I had a phone conversation this week that left me a bit disturbed. The phone call was with a guy who’s relatively new to our community. He’s recently been hired into a top position in an organization that plays a pivatol role in bringing new people and businesses to town. He’s 29 years old, right in the middle of the 27-35 age demographic that most communities are working to recruit and retain. Our chat left me questioning just how welcoming the welcome mat is in our community.
In accepting the new job in Mt. Pleasant, the newcomer on other end of the phone talked about being somewhat frustrated in the greeting he has received by some. Hearing such comments as “when you’ve stuck around for five or more years, then you’ll be taken seriously.” I was stopped in my tracks hearing this … really! Is that the way to welcome newcomers end encourage them to stay?
The future of any community is dependent on the next generation — those that will grab the torch, keep the flame burning and run with it. The notion that these potential emerging leaders in our community, particularly those in the key demographic to lead our future, are being greeted in a way that discourages them to step up and take the reins is downright discouraging.
Time to check our local welcome mat.
What if the group of 27-35 year olds in town don’t stay? Imagine what a gap that would leave in our leadership. What a void that would leave in our future?
Perhaps there was a day when it was necessary for new people to stay for five years before being taken seriouisly. Nowadays that’s not the case, with the typical length of stay in a job being three to five years. A lot can be accomplished in that timeframe. Think back five years, a lot has changed since 2006, right? Think ahead five years, just imagine the changes possible by 2016.
Thankfully, the guy on the phone was NOT detered by the less than embracing response he received by some when first coming to town. Instead he has chosen to rally others in his age range to band together and do something about finding their place in town and making their mark.
Collectively, this group has been meeting regularly, getting to know each other better and talking about ways they can make a difference. Personally, I applaud the tenacity of the guy on the other end of phone and the gusto of the others his age for banding together.
For those of us not so new to town and outside this age demgraphic, may I suggest we open our arms wide to embrace, empower and encourage these young folks to stay.
To this particular group of 27-35 year olds in Mt. Pleasant I ask … what can we do to make you feel more welcomed here in our town?