Tag Archives: Gen Y

The Gen-Y Thing is Nonsense

The title here (I love that title) is the magic of Dennis Howlett, author of This Y Generation thing is nonsense posted today on his blog. youthHis point in a nutshell:

I don’t know how many times I’ve read alarmist material that says Gen Y, millennials or whatever they’re now called are going to change the workplace beyond recognition. It’s nonsense. All of it.

I can’t argue with that. The Generation Y stereotypes, just like those other generational stereotypes – the Gen X, the Baby Boomers, the Echo Boomers – are fun to play with, but useless as soon as you take them out of the box. That recent college graduate you think of as Gen Y is as much a generation as a set of clothes, costume, or natural habitat. This is a lot what I was saying with the secret to Gen Y performers last May.

The point of that post was the power of “they care what I think” as a young person deals with the job world after graduation from college. And who doesn’t want “they care what I think” to matter? Didn’t you, when you were that age?

Everything I’ve read about dealing with Generation Y sounds to me like the same thing as dealing with people recently entering the workplace in a world of changing technology that has disrupted some of the age hierarchy structure. Everybody wants to matter. Dennis says:

The idea widely spread that Gen Y wants to collaborate and that peer recommendation is their normal way of engaging in consumption is again – nothing new. Professionals know that recommendation is the best way to grow their business.

Entitlement? And Dennis offers up a delightful paradox on that issue:

I worry that Gen Y is an entitlement generation where work is not a priority and where dependency upon state and family are genuine issues. On the other hand I also worry that work-life balance is becoming more difficult for those in employment, a theme not lost on Gen Y’ers.

Hmmm … I have to think about that.

And then, when I think, there’s that temptation to get into my old-guy mode and spout “when I was your age” clichés. But no, wait … when I was their age we were taking over the administration building and demanding global change, a new world order, instant power. So what’s this entitlement problem, again?

Go Gen Y.

As an aside, I have to thank Twitter and particularly Brian Solis for catching this one so I could find it today with my morning coffee. I hadn’t discovered Dennis’ AccMan blog until today. I’ve put it on my reading list.

(Image: Mandy Godhear/Shutterstock)

The Secret to Gen Y Top Performers

The man looked about late thirties or so, the young woman with him early twenties, both well dressed, and acting like family, brother and sister, or niece and uncle, rather than a couple. They were both well equipped with fancy phones, laptops, and the like.

I didn’t mean to listen to their conversation. I couldn’t help it. They stood near me on the train-like transport from the gates to the baggage claim at Washington Dulles airport.

He: “So how do you like the new job?”

She: “I like it a lot. I’m really glad I switched.

He: “Why?”

She: “They care what I think.”

And that, in a nutshell, is why I like working with the Gen Y youngsters. Maybe I have a natural affinity to the Gen Y group because I’m 62 and there’s a jumping-generations phenomenon going on. Could be. Whatever it is, I find these ambitious, impatient, amazingly entitled early-20-something people a kick to work with. As in fun.

And, after all, “they care what I think” is a good thing to want in a job. She didn’t say the salary, perks, or whatever; she wanted to matter.