Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Maybe it's just a life stage thing

Last week I conducted a one-day workshop on generational communications with a group of administrators at a community college in Michigan. An interesting idea came out at the end.

When discussing the challenges of working with Gen Y students, I asked the Boomers in the room if these were the same complaints that they had about Gen Xers 10 or 15 years ago. They said yes. Do they still have these issues with Gen Xers? No.

So that got me thinking: How much of the resistance in the workforce to Generation Y is just because these folks are in their 20s and most people in their 20s are in transition to what will be their adult personality?

I'm on the fence here. I do think there are challenges working with 20-somethings regardless of the era. However, there are things that stick with you throughout the rest of your life that are not life-stage related. For instance, a Boomer asked me why Xers seem so negative. I told her, we really aren't, we just think it's cool to be edgy. And we want to be cool.

So, maybe Gen Y will dramatically impact the American workplace. What do you think?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

often thought that the difference between Gens X & Y is less one of fundamental differences and more of experience.

I'm at the old end of Gen Y (26) and I've been in the workforce since I started working part time in the mail/file room at the company my mom worked for when I was 14. I have a better sense of the way offices work and how to get along and make your point without being an obnoxious twit than my friends who got their first jobs when they left college.

This difference has nothing to do with any sort of fundamental idiocy on their part (I happen to think all of my friends are quite bright and capable) but just that I've been around it longer. Once they've been in the workforce for 10 years they'll have a better sense of the lay of the land also.

Sorry about the novel, my thougths are worth every penny you paid for them :)