“But, boss… “

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Is “talking back” symptomatic of being Ghanaian or a Millenial? I’m not sure.  Of the ten people I have hired — all under 25 — at least three have spoken out of turn to give a reason for why they failed to do something.

Today, a new girl was 90 minutes late.  She did not even bother sending a text or call to say why she needed to be late.  I had chase her to find out what was going on.  When she came in, I made it clear that this type of behavior is not acceptable.

“But, boss it was very important that I go to Circle to see this person,” she replied.  Do I care?  You’re 90 minutes late with no call.  Unfortunately, in Ghana, being tardy without reason is quite common.

I cannot think of a single company or boss that would tolerate me trying to explain why I failed to do something.   My first job was as a Trading Assistant on a trading desk in New York.  My boss frequently berated me with a colorful string of words, including “muppet”, when he was not pleased with my performance.

Muppet

Muppets

Did I ever challenge him?  No, I always took it and waited for the storm to pass.  Then I promised myself that I would not repeat the same mistake.

I cannot tell if this is a generational issue, namely Millenial issue or a Ghanaian thing.  I think it’s the former because Ghanaians are known for being obedient and passive-aggressive. (Beware of berating any Ghanaian because they are likely to take it out on you at a later date when you are least expecting it.)

On the other hand, Millenials have grown up with texting, social media, and the Internet.  They live in a world where their opinion matters and they are accustomed to telling the world, “I had a egg salad sandwich for lunch” or “Look at me in these new jeans I bought”.  Unfortunately, when you are starting out at the bottom of the ladder, you should care what side of the bed your boss woke up on or whether he had an argument with his wife.

Sh** flows downhill — remember you are at the bottom.  Only when you get to the top do people care what you had for breakfast.

Has anyone else over 25 had an experience like this?  I invite you to comment.

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