Yeah, yeah, I’ve heard the complaints and for the most part, I don’t agree.
I like working with people younger than me; they make me better at my job, more open to new ideas. Perhaps I’ve just been blessed, but the “kids” I work with are smart, funny, unafraid and very generous with their knowledge.
Sure, they don’t hesitate to text you at odd hours and have very blurred boundaries when it comes to work and personal lives. Let’s face it these are people who have always had the world on demand in their pockets. It’d be pretty strange if they didn’t see life and work in a different light to anyone who knows what a typewriter is or found it exciting to use a fax machine for the first time!
I love how secure and confident they are in themselves. While older workers tend to hold on to jobs longer*, younger workers aren’t afraid to change not only jobs, but entire careers and industries to find what they really want to do.
People my age and older can be more prone to keeping information and skills to themselves. Having started work in the 1980s recession and worked through every downturn since. I understand how the pressure to hold on to a job can lead to someone to resist sharing knowledge to remain relevant. However, my younger colleagues just don’t have this fear. I learn so much from them all the time.
Younger staff don’t have the same geographic barriers. They see no reason why they can’t get their work done from anywhere in the world at any time. This is an amazingly freeing way to see life. Some of my colleagues grumble about this and see it as being irresponsible or not committed. I like the fact that someone has the tools to be free to pursue their dreams regardless of where they might be located. I plan to use this lesson in a few years when I decide to travel almost fulltime as well as maintain a career.
Just like every generation before them, Gen Y just want to be happy and they don’t hesitate to change their circumstances to achieve this. So, instead of berating them for their outlook on life, I think we can learn a lot from them, both personally and professionally. I know I do.
* I’m not knocking this, experience and continuity is vital for companies. I just think it’s important to remember that it’s not always good for the people providing it if they are unhappy or feeling trapped.