Here’s a hypothetical situation: What if we had 100 people who scheduled an interview with a company, 95 of them showed up. We interviewed them, but instead of looking at how well they did on their interviews, their experience, their resume, we hired all of them. We even hired the 5 people who didn’t show up. Then, we promoted all of the 100 people to CEO and gave them a $500,000 a year salary, whether or not they actually showed up one day for work.
Would this ever happen? The obvious answer is no, there can’t be 100 CEOs and it is ridiculous to reward people for not doing anything special. Unfortunately, that’s the way many children are raised. In young sports, (say the Little League) everyone gets a trophy, regardless of whether they win, lose, show up, or play. While I understand it is important to give children positive feedback, is rewarding them for no effort the correct path to take?
Now I know one of the arguments I will get is that these are just little kids, why should we show them real world? Here’s something that hits closer to home: At Evanston Township High School, near the end of the year, we start receiving awards. One of them that comes to mind is Honor Society. What I always find interesting about Honor Society (It’s grouped by year) is that at least 400 kids get the award. That’s just about 50% of the students. Now, I don’t have anything against these students, most of them are great people. The question that comes to mind though is should we be recognizing 50% of our students as outstanding? Perhaps Honor Society should only honor 20 students, or 50 students. Another thing I find interesting about Honor Society is that if you fulfill certain general requirements, you have a 100% chance of getting the award. Unfortunately, getting a job doesn’t work this way.
The problem today is that as we keep getting told how great and special we are when the reality of the situation is that most of us aren’t that special. Most of us won’t be the CEO making $500,000 a year. A psychologist once told me 75% of parents think their children are gifted when only 2% actually are. This “Everybody gets a trophy” mentality is making my generation lose its competitiveness to one of entitlement.
Recently I went in for a job interview, and I was surprised to see that most of the people there looked and acted as if they felt they were doing the company a favor by applying. Many of my colleagues also tell me how it’s impossible to get a job because no one has reached out to them. In today’s job market, if you aren’t competitive, there are 10,000 people waiting for their chance to bat, and only one person gets a trophy.
Please comment with your thoughts