. The Transom .

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Instead of cubicles, we'll call them MySpaces...

Why does every kid right out of college expect to be treated like a 30-year company veteran? Why do they get insulted when I don't include them in decision making? Why do they ask 'why?' so much?

Sound familiar? Get used to it. GenY will rock your world, oldtimer. Most people assume Yers are spoiled or want everything handed to them on a silver platter. I used to buy into that theory. But now I think it's because they are the most entrepreneurial generation, ever. They are tech-savvy, unafraid of change and yearn to learn. They don't necessarily care about doing the entry-level tasks, they just want to know why. A response of, "because I told you to" doesn't fly with this group. That worked for the Veterans and the Boomers. Keep in mind that 50% of the male Veteran generation served in the military, thus spawning military-like corporate behavior. The Boomers just accepted it. GenX created 'Me, Inc.' and the Yers are taking it to a whole new level. There are as many Yers as Boomers. You don't think they have the sheer numbers to move an economy?

Our country has policies and pension plans designed for the Veteran generation. The Boomers didn't change things because they are an accepting bunch. The Xers don't have the numbers (only 40 million) to create change, only support it. But the Yers, at 80 million strong, have the numbers, the know-how and the desire to completely shake things up.

I predict in ten years I'll be working for a kid just out of college, in a virtual home office to support my work/life balance, doing nothing but communicating online. Of course, that's just my theory. I'd love to hear yours.


  • "They are tech-savvy, unafraid of change and yearn to learn."

    I'm not sure I'd agree about yearning to learn... From my point of view, it's almost more a matter of learning comes easily to them, having been immersed in technology and access to information their entire lives.

    When push comes to shove and they really need to learn something that can't be accessed by Googling, I think the blustery, whiny, all-about-me attitudes that sometimes are attributed to Gen-Y rear their heads.

    By Blogger Jason Little, at Wednesday, June 21, 2006 6:18:00 AM  

  • There may be some truth to that, but your point about learning coming easily is interesting. Is it not possible that because they learn so quickly/easily they are looking for more challenge, and when we don't give it to them they become bored. That's when the whiny attitude sets in. I'm not saying GenY isn't all-about-me or whiny, because reputation is earned, not created. I'm just interested in the 'why' of that reputation.

    By Blogger Rob Amberg, at Wednesday, June 21, 2006 6:50:00 AM  

  • Although GenX marked the beginning of technical savvy and innovative ideas; it’s GenY that’s taking it to a new level. Jason, I think you are incorrect in your stereotypical assessment of GenY. They go beyond using Google to find the answer because they are aware of the myraid of resources available to them.

    By Anonymous Tracy Bullen, at Wednesday, June 21, 2006 7:25:00 AM  

  • I see your points, and my comments are a bit of a hasty generalization. Perhaps a more succint way of summarizing my thoughts would be that GenY hasn't been "taught to learn" in the way that previous generations have. Research and immersion are second nature.

    When a problem arises that falls outside these boundaries, they're not as well equipped to handle them. Yes, they have a great deal of resources at their disposal, but sometimes even all those resources aren't enough.

    It could just be a colored perception from my brief time teaching college HTML and Web development, where young students, already immersed in technology their entire lives, were growing increasingly more agitated and frustrated that this new aspect of technology wasn't coming as easily to them as the things they had taken for granted (such as general computer savvy).

    By Blogger Jason Little, at Wednesday, June 21, 2006 7:38:00 AM  

  • Previous generations see long work as hard work. It took them 30 years to get where they are, but it wasn’t because it had to be that way; it’s just the way things were done. They think we’re lazy because GenY want shortcuts, but isn’t that what human evolution is all about? Finding ways to do things better, faster and more efficient?

    Take writing letters as an example. We don’t write letters anymore, because of the wide use of email. The younger generations have an attitude of “why would I sit down and write out a letter wasting time, ink and paper, when I can shoot someone an email? They’ll get it instantly, and I have a million more options than I would if I used ‘snail mail!” The older generations might argue that a hand-written letter is more personal and gives the recipient something tangible, so the time and effort it would take is worth it.

    We may be focused on getting things done faster, but I wouldn’t say that it’s at the expense of learning. It just speaks towards the fact that we have different values. We need, want and are more than willing to learn things, we just don’t think it has to take forever.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wednesday, June 21, 2006 7:53:00 AM  

  • Well, being on the tale end of the Baby Boomer Generation, my observations are that the GenY'rs may be younger, smarter, and faster when it comes to learning, not only because of the current technology afforded them, but, I've noticed a general posture of entitlement among them relative to job promotion, material wealth, and prosperity in comparison to when I was in college and first
    job(s). Apparently, the "paying your dues" part should be skipped and "more now" is the norm. Have we come to a point where working hard and paying your dues prior to entitlements is "beneath" generation? That's the perception I get. Someone here said "reputation should be earned" and I completely agree.

    By Anonymous Mary, at Friday, June 23, 2006 9:01:00 AM  

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