Generation Y, Y are we so difficult?

Posted on November 2, 2007. Filed under: Generation Y |

I was reading a blog today, and they mentioned the Web site Making Business Sense of Generation Y. So, being my Generation Y self I had to check out what the latest Baby Boomer was saying about our Generation. As I was reading the consulting pages and articles written by the owner Amy Lynch, I came to realize that our generation continues to get a bad rap.

I will admit that I sometimes have trouble getting along with Baby Boomers, but they are my parents, mentors and coworkers. I work with individuals of their generation every day and I hope to make our working environment better. We were born in different times and like working with another gender or someone from another ethnicity it is important to find out how each of us works and plan accordingly.

I know I am not the only Generation Yer that feels this way. I know many that are working hard to get ahead, want to work within our organizations and make the professional environment today flow without generational issues.

In Amy Lynch’s article “Managing Generation Y” she describes our Generation:

Raised by Boomer parents on a diet of praise and self-esteem, Millennials are the Next Big Thing, and they know it. They show up to work with lots of answers.

Hierarchy? Only if it helps us get the work done.

Need it yesterday? No problem.

Technology? We eat that #@%! for breakfast.

Which brings us to workplace demeanor. Could use some serious polish.

Millennials multi-task and multi-career. Cross-train them; they call it a reward. Give them four jobs to do at once, and they swim like fish in fast water. Twenty-somethings exude impatience, confidence and ambition; and with the Boomers growing gray, they are our high-speed, high-maintenance future.

She does name some general characteristics of the Generation as a whole, but I feel sarcasm at every step of the way. She goes on to say,

Ready for a nice surprise? Generation Yers are idealistic. They want big-picture purpose. Save the planet, build better cars or create ways people can spend time with their families, and Millennials buy in. They flock to companies where they can feel like “paid volunteers,” joining because something significant is happening there.

Build a first-rate website and lay out clear career paths (Millennials had resumes when they were 8), and you’ll recruit this Internet Generation.

Keeping them is the problem. Having experienced change all their lives, Millennials attend orientation expecting to leave you soon.

I do not want to discredit her whole conversation, because she then goes onto state some suggestions on how to work with our Generation. But I can not help but feel like she is saying that we are the only problem. That Generation Yers are impossible to work with and that we are creating larger issues for organizations and corporations that are trying to stay afloat in today’s economy.

I would like to point out that the Baby Boomers, whom are now complaining about our work habits, are the ones who raised us, Lynch does agree on this. There has to be a solution for us all to work together, we have live together for decades.

After participating in NP2020 with the Johnson Center for Philanthropy, I came to realize that there are an overwhelming number of Generation Y professionals that are in the same boat I am. We are being pegged as not hard working, tech loving, complainers and Baby Boomers tend to write us off. (Side note: there are some Baby Boomers that do not feel this way that I am forunate to know and work with, but it is not the majority)

I only see room from here to grow and work together. Those of us who attended NP2020 are already working on solutions for the future, like developing strong mentoring networks and professional development sessions where all generations are forced together to develop nonprofit solutions and make their organizations better.

The true fact is that generations have been working together in professional settings for decades and a solution should be easy to find. I challenge both generations to stop generalizing and start working on an individual basis. Baby Boomers sit down with a member of Generation Y that you work with and ask them how they feel about their environment. Generation Yers, sit down with your Baby Boomer supervisors and ask them how you can work even better with them in the future.

I hope to see many more large avenues like the NP2020 Conference in the future so that we may have forums with multi-generational bodies to talk about and solve these issues we are having with one another.

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2 Responses to “Generation Y, Y are we so difficult?”

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WOW! I didn’t realize how scarcastic my article sounded–Thanks for pointing that out to me. It’s coming down right now, and I’d appreciate your reading other articles on my site in case I’ve fallen into the same tone. In my experience, Gen Yers are interesting, fun, smart and simply different from me. In fact, I started writing about Ys, because you are so often misunderstood. I’m sorry that, in trying to entertain fellow Boomers, I was disrespectful of Ys.
Thanks for calling me out.
Amy Lynch

I read your blog for a long time and should tell you that your articles always prove to be of a high value and quality for readers.


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