Too many recent graduates, however, approach their job descriptions the way they did a syllabus in college—as a recipe for winning in a career. They want concrete, well-defined tasks, as if they were preparing for an exam in college. “Excelling at any job is about doing the things you weren’t asked to do,” said Mary Egan, founder of Gathered Table, a Seattle-based start-up and former senior vice president for strategy and corporate development at Starbucks. “This generation is not as comfortable with figuring out what to do.”
Like many of the other 21st Century skills sought by employers, a tolerance for ambiguity is often developed early in life. The feedback children get from adults and teachers have an enormous impact on their ability to deal with uncertainty.
Jeff Selingo @jselingo author of College (Un)Bound and upcoming book: There Is Life After College: What Parents and Students Should Know About Navigating School to Prepare for the Jobs of Tomorrow, scheduled for release in the spring of 2016.