Doing Things Differently



Dr. Elizabeth Kelan, a leading researcher on Generation Y describes us as “revolutionary” and believers in “endless opportunity”.  We are “different” than the generations before us.  We are tech-savvy, optimistic, extremely ambitious and achievement oriented while placing a great emphasis on work life balance and family.  What Kelan has also presented is the common belief that we will “grow out of” our ways.  I can’t say for certain if we will “grow out of our ways” but I don’t want to believe we will grow out of our optimism, ambition, or revolutionary ways.  Having said this, when our older employees allow us to direct them and pay mind to our guidance as managers, are they doing it because they believe we will grow out of being “different”?

Will we as generation Y ever start doing things differently? In a workplace environment is “different” a bad thing?  Well, if parts of the generations that came before us believe we will grow out of it, then it’s assumed that they are hoping we will.  

It’s no wonder why one of the biggest mistakes people managing employees who are older than them make is not giving constructive criticism.  It is due to a lack of respect generated toward our generation.  After all, we are called generation “me”, entitled, and the “trophy” generation because we get rewarded for doing nothing truly worth mentioning and our performances are equalized with others who perform worse than us.

Okay, now that I’ve explained our generation and my view of other generation’s views, I will say they are absolutely right.  We get awarded for doing absolutely nothing and expect everything to be handed to us; including promotions for working at a company for 6 months as opposed to 10 years.  Mind you, this is a stereotype that has a great deal of truth but is a generalization.  We also are innovative, creative, and revolutionary thinkers who climb ranks quickly because we are ambitious and think outside the box.  Therefore, don’t be afraid to be different simply because you were born a generation Y child and were raised in an entirely different culture than generations before.  Let’s shake our reputation of entitlement and continue changing and raising standards in the workplace.  After all, as managers, isn’t that our job? 


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