Generation Y is changing the workplace. We don’t need any experts to convince us of that, do we? But it doesn’t hurt that the Globe and Mail found a couple of specialists who were willing to speak on the issue.
They came up with six ways that Gen Y, my lovely generation, is set to change the job market. Obviously, I have opinion on all of them, but I’m only going to highlight three. Here’s a look at what Talentegg’s Lauren Friese and Cassandra Jowett have to say about millennials in the workplace.
Who runs the world? Girls!
Women? Good. Leadership? Good. Women leaders? Super good. I’m all about the idea of more women being in charge. Positive female role models, as well as the fact that Gen Y is used to working alongside female leaders, are credited for the progression toward having more women leaders.
Of course, under this same point, the two employment gurus also say that telecommuting will become the norm. Clearly, that’s not true of everywhere – cough Yahoo cough. I agree that remote work is a trend that seems to be increasing, but I don’t know that I’d credit Gen Y for it so much as the new technologies that make it possible. Telecommuting is already happening and few members of Gen Y have yet to work their way up to positions of power. It seems weird to credit us for it.
“Cubicles, walls, closed doors and even assigned desks will be removed in favour of open-concept work spaces that promote engagement between all workers – regardless of their seniority,” write Friese and Jowett. Seriously, this is my nightmare. I am all about spaces where I can close the door when I need to. And, are they serious with this no assigned desks business? Where will I display my glamour shot?
Work/life balance? #NoThanks #OutTheWindow #4oldppl
Friese and Jowett claim that millennials are going to be unwilling to sit at a desk all day. They seem to want more flexibility in setting and hours, but will be available all day long because of new technology. I guess this is half-true. My generation is certainly available all the time – and, as a college instructor, I can confirm that the problem is only getting worse – but that doesn’t mean we don’t like our downtime.
I have plenty of friends who actually do put work aside once they’re off the clock. I also know many people older than me (Gen Xers, if you will) who are unable to do so. So, I’m not sure I buy this point. Again, I feel like we’re confusing advancements in technology with generational change. It’s not just millennials who are blending work and life.
The feed-my-ego generation
“One of the most prominent stereotypes about Gen Y is that they like receiving a lot of feedback, and that is true,” write Friese and Jowett. Preach it, ladies. I am constantly craving feedback, probably because I’m an over-eager student. But I’ve noticed that even the most lax students and workers of Gen Y like to receive information about how they’re doing. I think that’s a good thing.
That said, I absolutely hate the platform mentioned in the Globe and Mail article. Apparently, the new trend is to post performance results on sites like Work.com, and to have entire teams access these results. As a somewhat competitive person, this wouldn’t do great things for my psyche.
Let’s get real, people
I don’t love generation-based labels much. I feel like it’s hard to lump everyone born between 1981 and 2000 into the same category. By the time the kids who were born in 2000 get into the workplace, those born in 1981 will have already changed it. And then those kids will change it again.
I’m 28 – closer to 29 – and I teach 17 to 22-year-olds. I see many commonalities between us, but I see even more differences. A lot of Friese and Jowett’s points have to do with technological change – and that affects all generations. For proof, see the blog post we recently did on how technology is changing the job search.
I think it’s wrong to assume that Generation Y is causing all of this change. We’re not. We’re just adapting to the world around us – much of which was created by Gen X. We didn’t create instant messaging or telecommuting or laptops. We just use them better.