Frustration at Work: What To Do When Generation Y Walks Out of Employee Training

Frustration at Work: What To Do When Generation Y Walks Out of Employee Training

By Tinker Barnett

I heard recently about a newly hired Gen Y teacher who left training a few hours after it started explaining to the other teachers that it wasn’t something he needed and he was going back to the classroom.You’re kidding, right?

Nope, true story. The other teachers were baffled when the newly hired 20-something teacher decided to leave an out-of-town training they had all driven to the day before simply because he believed it was information he didn’t need. They had never heard of anything like this before.

What not to do.

1. If you’re this young man’s boss, don’t “take him to the wood shed.” Don’t lose your professional cool. In fact, this is an opportunity to demonstrate good leadership.

2. Don’t assume that the other teachers were fabricating a story and blow it off, even though you find it quite unbelievable.

3. Don’t fire him for being too honest, there’s got to be more to this than meets the eye. Find out what it is.

What to do

1. Try to understand. As this new teacher’s supervisor, you’ve got to attempt to understand what this Gen Yer was thinking. Have a conversation and explain that you want to understand how he made his decision.


Be open to what he will say, and clarify why leaving and getting back to the classroom was important to him.

2. Listen well. After listening, tell him why you were surprised at his choice and how you feel about it. This is essential for helping him understand how his decision impacted you and others.

Gen Yers enter workplaces without much prior experience and “workplace awareness” is likely underdeveloped.

3. Assume nothing about what he should have known. Did he fully realize what was expected of him? Was the purpose for the training made clear?

He’s obviously not trying to deceive and might even be naïve about such things. Assumptions are hazardous in a four generation workplace.

4. Follow through based on his reaction and response. Hopefully both of you will have learned from the experience and your wisdom and heart will guide you for what action to take.

You might assign new Gen Yers to a mentor who will fill in the blanks for the unwritten and unanticipated rules that exist in every workplace.

5. Learn from him about the Y Generation and all generational differences. Differences in generations create a variety of expectations in the workplace. Recognize that the Gen Y characteristic of impatience for wasting time may show up again in other newly hired employees.

And, know that many managers and supervisors like your self are seeing some atypical things from even the most educated Gen Yers, but it doesn’t mean they don’t care.

Sometimes they just are not aware of accepted ways of doing things in the workplace and how their actions affect the generational workplace and create frustration at work.

Bottom line, you may be surprised by the characteristics of Gen Yers in the workplace but, learning to manage them starts with learning about generational differences.

And now, I’d like to invite you to claim your free instant access to my new white paper, “Workplace Frustration: How to Reduce It and Manage Generation Y For An Increase in Company Profits”.

For a limited time you’ll find it free at my slide-up when you visit

From Tinker Barnett, Generational Gap Coaching

“Connecting Generations in the Workplace”

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