Sunday, June 03, 2007

Gen Y's in the Workplace

I'm really enjoying all the recent coverage about Generation Y (technically defined as people born between 1977 and 1995).

My favorite headline so far comes from Fortune Magazine's recent feature: You Raised Them, Now Manage Them by Nadira A. Hira. Some excerpts:

Nearly every businessperson over 30 has done it: sat in his office after a staff meeting and - reflecting upon the 25-year-old colleague with two tattoos, a piercing, no watch and a shameless propensity for chatting up the boss - wondered, What is with that guy?!

As the baby-boomers begin to retire, triggering a ballyhooed worker shortage, businesses are realizing that they may have no choice but to accommodate these curious Gen Y creatures. Especially because if they don't, the creatures will simply go home to their parents, who in all likelihood will welcome them back.

This is the most high maintenance workforce in the history of the world. The good news is they're also going to be the most high-performing.

"If we don't like a job, we quit, because the worst thing that can happen is that we move back home. There's no stigma."
Tom Ashbrook's NPR Onpoint, one of my regular iTunes subscriptions, recently covered this same topic in an episode entitled Generation Y at Work. From his show notes:
The early line on Generation Y? Ambitious, demanding, questioning everything, self-absorbed, multi-tasking, optimistic, and very-well pierced and tattooed. They change jobs like their parents changed clothes. They bring their own rules.

Some managers don't know what to do with them. Others say they may end up the highest-performing workforce in history.
I find the whole thing fascinating because their mentality is so different from my own; I can't help but agree that Gen Y'ers really do sometimes feel like a different creature altogether.

I've lost track of the times I've told my parents that they don't understand my generation. Guess it will soon be time to pass the baton on to the next batch.

Other related resources: