arrogance if you do not know that there could be other perspectives. Tell them what you know and let them do with that information what they will. Since what you say is true, they will find it to be so. The end result could only be that they trust you more the next time you offer other advice.
#2. Remember that we cannot hate ignorance if we hire those that wouldn’t know. They did not choose not to know. They just don’t know. If it angers you, then you should point your anger at yourself for not hiring an older person who would know such things. If you hired them, then it is up to you to educate them. Find creative and palatable ways to do so. Ask questions that will help them understand while showing you are open to letting them disprove your case.
#3. Be patient. If we teach them and they learn to believe us then both problems of ignorance and arrogance disappear. it may be a separate day when you and the youth realized they had learned, but both days should be rewarding to you. Aguste Rodin once said “Patience is also a form of action”. Life happens to all of us. Just remember you may be a little further ahead of the game and that patience is a virtue.
Despite all the valid reasons c-store operators get mad. it is just not worth it. Why bother getting upset? One of the many advantages of getting older is that we don’t allow our emotions to run us. Realize we need to celebrate and support the millennials. Just as a baker starts with flour, water and an egg, it is up to you what you do with all of that raw talent.