A generational feud has erupted on social media after a business guru said ‘old-style Boomer managers’ are causing younger staff to leave their jobs.
Corporate coach Kathy McKenzie told Daily Mail Australia this week the No. 1 thing young workers despise is unnecessarily being told what to do by their older bosses.
She added that the issue is even more magnified when Baby Boomers share obvious directions with younger staff – particularly women.
But Boomers have hit back at ‘lazy’ Millennials, Gen Y and Z, complaining about their working conditions, claiming their generations are just ‘weak babies’ who have no clue about the real world and often produce ‘substandard’ work.
The social media furore comes as droves of disaffected staff are leaving en masse and triggering staff shortages across some of Australia’s most crucial industries including the healthcare sector – with thousands of nurses fleeing on the heels of the pandemic.
The rest of the globe has seen a similar jobs crisis unfold post-Covid, with the phenomenon dubbed the great ‘Great Resignation’.
Robert said getting direction from older bosses is a normal part of any job
Nurse Amy Halvorsen (left), 33, complained about her treatment at the hands of her bosses
‘Youngsters are leaving the workplace because they’d rather sit home on Centrelink payments than doing an actual job,’ Dianne, 66, commented as furious discussion broke out over the issue online.
‘I’ve worked with young managers and ones who are well over retirement age. Being a f***wit is actually a defect which is found across the age spectrum.
‘If your boss is lacking in this quality, you’ll be miserable at work regardless of his/ her age bracket.
‘Blaming an entire generation for your woes is easier than taking responsibility for poor choices. It’s also spineless and lacking in substance.’
Another said: ‘So are these whiny, weak babies that quit their jobs moving back in with mummy and daddy? How are they supporting themselves?’
A third wrote: ‘One day this generation will be in charge. We’re all doomed.’
Dianne, 66, said Boomers are not the problem – it’s just that Millennials, Gen Y and Z are soft
Robert said getting direction from bosses is a normal part of any job.
‘How dare the baby boomer bosses dictate to the workers re how to do their job?’ he posted sarcastically.
We have reared a generation of selfish wimps – Janet
Others commented that the complaints of ‘me, myself & I’ generations are ‘a bit rich’ coming from a group of people who go out of their way to be offended and then post ‘themselves crying on social media’ about it.
‘Millennials are selfish, self centred, don’t understand teamwork or responsibility to coworkers or company,’ one person said. ‘The trouble is that they are also so arrogant and entitled that they won’t recognise or admit to any of these traits.’
Another wrote: ‘Most youngsters wouldn’t actually know what hard work/pressure is.’
‘We have reared a generation of selfish wimps,’ Janet said.
Janet says we have a generation of ‘selfish wimps’ in the workforce nowadays
A massive cultural divide is creating instability and high-turnover in various sectors throughout Australia.
Ms McKenzie, who founded the business coaching start-up Fire Up, says younger workers don’t have to put up with their bosses ‘making demands’ anymore and are looking to work for employers that know how to foster their talents.
‘In the 80s and 90s, if someone was telling you something that you already knew, you just sucked it up. Now that just doesn’t fly anymore. Especially for younger women,’ she said.
Christine says younger generations think they ‘pick and choose’ what they want to do on the job
‘When someone starts mansplaining, they know they don’t actually have to put up with that like they did 10 or 15 years ago.
‘Millennials and the new workforce now also really understand what coaching and mentorship is. So if their boomer bosses don’t have that skill they just find it really frustrating and will likely leave.’
But older generations disagree and say maybe if the ‘generation of know-it-alls’ actually listened to their boomer bosses they might be happier about your job.
‘That’s what is wrong with the younger generations. They pick and choose what they want to do,’ Christine wrote.
‘But all those other meaningless tasks also need to be done – that’s why they were hired and are being paid.’
Another person had a more philosophical view of the intergenerational conflict.
‘Since time began the young generation puts the generation ahead down, until the young end up the the next mob of fools… Life goes fast,’ the person wrote.
Amy Halvorsen, 33, walked out on her job as a nurse after enduring brutal treatment at the hands of her bosses
Kathy McKenzie (pictured) said the number one thing Australian workers hate is ‘being told what to do’ by their bosses when they already know how to do their job
IS YOUR BOSS A GOOD LEADER?
WHAT MAKES A GOOD BOSS?
1. Transparency – Tell staff what’s going on and and build trust
2. Relationship – tell people where they stand
3. Understanding – communicate with context
4. Shared success – demonstrate how we win together
5. Tell the truth at all times
WHAT MAKES A BAD BOSS?
1. Redundancy – Often doing meaningless tasks
2. Bureaucracy – Unnecessary rules and procedures
3. Politics – Constant staff disputes
4. Disengagement – Uninspired workers
5. Turnover – Workers wanting to leave
Australia is currently in the midst of a jobs crisis following the Covid pandemic, with businesses across the country facing staff shortages.
A mass exodus of workers fed up with their chosen careers coupled with a sharp slow down of immigration from overseas are two of the key factors driving the 50-year low in unemployment, now sitting at 3.9 per cent.
The scope of the issue troubling bosses was laid bare in the latest jobs report by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, with 423,500 vacancies going unfilled.
Ms Halvorsen was a registered nurse in 2017 and was on the front line of the Covid outbreak serving in the neurology and trauma unit at Sydney’s Westmead Hospital
What is the Great Resignation?
The Great Resignation is an ongoing economic trend which saw 3.9 million workers in the US walk out on their jobs during the Covid crisis in early 2021.
The phenomenon has also spread to other parts of the world including China, Europe, India and Australia.
Experts believe the cause of the ‘big quit’ is due to a number of factors including wage stagnation, job dissatisfaction, safety concerns stemming from the pandemic – and a desire to find a role that offers remote-working policies.
Among the sectors most devastated by a shortfall in staff is the healthcare sector, with 20,000 ‘burnt out’ nurses walking out on the job last year.
One of those who quit, Amy Halvorsen, said there was a ‘huge gap’ between nurses working on the floor and management.
The 33-year-old started working as a registered nurse in 2017 and was on the front line of the Covid outbreak serving in the neurology and trauma unit at Sydney’s Westmead Hospital.
‘It was so understaffed throughout 2021, and when the new waves of the virus kept coming, there was just no reprieve at all,’ she said.
‘As soon as beds finally started to empty out, we’d be hit with another wave, and there was no forward planning by the health department or the government to fix it.
‘We had patients on breathing apparatus who needed to be watched every ten minutes so it became dangerous.’
Ms Halvorsen said the conditions were so bad that there were rarely breaks, and nurses had to rely on fellow staff to watch their patients just to go to the bathroom.
She raised the issue with hospital management, who told her ‘they are not seeing the same thing’.
Ms Halvorsen said the conditions were so bad that there were rarely breaks and nurses had to rely on fellow staff to watch their patients just to go to the bathroom
Ms Halvorsen is pictured protesting for better conditions in the healthcare sector
‘They just see numbers and targets and percentages, not what health staff are going through,’ she said.
‘They were bringing in inexperienced nurses to look after brain surgery patients. It’s dangerous.
They say things like ‘do some deep breathing’. F**k your deep breathing – former nurse Amy Halvorsen
‘You’re frustrated, exhausted and overworked already, and then you are having to help train another nurse. The entire support system was falling apart.’
At one point, she was told to contact a counsellor as part of NSW Health’s ’employee assistance programs’.
‘Me calling a counsellor who has less mental health experience than me and has no medical background is not okay,’ Ms Halvorsen said.
‘They don’t understand. They say things like ‘do some deep breathing’. F**k your deep breathing.’
Ms Halvorsen (pictured with her partner) said there’s a ‘huge gap’ between nurses working on the floor and management
Among the sectors most devastated by a shortfall in staff is the healthcare sector with 20,000 ‘burnt out’ nurses walking out on the job last year (Ms Halvorsen pictured being interviewed)
Ms McKenzie, who also worked as a registered nurse decades earlier, said it’s a classic example of toxic management.
‘A good leader will be transparent about what’s going on and if they don’t know something, they will share what information they do have,’ she said.
‘Good leaders will also take the time to build strong relationships with their teams.
‘You have to actually know your staff. What are their strengths? What are their values and what are their trigger points?’
New data makes it clear the Great Resignation phenomenon is unfolding in Australia with the ABS revealing the number of people who quit to change jobs or chase a business opportunity was now much higher than the tally of people being sacked or retrenched.
Ms McKenzie said good bosses encourage their staff to share insights while bad bosses ‘make demands’ and lack trust in their workforce (stock image)
CommSec chief economist Craig James said: ‘The great job market shuffle is underway.
‘For the first time there are more people that say they are unemployed because they left their lost job rather than those that lost jobs through redundancy, business failure or poor performance.’
To attract and retain staff will require a lot more effort than applied in the recent past – CommSec chief economist Craig James
Mr James said employers that didn’t offer better pay and conditions were in danger of losing staff.
‘Employers need to be alert and a little alarmed,’ he said.
‘The job market is tight and a near record number of jobs are vacant and looking to be filled.
‘To attract and retain staff will require a lot more effort than applied in the recent past.’
Minimum wage earners received a 5.2 per cent pay increase to keep up with inflation