The Battlefield


Courtsey of Wagner NYU

Like many of us in this GenY bubble, I have a story to tell. Actually, its more like a fable, and no, it does not start with “once upon a time.”  So to better understand my logical approach, below I provide some healthy context.

” This GenY age group is moving into the labor force during a time of major demographic change, as companies around the USA face an aging workforce. Sixty-year-olds are working beside 20-year-olds. Freshly minted college graduates are overseeing employees old enough to be their parents. And new job entrants are changing careers faster than college students change their majors, creating frustration for employers struggling to retain and recruit talented high-performers.” USA Today

Unlike the generations that have gone before us, we have been pampered, nurtured and programmed with a slew of activities since we were toddlers, meaning we are both high-performance and high-maintenance. We also adamantly believe in our own worth and about 75% of us in some way, shape, or form also believe that we can change the world.

“Generation Y is much less likely to respond to the traditional command-and-control type of management still popular in much of today’s workforce,” says Jordan Kaplan, an associate managerial science professor at Long Island University-Brooklyn in New York. “They’ve grown up questioning their parents, and now they’re questioning their employers. They don’t know how to shut up, which is great, but that’s aggravating to the 50-year-old manager who says, ‘Do it and do it now.’ ”

Sound familiar? This generation is willing and not afraid to challenge the status quo. We relish in an environment where creativity and independent thinking are looked upon as a positive is appealing trait. We’re very independent and tech savvy. Sounds like that Pat Benetar song to me… Love is a Battlefield but in this case I would transpose Love into work – it would go something like this:

We are young
heartache to heartache we stand
No promises just demands
WORK is a battlefield.

We are strong
no-one can tell us we’re wrong
Blackberry’s, iPhones, and songs
All of us knowing
WORK is a battlefield.

So is that enough context for you? I am sure as you read this some of you are reminded of someone in this generational “category” or you may just be in the very generation that I describe. This is nothing new. After all, what is new under the sun?

This fictional tale is an approach to bring you close to the action as I navigate through the jungles and stereotypical reputation that GenY’ers have. I promise, we’re not as bad as you think. And the whole Blackberry thing? Seriously, this is the age of the iPad. I’m sure one of us will come up with some innovative disruption that will one day give it wings.

Which brings us to the story: Alice in the Battlefield

So let’s start with a girl, we’ll call her Alice. She is everything as described above, minus the fishnets on the Pat Benetar song. Young, jovial, “energetic” tech savvy, affable, talkative. Her first job is at a place we shall call – Cave Inc.

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