On Being Gen Y

Generation bashing is commonplace these days. With the rise of social media, it’s no longer something that happens just in conversation, it’s now plastered all over the internet. Here’s a post I saw on Facebook recently:
You’ll see the above graphic points to ‘so called’ pro’s and con’s of each generation. The comments on this post were almost more interesting than the post itself. I followed the post and then sat back and watched while the negative comments on Gen Y or ‘Millennials’ followed.
I’m ashamed to say that I didn’t actually know what the dates were that defined particular generations, so just for your reference (and mine), I have included them below:

  • Baby Boomers 1: Born between 1946 – 1954
  • Baby Boomers 2: Born between 1955 – 1965
  • Generation X: Born between 1966 – 1976
  • Generation Y: 1977 – 1994
  • Generation Z: 1995 – 2012

If you’ve done your math right, you’ll see that we’ve now got five of these defined generations in our workforce. It’s great to see this diversity factor. It’s awesome to see this aspect of diversity covered in the workplace with all five generations contributing.
There hasn’t been a time where I have generalised other generations (as I mentioned I wasn’t overly familiar with the dates that defined the generations). I don’t agree with generalising an entire group of people just because they were born at a certain point of time. I also don’t read my monthly horoscope.
As a recruiter, I see generation bashing as discriminatory and I feel entitled (yes, a ‘so called’ Gen Y trait) to remain label – free. ‘Lazy’ isn’t a word that resonates with me either. In fact, I often get told to slow down. When I left school at 16 I didn’t feel entitled at all, I felt a bit lost. But I knew that I wanted to dive straight into the workforce and so that’s what I did.
I really love working, in fact, on multiple occasions I’ve worked two jobs at once, clocking up 60 hour weeks. My father is a work horse and growing up with an entrepreneur in our household set me in good stead for my future, thanks baby boomer generation! I feel ‘privileged’ to be brought into the world at a time where technology is really taking off – I love tinkering with all the latest gadgets and software. But I also feel thankful that I’ve been influenced by the generations before me, my ‘Gen Y’ peers and of course ‘Generation Z’ (Have you heard of Yik Yak?!). I’m one person in a whole generation and everybody is different and has their own story – so how can we generalise?
I can recall a recent occasion when I have sat at a round-table event, fascinated by the generation bashing that was taking place. On a quick scan of the room, I noted I was probably one of two Gen Y’ers in the group (maybe not, I’m terrible at picking ages), but I also couldn’t squeeze a word out of my usually outspoken mouth to defend my generation.
It’s interesting to see the stereotyping take place, particularly when you wouldn’t generalise on a whole race of people would you? Generation bashing needs to stop – we shouldn’t be judging people based on the year they were born.
So how about this?
Let’s embrace the diversity in the workforce today and value all of those awesome traits and life experiences that come from all generations, because we can all learn something from each other. I’ll leave you with this quote I love:

“Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don’t” – Bill Nye


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