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.

One Comment Add yours

  1. One of the big surprises for us when The Adversity Paradox was published in 2009 was the robust discussion that was generated by the brief section on the Millennials – The Age of the Milliennials (page 78). Our point was pretty straightforward – that with their technological savvy and keen multitasking abilities, Millennials should be a highly productive generation of workers, and perhaps the knowledge and experience gained from facing and overcoming adversity would help the process. Generalizations are usually dangerous, and we realize that not all Millennials have escaped adversity, nor do all Millennials change jobs rather than avoid difficult situations. We are actually very optimistic that Millennials – the first generation to come of age in the new millennium – will rise to the occasion and lead the transition to knowledge workers. In fact, we are counting on it!

    Barry and Bob

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