Saturday, June 26, 2010

How to deal with Millenials in the Workplace

Many companies are already getting a head start on learning to understand and take advantage of a Millenial workforce by hiring consultants or attending management seminars. Extensive research has already been done on Generation Y--they've learned about their habits, values, and interests. In this section we'll discuss what companies are doing now to (1) recruit Millenial employees, and (2) handle some of the management issues associated with Millenial employees.


As Baby Boomers retire, the numbers of people working will drastically decrease. The American Society of Training and Development says that in the next 20 years 76 million Americans will retire with only 46 million to replace them. With this downward trend, companies who want talented employees will have to work harder to find them.

Some companies have already resorted to non-traditional recruiting slogans, such as Xerox's "Express Yourself." The campaign is geared around one of Generation Y's core values--to "develop solutions and change" (Armour, 2005). Because of the campaign, Xerox has been able to recruit top talent from the Millenial pool. Other companies are using different methods like leveraging their workplace diversity. "Gen Y is one of the most diverse demographic groups —  one out of three is a minority" (Armour, 2005).

Some companies, such as Abbott Laboratories in Chicago, are going above and beyond to hook Millenial recruits by "telling them about company benefits such as flexible work schedules, telecommuting, full tuition reimbursement and an online mentoring tool" (Armour, 2005).

In the Workplace

As was stated earlier, Millenials don't make their jobs the most important part of their lives. They seek after flexible schedules and fun activities. Along with many other internet companies, has taken a new approach to the office environment. In order to break up the sometimes monotonous workdays, Zappos has included interesting games and parties. Correspondent Morley Safer from CBS spoke of Zappos' office this way: "Actual work, actually happens, despite goofy parades, snoozing in the nap room, and plenty of happy hours" (Textor, 2007).

Because of the sense of entitlement that exists in the Millenial demographic, Millenials aren't afraid to question authority and voice their opinions. Parents of Millenials have treated their children more as friends and thus Millenials dislike some traditional corporate formalities in the workplace. In order to provide better atmospheres for Millenial employees, many managers are allowing first-name correspondence. Some managers have even resorted to embarrassing activities in order to gain the trust of their subordinates. Motivational consultant Bob Nelson said, "I've worked with managers that have, if we make this goal, they'll shave their head type thing; or they'll be in the dunk tank at the summer picnic. When a senior manager's willing to do that is, it says we're all in it together" (Textor, 2007).

Growing up with no winners or losers, Millenials have difficulties with criticism--especially during performance reviews. Furthermore, Millenials need a lot of praise to keep motivated. One ad agency, Campbell Mithun, has employees complete self-appraisals before supervisors get a chance to interview employees on performance. Campbell Mithun's executive vice president of human resources, K.C. Foley said, "This way, our supervisors can give recognition and provide specific feedback to millenials, as well as have an easier time reaffirming or expanding on growth areas. There are fewer surprises this way" (Stillman, 2006).

Another management issue plaguing employers is how Millenials often change jobs because of boredom. Millenials are steroidal multitaskers. A typical Millenial may have the ability to check email, text, read the latest news, chat with a coworker, and perform the work he or she is paid to do all at the same time. Routine tasks often result in more multitasking behaviors and eventually job changes. Some companies have used stricter technology usage policies but this usually produces negative results with Millenials. One company, Ecolab, found that offering "extra-curricular" work activities for its employees helped to break up routine work. Kris Taylor, director of community and public relations at Ecolab said, "Where some may be overwhelmed to sign up for one more project on their to-do list, we found that millenials jumped at the opportunity to get involved in a special project and were more engaged and excited because they were asked to participate" (Stillman, 2006).


Armour, S. (2005, November 8). Generation Y: They've arrived at work with a new attitude. USA Today. Retreived from

Stillman, D., & Lancaster, L. (2006, June). Here Come the Millennials. Twin Cities Business. Retrieved from

Textor, K. (Producer). (2007, November 11). The "Millennials" Are Coming [ Television broadcast]. New York, NY: Central Broadcasting Service. Retreived from;contentBody

Monday, June 14, 2010

Is Star Wars Racist?

This essay was written as a discussion of the existence of racial stereotypes  and critical cultural theory in Star Wars. Feel free to leave me a comment. I'm open to debate and comments.

Ideologies, Connotations, and Polysemy in Star Wars: How to deal with race in space

One cannot deny the existence of dominant ideologies inherent in Star Wars. George Lucas' study of archetypes and his world views contributed to the film.

Star Wars clearly denotes an epic science-fiction film. Many light viewers of the films probably only see it, consciously, as such. Connotatively, the film has many meanings. From the viewpoint of this paper discussing race, we see such connotations as who a hero is and who he must become. How must this hero be mentored and by whom? Star Wars also connotates the meanings of good and evil--that there are even specific colors that signify good and evil: white and black. The film also messages about the existence of minorities, or aliens—how they are viewed and what their roles are as either dangerous encounters in our hero's journey or as assistants in helping our hero succeed.

Darth Vader becomes goodIn the original star wars films minorities have very sparse roles. The dominant roles are taken by Caucasians: Luke, Han Solo, Obi Wan Kenobi, Leia, and Darth Vader. Luke is mentored by Obi Wan, who acts as a patriarchal figure. Obi Wan has great wisdom, greater than that of Darth Vader and Luke learns to trust Obi Wan.

The dominant reading from the Star Wars saga speaks of ethical rebellion—that one must stand against immoral rule. Luke epitomizes the archetypal hero who goes from being an ignorant farm boy to a wise and skilled warrior for good. In the story, he and the Rebels stand against all odds in their fight for truth and freedom. Because they fight for good, they ultimately triumph. This notion of the oppressed revolutionizing is the backbone of early American thought.

Another dominant reading is that basic Jedi principles of self-control, consistent training, and a motivation for good, are the preferred principles that can make one become “good” and a hero.

As all artifacts contain potentially infinite interpretations, Star Wars is no different. Synchronic polysemy exists as different audiences view the film. Those of Christian backgrounds idolize the righteous qualities of the Jedi and the Rebels. Protestant faiths apply the protestant, rebellious for good nature of the film to their own faiths. Conversely, those of eastern religions might see the films as mirrors of buddhism, hinduism, and shinto. The spiritualism of some of these eastern religions appear in Star Wars, such as the spirits of the past who frequently visit Luke to offer him counsel. There is no supreme being in Star Wars. Those who die are melded into the Force, which acts as an energy field guiding and moving through all life.

Those of other races will also view the films differently. Anyone who is a minority might see a dominant oppression that exists in the films as well as in society. Minority racial groups will develop resistant readings of Star Wars:

  • One can start in a lowly state and achieve greatness only if that person is a white male. Luke becomes the greatest Jedi master in the galaxy while any minority groups, such as aliens and droids retain their roles as supporters of the hero.

  • It is implied that minority groups are unintelligent, misfits of society, and criminals. For example, Jabba’s lair represents the ghettos of the Star Wars world. His lair, prinicipally made up of aliens, is filled with criminals running from the law, prostitutes, and drug dealers. Another example is the signification of the noble savage in the ewoks. These side-role characters are technologically and religiously primitive and their principal purpose in the film is to suppor the main characters.

  • In the scheme of power structures, “whiteness” is superior to all other cultures. This is apparent in the differences between the dark side and good side of the force. Sith Lords are always dressed in black. Any scenes set inside the imperial vessels use primarily dark grays while the Rebel vessels are white. This black vs. white evidence is most notable by Darth Vadar. Vadar, who dresses in black, has an African-American voice (James Earl Jones). Only at the end when he becomes “good” and Luke removes his mask, do we see his true appearance as a white male.

Note: It is safe to assume that supposed elements of racism in Star Wars were not deliberate on the part of George Lucas. However, our environment affects what we produce. In this way, the surrounding culture during the 1970's dominated the dominant ideologies in Star Wars.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

3 Morning Tips to Give Yourself a Delightful Day

While I was in a meeting this morning, @danbischoff related some very wise counsel. He said he'd been thinking about it when he arose for the day. He spoke of the 3 most important things to do in the morning in order to start the day off right and make it a good day:
Tired in the morning

  1. Wake up naturally or to music: If you practice going to bed and waking up at a set time consistently, you'll be able to wake up naturally

  2. Don't look in the mirror: When you look at yourself in the mirror, most likely you'll think you're ugly. Just don't let that kind of negativity in by not looking in the mirror.

  3. Make your first correspondence positive: Whether it's your spouse, roommate, or a driver on the road, make sure you smile and say something nice.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Understanding each other's time perspective

This lecture really stood out to me. Perhaps my time perspective differs greatly from others.

Professor Phillip Zimbardo talks about different time perspectives (there are 6 different ones): Positive and Negative Past, Present Hedonistic, Future oriented, etc.