Gen Y – Who Would Hire YOU?

Words of Wisdom from Buddy Hobart: “By 2025, 75% of the world’s workforce will be Gen Y. Are we going to simply refuse to evolve? I once heard the opposite of evolution is extinction.”

In the last few days, I have heard a few managers from two different organizations talking about “not hiring twenty-somethings” for job openings that have occurred. Each of these managers have cited a “lack of basic common courtesy” as the reason for not bringing them on board. When we probed into the issue deeper, we realized that each of these folks were repeating input that they’ve received from their team. In other words, their tenured employees simply didn’t want to work with “twenty-somethings.”

After a bit of research, it has been found that this is not unusual. Frankly, this type of thinking floors me. Not to be rude, but how can anyone allow the inmates to run the asylum? So we are not going to add talent to the team because other team members find it difficult to adapt? By 2025, 75% of the world’s workforce will be Gen Y. Are we going to simply refuse to evolve? I once heard the opposite of evolution is extinction.

Managers (I will not call them leaders) who refuse to infuse their team with new talent and ideas are dooming their team and organization to extinction. It is a statistical certainty that Generation Y will become the workforce of the future. There is no getting around it. Failing to incorporate this talented cohort into the organization is one of the worst managerial decisions a leader can make.

Since it is a statistical certainty that members of Generation Y are the future employees, why would anyone avoid trying to attract and retain the best talent available? I once heard that only a fool would fail to plan for inevitability.

I really don’t have any heartburn over the team members not wanting to hire twenty-somethings, but I have serious heartburn over the manager. A true leader would listen to the feedback and then figure out a strategy to get his team aligned appropriately. A leader certainly would not allow anyone, for any reason, to be discriminated against. A true leader would find a way to blend the talent across his or her team.

Curious about what the fellow GenY’ers think about this post? Have you had the opportunity to experience this before?

Its always frustrating to continuously put forth ideas that fail to be explored, acknowledged and almost always are immediately dismissed. It is even more frustrating when you feel unmotivated by a manager that refuses to accept the diverse perspective that you offer in the workplace.

If you have been here before, here are some tips to navigate:

1. Don’t be too eager – Its perfectly clear to your manager that you are passionate about your cause (whatever it may be.) I would advise to err on the side of “mum’s the word.” Listen and take in the discussions during meetings instead of always rasing your hand to offer up a better way to do things. It all comes with effective observation of time and application of strategy. Boomers like to be convinced that an idea is solid and  bust proof prior to moving straight into it full fledged. So if your idea isn’t easily accepted and scoffed upon during meetings, fear not, you’re in a great place to channel that energy into really getting a handle on how your team thinks so you can strategize the perfect time to “pitch.”

2. Limit Your Blue Sky Conversations to Fellow Inspirees. Chances are, you manager is uninterested in hearing about your blue sky conversations. That’s fine. Some styles are just too different for you to play out your brilliant conversation pieces and innovative ideas. Find a fellow co-worker you trust that you can have these “wouldn’t it be great if” conversations with. Chances are, they may be able to offer you a better perspective on your idea from a spring-board perspective. You’ll be surprised how liberating it will be to express these ideas with some one who you can use as a sounding board.

3. Patience. As a fellow GenY’er this is hard. I know it, you know it. How to get around it? Grab a pen and a paper and load your ideas into an idea book. It can be a spiral bound book or journal or stack of scratch paper you keep in your cube or office space. List all of your suggestions, frustrations, diagrams and bar graphs in an idea book and visit it from time to time. You’ll be surprised how much patience can cultivate in your idea book and how awesome it will be to be able to give your brain autonomy by releasing those ideas on paper. Doing so commits your ideas to a form of documentation that allows you to free dendrites in your brain.

4 Responses to “Gen Y – Who Would Hire YOU?”
  1. missanhquynh says:

    As a fellow GenY’er, I definitely understand this frustration regarding the unfair discrimination base on our age. It is truly a tragedy because GenY’ers are the future movers and shakers. On the other hand, I can’t help but feel that we have helped contribute to this problem. The most common complaints I hear from senior professionals is that GenY’ers have a strong sense of entitlement and lack of gratitude.

    We are graduating college at higher rates and obtaining more masters degrees than past generations. We feel that we should be rewarded for our pursuit of higher education. The world is our playground. And we want it all and we wanted it yesterday. What we forget is that we have to pay our dues. I find it common that recent college grads with little professional experience feel that it is below them to accept a position as an assistant. One of my friend states, “I didn’t go to college to be an assistant.” Although I think that a college degree is wonderful in the long-run, nothing can replace getting your hands dirty and learning the ropes from the bottom up.
    Warren Buffet describes entitlement as, “silver dagger in your back”. Although many of us have college degrees, we allow it to handicap us by setting unrealistic expectations. Every long journey starts with a single step. A lot of us are extremely talented and capable; however, there are still some guiding principles to success.

    When senior professionals are referring to the lack of common courtesy, I think they are referring to the lack of gratitude and respect for title and age. From my experience, senior professionals believe we must earn their respect. The culture and customs of the workplace existed way before we entered. The challenge is navigating these waters while infusing it with our fresh, innovative ideas.

    Combat Generational Bias like a Ninja:
    1. Listen. Don’t talk, just listen first. Listening is a non-reactive way of showing respect. Your time will come, just wait a little longer. One day a senior professional will ask for your suggestions, but it only comes when you have earned their respect first.

    2. Express gratitude. Everyone wants to feel appreciated. Express sincere gratitude through phone calls and e-mails. And yes, physical old-fashion cards. A little effort and thought goes a long way.

    3. Will-do attitude, not can-do attitude. One of my Communications professors told me the key to success in the workplace. 1. Do what you said. 2. Do it when you said you would. 3. Under promise, and over deliver. Your time will come, but you must show that you can work within the institution and add value first.

    • Anh – Love your passion on this subject. I personally believe that its this type of mentality in the workplace that also hinders Gen Y from advancing further into an organization. But it is a double edged sword as we channel this type of energy and feeling of “entitlement” into projects we work on outside of the work place.

      It will forever be a mixed bag of results as our generation finds where we closely fit in. Although – I do know that a large part of our generation – growing up in a world of customization – are bubbling up a slew of entrepreneurial ventures that will change the landscape of generational equality and stereotype.

  2. Tabemitotiest says:

    Just want to say what a great blog you got here!
    I’ve been around for quite a lot of time, but finally decided to show my appreciation of your work!

    Thumbs up, and keep it going!

    Christian,Earn Free Vouchers / Cash

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