Kids are notorious for thinking in the here and now. Nowhere in their impulsive little minds — the heavily used part, anyway — are they hashing out the consequences of the things they do. Social media and online communication have made it worse. You’re already impulsive at that age to begin with, but the instant gratification of saying whatever comes to your mind and expressing it to whoever’s around to listen (or read) makes them even more off-the-cuff. That’s one battle.
But by all means, moms and dads out there, can you please make sure that the email addresses that your kids are shelling out to their teachers, potential bosses, even — gasp — college admissions officers, don’t read anything like CutieBooty6969? Or HotnSexyFlirt? Or 2High2Care? One of my friends, who’s a teacher in Baltimore, was telling me about the hotmessness she comes across on her student’s contact information. Scary stuff.
Most of us maintain a fun personal account that reflects our spunkiness and (sometimes perceived) wittiness, but then we have a stodgy, more formal business account for job interviews and other grown-up kind of stuff. You know, so folks on the receiving end of our messages will take us seriously. Apparently too many of us aren’t passing that pearl of wisdom on to the teenie bopper set. 'Cause they’re sending out messages under the cover of foolishness.
Just like they need to learn how to dress, how to talk, how to shake hands — and you are teaching them that kind of stuff, right?! — they also need to master the more subtle, but still very critical, art of nonverbal business professionalism. In short, don’t let your kid wonder why they didn’t get the internship or got shot down with the admissions committee when they sent their materials from an address that might've been snagged by spam as being inappropriate. Sad. Email accounts are free, so there's no reason why they can't whip up a plain jane one just for the occasion.
Oh, and while you’re at it, it would be a darn shame to get a callback only to have the person on the other end sit through a whole verse of an obscenity-riddled Lil’ Wayne song. I’m just sayin’… careful with the ringback tones, too.
What’s your professional pet peeve and how are you making sure your kids aren’t doing it?
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