I’m not a big fan of all this trash talk about Generation Y… but that’s mostly because I’m often lumped into it (yes, even at 30). Who wants to be considered an arrogant, brash, disrespectful, insecure, entitled narcissist? Not I! And who wants to be thought of this way just because you’re dead-set on achieving your ideal life? Again, not I!
But really, as someone sometimes considered on the older end of this new and improved “Me Generation,” I’ve had the fortunate – and unfortunate – experience of working with quite a few young 20-somethings. My overall, somewhat neutral, take on this group is that they’re big thinkers, dreamers and doers who want more money, meaning and fulfillment in life – totally harmless. BUT unfortunately, there are a few really bad eggs out there giving Gen Y a terrible rep as they step on people’s toes and turn people off on their way to “having it all.”
I’ve come across one person in particular who defined this so-called Entitlement Generation. In the beginning, the young 20-something came across as inquisitive, interested and eager-to-please but once the honeymoon period wore off (and believe me, it was short-lived!), this individual became self-righteous, difficult to work with, slightly manipulative and rude. The biggest obstacle was getting this person to understand how things worked around the company; their ideas may be fantastic but there’s just a certain way or procedure to follow in order to get things done. Not everything in life – no matter how wonderful or innovative – is immediate.
This is a common theme in life, from increasing sales or approving a business deal to finding a job or meeting The One. Things take time – and often longer than we’d like – so you just have to wait. If there’s one thing we can learn from the generations before us – the generations who grew up without internet or cell phones or even affordable cars – it’s patience. Learn how things are done before trying to change it all. Understand and get to know the people you should speak to first before angering your coworkers or supervisor by running straight to the CEO. And above all, don’t become frustrated or give up too quickly when your efforts aren’t immediately fully embraced – sometimes you just need to give people and situations time to play out, adjust, mature and grow before making your next move.