Social Citizen’s Top 10. #1: Generation Y v. Millennial a new distinction

Posted on May 14, 2009. Filed under: Top 10 April 2009 | Tags: , , , , |

Originally posted February 4, 2009.

from .Larry Page

from .Larry Page

Last week I attended a training on generations.  The trainer discussed the four generations in the workplace (Traditionalists, Boomers, Generation X, and Generation Y) and how we can all work with the different work styles.  During the training, the trainer also mentioned another generation, the Millennials.  She described the phenomenon of the division being created between individuals in their 20s and those younger.

She described the two generations as quite similar, but with a few very distinct differences.

Generation Y is tech savvy, optimistic, confident, diverse, individualistic and realistic.  Generation Y doesn’t like to waste time in meetings, loves work/life balance, being effective, and multi-tasking when ever possible.

Millennials, as described by the trainer, are tech savvy, diverse, and individualistic, but this generation seems to have different expectations.  We are seeing kids  wanting something for nothing, putting off work as long as possible, and really being into celebrity.  Think of anyone you know who is a teenager or even younger do they fit any of these characteristics?

Although the division isn’t purely formed yet, I can see what the trainer is talking about.  Although my brother is over 20 I can see distinct differences between his friends and mine.  I also hear from other friends with younger brothers and sisters that they see a difference.  There is a strong difference in work ethic especially.  I’m not necessarily calling the so called Millennials lazy, but the way they work is different.  Everything I do I am thinking about how it will fit into my future plans, how will what I’m doing affect my mission for making a change, will what I’m doing matter.  Right now I don’t feel like my brother and his friends have plans for their lives.  Many his age are going to school just for fun, and thinking they want to be a star chef or superbowl hero instead of getting a steady job.  This is just one example, I am sure there are many more.

What do you think, are you seeing the differences in the two generations?  Do you think the trainer is on to something here?

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One Response to “Social Citizen’s Top 10. #1: Generation Y v. Millennial a new distinction”

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This topic is of keen interest to me – as I explore how we can better create leadership opportunities for our youth, particularly in the nonprofit sector.

But I caution about trying to draw too many characterisations of our differences – there well should be some. Just as Gen X and Y must be different, for good reason, then the generations previous. Generations should not remain static, nor should we assume our own is superior.

We can always look back to the 8th century BC when these thoughts were stated, “I see no hope for the future of our people if they are dependent on
frivolous youth of today, for certainly all youth are reckless beyond words… When I was young, we were taught to be discreet and respectful of elders, but the present youth are exceedingly wise
[disrespectful] and impatient of restraint.” (Hesiod, 8th century BC)

The cycle may never end, so we find constructive ways to bridge gaps where they appear.


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