Saturday, April 25, 2009

It's all about control

Yesterday I posted a poll about what makes you happy at work. And then le@ Third On The Right posted a brilliant comment. She said that her happiness at work is centered on control. Then I realized: So is mine.

I thought the biggest factor for me in work happiness is the people I work with. I realized that's important, but they reason I'm so happy now is the amount of control I have over my own time. As a telecommuter, I work when I want to work. It doesn't have to be between 8 and 5. As long as I get my stuff done on time in a high quality manner, my boss is cool.

I have to wonder if control is a bigger issue with Gen Xers than with other generations. We've struggled with controlling, process-oriented Babyboomers for many years. For Boomers there is one right way, one solution, one track. For Xers, there is one right result, but many roads to get there.

I know when I say Boomers are controlling, it may upset some of my Boomer readers, because they don't think they're controlling. However, there are many many of us Xers who have been slapped in the hand because although the result was correct, we did not do it the "right way." We've been dressed down for not following the appropriate "steps." I'm not a "down with Boomers" gal - but this issue is something both our generations have struggled with.

I still invite you to take my poll. If control is your happiness factor, go ahead and post it in comments.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Weekend Poll

I have not been blogging as much as usual for two reasons:
1) My job has been crazy buzy
2) I'm incredibly happy with my work and my life, I haven't had much to bitch about.

So I decided to do another poll. I know I'm in the minority when I say I love my job. My question is - what does it take to make you happy at your job?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Why I'm soooo glad there were no blogs when I was 25

I'm a big fan of the Brazen Careerist web community. I like to go there to get to know Gen Y better. Since I'm not hanging out with a lot of Ys as of yet, the intelligent blogs being posted there give real insight.

But occasionally I read a post that makes my skin crawl. Because I was that kid, full of bravado, that would have written an entire sonnet devoted to the positive attributes of my generation. I'm not going to link to any of the actual posts that made me feel this way, because then the Ys tend to come out and crash my blog and go on and on about how I don't know what I'm talking about.

It's not that I don't like the Ys, I do. And it's not that I don't want them to comment here, I do. It's just that I'm not in the mood to finger point today.

There are times when I do wish there were blogs in the 90s. I have found great joy writing this blog and it really brought me back to writing for the sake of writing.

But although I miss my 25-year-old body, I do not miss my 25-year-old brain.

There are great Gen Y bloggers like Rebbeca Thorman whose blog is called Modite. There were times in my 20s when I was like Rebbeca, who is introspective and looks at issues from a standpoint far more mature than her years. But then there were times I was more like Janeane Garafolo with a really bad hangover.

Gen Xers - let's all be thankful that the only real record of our youthful angst is grunge music - and a few Time Magazine articles calling us slackers.

The photo is me at age 25

Monday, April 13, 2009

Unfairness - it's not just for breakfast anymore

I've had a funny couple of weeks. My job is going really well - I just got back from a workshop I did in Alberta, Canada, and I met the most interesting people in my field. But at the same time, I have so many people around me who are dealing with crap in their careers - layoffs, wage cuts, the overall rewarding of mediocrity. I was where they are just two years ago. And these people are so smart, talented, and genuinely good. It just breaks my heart.

So all of this has gotten me thinking about the concept of "unfairness" - and how we deal with it from a generational perspective. It seems to me that Boomers think that they can fix it, Xers think it's a given, and Millennials are just realizing how much it happens in the workforce. Personally, I'm getting a little sick of it already - and it's a lot worse when it's happening to your friends and family. I know I feel guilty a lot lately, knowing that I found "my peeps" at work and so many others haven't. But such is life.

I've decided to do a poll. Please take it and feel free to comment on this post. What do you think about "unfairness"? Does it eat you up - or do you eat it for breakfast?

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Networking - Gen X/Y style

I just got back from a new event in my town called "Business After 6." All the attendees were Gen Xers and Ys. Probably because the local business owner, Shawn MacDonald, who came up with the idea worked with his entrepreneurial friends and promoted it on Twitter and Facebook.
Shawn told me that he wanted something more relaxed. He also said he couldn't imagine going to a chamber event for young professionals that had assigned seating and taught business etiquette.

Most of the people I met where younger than me and owned their own businesses - fixing computers, doing embroidery on promotional items, leadership coaching. In fact, the leadership coach gave me and my husband some free coaching on the spot.

What struck me as interesting was thinking about older workers thinking business etiquette instruction was needed - while these younger workers are so good at networking. I think the networking skills come from less dichotomy in personalities. Your "professional self" and your "personal self" are products of the Industrial Age. Seriously, can you imagine a farmer in the Agrarian Age telling one of his hands to be "more professional"?

I think Xers and Ys are more likely to act the same way at work and at home. We call it "keeping it real." And that's why we're good at networking.