Your classic “entitled millennial” post. Older generations are actually laughing in my face as they read this I’m sure. I’ve been searching Google for someone who agrees with me on this and have come up short. Obviously we’re talking about office type jobs here. I can absolutely see how attendance is important in a customer service job. Maybe nobody else feels this way, or maybe people are just afraid to outwardly speak about it. My point is that it needs to be said – attendance, in this day in age, is a stupid concept. Here’s why.
Technology has the potential to allow anyone to work anywhere, anytime.
All anyone needs is an Internet connection in order to connect globally. If I can start this brand and connect with someone in Hong Kong, what makes you think your employees or students can’t stay connected with their laptop an hour away? Your company uses special software, you say? Cool! You pay for that software to be downloaded onto your in-office computers. Why not pay for your employees to download it on their home computers instead?
Do you need to get in contact with an employee about an urgent project? Oh my god, let me tell you about a few groundbreaking concepts: Email. Phones. Or if you don’t want to completely give up your old school ways, there’s also morse code! So many methods of communication without actually having to be in-person!
You might be asking why I’m so bitter towards attendance – like Daynna, all you have to do is show up, it’s not that hard! You’re absolutely right. Allow me to explain myself.
“Just showing up” is a lot harder for some people than you might think.
People think that because we have designated mental health awareness days like Bell Let’s Talk and that there are a few shows dedicated towards mental health awareness (see my review of 13 Reasons Why if you haven’t already) that we’re such a progressive society. We must have fixed every problem for those suffering from anxiety, depression, PTSD, schizophrenia, and every other mental illness out there, right? Not exactly.
While awareness programs are absolutely a step in the right direction, there’s so much more to be done. Have you ever heard the saying “walk the walk instead of talk the talk”? While it’s great to talk about it, we need to actually be doing something about it. In my own experience living with three anxiety disorders, my biggest struggles with inaccessibility have been found in the workplace. There’s too much weight placed on attendance and not enough weight placed on high quality work by comparison.
I’ve never had really strong attendance, even as a kid. It wasn’t because I was a hooligan – I got pretty much straight As all the way through school. But I missed a lot of classes. As a child, I frequently faked sick because I was scared of going to school and being around other kids. I frequently skipped classes in university because of anxiety. Did I still get fantastic grades? Yes I did. I was fine until being thrown into the workforce where for the past year of my life I’ve frequently been in trouble for poor attendance related to health and mental health concerns.
I have a strong work ethic, yet it’s overshadowed by my less than ideal attendance record.
I’m pretty sure if I called workers compensation about this it would be considered discrimination. I was actually told I wouldn’t be hired back in my student position specifically because I missed four days out of the entire summer at my summer job. Do you want to know why I missed those days? Migraines. That’s right, a real, diagnosable illness that I missed like four days of work out of the entire summer for was the only reason they decided not to hire me back.
Even though I worked faster and harder than I was originally anticipated to upon hiring. Even though I stayed four extra days at the end of my contract to make those hours up. Despite the fact I went out of my way every single day that I was there to go above and beyond in my menial job duties and took on extra responsibilities. Missing four days out of three months is all they cared about.
My point is that even if my attendance isn’t perfect, why should my ability to perform the job at an exceptional level be out-shadowed by that? Does it seem right to you that someone who goes to work everyday but gets nothing done is superior to someone who doesn’t go in everyday but does more work than expected from home or when they are there?
The real world and its attendance policies are shit. If there’s anything that makes me not want to work for a company, it’s a strict attendance policy. The bottom line is that if you can’t inspire your employees to work in a more accessible way, your company is probably shit and no one is actually going to want to work for you. It shows lack of creativity and innovation in my opinion. Maybe you agree, maybe you don’t. Either way, it is some food for thought, especially for companies looking to make their workplace a more positive space.
What are your thoughts on attendance policies? Love them? Hate them? Tell me in the comments below. I’m prepared for the debate to get a bit heated, but please be respectful to fellow readers, myself, and yourself – don’t be THAT guy. Disagreeing is okay – going out of your way to be disrespectful is not, keep that in mind and know that regardless of whether our opinions differ or agree I still think you’re great. 🙂 Thanks so much for reading!
Also, I’ve decided that because the idea of “entitled millennials” is such a big controversy and because my other series “Quarter Life Crisis Confessions” has gone over so well that I’ve decided to add a second series, “The Entitled Millennial Monologues”. This is the first of that series – let me know what you think and what you’d like to see next for the series!