generation y

“We cannot despair of humanity, since we ourselves are human beings” Albert Einstein

I preface this blog post by saying up front: I am guilty of judging people. I am guilty of generalising. And often I am guilty of not practising what I preach.

Now that’s out of the way, let’s talk about Generation Y. Surely it’s the most maligned generation to currently participate in the workforce? “Participate?!” I hear you splutter. “Generation Y are nothing but a bunch of spoilt kids who have been mollycoddled and wouldn’t know what hard work was if it came up, slapped them and said ‘this is hard work!’ ”

I hear all sorts of stories about Generation Y employees. Some of the common complaints are:

– they have no loyalty
– they don’t understand what it means to work hard
– they have a sense of entitlement
– they expect the world on a plate without working for it
– they don’t play by the rules
– they value pleasure over ambition

At a dinner I attended recently there was discussion around the table about how to deal with Generation Y employees. What could have transpired was a lively debate about working with different generations and discussion about how to get the best out of people by understanding what it is that motivates them and makes them tick. The conversation that ensued instead was littered with presumptions, assumptions and judgements about a person we had never met.

The really interesting observation in this situation for me was that the conversation was preceded by all of us listening in awe to the drive, passion and incredible intelligence level of a fellow dinner guest. Who, it so happens, is in her late 20s. Oh yes, she sits squarely within Generation Y.

I have the fortune to meet, work with and be inspired by women of all ages doing amazing things in their career and lives on a daily basis.  In the last few months I have met countless women in their 20s and early 30s who are: running massively successful businesses; leading teams in huge corporate organisations; heading up divisions; having roles created for them because they are so driven to succeed and contribute; taking their knowledge and immense skill base to the not for profit sector so they can make a real difference; starting networking group; writing books; inspiring women in business; and running their own business in their spare time outside of work.

These women have drive, ambition, vision, confidence and courage in spades. They work hard. They contribute to business AND society. And they inspire me every day, to keep doing what I do – helping them take their immense vision and drive and making it a reality they can sustain, to allow them to create a life they truly love and value.

We love labels. We are most comfortable when we can categorise people in a way that helps us to understand them better. I completely get that. I do it too. All the time.

But what I propose is that before we judge ANYONE regardless of age, gender, occupation, or economic standing, we take the time to get to know them better, to exercise empathy and attempt to understand their background and position. And that we recognise that perhaps our views are being clouded by pre-conceived ideas of who or what that person is. Let’s take more time to be human and understand each other.

And my advice to all the Generation Y women reading this who are pre-judged? Don’t listen to the naysayers. The people who tell you that you can’t succeed because you are too young, too inexperienced, and, god forbid, too female. Take your vision, find mentors who will encourage you, and make it a reality. You are changing work cultures, the way we communicate and what we value as a society. We need you. Go for it.

This post is dedicated to: Michelle; Denise; Kate; Caitlin; Chiquita; Emily; Danielle; Georgia and every other Generation Y woman I have had the pleasure of working with. 

If you’d like to learn more about how you can take ownership of your career to allow you to create a career you love, be rewarded for what you do and take control of your future, you might want to join me for a LIVE and FREE workshop, where I’ll show you exactly how to do just that. Click here to find out more.