By: Gary K. Pino, FMP Being a proud Baby Boomer of five (5) millennial children (i.e., those born between 1982 and 1999), you would have thought that I would have learned to have accepted this group of Generation Y’ers sooner rather than later. It wasn’t until I read a very interesting newspaper article from the Washington Post, entitled “How those ‘spoiled’ Millennials will make the workplace better for everyone,” written by Emily Matchar, which knocked me into the here and now way of thinking. At first, I thought that it was all of the other generational groupings (i.e., the “other than Millennials”) that were the innovators, creators and visionaries. But after reading Ms. Matchar’s words of wisdom, I quickly had an eye opening experience and an Ah-ha moment. She clearly brought out that it’s the Generation Y’ers that are engineering corporate cultural change and paradigm shifts to “their” way of thinking. In other words, corporate America appears to be catering to the wants, needs and desires of this younger and more openly vocal group, thus benefiting all of us in their wake. According to Ms. Matchar’s article, she seems to imply that many of the Millennials would resort to or settle for unemployment “opportunities” instead of working at a job that they hated or considered dead-end. If I was a betting man, I would venture to guess that the aforementioned philosophy is completely contrary to the other generational (older) groups’ practice or way of thinking. In fact, I have read that older generations either accept their roles & jobs as they are, “suck it up” or do what they have to do in order to maintain their employment status in good standing … especially in this recessional “grim” economy! I actually tested Ms. Matchar’s implication on my own millennial professional son, who is 26, and he totally agreed with her. Ms. Matchar’s article clearly brings out that Generation Y’ers need, want and desire the following three (3) things to be engaged and fulfilled at work:
- FLEXIBILITY- Setting their own hours; to come and go as they please, provided the productivity & work gets accomplished … being allowed “ME TIME” while at work
- AUTONOMY– There’s an intense desire to lead and independently direct their own way and life.
- RESPECT- By setting demands for ‘family-friendly’ policies; There’s also an expectation of being heard and listened to when they have an idea, even when they are the youngest person in the room.
These characteristics enable all workers to meet their expectations, and while Flexibility, Autonomy and Respect are pretty much needs, wants and desires of all workers, it seems that the Millennials are openly and willingly more vocal about demanding what they want in the workplace. In summary, I took away the following from this article: Millennials refuse to let work get in the way of their lives; they are mastering skills that they feel are important; and as a result, their work output matters to the Company and Society. So, the moral of Ms. Matchar’s article is, if a company can accept and get its arms around these factors, then everyone (i.e., Baby Boomers, Generation X’ers, Generation Y’ers / Millennials, Generation Z’ers, the Company, Society etc., etc.), will be better off ~ successfully, financially and worldly. “Gen Y! Be entitled! Demand what you want. Because we want it, too.” Emily Matchar is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in a number of publications.