Why is Gen Y so Interesting?

I am continually amazed by the fascination with Gen Y. Having just downloaded the 60-page OXGENZ report entitled Generation Y and the Workplace – 2010, I believe it’s mostly Boomers who are fascinated. (Note, I’m a Boomer.) My take is that this pre-occupation is our continuing desire to be integrally involved in the lives of our children. Nothing wrong with that. In fact, it might work out well for the Gen Y folks in general.

What’s In a Generation Anyway?

Having said that, my personal opinion is that the Gen Ys value what most of us value: Family, Good Working and Living Environments, Flexibility (though probably more than we did), Recognition (maybe too much given their relative accomplishment as yet?), Security, and Comfort. All worthy, but certainly not earth shatteringly different.

What’s really changed is the measure of those values. The best example I have is the desire to work remotely. This was simply not possible 30 years ago when I entered the work force. E-mail and the Internet existed, but only in the scientific world. Our bread was buttered with phone calls, meetings, faxes and large word-processing systems. Working remotely only worked for individual contributors (artists, athletes, authors, etc., to cover the “a”s).

Conversely, I work from two different homes today. I run two entirely separate businesses, one of which is completely virtual. All this is because of technological advance, not generational change. I’m still a Boomer, but I’m leveraging what’s available to me.

Getting Down to Brass Tacks

Maybe the real issue isn’t that the Gen Ys want something different than the older generations. Maybe it’s that the older generations need to shed the “I did it that way, so they should too.” attitude? Or maybe we should just let our children live their own lives and work it out for themselves?

Enough of my running on at the keyboard…

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