Gen Y Goes to Work

Posted on November 14, 2007

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Fortune has a great story on "Attracting the Twentysomething Worker."  The author, a Gen Yer herself, says of the group: "They’re ambitious, they’re demanding and they question everything, soif there isn’t a good reason for that long commute or late night, don’texpect them to do it. When it comes to loyalty, the companies they workfor are last on their list – behind their families, their friends,their communities, their co-workers and, of course, themselves."  She goes on to say that we’re basically the most high maintenance group to enter the workforce in decades. 

Overall, I think the article hits the nail on the head.  Of course we’re demanding, that’s the way we were raised.  And, just as marketers need to work harder to get us to buy their products, employers need to work harder to keep us motivated.    I used to believe that it was only my Ivy League-educated counterparts that had been coddled through their educations and come out the other end with a superiority complex.  Guess it’s all of us.  For me, it goes back to my parents saying that I could be whatever I wanted to be when I grew up.  Are we the first generation to believe this, and to go on to make it a reality? 

Apparently not.  Again, according to Fortune, the publication also wrote in 1969 that, "Because the demand for theirservices so greatly exceeds the supply, young graduates are in a strongposition to dictate terms to their prospective employers. Youngemployees are demanding that they be given productive tasks to do fromthe first day of work, and that the people they work for notice andreact to their performance."

I believe the message is a positive one.  By the end of the essay, the author concludes that Gen Yers (what I call Gen XYZers) are willing to work harder than ever for the things we truly believe in, and at jobs where we believe we’re making a difference.  When properly motivated – don’t worry, we’ll tell you what we want – we have the power to be the driving force behind the future of corporations around the world.  

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