young people in business … and their impatience and entitlement (in 1806)

entitlement 1

“Wisdom does not come by instinct, but will be found when diligently sought for; seek her, she will be a friend that will never fail you.”

 

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Letter to Mr. Lane, on the Duties of a young officer, London, November 7, 1787

 

 

Ok.

 

This is about older people’s perspective on how the young feels entitled in today’s world and in business.

 

And just because I am me <unequivocal supporter of young people and disdainful of most older people> I am going to share this.

 

I recently read a great book about the naval war from 1793 to 1815 <The Line Upon a Wind: The Great War at Sea, 1793-1815>.

 

It was on about page 700 of an almost 800 page book that I stopped and marked the page that the words I am going to share came from.

 

On that page Admiral Cuthbert Collingwood, who was one of Horatio Nelson’s best friends and second in command of the Royal Navy at Trafalgar <he actually won the naval battle after Nelson died in the midst of the battle> began bemoaning the entitlement of the young generation.

 

I laughed out loud.

 

 

Now <part 1>.

 

Collingwood was supposed to be a humorless man <but a perfect partner in crime with Nelson who was a PR hound> so when I read his words I simply visualized any of the innumerable insufferable grey haired curmudgeons crowding the hallways in pretty much any large business organization today.

 

 

Now <part 2>.

 

To be fair to good ole Cuthbert … Collingwood was also the one who said to his crew before the battle began at Trafalgar:

 

“Now, gentlemen, let us do something today which the world may talk of hereafter.”

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<my post on Collingwood: http://brucemctague.com/moment-to-do-the-extraordinary  >

Therefore he understood duty and honor and responsibility.

 

 

In fact.

epic struggle

He most likely had an unerring compass with regard to respect for one’s career and responsibility TO one’s career <and not what a career owed you>.

 

 

Regardless.

 

I imagine my point in sharing this is to point out that it doesn’t matter when in time … today, yesterday or 1807 … older more experienced people have always worried that the younger generation doesn’t approach things as well as they did.

 

 

—–

 

“It’s not the fashion for young men to be seamen now. They are more attentive to the outward furniture of the head, than to anything within it; and they all dress a la Bonaparte, as if a great hat and tassels constitute a hero. I could laugh at their nonsense, if the public interest were not too much affected by it.”

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Speaking of a midshipman who had just joined him he said, “I have little hope of his being a sailor. He does not take notice of anything, nor any active part in his business; and yet I suppose when he has dawdled in a ship six years he will think himself very ill-used if he not be made a lieutenant.

Officers in the navy are now made provision for all sorts of idle people.”

 

=impatient and irritating

 

“Few line of battle ships have more than two or three officers who are seamen.

The rest are boys, fine children in their mothers’ eyes, and the facility with which they get promoted makes them indifferent as to their qualification.”

Cuthbert Collingwood

 

The ghost of Collingwood haunts the hallways of today’s business world.

 

And it is silly.

 

Just yesterday someone I work with said about a young person “they just haven’t had their head set straight that they aren’t the smartest person yet.”

 

All young people think they are smarter than their boss … until they understand they aren’t. In fact … all young people are impatient in their pursuit of doing something epic.

 

This is awesome.

 

And, to be clear, that isn’t entitlement <albeit it can look & feel that way to an older person>. It is simply the naiveté of youth.

 

But rather than shake our heads and sing a song of woe with regard to the youth of today I imagine it would be more helpful of the older generation stepped up to the plate and took the real and true challenge … to be smarter than the young person.

 

To figure out how to actually let them do something epic.impatience wait eliot

 

Earn the respect <rather than feel ‘entitled to respect’>.

 

Doh.

 

 

Did I just say that out loud?

<yup>

 

 

Maybe we older folk need to understand that entitlement goes both ways.

 

Maybe we older folk need to inspire young people to ‘do something the world will speak of hereafter.’

 

Aw.

 

Entitlement.

 

One of those overused words that become more and more meaningless drivel of the people who don’t want to truly invest the time and the energy to do what they are supposed to do.

 

Their jobs.

 

And do them well.

And earn respect each and every day.

 

impatience clarityCollingwood may have been a curmudgeon … and he may have worried about the young leadership he saw … but he also wrote several manuals on ‘young officers training and growth.’

He never quit on the young.

 

He was … well … a leader.

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Written by Bruce