People are beginning to notice that the newest generation of workers is a far cry from the baby boomers. People have said this generation was spoiled growing up, spend too long living with their parents, and cannot focus because they have grown up with technology, but is there more to this generation? While this is certainly different than the upbringing many older employees were given, I cannot help but think that maybe the workforce is moving in a positive direction in terms of the working experience. Being a recent graduate myself, I cannot help but side with the latest generation. In many cases, I believe the 20-somethings have it right.
Last night I saw a 60 minutesspecial titled “The ‘Millennials’ Are Coming” that brought up these exact issues. The story was updated in 2008, but the message still rings true today. The special highlighted a couple of key points about the newest generation:
- They were taught that anything is possible and everyone is a winner.
- When it comes to priorities: They come first. They have watched their parents spend 60 hours working at a job they don’t like, and they are not interested in doing the same.
- They are resourceful and technologically savvy. They think they’re harder working, and they expect to be treated that way.
- You cannot be harsh when talking to them.
- There is no longer any shame in living at home until age 26, so they take advantage
- Companies need to offer fun activities if they want to attract young workers. A regular old office simply won’t cut it.
I believe that this new way of looking at the work week is going to throw many curveballs at both the rookies and the veterans. For a while, there will undoubtedly be discussions about whether or not this “you’re lucky to have me” attitude is going to work. However, I do feel that in some cases, this new attitude should work. Here are a few things that this generation has correct:
Top 5 Ways the Workplace Will Soon Improve
1. Family > Work—Putting your family and friends before your job is not necessarily a bad thing. In the past, doing such would likely get you fired, so this attitude would never have worked. However, if our CEO’s slowly begin to follow this attitude, wouldn’t life be better for everyone? You may say that we benefit from companies working 60 hour weeks, but I think most would agree that they would rather workers spend time with their family and friends, even if it meant having to see the same commercial for two days in a row.
2. Appreciation is a Necessity—Workers are appreciated today, but this generation wants more. They want to be spoken to nicely, and given perks such as business phones and corporate credit cards. The great thing about this is, however, that this generation would be just as willing to give appreciation as they are to receive it. According to the new trend, the days of the scary boss are coming to an end.
3. Breaks are Encouraged—Everyone wants to have fun, and the latest wave of workers do not understand why this cannot be brought into the workplace. People in no way think that work should be one big party, but it is nice to have a break every week and bond as a company. After all, starting at a computer screen all day is not healthy, so everyone deserves a mental break.
4. Loving a Job is Attainable—This generation was taught that you can do anything you set your mind to. Older generations look at this and think the worst, but many younger generations grow up to realize that finding that “dream job” is not always realistic. Regardless, many young people are taking the time to figure out exactly what they want to do before getting married and raising a family. Is that such a bad thing?
5. Saving Money is Understood—The idea of younger persons living at home because they don’t want to grow up is a bit misconstrued. In many cases, this generation is being forced to live at home because it is now so expensive to live on your own. Young people are learning to save money while living with their parents, and once again, I don’t think this lesson is the worst thing in the world. Wanting to get out of your parents’ house at 18 is motivating, but wanting to get out at 26 makes for an extremely hard worker.
Now do not get me wrong, there are certain situations where this new carefree attitude about the workplace could backfire (in more ways than one). However, people need to realize that not everything about the latest wave of workers is lazy and unfocused. We have a lot to offer the future, and the workplace changes to come should, overall, be positive ones.
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Amanda DiSilvestro is a writer on topics ranging from social media to corporate credit cards. She writes for an online resource that gives advice on topics including business credit card applications to small businesses and entrepreneurs for the leading B2B Directory, Business.com.