“Generation Y”- Yes, this is you!

by Kristen LaBrosse, CAPM

Hard at work..

Hard at work..

I recently sat down with an old boss from when I worked in the Small Business Development Center at my alma mater. I make a point to visit this particular person when I am in town to update him up on my life and career, and to get his helpful tips on my current projects. During our conversation, he brought up the term “Generation Y” numerous times. I finally asked him – “What is this Generations Y you speak of?” His Reply: “YOU!”

If you’re in your 20-somthings (or early 30’s as well if we are being picky) and are reading this article, let me inform you that you are one of 70 million to be considered “Gen Y” (most acceptably recognized as the generation born between 1978 and 2000).

I felt the need to do research on this Gen Y as I am inadvertently a part of said group. I found that there have been studies, research, test groups, polls, and a whole other slew of analysis on this specific generation. My Gen Y research resulted in some interesting findings.

First of all, some not-very-nice things are being said about this generation, including:
  • They are too demanding at work
  • They are a.k.a. “Generation Whine”
  • Distracted due to multitasking
  • Are lacking in their cultural contributions to society (music, movies, reality TV)
  • Have an over inflated sense of entitlement
  • iPods are surgically attached to their ears
  • In defense of Gen Y, there are reasonable explanations to some of these unsavory descriptions. For one, education costs have risen significantly in the past decade, making it harder to receive the same ROI as our older counterparts, thus leading Gen Y to expecting more from their employers to make up for this gap. Secondly, iPods come in so many fun and flattering colors these days, how can one help but to not have it surgically affixed?

    There are also reportedly nice things said about this generation as well, including:

  • They have financial smarts (37% start saving for retirement before 25)
  • Are flexible and ready for change
  • Are great at multitasking
  • Are comfortable with technology
  • Speak their mind
  • Are very entrepreneurial
  • Independent attitudes 
  • Value creativity and independence
  • Believe in their self worth.
  • There are many other characteristics used to describe Gen Y (negative or positive connotation implied at reader’s discretion), a selection of those are as follows:
  • Affinity for casual dress
  • Expect regular communication and feedback from their superiors
  • Are attracted to flexible work schedules and telecommuting
  • Work-life balance is a must
  • Less responsive to traditional command-and-control management style
  • Don’t know how to shut up
  • Affinity for email/phone communication over face-to face meetings.
  • Expect more benefits and perks than our older counterpart
  • Have aspirations of self employment (1.9% of workers under the age 25 are self-employed, while 5.3% between 25 and 34 are)
  • The overlying message in all research pertaining to Gen Y, whether shed in a positive light or not, was that this generations’ talents will be very important in today’s business climate.  (Who are afterall going to cover the rising social security costs of their aging parents.)

    My message to Gen Y: Keep coming to your place of work with your Independence, Tech-Savvy, Self Worth, Entrepreneurial Spirit, and iPod in hand – the US economy needs a healthy dose of Gen Y cocktail right about now.

    Thanks for reading,

    Kristen LaBrosse, CAPM

    One Response to ““Generation Y”- Yes, this is you!”

    1. Scot nichols Says:

      That was great, as I have been curious about Gen Y and finally a articulate voice. Keep us Gen Xers informed and on our toes