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Great Generation Y Article

A friend of mine introduced me to a great article about Generation Y [3] that pegged the generation perfectly. While I don’t wear flip-flops to work, I do listen to music while I’m at work (so do many of my co-workers). I think anyone in my generation should read the article and realize none of us fit into the corporate mold. And for those of you in the older generation, you should definitely read it and understand the other side’s perspective.

“Generation Y is much less likely to respond to the traditional command-and-control type of management still popular in much of today’s workforce,” says Jordan Kaplan, an associate managerial science professor at Long Island University-Brooklyn in New York. “They’ve grown up questioning their parents, and now they’re questioning their employers. They don’t know how to shut up, which is great, but that’s aggravating to the 50-year-old manager who says, ‘Do it and do it now.’ “

One shouldn’t mistaken “questioning” with “defiance.” Our generation has grown up with leaders who are of questionable morals (teachers sleeping with their students, execs committing frauds, Presidents who are liars [Nixon] or adulterers [Clinton]) and so who’s to say management has the right idea. It’s a fine line between being right because your wealth of experience says so and being wrong because time has flown by and left you in the dust.

They have financial smarts. We need to be financially smart because we have no choice. We won’t depend on social security because we don’t think it’ll be around. We don’t think that we’ll stick around a company long enough to get a pension, let alone believe the company will exist in 40 years to take care of us. Check out Enron, Worldcom, any of the airlines, etc – how are their pensions doing? The social security lock box is filled with IOUs. You have to fend for yourself because no one (government, company, etc) is going to take care of you if you mess up, and they shouldn’t.

Work-life balance isn’t just a buzz word. We show up to work and look into the next cubicle and see that guy who has the glazed over look of years working in a cubicle farm… we don’t want to be that guy (or girl). You work to live, you don’t live to work.

Change, change, change. If I were to ask all of my friends, perhaps only one would see themselves in the same job in 5 years. Even the most risk-averse of my friends (and this guy is ridiculously risk averse) says he’d weigh his options after five years.

There are more things the article mentions but I’ll let you read it for yourself. I think the part about being computer savvy (when your co-workers use the classic hunt-and-peck single finger typing strategy) will resonate clearly with many.