Teenagers with Attitude by Zordon
If you’ve ever held a job before, chances are good you’ve had a boss — or colleagues, or employees — that you’ve found frustrating. In fact, of the nearly 100-million full-time workers in America, approximately 51 percent of them aren’t engaged or feel no real connection to their jobs. Another 16 percent actively resent their jobs, and make a point to complain about everyday tasks to their coworkers and associates.
A lot of researchers examine statistics like these from an adversarial standpoint: they wrongly attack people who are unsatisfied with their work as being lazy, uncooperative, or incompetent. At the same time, managers and bosses often get blamed for the quality of the workplace. While that may be true some of the time, it’s certainly not a “smoking gun” contributor to job dissatisfaction. So how do we fix a problem as complex and thorny as unhappiness with one’s career?
Instead of looking at all the people who are wrong about disliking their jobs, we prefer to focus on what people do enjoy in their careers. Today we’re providing coaching for someone in that latter category — someone who’s entirely fed up with his management position, and wants to look at alternative options.
Our (completely real, and entirely non-fictional) coach-ee today is Zordon, mentor to the infamous Power Rangers (who are also one hundred percent real). Despite enjoying parts of his role as a teacher and steward against the powers of evil, Zordon’s a bit dissatisfied with the immaturity of his employees. Zordon has written to us asking for coaching support, and we’re going to help him out.
If you’re currently feeling unhappy with your fellow employees, or your career in general, stick with us — this one’s for you!
Zordon’s first journal entry: teenagers with attitude
“Leading a team of rangers seems like a straightforward job most of the time. I keep my ear to the ground for trouble, give them their orders, and provide them with technical support. Easy. There’s just one problem. I work almost exclusively with teenagers. It’s essentially a bona-fide requirement for the job. Their youthful energy and uncorrupted minds are necessary for this whole system to work! I’d even go so far as to say that I’ve found the best my local community has to offer. They volunteer, do well in school, are athletic and have tons of potential. But at the end of the day they’re still teenagers. Moody, whiny, emotional, confused, indecisive, gullible, uncooperative, and above all… needy. So, so needy. I even went so far as to build Alpha 5, an AI specifically designed to help me to deal with their problems and address their needs as employees. Despite that, they still treat me like I’m supposed to magically solve all their problems…“Zordon, where do we find power crystals” “Zordon, when are we getting new zords?” “Zordon, can you be my real dad?” It gets worse. Since it has to be teenagers for the position, there’s a revolving door of employees. I put so much time, effort, and energy into training and nurturing these kids and then I have to replace them within a couple of seasons. I don’t know if I can keep doing this. I feel burned out and yet the fight continues…” — Zordon
First impressions: thousands of years of attitude, very little empathy
Well, well, well. What a spicy start to our correspondence with this Zordon figure — who may or may not be the force against evil who, alongside the Power Rangers, will stop at nothing to protect all of us from eternal doom. Despite his lofty position, Zordon’s got a pretty common problem: he’s fed up with his immature coworkers.
So, this journal works as a good example for two different groups: people who are in management positions that are finding themselves frustrated with their employees, and young employees who are butting heads with their managers because they’re tired of old management practices. Neither party is strictly wrong, but both are experiencing some communication issues.
In Zordon’s case, it seems like he’s experiencing the phenomenon of “contrast.” What do we mean by this? When people are going through a situation that they don’t like, they tend to sketch it deeply into their minds, magnifying its importance. The more a bad thought gets written, re-written and sketched into the mind, the more permanently and negatively it becomes lodged there. When that happens, it’s easy to focus on what we don’t want, instead of what we do want.
It makes one wonder… instead of all the things he doesn’t like about his teenaged associates, what does Zordon enjoy about his job? If it’s become so bad, what was good about his career in the first place that attracted him to it? Maybe Zordon was a real go-getter in his youth, and a part of him still empathizes with his teenaged workforce. Or maybe he likes being a teacher, even if his clientele aren’t always the most receptive to his lessons.
Another thing that might worth be homing in on is if Zordon would like his job better if the responsibilities changed. Instead of quitting and getting away from his employees entirely, might Zordon feel happier if he could hire someone to take on some of the job responsibilities he’s getting tired of? It might not be a perfect solution, but there’s merit to reconsidering what that opportunity would look like.
In order to better understand Zordon’s job, and what he truly desires moving forward, we need to ask a few follow-up questions. A good place to start might involve asking why Zordon picked this career in the first place, as well as if he’s ever thought of hiring additional associates to take care of some of his least favorite parts of the job.
Next: remembering where you started
1. Why did you take this job originally?
2. Have you ever hired another manage to help share the burden?
“It feels like thousands of years ago, but I actually used to work this job with a bunch of my friends. As I grew older, my former colleagues moved on, and I stuck around because I couldn’t stand by and let the responsibility of fighting evil fall to whoever just happened to be around. Since then I have tried giving the job away countless times, but somehow it always comes back to me. Everyone comes in thinking they’re a gift to humanity, and then quit once they’ve done one season’s worth of work.
Someday I will have to move on as well, and I think that thought fills me with the most dread. These kids need someone who can give them advice, show them the ropes, and put up with their nonsense.”
With this follow-up journal, we’re learning that Zordon has even more relatable workforce problems than we previously thought. Not only is he dealing with tough coworkers, but he’s also experiencing some burnout due to high turnover rates. It seems his line of work is a hard one, and even though he’s prepared to stick around to finish the job, nobody else seems to want to do the same. That’s especially tough, considering it sounds like Zordon is starting to make preparations to retire.
Despite his challenges, there’s a bit of a silver lining here: Zordon’s entire job is about mentoring others. That means he’s got the skills and the equipment to effectively teach about many things. So, we might ask, “why not start mentoring one of your trainees about the qualities of effective leadership?” Instead of simply teaching them to fight against evil — or, you know, other normal job responsibilities — it might be worth teaching one of the more promising candidates about how to take over.
Next, we’d encourage Zordon to consider what kinds of benefits he can offer his employees to reduce turnover rates and help them find greater job satisfaction. After all, if the boss isn’t happy with the job, how can he expect the employees to be?
To recap, our advice here is threefold: we think Zordon should give himself a little rest and recuperation for his burnout, start making plans to train a replacement, and consider additional job benefits he could offer to keep that special trainee around. We’re going to ask a few more questions, and see if Zordon finds any peace in his employment situation after answering them.
- Can you think of anyone who can do this job as well as you if they had better training?
- You mentor so often in this job, what advice would you give if one of these teenagers had a similar problem?
The check-in: finding the right successor
“I’ve thought it over some more since we’ve been talking and I think my time might be coming to an end. There’s this kid at work who has stuck around for a few seasons. His name is Tommy, and he shows so much leadership potential and a passion for his work… I’ve been thinking one day he would do really well as a mentor figure to a future group of kids. He was a rowdy, rough around the edges kid when he started, but I’ve seen him grow into a truly exceptional ranger. I would feel a lot better knowing I trained a successor who has such a capacity for growth and patience. Hopefully he will remember what it’s like to be a teenager better than I do, and find it easier to empathize with a new group of rangers. Until he’s ready, I’ll stick it out with these kids so we can keep up the good fight.”
Final Reflections in Our Coaching with Zordon
Wow! What an exciting journal. It seems like after some rest and reflection, Zordon’s starting to discover that there are solutions to his career turmoil. He’s got someone who’s worthy of replacing him, and more than that, he’s starting to empathize with this teenaged coworkers again. That’s really special.
Here’s what’s really interesting: it sounds like this trainee Zordon is looking at, Tommy, has been around for quite some time. That tells us something. It says that maybe Zordon knew about Tommy all along, and saw some potential in him, but hadn’t previously considered what finding and training a replacement would look like. Now that he’s opened his mind to the possibilities before him, it’s become clear to Zordon that Tommy would make a fine replacement.
Now, let’s extrapolate and hypothesize a little bit. You might not be in the same position as Zordon — maybe you’re dealing with difficult colleagues, or the work is unengaging, or your boss is the difficult part of your job — but the principles of your situation are probably the same. If we always look at our job prospects through that lens of “contrast” that we mentioned earlier, it becomes easy to overlook the many possibilities that stand before us. We focus on the negative, and assume that nothing will ever get better.
Chances are good that while your challenges are real, difficult and important, there are also potential solutions resting in the wings. Who’s your “Tommy?” Who’s got your back when no one else understands? And who might be able to help you see the untapped opportunities that lie before you?
Not to brag, but… the answer to that last question is us. We’re coaching experts with years of training at our backs. Not only do we specialize in helping cartoon characters figure out their deepest problems, but we also help real human beings from time to time, too. The process is much the same as you just saw — we go through a series of journaling prompts together and work hand-in-hand to uncover, address and overcome your biggest challenges. Not only that, but we help you crush it in your career, too!
Okay. That’s it for our self-plug. If you’d like to hear us chat it up about Zordon in real time, scroll up and listen to our entire podcast episode on the subject. Or, if you’d rather just get started with your own journaling journey, hit us up here for more.
Until next time, Ranger.