Monday, October 1, 2007

Gen "Y Me?"

So, I've encountered countless workshops, seminars and lectures on the topic of four generations in the work place. Apparently, this is the first time in our history as an industrialized nation that four generations of working professionals have existed in the workplace simultaneously. Cohabitation at its finest.

I've read that Gen-Yers include those born in 1980 and after. I read a different account saying that a Gen-Y kid graduated high school in the year 2000 or after. Either way, as someone born in 1983, I am undoubtedly (and involuntarily) a member of Generation Y.

We are said to have facebook accounts, instant messenger (IM) habits, incredibly short attention spans, etc. These are not the things that offend me. They are, for the most part, me also. I am, however, slightly offended by the notion that Gen-Yers all have a sense of entitlement (think "I should make $80,000 upon college graduation"), are the children of "helicopter parents" (newly coined phrase to mean parents who hover over their children, watching and commenting and advising on their every move) and possess bad communication skills. Gee, thanks.

One bit that I unfortunately relate to is the need/desire for a constant stream of feedback and communication. As I commuted to work this morning, I thought about how I miss college. This does not include just the laid-back lifestyle, lack of responsibilities and cheap beer; I am talking about being graded on my merit.

I continued my inner monologue. "Why did I enjoy regular examinations of my merit and skill during college?" In many ways, I think it boils down to emotionally needing compliments and occasional critiques that can lead toward improvement. Yes, I do have a supervisor who encourages me to do well and gives me fairly regularly feedback--but in my head, I think I wish to walk in every afternoon to be handed my "paper" or "test" back with a grade and a series of marks for right, wrong, colorfully dictated and erroneously prepared "answers."

I wonder if when more Gen-Yers are managers, they will somewhat micromanage and treat their reports such as what I mention above...

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