The Paradox of “The Adversity Paradox”

In their book “The Adversity Paradox” Barry Griswell and Rob Jennings talked about Millennials and the lack of adversity in their short young lives.  One sentence caught my attention. 

“Job hopping has replaced putting in time with a new employer to work out any frustrations.”

–page 80, “The Adversity Paradox”

To me, the authors were implying that Millennials would rather jump to a new job than to deal with a difficult boss at a current job. 

There is partial fallacy with that statement.

I have worked for employers in the past where despite working with difficult managers to address any problems, personality conflicts, or philosophical differences, it was never good enough, and I was the one who had to leave, not by my own choice. 

At least I reached out and made an effort to make it work.  They chose not to.  Which leads me to this…

It’s not always the employee (Millenials in Griswell and Jennings’ opinion) who does not want to deal with adversity.  It was the employer who were unwilling to deal with adversity themselves.  Some will go to great lengths to ignore, run away and hide from dealing with an employee that they feel, in their own prejudiced mind or not, is not worth the time to work with to resolve issues. 

Barry Griswell


To them, it’s better to cut their losses and find someone that they can shape and mold not to challenge ideas and culture (to be robots), rather than hire someone who can see things differently, and be different (be creative and make a contribution). 

Does the first two episodes of Mad Men this season ring a bell?  Things are a changin’ for Don, Peggy, Roger, and the clan. 

A homogenized culture is not always a creative or successful culture in the workplace.

As Jennings and Griswell stated several pages later, there is no “one size fit all” when it comes to assessing employees.  Employees are different.  Extroverted, introverted, some can work under pressure, and others can work with a set of guidelines.  With that said, there are bosses or managers who hire and expect employees to think, behave, and do their work like they (managers) do. 

For managers, it’s easier not to adapt or alter their gameplan for someone who is a little slower, or prefer to know about how their job is connected to everyone else in the office, or can see new ideas that could increase the efficiency and success of said company. 

That’s too much work for some. 

There are Millennials who have faced personal or career adversity so far in their young lives. If not, then give them a few more years.  Down the road, they will run into it.  Many Gen Xers like me have been through it or are currently facing it.  With as many challenges I have faced as someone in a “job transition”, I no longer see “job-hopping” as a “get out of jail card” when things get rough. 


Because it is still an employer’s market.  If an employer feel that they no longer need you, whether in a full-time capacity, or if a part-time contract work has been completed, you have to start looking for a new place where your someone will have a need for you and your skills. 

"Yeaaaaaah, you Millennials don't like to deal with adversity, I take it. I have some GPS reports that needs to be worked on tonight. You better DVR that Kentucky/Kansas title game."

I see “job-hopping” as an opportunity to try out something that I could end up enjoying doing.  If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t mean I failed.  It wasn’t a good fit (notice I didn’t say the “perfect” or “right” fit).  All I’m looking for is a good fit where I can offer value and my skills to a place of employment, who in return, can show appreciation, offer feedback, and work toward a goal of being better. 

For the most part, everything Griswell and Jennings have espoused about adversity in their book I agree with, simply because I’m going through it. 

But, the idea that all Millennials do not know about adversity, is simply a silly notion.


The best summer reading for 2010 is not from a book

What are you reading this summer?

Summers provides us a chance to pick up a book and do some reading on our vacation, weekends, and free time.  Of course, it’s tough to carve out time to read when we’re busy with other things that make summers fun.

What are you reading or going to read this summer?

Currently, I picked up a few books to read on this “time off” that I am on.  The first is “The Adversity Paradox” by former Principal Financial head Barry Griswell, “Find a Quiet Corner” by Nancy O’Hara, and the 2009 version of “What Color is Your Parachute” by Richard Nelson Bolles.  I’ve started reading Bolles this weekend and I should begin on Griswell and O’Hara later this week.

There is one thing that has caught my eye and I can’t tear myself away from.  No, it’s not a book, but a blog. This could be the best summer reading of 2010!

It’s the “Blago Blog” courtesy of the Chicago Sun Times, chronicling the trial of former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich.  If you want to read some entertaining stuff to keep you in stitches and to shake your head in disbelief, this is the blog to read this summer!

Blago posing for Vanity Fair magazine earlier this year. This guy is certifiably insane. He's more nuts than Sarah Palin.

Monday’s blog provided a bevy of laugh-out-loud accounts on just how loony Blagojevich really was as governor of Illinois.  He considered asking…wait for it…wait for it…Oprah to complete President Obama’s Senate term!  “But wait..”, as the late Billy Mays would say, “…there’s more!” He called Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. an “uber-African American” which provoked a giggle from a juror, and he wasn’t done yet.  He ripped his former chief of staff, calling her an “(expletive) incompetent.”

Finally, he mulls over a deal to name Attorney General Lisa Madigan to the Senate seat, if her father and nemesis Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan gives Blago something back in exchange for an expansive legislative package.  

I don’t think any best-selling book in Barnes and Noble or anything at the public library can rival the fun stuff I’ll be reading on-line from Blago’s trial!