When the September 2007 issue of Philadelphia Magazine arrived in my mailbox, Im not sure what grabbed my attention first. Maybe it was the raised middle finger of the pre-teen on the cover. More likely, it was the headline above the boys head, which read, The Worst Parents Ever. Ironically, the article involved a topic that Ive read quite a bit about latelynamely, the changing face of Americas students.
My interest in this subject was sparked earlier this year, shortly after returning to work from maternity leave. I had hired a new editor before I left, and hired another as soon as I returned. Both were twentysomethings. It didnt take long for these two dynamic individuals to change the atmosphere in the Review offices. Whats more, these kids had fires in their bellies that I hadnt seen in, well ever.
I quickly realized that I did not know how to communicate with them, much less how to manage them.
Fortune magazine rescued me from my ignorance with its field guide to Generation Y (the baby-boomers" kids), titled You Raised Them, Now Manage Them. It confirmed my worst fears. This is the most high-maintenance workforce in the history of the world, says Bruce Tulgan, the founder of generational-research firm RainmakerThinking, in his interview with Fortune. The good news, according to Mr. Tulgan: Theyre also going to be the most high-performing workforce in the history of the world.
Before I could begin to harness their potential, I had to figure out what made them who they are. The answer: their parents and our schools. Gen Yers have been told since they were toddlers that they can be anything they can imagine, says Fortune author and self-proclaimed Gen Yer, Nadira A. Hira.
But there was a hitch, says Ms. Hira. A lot of Gen Yers hadnt learned much about struggle or sacrifice. What, then, is going on in
In the Philadelphia Magazine article, we are introduced to Luisa Rabe, who runs an educational consulting business. For a mere $6,000, Ms. Rabe will you help your child select a college. She will, in fact, guide your child through high school, helping to pick the right classes and extracurricular activities so that your child will get into the right university. However, your child might also need help from another growing educational outletan SAT tutoring company.
Philadelphia Magazines Tom McGrath met with one such company. For $4,990 they will teach your child, how to get the correct answer on an SAT questionwithout actually reading the question.
I thought, God help these kids when they do finally get into college. How will they learn for themselves? More perplexing still: How do they become the intelligent, star employees that I see sitting before me now?
The credit for that, it seems, goes to the universities that continue to evolve, effectively adapting their teaching methods to reach an ever-changing student body. Indeed, colleges take this very seriouslyas does Review.
Its not just Gen Y that needs to learn. Were all going to need to learn how to be part of the high-performing workforce.
Education is the theme of this months special report. In addition to three no-fee CE courses, youll learn about the many changes that are taking place in the nations optometry schools (see Anatomy of a Curriculum Overhaul).