Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Generation "Y the bad rep"

(This was written as an assignment for my Writing for the Media class)

Our generation, Generation “Y” or “Millennials” as we are called, is constantly being criticized for our work ethic and contribution to today’s economy. We are considered spoiled because we have things that our parents didn’t. We have cell phones, iPods, laptops, and a world at our fingertips called the Internet. We are able to search for information about any topic we want, and we get results almost instantly. My question is, what’s so bad about this? With each generation, times change. The work ethics of our grandparents are much different than those of our parents, and in turn, are much different than ours. Our generation is receiving a bad reputation based on the fact that times are changing, not on the fact that we aren’t as smart or as motivated as our parents.

This issue has been brought to my attention multiple times, but I first really noticed in when I watched the 60 Minutes report on Millennials. At first, I was interested in what the people on the show had to say, then I started getting frustrated. The people reporting on the show were attacking our generation, the things that they said were hurtful and one sided. One woman even said “who couldn’t be happy in a world where there’s no failure.” They claim that we haven’t held jobs because we are too lazy and because “mowing lawns won’t get you in to Harvard.” And they’re right, certain summer jobs won’t get us in to Harvard, which is why we spend our time doing other things that will benefit our education later in life. Getting in to college is much harder now than it was in the past, we are expected to know everything and to be able to do much more than our parent’s generation. Our grades need to be better, our SAT scores need to be higher, and we need many more extracurricular activities in order to even have our applications read. At least we aren’t claiming work is too hard and giving up.

Older generations blame us for the changing work force. But is that necessarily a bad thing? When I was living at home, I watched my parents come home from work every night, completely stressed about their job. Now that our generation is entering the work force, the office is changing. Two Millennials who were interviewed on the 60 Minutes documentary said “we definitely put lifestyle and friends before work.” Wouldn’t you rather work in a friendly office than an uptight one? An article titled “Motivating and Retaining Employees” printed in Malaysia talked about ways to keep employees of the Millennial generation happy. A few of their points were for the employers to take an active interest in the employees, use positive reinforcement, and to be honest and “candid with everyone.” There’s nothing like positive reinforcement to encourage us to do our best. If you are happy and friendly about the outcome, we are more likely to continue to do better in the future.

There is so much emphasis in our day in age on health issues, high blood pressure, stress. Our generation is bringing a less stressful and friendlier approach to the workforce. In an article titled “Working practices – Bite-sized generation” by Robert Gray, he says that some companies are being held back by executives who aren’t prepared to adapt to new practices and technology. Lucky for them, they’ve got our generation around to help them with the new tech stuff. We’ve grown up with new technology advances so we know how to deal with the changes that could potentially harm the company if not dealt with. Surprise, maybe we aren’t awful to have around the workplace.

Times change with each generation, maybe its not awful that we are taking a more relaxed approach to the more uptight areas in our working class.