3 Ways work will change when Gen Y is in charge

Part of knowing where to steer your career is knowing what is changing in the landscape. In ten years, Gen Y will have taken over middle management. Maybe in five years, if my own office is any indication. But I am sure that Gen Y will run the show differently. And no matter your age, the more prepared you are for what’s coming, the more likely you will succeed in working with the new middle management regime.

1. Middle management will work longer hours.
Generation X is known for leaving work early to be with kids. There are a lot of forces driving this. First, Gen X was raised as latchkey kids, and as parents, we are very cautious about repeating this. So maybe we go overboard. Neil Howe and William Strauss call Gen X the “extreme parenting” generation, because the women are spending more time with their kids than any generation in history.

Generation Y will not parent as much. First, this generation was raised by helicopter parents, and not everyone thinks that was a great idea (although I think it’s fine). So Gen Y is likely to pull back a bit in the parenting realm. Additionally, we already see evidence that Gen Y is laid back when it comes to parenting. For example, an Xer is more likely to make junior eat green beans and a Gen Yer is more likely to think junior will eat veggies later in life without any childhood nagging.

What this adds up to is that Gen Y will feel like it’s okay to stay at the office during a school play. Gen Y will feel like it’s okay to work through dinner sometimes. The guilt factor for parenting will be lower than it is for Gen X. And this makes intuitive sense as well: Gen Y has more self-confidence all around than Gen X does because—and now, the world is circular—if you have good parenting, you grow up with good self-esteem.

2. Entry-level employees will avoid technological complexity.
The Great Generation loved their cars. When they got back from the war, they bought one. One of, say, seven, because they all looked the same off the assembly line. The baby boomers grew up watching their fathers spend their money on toys that didn’t differentiate them. And the baby boomers are not the group-thinkers that their parents were. They wanted something special to them. So they customized their cars.

And the kids of baby boomers, Gen Yers, are known for their need to customize: Pandora lets you customize the music on your radio station, and Nike lets you choose the colors for your shoes.

But having more choices is actually not something that makes us happy. It is a distraction from what makes us happy. Research in the book, The Paradox of Choice, says that people who are always looking for another choice actually exhaust themselves. And research from Dan Ariely shows that beyond two or three choices, we don’t actually have the processing power in our brain to make a good choice for ourselves, so the energy we use to make the choice is wasted.

So the generation after Gen Y will rebel against customization. The next generation will focus on simplicity and the simplicity will express itself in technology. People will use the same things, they will use them in largely the same ways, and there will be a common vernacular about technology tools that we are missing in today’s culture.

3. People will assume employers are looking out for the interests of employees.
It used to be that employers were in the driver’s seat. Employers could dictate terms (two weeks of vacation) and career paths (no job hopping). That arrangement worked because it used to be that you could depend on your employer for a forty-year stint and a gold watch at retirement.

Today most people stay at their jobs less than five years, and they depend on themselves to be able to get another job when they need one. So employees are starting to recognize that the old arrangement did not necessarily favor the worker and are looking out for themselves like never before.

The next generation, however, will have so much power in the workplace, that the workplace will, actually, fundamentally change. The next generation, after Generation Y, might not be tiny in the US, but worldwide, the generation is devastatingly small. So small that European and Asian governments are paying people to have kids. Small city governments convene to discuss what they can do to make the women who live there have more than one baby.

National barriers are already coming down quickly. But the barriers will come down hard when the next generation joins the workforce, and the job opportunities outside the US are fantastic. The New York Times predicts an extreme, worldwide shortage of labor by 2015, and this will make young people in such high demand that the current trend to reform the workplace to cater to incoming talent will become more extreme. And the newest workforce will not know anything but a compassionate, generous employer, run by the least of the bitter Gen-Xers, and the chirpy, optimistic Gen Yers.

Posted in No image, Self-management
65 comments on “3 Ways work will change when Gen Y is in charge
  1. Holly Hoffman says:

    I disagree about the kid thing. I’m not a Gen Y with a kid, and don’t intend to be for another 7-10 years or so. I can see that we probably will work longer hours than our Gen X counterparts. On the other hand, we’re simply not at that life stage yet. Even if we have kids, we’re just not at the age of figuring out work-life balance, which IMO comes with age and maturity and life experience, ultimately finding “what’s important” in life.

    If we are more lax with our kids and the hours we spend with them, I think it will be more from wanting them to independent from the get-go. My parents hovered over my Gen X sister, but let me go from an early age. I prefer the independence and think my kids will benefit from it.

    I also think that it’s really less about a generational approach as it is about a response to your own parents’ parenting. My folks gave lots of love, little money, but weren’t around in the end. So I intend to be around, Gen Y or not.

    * * * * * *
    Holly, you remind me that I already came across research about how Gen Y is parenting — enough of the generation has kids now to indicate trends. So I added the link into the post. But here it is as well:

    http://blog.penelopetrunk.com/2008/03/28/choosing-the-next-company-you-work-for-leverage-research-about-how-gen-y-is-parenting/

    That said, of course, each person makes their own decisions. But one thing we know for sure is that after two generations of women working and having kids, it is nearly impossible to predict what you will want to do after you have kids. For most women, it is impossible to know how we’ll feel and what life will bring until the kids are there.

    Penelope

  2. Caitlin says:

    Of course, macro socio-economic-historical trends will also have a lot to do with it. The Great Depression and World War 2 was the defining experience of my grandparents’ generation and affected everything that came after, even the very existence of the Boomers. So I think the workplace of the future will be very much influenced by what happens now with the economy – are we talking about a recession for a year or two or something deeper? And also what happens in the future as we deal with the most pressing challenge of our age – the pressures on the global environment and diminishing resources. Globally, and nationally, we all need to move to a sustainable economic model, not one that relies on continuous growth (not possible in a finite world) and that will make the business world of the future very different indeed.

  3. prklypr says:

    Hi Penelope, did you see that Lisa Belkin has a link to you in her Oct 21st Motherlode blog? In fact, the column is mostly about YOU and she includes your quiz on generational differences. How does this relate to parenting, you might ask? See my comment on her blog :)

  4. Rachel .:. A Step Ahead says:

    Hi Penelope.

    One thing I’ve noticed about my generation is that we’re not really in a hurry to get married and have kids. We’re much more focused on advancing our careers.

    I am looking forward to your session at the PRSSA National Conference!

  5. Dave Hardwick says:

    I was with you right up to the 3rd point where you talk about the NY Times article predicting the world-wide labor shortage by 2015, which has a date of 8/22/08 – 8 long weeks ago.

    I’m thinking the data in this study is very pre-financial market melt-down. I’d like to see how this event shifts the numbers in this study. I’d even go so far as to say that nobody knows how this will play out for labor stats world-wide, and so it’s tough to then make a generational comparison.

    But hey, 2 out of 3 ain’t bad.

  6. Wendy says:

    Items #2 and #3 definitely connect with what I’ve been seeing researching workplaces (I look at more their physical manefestation). #1, I’m not so sure.

    Actually, I think what you say in items 1 and 3 contradict each other. Because of the talent shortage, generation y will be able to decide if they want to work flexible hours to spend more time with the family, for example. They’ll recognize that they have that power and once the kids are there, will make the choice to be more of a mobile worker.

    I think that you’re right that they’ll likely feel less guilty about whatever choice they make, however they organize their lives.

    I envy that.

  7. Wendy says:

    Dave – worldwide demographics won’t change with an economic slowdown. Millions of retiring baby boomers in the developed world outside the US do not have replacement workers coming up behind. The US has a higher fertility rate, so is really the anomoly. But places like Canada, Western Europe are very active in trying to appeal to immigrants with all variety of skills — the economic slow down will simply remove the urgency for 12 or 18 months.

  8. Caitlin says:

    Penelope, I see your response to Holly above. But surely the age of the parents has just as much if not more to do with how they parent than what generation they belong to? I’m sure Gen Y parents who have children in their 20s will be quite different parents to people the same age who have children in their 30s. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if the whole point you make about Gen X parents being more likely to make their children eat green beans is more to do with comparing 35yo parents with 25yo parents than a genuine generational difference.

  9. Todd Rhoad says:

    People will certainly work longer hours. The average work week has been increasing since the 1930′s. Strangely enough, that was when we tried to limit the hours we work in a week (Fair Labor Standards Act). It’s also interesting to note that this is the only piece of legislation ever passed to regulate labor hours. Unfortunately, we’re picking a couple of hours on the normal work week every year. I doubt this trend will change anytime soon.

    To that point, it is estimated that 40% of the US population will be employed by a Virtual Organization by 2012. Research shows that telecommuting, hoteling, hot desking, etc. actually increase the length of the work day, not decrease it. So much for the advances in technology!

  10. Chris - Manager's Sandbox says:

    I couldn’t disagree more with this article. I think it’s generally a bad idea to stereotype an entire generation. And while you may have some interesting predictions in Gen Y parenting styles, I think it’s a severe leap to say we’ll be working longer hours.

    I may not over-parent my children in the same fashion that my parents over-parented me, but that doesn’t necessarily translate into spending extra time at work.

    Number three sounds wonderful, though, and I certainly hope you’re right, there.

    - Chris

    I’d rather spend my reclaimed personal time hiking, biking and snowboarding, reading and writing, or engaged in activities with family and friends.

  11. KateNonymous says:

    “Gen Y has more self-confidence all around than Gen X does because – and now, the world is circular – if you have good parenting, you grow up with good self-esteem.”

    So does that mean that Gen X will have children who are more confident than the children of Gen Y?

  12. Maya says:

    “Additionally, we already see evidence that Gen Y is laid back when it comes to parenting”

    - I am curious to see what evidence is there Penelope – especially since my take on this is very different. Laid back is right, but not in the way you talk about it … that is what I have experienced and observed.

  13. Maya says:

    Okay, I saw you responded to Holly’s comment …
    Thanks

  14. KateNonymous says:

    I should also point out that I’ve long heard that massive retirements at universities would benefit newly minted Ph.D.’s. The problem is that in many cases, hiring practices changed. Tenured professors retired and colleges and universities hired adjuncts. The projected labor shortage can have a lot of outcomes.

  15. Maya says:

    Okay, a quick skim of the article and I really do not understand how you extrapolated it to how Gen Y parents will respond in the workplace. I also noted that this study considered just 22 moms in all (all who became moms before they turned 25).Not quite enough info statistically to allow for an extrapolation really …

    I think the main difference here is that this article by itself would be interpreted very differently by a Gen Y . I would extrapolate it to mean that Gen-Y is less likely to go to school play out of guilt. Gen Y will work the number of hours they see as necessary – which does not always translate into more hours.

  16. prklypr says:

    @chris – stereotyping is generally a bad idea, and I agree that an entire generation is hard to fit into a single mold. The entire notion of trying to fit someone into a model based solely on their year of birth is flawed, because it only takes into account certain exterior influences (the Great Depression, WWII, 9/11) without considering the wildly varying differences in things like income, religious views, education, etc. I know many Boomers who think and act more like Gen Y’ers, because their children are Gen Y and they are influenced (sometimes out of necessity) by their habits – like texting or joining Facebook b/c that’s the best way to keep the lines of communication open.

  17. Chris Grayson says:

    Most of this stuff is extremely anecdotal, and does not jive with my observations at all. I’m in New York, and I’ve lived in other cities. You’re in Boston. To me this all reads like anecdotal observations of a very thin slice of society, from someone in the upper-middle-class suburbs of Boston.

    Every so-called GenXer I know is an absolute workaholic, putting in crazy hours, and has a nanny, and a rolodex of baby sitters. All the GenYers I know consider 6:30 to be “working late” and want to run out of the office and party down. I do not take that as anything specific to GenYers, BTW, I just see it as young people in general. They were doing the same when I was younger.

    Your article also ignores inconvenient data like our completely disfunctional primary education system, and record breaking high school dropout rates.

    I’m familiar with the book, Paradox of Choice, and think it is the most absurd crock of BS around. Everyone wants choice. They don’t want less choice, they just want better filters. We’re not going to avoid the stress of choice by doing away with it. We’re going to develop better and better filters that “learn us” and make recommendations based on our known taste profiles. Look at recommendation filters on Amazon or iTunes. The more they know about our taste, the less of our own precious time has to be invested. The algorithms will become ever more sophisticated and choice will continue to grow exponentially.

    Your fantasy of more “compassionate, generous employers” is naively utopian. Virtual employment, and the ever-job-changing freelance workforce seem much more likely.

    Sorry, I know your article was well intended, but I’m just not onboard with any of this.

  18. Chris - Manager's Sandbox says:

    @prklypr – I think we actually do have some general tendencies, but not the same kind that normally get stereotyped in articles like this. For example, we more heavily utilize technology. Because of technology, we have a tendency to do more work via email, IM and via wikis. I think things like that can be safely stereotyped, but in general, stuff like “we’re not as involved as parents…” there’s no basis for that.

    I also wrote an article on my blog about how Gen Y can influence the workplace. It focuses less on stereotypes, though, and more on what I think are more progressive ways of working: http://managerssandbox.com/oh-great-another-gen-y-article/

    - Chris

  19. Mark W. says:

    “So the generation after Gen Y will rebel against customization. The next generation will focus on simplicity and the simplicity will express itself in technology. People will use the same things, they will use them in largely the same ways, and there will be a common vernacular about technology tools that we are missing in today’s culture.”

    I’m hoping your crystal ball on this call is spot on. I believe the most beautiful technical tools embrace simplicity by performing their intended purpose in the most efficient and trouble-free manner possible. A technological tool that can perform with minimal setup and maintenance will hopefully become more of a norm rather than an exception. It seems to me that the more unnecessarily complex gadget receives more fanfare and attention than it deserves compared to a similar and more simple gadget that is equal to a given task. I have technical books on computers and software that rival unabridged dictionaries. I have gadgets that I don’t use on a continual basis so I have to get out the instruction manual to have it perform a certain function. Hopefully future gadgets will come with a more intuitive and higher level interface so I can ditch those manuals and use the gadget for it’s intended purpose in a much shorter period of time. I am looking forward to the day when all of us can embrace simplicity and I hope I live to see that day.

  20. jenX67 says:

    You forgot one major, huge glaring thing, Penelope. Generation Y will in most cases report to Generation X, and this and this alone ensures a better work life for them than we have had. They will have outwardly focused bosses who care about their work/life balance; who will strive to give them flexibility. Who will let them bring their kids to work when a record ice storm closes down all the schools and every other business in town. They will find innovative ways to keep THE staff (never “THEIR” staff — gosh! How I hated that!) happy, b/c happy workers, they know, produce more and are more creative.

    Generation X will worry to a fault that Generation Y is gets the credit they deserve. Generation X will transform that helicopter edge into mentoring. The apathy of Gen X will be replaced by rational discussion with Gen Y. Gen X will seek more meaningful, authentic collaboration with Gen Y. They know by experience how much they had to offer and how much was dismissed. It’s hard to say how many creative ideas corporate America, but even more so, GOVERNMENT, suffered the loss of, because Generation X was so successfully silenced.

    Generation X will not inflict upon Generation Y what we have had to endure. Generation Y will never have to support our egoes. On the contrary, Gen X will seek to equip the workforce with all the tools they need, and trust that Gen Y will surpass them in some areas. Gen X will be OK with that, because this great generation does not worry about becoming irrelevant. The absence of recognition sent us on a search for real meaning, and we found it in our families. We’ll gladly turn the reigns over to Gen Y before the sun has completely set. As Howe and Strauss have indicated, the high for Generation X is in retirement, and so we won’t be lingering or dying in the chair. Thank God for that.

  21. Chris - Manager's Sandbox says:

    @jenx67 – wow! great, powerful response!

  22. Lane says:

    @jenx67 Brava!

  23. Penelope Trunk says:

    Oh. I love that too, Jenx67. I love the passion and the intelligence. You make me proud to be an Xer :)

    –Penelope

  24. ravi says:

    Mostly circumstantial, if the current gen y was in a world war situation with low technology availability, they would be like the great generation? I agree with Caitlin above that there are too many factors which could turn this upside down. It doesn’t always go up up up .. ask the real estate market

  25. Yu Ming Lui says:

    I have read that Gen-Yers don’t want to be put in a box and these points tend to do that. There are so many different ways to “be”, but perhaps you are right that there is less guilt in whichever path Gen-Yers take because of their deeply ingrained individualism.

  26. Beth C says:

    Now here’s a post the represents why I love your blog. You’re at your best when you hypothesize about the future of work. Very insightful and provacative! Bravo.

    Re: #1: I’m curious to see Gen Y as parents. Not sure I totally agree with you about Gen Y as hands off parents. You said they won’t worry as much about missing the school play. I totally agree but not because they don’t care. I would it’s more about Gen Y’s focus on authentic relationships. I would expect my Gen Y brethern to see showing love and support for your children as something that has to occur on a daily basis– not anchored event/milestones like plays. When did parental attendance to event become a symbol of whether or not you love your children? It seems like face time over real interaction and we already know how Gen Y feels about the see-and-be-seen culture in the workplace.

    To jenx67: Well articulated post. Your third point–about Gen X not inflicting Yers through what they have been through–definitely does not seems to be playing out in the workplace to date. On a daily basis, I have had to support the egos of X-ers, ensuring that they are important and wise…yadda yadda. The majority of successful Gen X-er has rising to the top of their peer group due to their political savvy not the competence of their work. They Yers notice and are learning to “stroke” the Xers the same way–particularly when our work is better and we don’t want the X-ers to feel like their toes are being stepped on. So franky, it’s pretty laughable that Gen X will be cool the Gen Y “surpassing them in some areas”. I’ll concede you that a handful of the really confident, competent X-ers–the hi pos if you will–may support this, but they’re in the minority.
    I understand that the Xers have had to learn to navigate the politics to be successful in a Boomer work world; however, the idea that after years and years of practicing work politics that the Gen X-ers haven’t internalized is a hard sell…particularly to me who has had my fill of sycophantic X-er project managers who just nod to the parter while I get to do all the work and manage them both.

  27. Lars says:

    Penelope,

    There are 1.3 billion persons under 25 in the world today. Recent Noble Peace Prize winner Matti Ahtisaari recently stated that there is an employment need for about 300 million of these. Change is coming, maybe in 10 years time we won’t even have a need for middle management (and in all honestly, who really needs middle management today?)

  28. Allison Cheston says:

    Penelope, I love your blog and I also loved seeing you speak a couple of weeks back at the Future of Business conference.

    It seems to me we have two competing forces at work here: the pending talent shortage as 80 million Boomers retire and there are only 40 million Gen Xers to replace them, and the fact that businesses are imploding every day and unemployment is rising.

    So the question is: How will Gen Y cope with these new realities? Having been raised by helicopter parents, they trend to spoiled. Will employers have the patience to deal with them? Will they hire and keep them? I would be curious to have your take on this.

  29. Darren says:

    Another hoorah for jenX67′s comment. It’s what I was thinking, but she said it perfectly. If GenY wants to work long hours, it’s their choice…but most of us GenX bosses certainly won’t make them.

  30. prklypr says:

    x y z – it’s all so confusing! Back in the day, when we talked about x’s and y’s, we were referring to chromosomes :)

  31. Ardith says:

    It’s amazing how relatively insightful one group of people can be when they talk amongst themselves.

  32. jenX67 says:

    Thanks to all for the feedback on my comment. I didn't expect that so it was a nice surprise. To Gen Y posting the comment about the crummy Gen Xers – that is unfortunate. I have seen examples of this, but I don’t think it is the collective persona of Generation X. I hope you can move on from that place sooner than later because surrendering your gifts and talents for someone’s fragile ego can be an enormous setback, emotionally and professionally. The world has changed and the country we live can't afford to replace brilliant ideas with some individual’s lust for face time. Thanks, again, Penelope, for providing a forum for this dialogue.

  33. Danny says:

    HA!!!!! “Middle management will work longer hours?” You are talking about the same Gen Y’rs that we work with today right? Longer hours, sorry, I can’t stop laughing. The day these kids stay after work an extra 30 seconds beyond their 8 hours, I will be shocked. That’s not a bad thing, they are sharp kids and know how to get their job done before quiting time.

    Using what I have learnded from this Blog site and real live experience with employing them, I would say they will probably automate everything and be out of the office by 2:00pm every afternoon.

  34. J says:

    @Danny:

    We may be leaving our 9-5 jobs after our 8 hours, but we’re going home to work on the projects we love that will become our “real” jobs one day.

    I work ’til midnight most days, and most weekends, but I’m only in the office as much as I’m needed. We have a lot going on that our bosses don’t realize. It’s like a teenager hiding bad behavior from our parents. We tell you want we want you to know. :)

  35. Dianna says:

    Penelope, I enjoy reading your blog. I am 47, that makes me technically a tail endbaby boomer and not a GenX but I fail to identify with either stereo type.

    I really don’t believe the generations are very different. When I was in my 20s, I was a lot like you, too smart, too confident and too ambitious for many of those around me. I changed jobs because of boredom and the feeling of being held down and was never satisfied until I started my own business.

    I do agree that demographically, there is going to be a labor shortage and that will be an opportunity for working people to negotiate better terms. The problem is when you factor in India, China and other developing countries. These countries are learning quickly and have huge populations (and are younger). They are spending money educating their best and brightest (often here in the US).

    Will the US and other G8 countries maintain their leads? Is it fair to the rest of the world? Is it fair that some have billions more than they could spend in their lifetime while others go to bed hungry? Globalization is the idea of bringing up the bottom but so far, it has brought down the middle class and elevated the haves into have mores.

    Sorry, off on a tangent. Penelope, I wanted to say that I enjoy your candor and your uncensored ambitiousness. I am glad that it has rewarded you so well. I realized part of it is your Jewish background, I have always admired my Jewish women friends who are not afraid to speak their minds. I was raised Catholic and was definitely shushed more than I was encouraged.

  36. prklypr says:

    @dianna – I’m sorry, but being Jewish does not automatically give you “candor and uncensored ambitiousness.” Penelope is her own person, it has nothing to do with her religion. Although I’m certain you meant no harm, I suggest you re-read your comments before posting. I for one resent the unspoken implications.

  37. tom says:

    The Wall St. Journal ran a great article the other day about learning to manage Y-ers. Coaching kids on their job search, a woman told them to guess how potential employers see them. She gave them a hint: The word she had in mind started with “E.”

    “Excellent!” “Enthusiastic!” they guessed.

    The correct answer was, “Entitled.”

  38. Mark F. says:

    Penelope,
    Trends and research don’t always lead to predictable outcomes. Here’s some food for thought: First the coming shortage of workers 10 yrs down stream is overblown, I work for a global manufacturer that has moved labor first to mexico, currently to Asia…can South America or Africa be next? Maybe…Large companies need to find cheap and qualified labor (two don’t always go hand in hand)there are alot of untapped resources of this left in the world. We are a knowledge economy…once the Car industry officially explodes (maybe within the next 12 months0…the last remnants of industrialization in the US will be gone….We will be sitting with alot of baby boomers and some x’ers that will be lost in what to do next. Gen-Y will be left with the responsibility of fixing or changing the work landscape…they have the brains…not sure about the fortitude, One thing is for certain they (gen Y) will be tasked with changing society in part through work and through government reform. Kind of like taking care of your parents after they retire…I hope they succeed!

  39. Mark W. says:

    I re-read this post and there are a few things I would like to comment on. I think the last two paragraphs were a quick wrap-up that left open more questions rather than summarize the way work will change when gen y is in charge. There is a brief mention of gen y from a global perspective compared to the U.S. but the effect on the U.S. and global marketplaces/economies are not discussed. The New York Times article cited in the last paragraph was published 8/22/2001 which is before 9/11 and it cites 1999 Bureau of Labor Statistics data. The conclusions from this data may still be valid but more current data must be available and should be used. Also I really don’t know what you mean by “national barriers” that you refer to in the last paragraph. The bottom line is I felt the last two paragraphs contained many sweeping ideas that should have been more fully explored and developed into solid conclusions to substantiate the 3 ways work will change.

  40. Wally Bock says:

    Interesting post, but let me challenge two things.

    First, the changing workplace. The opportunity is there and the generational characteristics are there to begin a major transformation of the workplace. What you describe would be just settling.

    As for Europe and the lure of its opportunities, that’s great for the Gen Yers you write for who have an education. There’s not much across the pond if all you have is a high school diploma. There’s even less if you’re part of the quarter of the generation that dropped out of high school.

    But as long as you’re thinking Europe, why not thing South America or Asia. That’s where the real action is likely to be.

  41. Chris - Manager's Sandbox says:

    @prklypr – and that’s exactly why I hate most Gen Y articles… they’re nothing but a steaming pile of stereotypical bullshit.

  42. prklypr says:

    Chris, any post that generalizes an entire generation is bound to include some bullshit. But the comments {from all perspectives} are what really make this post worth reading – we don’t know if a commenter is 22 or 62, so we read comments without age or generational bias.

  43. Chris - Manager's Sandbox says:

    @prklypr – I was referring to the Wall St. Journal article more than this one, or any of the commentors who have posted here.

  44. bristlecone says:

    #1: I have not been impressed with Gen Y’s work ethic. I doubt the same people who cannot miss a party will miss a kid’s play

    #3: Employers will NEVER look after the best interests of the employees. There are simply too many orthogonal interests. What you will see is individual managers looking after the best interests of their employees, but that happens today with good managers of any generation.

    Penelope, it’s naivete like this that makes me question the value of your blog.

  45. michelle woo says:

    I’m a Gen Yer who lives at home with the parents. I oftentimes work until 7 or 8 p.m., which seems like no big deal to our generation (I have friends who work ’til midnight and don’t complain), but my mother always calls my cell at 7 p.m. and makes it seem like I’m trapped in a slave labor camp. She’s outraged that I have to stay past 5 p.m. and it’s kind of annoying.

  46. jenX67 says:

    I wanted to leave a link to a blog post over on the blog Women and Foreign Affairs. It’s called Generation X Strikes Back. This is an unbelievably scathing and intelligent post.

    http://women.foreignpolicyblogs.com/2008/10/27/generation-x-strikes-back

  47. KateNonymous says:

    I used to work until all hours as well. I wonder if that isn’t a life-stage, too. I think there are points early on where you feel you have to work that late to prove something, and then later on when you’re high enough up the ladder to have so many meetings that you have to work late to actually work.

    But for quite some time now, I’ve recognized that working late often doesn’t make that much of a difference. I’m efficient, so I get my work done during regular hours. And when there is a bona fide reason to work late, I do so. But there’s no real reason to live my entire life that way.

    @jenX67, thanks for the link to that post. I’ve added that to my blog over at http://www.genxconnect.com

  48. finance girl says:

    My friend who co-founded one of the hottest companies (right now) in Seattle can’t stand the Gen – Yers.

    He has been generally unimpressed with their sense of entitlement and lack of appreciation when they are rewarded with a promotion and/or raise.

    He hires them only as a last resort.

    He, of course, would never say such a thing to most people, but we have been friends for over 15 years and there it is.

    People who have ambition combined with the right skills AND lack of a sense of self-entitlement are the ones that will be most in demand, regardless of their age.

  49. Larissa says:

    JenX67, thanks for linking to my /Women in For Pol/ post via Penelope’s blog. I have to admit I already made a pitstop here back in January, so you can see some continuity in what I’m saying.

    http://blog.penelopetrunk.com/2007/11/06/twentysomething-the-rising-rift-between-gen-x-and-gen-y/#comment-134835

  50. Ellen Hart says:

    Usually, you and I are on the same page but I’m not sure I agree with this list. I just don’t see the big push for simple technology. On some levels, and in some venues.. yes. But, for the most part, I think entry level workers will be expected to manage more complex technology. The bar will be raised.

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