I have been meaning to write this post for a long time, so I’m so happy to finally share my thoughts with you. As you know, the Generation Y are those born somewhere after 1982 (according to wikipedia) and the early 90’s. We are an often talked about bunch, probably because we are the child by-product of the baby boomer generation.
Generation Y Generalizations
Other people in the workplace view Generation Y as the super speedy multi-tasking generation. We are good with technology, type at warp speeds, and are often seen multi-tasking. In fact, at my workplace, one of my baby boomer colleagues calls me “Matrix” because she thinks I type so fast.
Generation Y is often labeled as “lazy” too, because we give off the impression that we want to get paid top dollar while at the same time doing as little work as possible. We want to rise in the work place as fast as possible. We are skipping from job to job to job, often lasting at a workplace for only abut 1-2 years before we move up the ranks to another job. This is in contrast to the baby boomer generation, where they moved their way up slowly after a time span of 20+ years to get where they are at now.
Generation Y also are an entrepreneurial bunch. I think this stems from wanting to live a life where we aren’t in the rat race for 30+ years. Generation Y are the geniuses behind many start up internet companies, let alone start up companies in general. We tend to live and breathe instant gratification, which is probably why we aren’t saving any money.
Because Generation Y employees are seen as lazy and wanting to get everything for nothing, I think there can be a lot of resentment from the other generations (baby boomers, generation X to name a few) towards us. They have worked hard for YEARS to get where they are at now, and here we are, jumping in with unbridled enthusiasm and doing their job better than them. I think Generation Y has a lot going for us- we are ambitious, determined, great at multi-tasking. However, we have short attention spans (thanks to being used to doing homework with the television and music on simultaneously) and get bored easily. We need to change the way other people in the workplace view us, show them that they are pigeonholing us into a category unfairly.
So, now that we know what Generaion Y is like, this begs the question- how do we co-exist harmoniously in our workplace?
How to Co-Exist Harmoniously with your Non-Generation Y Colleagues
Don’t be afraid to show appreciation
I admit that sometimes, I feel that I “know more” even though I don’t, and I often have a difficult time accepting criticism. I’m not sure if this is a Generation Y thing (I think it seems to be) or if this is my own problem. I think if Generation Y were to handle criticism better, we would all get along much more harmoniously in the workplace.
Next time a colleague gives you feedback, accept it and thank them for pointing it out to you. Show appreciation for their wisdom and their many years of experience before you. Show humility. This goes a long way.
Eagerness never would be taken the wrong way in the workplace. It’s a positive attribute. Being eager with a member of the opposite sex in terms of relationships, on the other hand, is a whole different story.
Arrive early or at least be punctual. Stay later if you have work to catch up on. It shows that you care about your work and can give a positive image to your colleagues. At least do this for the first 6 months at your new job, and people will appreciate your dedication to the company and your determination to work hard.
Leave the Social Media stuff for After Work
I know that we live, breath, eat, sleep social media what with twitter, facebook, email and our smart phones, but when you’re at work and people are walking by your cubicle looking at your screen, you don’t want to give the impression that you’re doing this all the time. I know it’s hard, but if you want to succeed in the workplace and have people respect you, you have to respect your workplace and ignore all the hyperconnectivity until after work… if that can’t be done, at least hide somewhere where people can’t see you and check your facebook, twitter, and email!
Show Respect to your Elders
I think this is very important. Appreciate and value our elders (basically anyone older than us!) for what they have done for the company before we arrived. Show that you admire their thoughts, feelings, and work ethic. One of the most important things is to listen. I know that Generation Y has the tendency to voice their opinions easily and openly, though we must show mutual respect and listen to others viewpoints as well.
I hope these ideas can help you live a positive, fulfilling work-life. We do spend the majority of our time at work, so might as well attempt to make it satisfying and rewarding!
Readers, do you have any suggestions on what else might work for Generation Y? It would be interesting to get both a Generation Y (or even Millenial!) perspective and non-Generation Y perspective (Gen X, baby boomers).