Generation Y is terrifying its elders, just like every generation does. But instead of being degenerates who play their music too loud, this generation is being accused of being too ambitious, too confident, too optimistic about the future. Where is their lack of self-esteem? Their sense of hopelessness in the face of a recession? Why don’t they hate themselves when they’re out of work like the older generation does, dammit?
Um, these are complaints? That’s hilarious. (You can read about said complaints in this article, if you want a sense of what I’m responding to before you continue.)
I’ve also heard they’re difficult employees, because they have high expectations and think they’re qualified to do all sorts of things and don’t know how to take direction. Well, let me tell you something. I live in Los Angeles. Every other person I meet is a narcissist. Kids with theoretically overconfident attitudes can’t hold a candle to hardcore narcissism – and even narcissists can be handled by a boss, if the boss knows how to deal with them.
I don’t fear this generation. I kind of like them, especially when they’re sitting next to a slacker. There’s a whopping difference between someone who moves in with their parents while they pursue a better job than 7-11, and someone who moves in with their parents because they don’t want to work at all, not even at 7-11.
Let’s say I’ve run a company. Let’s say I had many employees, both full-time and freelance, who I had to give direction to and depended on for the success of the company. Let’s say I had one of the Gen Y types and also a less confident, slightly older, Gen Slacker type. Gen Y got their work done on time – sometimes early. They kept asking what they could do to get promoted – as in, what *work* they could do to *earn* a promotion. They came into work every single day. Meanwhile, Gen Slacker was usually several months behind on their work. When they didn’t finish something, they were full of excuses. They tended to want to go home early. Even when they were excited about something and confident that they could do it . . . they couldn’t turn in competent work by the deadline. This deflated their confidence and made them retreat to the corner where they sulked instead of working, which led to their being even further behind.
Oh, gee. Let me think which generation I’d rather work with as a boss.
One last thought: The truth is, it’s ridiculous to lump everyone in a single generation into one category. Gen Y has its slackers, and us old fogies have our confident, ambitious types who are ridiculously stubborn and don’t let anything stop them. Not that I would know anything about that, or about having an overconfident ego. ;-)