These days, it’s not easy being a boss. Employees have rights, needs—and worse—feelings. Walking the personal-professional tightrope has never been tougher.
Back in the golden era (of B&W films, zero-traffic commutes and those lovely retro fridges—all before my time, please), it’s hard to imagine anyone ever crying at work.
People stayed in one job their entire lifetime. The boss was an authority figure who inspired from a safe distance. But all that’s changed.
The new employee switches jobs faster than you can print his/her business card. Monogamy is even more extinct in the boardroom than it is in the bedroom. Sure jobs are about money and doing something useful, but they are also about the great quest for happiness and the big fear of boredom. And then there’s 24/7 connectivity—great for immediate organizational problem-solving, but also a black hole of irrelevant angst. If you’re pissed off with your boss, you can just say the first thing that comes to mind and hit send. It’s certainly easier than a face-to-face, right?
This issue has two great stories from the Wall Street Journal about the new employee. The first is on praise inflation and how bosses, professors and partners feel the need to lavish praise on young adults or else watch them wither under a compliment deficit.
When was the last time your boss praised you? Now, I’m not as addicted to praise as some of the people featured on page 14, but I must confess I need a weekly fix. If I miss it, I’ve been known to rummage through the old self-worth cabinet of woes (but I don’t want to get the husband started on this topic).
While the editor of this newspaper does have more than an occasional good word for Lounge and this team, it’s more likely his Saturday morning comment will be, “How did that spelling mistake get in?” Luckily for me, a few of you always write amazing letters to Lounge every Saturday, and that takes care of my weekly fix.
The second is a column on how it’s increasingly okay to cry at work (page 4). Forget those outdated definitions of professional conduct, if you’ve got to let it out, go ahead, just sob. Your boss has hopefully learned all the new skills required to tackle the new employee.