Posted on 27 December 2007


Re: Gen Y — ‘The Kids Are Alright’



Picture by Michael Franzini.Thanks to Shannon Seery Gude for twittering about a great read on Gen Y (aka “Millenials” or “iGen”) being really just the same as all other generations.

Stephen Lynch writing at the NY Post got fed up with everyone complaining about the entitlement and know-it-all-ness of the globe’s next generation of leaders, movers and shakers, and I know what he’s talking about, from both sides.

Like Lynch, I’ve been watching this whole carnival of consultants from my perspective as an X-er, “which means, as the consultants of my youth said, as an angst-ridden slacker.”

Since I’m on the cusp of millenialness (born two years early by some experts’ analysis), and yet prone to geekery and connectedness, I’m amused to no end at how the walls go up whenever the taboo topic of Gen Y Workers comes up around who Lynch calls “management elders” I come across in my various activities.

The rub? Millenials are just that–a new generation–faced with a new global landscape, tools nobody has really used before, and the challenge to understand, overcome, and succeed in all of it. They don’t trust corporations thanks to years of 5:00 news reports telling them not to…. and why should they? Hardly exposed to anything other than a relative gorging of wealth and opportunity in the world’s developed countries, tell me why they should wait around for “management” to thumbs-up or thumbs-down their career path?

As I work in various roles of my life around the millenials I know, I am impressed with their creativity and passion, but also worried about their application of knowledge and willingness to broadcast everything. I’m a fan of being OPEN, since I blog (obviously), twitter, facebook and even share my own calendar with anyone who wants to peek (why anybody would is beyond me), but OPEN is not necessarily equal to ALL. iJustine would obviously disagree somewhat with me… but even she wants privacy occasionally, I am sure.

The irony is that we always told our children in school that “You can do anything you put your mind to”. Now, those of us out in front, which should be leading and encouraging are exactly the ones found mother-hen-ing and doubt-casting.

Every generation will have its rebels, its leaders, is outcasts and its fearmongers. I just hope we work with our new colleagues instead of complaining about how their parents manage their career, or how in the world they could txt msg so much on that teeny tiny keypad.

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