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Millenials Under Fire

Millenials, or the uninspiring name “Generation Y”, are constantly criticized as demanding, impatient, entitled, or even spoiled.  Articles on this topic usually have the same theme and usually include sensationalized quotes from Millenials about a lack of commitment or sole interest in making money and becoming famous.  But what about the strengths of Millenials?  What about the fact that Millenials are hard-working, tech savvy (aka productive), collaborative, and driven?

An interesting point was made in the Wall Street journal that some critics stated that Millenials are no different from previous generations.  The article tells a story of one manager in the 1970s describing the Baby Boomer generation as disloyal and rebellious.  The view of any younger generation from management is probably more skewed to be negative due to the fact that management could feel threatened by the upcoming generation.

Yes, we might want a non-traditional job and work environment but that is so we can maximize our impact and find the best way to get the job done.  We seek creativity and inspiration in the world around us and want to bring that into our work.  How does working tired and exhausted help a company be more productive?  A little flexibility allows us to work harder by working smarter.  I would especially enjoy working at non-traditional hours if it meant that I would spend less time sitting in traffic.

We want to work hard and have fun while we do it.  And yes Millenials are different, but we are probably more similar to other generations with the fact that we want to make an impact.  We want results.  We want to have responsibility and contribute.  Companies should be excited to find ways to bottle this youthful enthusiasm and creativity and mold us into the future leaders they will need.

  • By Molly McCarty on 8.23.2012 at 11:21 am

    I’m curious to see how the work place will change because of the non-traditional methods the Millenials are bringing to the table. As they graduate into management positions, what will win out? Non-traditional hours are great until you’re managing ten employees who all work at slightly different times. Will Gen Y persevere or assimilate? Great post Kyle, very relevant to Quinlan students!

  • By Kyle Wilcoxen on 8.25.2012 at 4:08 pm

    That’s a great point Molly. From the employee standpoint, non-traditional hours are a great idea, but the challenge will be how do you manage a team like this. I think having some non-negotiable times during the week to align the team could be one solution. I also think that flexible work schedules would put a larger emphasis on results. It would become less about showing up and more about what you are contributing.

    I currently work in a corporate staff-function so sometimes it seems that we fill our day with meetings that are not always necessary. So in the situation of the team being more spread out, would we become more efficient with our time together because we are not always around? Managers would have to much more clear on objectives and expectations from their employees. Also, I do not know how the non-traditional hours would work in a line-function position. Flexibility is much more difficult to accommodate in critical business functions like operations or manufacturing.

    Thanks for the comment Molly! I’m glad you got something out of my post.

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