The Blasting of a Generation – What’s the Deal with Gen Y?

Alright, I’m getting on my soapbox now. I’ve posted about Gen Y before, I detailed how we are perceived as spoiled because we are desperately seeking our dream job. Well, I’m going to reiterate.

Recently a blog appeared in Tech Crunch where the author wrote about why she is relieved that she’s not a Millennial. Detailing how our generation thinks it’s ok to job hop and that we feel entitled to everything in life. I’m not going to make a gross generalization here on behalf of Gen Y because we all know gross generalizations are just that and you can’t pigeon hole an entire generation. I am talking firmly from my experience with friends, colleagues and  myself.

Yes, we are being picky at times about our job options. You want to know why? We were raised to figure out what we want in life and what we believe to be true and to stick by that.  I have experienced my parents – born just young enough to not take full advantage of Woodstock – who sold out. Then one day my Mom came home from her very cushy job and said she quit. She felt that she had sold out and didn’t believe that her personal morals stacked up with what her company was creating. Then my Dad started his own Architecture firm after being sick of working in a huge firm that basically just churned out houses and office buildings. My brother and I were raised to stay true to what we believe and not sell out. I know many other Millennial’s my age who believe the same thing. We are young and yes we’re in a bad economy right now so we are job hopping. Remember that old saying “Last hired first fired?” – hello!

Not to say that I don’t have peers who are quitting because it’s not stacking up to what they wanted it to be. I can’t vouch for those people on the whole but maybe they realized it honestly wasn’t a good fit or maybe they were being spoiled. Also we have been told that in this economy we need to be a Jack of All Trades and taking multiple temp jobs while looking for our ideal full time work is a way to do that. I don’t think it’s all on one side or another, its a mix.

We also know that on the whole we are living longer, so why would we want to rush into a full time job when we know with the way things are going we’ll be working until we are 70?

I would also like to remind you of what people were saying about the Boomers when they were are age, avoiding jobs and going to school to get Liberal Arts degrees (GASP!) They were told that their music was the devil and that they were idealists and would one day grow up and realize that’s not how the world worked. Well  some of them sold out and some of them woke up one day and taught their kids not to do the same thing and some of them chose

One other thing people are over looking right now is the fact that the entry-level work force now is so different then it was 10 years ago. We have tools at our disposal that our parents never dreamed would exist, Twitter, Skype, Facebook and on and on. We are at the forefront of a shift in how our entire country and world is communicating. Why wouldn’t we have a different take on the job search? Also, young people have always been idealists and naive right out the gate. We have next to no real world experience and it’s a steep learning curve out there.

I agree with the post on Savvy Intern earlier this week. Take your “parent” and “adult” hat off and just try to put yourself in our shoes. Literally our entire lives we have grown up in an experimental environment, Montessori schools, no idea what segregation ment, growing up during a huge boom in our economy and now having to deal with the biggest recession since the great depression. We are living in a world where all we know is we don’t know anything except the life we want to be leading one day down the road. Don’t bash us just because we are following our dreams to the best of our ability at this point in time.

Please be open and take a moment to speak with a Millennial before you homogenize and stereotype us into oblivion. I promise we’ll put our smartphone down for 20 minutes and have a genuine face-to-face conversation with you.


4 thoughts on “The Blasting of a Generation – What’s the Deal with Gen Y?

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  1. Most of my gen Y friends have had only 1-2 jobs since graduating college. I really don’t see Gen Y as more job hopping or less dedicated to their careers then previous generations. There are just more choices now. 50 years ago, your choice was the local factory/mine/farm. 20 years ago, it was a handful of offices. Now, the barriers to entrepreneurship are getting so low that there are hundreds of local companies to work for or start your own.

    As you’ve pointed out, most of Gen Y has come of age either in this recession or the struggling recovery of the dot-com bust. That means there are fewer entry-level jobs and they are less secure. Combined with the dazzling array of options for what direction to take your career and any generation would get the rep that ours has.

    1. Thanks for your comment Edward. I do find it really interesting that Gen Y has been targeted as they have been. What do you think the reason for this is? Do you think it’s more then just the usual the usual older generations misunderstanding the younger generations?

      1. I actually don’t think our generation is being targeted more than previous generations did at our stage of development. “That 70’s Show” shows a similar dynamic between Red and Eric.

        We feel like we are being targeted more because we didn’t experience the other generations. And increased communication means that it’s more visible. A generation ago, you only witnessed your own parents and your friend’s parents complaining about it. Now you see that, and also every parent & boss that complains on twitter, facebook, etc. They forget that they went through the same thing at our age and received the same complaints they are now dishing out.

        At the end of the day, where I hear most of the complaints against Gen Y is from Gen Y’ers complaining about the complaints.

  2. That is really interesting, and I totally agree with both points. The types of communication that are available make seeing criticism more visible.

    I do think that we are complaining often about being targeted by older generations, what we can do is try to be proactive about it and address it in a non whiney way.

    Thanks again for your input.

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