The World’s “Longest Umbilical Cord”
by Glenn Shepard
June 14, 2016

Category:  Management



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Dear Glenn,

    We had an employee who tried to commit suicide via drug overdose and was involuntarily committed for a week. We terminated her position with our company. Legal counsel is telling me we should not have done that because suicide is a sign of mental illness and mental illness is protected under the ADA. Is this true? It doesn’t seem right to me.

Frustrated in Pennsylvania

Dear Frustrated,

   I’m not an attorney and can’t give legal advice. And this is a far bigger issue than anyone can answer in a one inch column. Here’s a little basic background.
   The EEOC’s Enforcement Guidance on the ADA and Psychiatric Disabilities states “Attempting suicide does not mean an individual poses an imminent risk of harm to him/herself when s/he returns to work. In analyzing ...the likelihood of any potential harm, the employer must seek reasonable medical judgments… and/or the best available factual evidence concerning the employee.”
   So the answer is “Talk to a good labor law attorney.”

- Glenn in Nashville, TN
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A woman who attended my seminar in Decorah, IA last Wednesday said that the world’s longest umbilical cord is now the cell phone.

Even after kids leave home, Helicopter Parents (those who hover over every aspect of their kids’ lives) don’t cut the apron strings.

They now call their kids in college every day to wake them up and make sure they get to class.

And then they call them again every night to tuck them in.

As amazing as it is to hear this happening with college students, a manager who attended my seminar in Mason City, IA last Thursday had one that beats anything I’ve ever heard.

The mother of one of her employees asked the manager to call and wake up the woman’s son the next day, because Mom was going to be in an early meeting at her job, and wouldn’t be able to call her twenty-something son to wake him up for his job.

Apparently Helicopter Parents have become so obsessive about micro managing their kids’ lives that they now expect their kids’ employers to wake them up and get them out of bed.

A 2013 Wall Street Journal article titled “Should You Bring Mom and Dad to the Office? Employers Are Embracing the Involvement of Parents to Attract and Hold On to Talent” referenced a study which found that 8% of college graduates brought their parents to the job interview with them.

Companies such as LinkedIn (which was just bought by Microsoft) and Google now have annual “Bring Your Parents to Work with You” days.

We’ve raised a generation that’s accustomed to the first authority figure in their lives – their parents – being more involved in every aspect of their day to day existence than any previous generation in history.

The second authority figure in everyone’s lives is their teachers, and the third is their parents.

If you manage Generation Y (aka Millennials) employees, be prepared for the fact that they’ll expect more involvement and feedback from you than any prior generation in the workforce ever has.

If you’re a manager who’s a member of Generation X, which is known for its fierce independence (because Gen X grew up largely as “Latchkey Kids”), this will drive you nuts.

But you’d better get used to it, because Generation Y has now taken over the workforce.

According to Pew Research, Generation Y officially became the largest generation in the U.S. in April 2016, bumping the Baby Boomers from that position.

To Your Success,

Glenn Shepard
Glenn Shepard


P.S. Want to know how to attract, manage, motivate and retain Gen Y employees? Make sure you open every email you get from Glenn Shepard, and I’ll show you.

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