I am a senior individual (i.e. hiring and firing power) in a large tech company. The job is stressful, though we actually pay well, which makes this place attractive to younger engineers.
One team that I help manage is having an issue with a junior-to-intermediate level engineer. We basically had planning meeting with 3 teams involved, and leads for the teams were having a debate on responsibilities and budgets for major components in a shared project. Our problem engineer, let's call him Zorp, advocated the the 2 other teams just go with what his own boss proposed, which drew the ire and scorn of other teams (and even some sighs from people on his own team, who weren't sold on their own boss's plan).
Zorp took it upon himself to reach out to the leads for these other teams later that day, schedule one-on-one meetings with each lead under false pretenses. Apparently he felt it was appropriate to schedule vaguely defined meeting invites with the tech leads, who are already very busy, and tell them that they should just do what his boss wants to do, for the sake of the project and the company, and then goes into some speech on how the tech leads could learn how to communicate and work better with others, like he's their manager or personal counsellor: very offputting. In both cases, the leads attempted to let him off easy and end the meeting early, but he wouldn't take the hint, and was pressing hard to convince the leads that he was right. These leads outrank Zorp by several levels, and are, less than impressed with his conduct. They are intelligent, courteous, and conscientious people, and do not deserve such disrespect.
Now, our company puts particular emphasis on diversity of backgrounds, which I find to be common in the tech industry, and I find to be a good thing in general. However, Zorp's actions strike me as extremely inappropriate. If a direct report of mine pulled that crap, I'd have given them 2 of their 3 strikes there and then, and his own direct manager is seriously considering giving 1 strike himself, which I might override and escalate to 2 strikes or even a firing.
To my question: is this sort of behavior at all common among younger engineers and students, or is this some sort of misguided approach to handling interpersonal conflict that is taught in schools these days? I've already had Zorp's manager go over this issue with Zorp, but our young Zorp seems to feel this behavior is "mostly appropriate". I don't want to leave someone jobless and without severance or a health care plan right before Christmas, especially with an already crazy and saturated job market for tech workers, but unless there's a particularly compelling reason I'm just not seeing here to justify Zorp's actions and idiosyncrasies, I'll have to simply put him on a PIP so we can fire him without severance by the holidays. We can't have a junior engineer of moderate productivity and talent riling up our leads and principal engineers.
The issue resolved itself. Zorp resigned mid-way through a discussion involving him, his manager, and myself. Apparently he took offence at being "lectured". So, I offered him "garden leave", cut his check for 2 weeks plus/minus vacation pay overage/deficit, and he tries to withdraw his resignation when he realizes the months of severance payout doesn't apply to voluntary resignation. Had to get security to bring him down to the lobby, and paid for a cab out of pocket just to get the ordeal over with.