Sunday, May 2, 2010

Mixed messages

As a Millennial, I think ambiguity exists in the Gen Y image. Corporate America says we’re unmotivated and yet, when we pitch an idea to our boss, they say we have little tolerance for protocol or authority. They say we’re overambitious, then accuse us of being whiners when faced with a challenge. Moreover, they say we expect too much feedback; however, according to a blog post by Bill Sledzick titled Dear Millennials: Your parents lied to you, we can’t take criticism. Confused yet? I sure am.

In actuality, I think most of us appreciate criticism. Millennials want to improve themselves today, so they can get where they want in the future. People say we’re very driven. Therefore, wouldn’t we be grateful for the criticism if it will help us in the long run? In addition, Millennials were given years of praises from their parents as well as myriads of opportunities to collect “trophies,” from AP courses in high school to several impressive club positions and awards. All those praises and “trophies” gave us the motivation needed to handle any challenge. After all, we motivated ourselves in order to gain those “trophies".

Sledzick says many of us fold under a challenge. I disagree. From a Gen Y perspective, we are driven by a person who challenges us accordingly AND who believes we can be successful. I think if Sledzick were to trust in our motivation instead of stereotyping us, more Millennials would rise to his challenge.

However, I don’t disagree with the assumptions about Millennials. Some are lazy. Some have really big egos and think they are above average. Some need a serious reality check. The problem, though, is not realizing that all Millennials are different. Stop categorizing us and stop thinking we are all the same.

Carolyn Douglas wrote an article titled Motivating Gen Y. Her study indicates Gen Y’s top wishes in the job market are as follows:

  • Work/life balance
  • To be heard and valued
  • Regular recognition
  • Work in a fun atmosphere
  • Motivated by challenge and a collaborative environment

First off, regardless of generation, who wouldn’t want any of those wishes? Secondly, her post is an example of the wrong mentality that people have about Gen Y. Although those points are desirable, my first wish is to find a job I love that provides financial stability. She doesn’t mention any of those wishes in her list. My point is don’t group us into one image. Don’t assume that we all act the same or share the same goals in life. Treat each one of us differently and get to know what we really want.

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