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Health Insurance, a 401(k) and...Facebook?



Looking to hire the best and brightest young minds America has to offer? Good luck with that. According the the ninth annual Junior Achievement/Deloitte Teen Ethics Survey, 58 percent of teens say that they'd consider their ability to use social networks at work when looking at job offers from potential employers.

As the philosopher Dangerfield once said, now I know why tigers eat their young.

As a premature curmudgeon at 34, I can choose to laugh or cry when I see stuff like this, and it's hard not to do a little of both. But all kidding aside, it's the kind of information that should give small-business owners pause. One one hand, you want young, hungry employees who understand social media and the other fast-changing technologies that you probably already depend on. On the other, you'd like to make sure the people you hire are interested in doing some actual work. Tell you what, kids: If you want to get paid to spend all day on Facebook, there is one company where you can do that--it's run by a plucky Harvard grad named Zuckerberg, and it's called Facebook.

As irritating as the overall survey results might be (adorned with the cringe-worthy headline 'No Facebook at work? No thank you!'), the specifics are more troubling still. Because while the majority of teens expect access to social networks in the workplace, a lot of them readily admitted they don't care how the various influencers in their lives might react to what they post online. That includes present and future employers (like, say, you), whose opinions on the matter 38 percent said they hadn't considered. So their priorities might be out of whack, but at least they're oblivious to the consequences.

Granted, we're dealing with a fair share of generalizations, and we see stories around here all the time about teens and other young people who are out there chasing their entrepreneurial dreams. But a larger problem is that these attitudes aren't limited to teenagers--other recent studies show that twentysomethings (people who might be on Twitter right now when they should be working for you) have similar feelings about social media in the workplace. Crazy kids with their hula hoops and their rock music. In my day, we hoped for things like health insurance.

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