Reading this story about Indra Nooyi calling parents to thank them for the gift of their child as an employee left me feeling very queasy. When I worked in India right after college, my boss was a lot like Nooyi. He treated us group of rookie engineers like his children. We were invited to his home frequently because we were far away from ours – his wife cooked us wonderful meals. We hung out with the family all weekend.
Life was generally good but we did not feel like real adults in this whole deal. Our parents called his office number to talk to us – frequently he spoke to assure them that we were doing well. It took me a couple of years to get out of this warm comfort zone and find another job – put some distance between my life and that of my parents. What my boss back then did and Nooyi is doing now is deeply regressive.
We don’t want an infantile workforce – infact we want our young people to use their first job to transition from dependence on parents (financially and emotionally) to become their own people. This is an alarming trend to my mind – bringing the helicopter, snow-plow and tiger parents right into the cubicle. Next time our young and super-energetic social media manager wants a raise, would she call mommy to make her case to the boss ? In that scenario, the boss should expect a full on tantrum if the demands are not met. There is creepy about the employer becoming part of the parental unit.