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How Hollywood Has Taught Generation Y to Disrespect Their Elders

Author: Glenn Shepard
Date: February 18, 2014
Category: Management


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Dear Glenn,   

Would you refuse to hire someone because they have a "crazy" spouse?

Louise in Chicago


Dear Louise,

Yes. As Dave Ramsey says, "Crazy people tend to marry crazy people". Even if the applicant is solid, the drama that a problem spouse can bring to the workplace can be as bad as a problem employee.

    Thanks for your question.

Glenn in Nashville, TN

Click here to submit a question. If yours is selected, you'll win your choice of the "I'm the Boss, Not the Babysitter" or "Work Is Not for Sissies"  coffee mug.

While every generation is rebellious in its youth, none has ever been raised with less respect for authority figures than Generation Y (aka The Millennials). The drastic change can best be seen on TV.

Even though family structures changed dramatically, authority figures were portrayed positively for the first 40 years of TV.

In the 1950’s, “Father Knows Best” portrayed Dad as the wise and all knowing patriarch of a traditional family.

In the 1960’s, Andy Griffith played a single father admired by son Opey.

In the 1970’s, “The Brady Bunch” followed a blended family where father Mike Brady was revered by his three sons and three step daughters.

In the 1980’s, Bill Cosby headed up one of the first black prime time families as Dr. Cliff Huxtable, while Phillip Drummond headed up one of the first multi-racial prime time families in “Different Strokes”. Each was a role model to be admired and emulated.

In the 1990’s, things changed.

In 1996, Ray Romano debuted as a loyal husband, father and successful writer in “Everybody Loves Raymond”. Yet he was portrayed as a buffoon.

In 1998, “Will and Grace” became the first prime time show with a gay leading character. The two high achievers, business owner Grace and attorney Will, were the brunt of the jokes while chronically unemployed Jack and  alcoholic secretary Karen were the cool characters.

Even cartoons changed.

“The Simpsons” portrays father Homer as an imbecile; the police chief as overweight, lazy and stupid; the mayor as a woman chaser and heavy drinker; the principal as unstable and still living with his domineering mother; and the pastor as arrogant and condescending.

“South Park” follows four foul-mouthed delinquents named Stan, Kyle, Eric and Kenny. Eric’s mother appeared on the cover of "Crack Whore Magazine”, and series co-creator Trey Parker describes Stan’s 's father as "the biggest dingbat in the entire show”.

No wonder it has become so common for kids today to call their teachers and parents by their first names, and see them more as peers than authority figures.

If you employ Millennials who don't respect your authority, it doesn't necessarily come from a desire to be insubordinate. It may be all they they’ve ever known, and you could be the first to teach them that you're their boss, not their BFF.


To Your Success,





P.S. When you do correct Millennials, keep in mind that they don’t handle criticism well. They got trophies just for showing up.


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