Trick or Treat: Working with Gen Y

by Kay Lynn

Older people have said that the younger generations have it too easy, don’t have a good work ethic and won’t do nearly as good as job as they did.  They’re partially right.

Each generation has had it easier but that’s mainly due to advancing technology.  My son, the kid who created his own website at age 12, was befuddled by a rotary dial telephone.

Trick-or-treat 'Boo Bag' Tags

Gen Y and Baby Boomers

In addition to being called millennials, Gen Yers are also known as Echo Boomers for a couple of reasons.  The obvious reason is that most people in this age group are children of baby boomers.  Because of that, the size of the generation is quite large and an “echo” of the boomer generation.

People in Gen Y have been raised by parents who were much more involved in their lives than previous generations.  Studies have shown that 90% say they are very close to their parents.  I can tell you they are much more comfortable spending time with my generation than I ever was with my parents’.

Trick or Treat?

Gen Yers are becoming entrenched in the workplace and sometimes even run the  businesses.  Baby boomers have to not only work with but sometimes report to younger management.

Is it a trick working with much younger people; sometimes around the age of your own kids?  It is true that many of the people we meet in daily life are getting younger as boomers and their parents retire.

At work I’ve joined the club of the top 10 oldest now that those older than me are retiring.  Of all the people I do personal business with only my dentist is older than me and I think retirement is on his mind.

It’s a Treat

Working with young people has been energizing, enlightening and fun.  Not to say there aren’t moments of frustration when your experience is ignored (why does everyone have to learn certain lessons the hard way?).  Generation Y has plenty of  bright, hard-working and innovative people.

Overall, I’ve found them happy to work side by side with boomers and we learn from each other.  They’ve given me confidence in the future of this country.  I can’t wait to see the results when they’re running things.  What’s your experience with Gen Y?



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Money Beagle October 31, 2011 at 6:51 am

My two year old son has a couple of toy phones. One is a toy cell phone which he ‘gets’ because he sees us talking on ours. The other is a toy ‘rotary’ phone. It’s hilarious to watch him, because he uses the handset like a regular phone, but he can’t figure out what the base is for, and he gets annoyed at having to carry it around while ‘on the phone’!

Kay Lynn October 31, 2011 at 8:28 pm

I’m surprised they still have toy rotary phones! You can’t blame your son; he has no frame of reference for that piece of equipment.

Sarah October 31, 2011 at 8:05 am

I do not have to work with Gen Y on a daily basis…but I find them more open minded and they know a heck of alot more about technology than I do. lol

Kay Lynn October 31, 2011 at 8:30 pm

Fortunately, I’m not too bad off in the technology department (I’m a geek working at a tech company), but I agree that Gen Y is open minded in general. One difference is that baby boomers seem to like paper more. I print a lot more than my younger co-workers.

krantcents October 31, 2011 at 8:15 am

I try not to think about categories of people because everyone is younger than me. That includes my doctor, dentist and most everybody else. I always relate better to younger people.

Kay Lynn October 31, 2011 at 8:31 pm

Krantcents, I agree there’s no point dwelling on the age groups. My hope was to convey my admiration for the generations after us.

Hunter @ Financially Consumed October 31, 2011 at 8:27 am

I like working with people of just about any age. I got to meet a whole bunch of GenY’s at FINCON and was very impressed by what they are doing with their online businesses. Also, I am yet to have a negative flakey experience in a business relationship with a Gen Yer.

Kay Lynn October 31, 2011 at 8:33 pm

Hunter, there were a lot of them there! I was so impressed with the entrepreneurship of the group.

Mari October 31, 2011 at 10:39 am

I’m a Gen Xer, not a boomer. I’d say that one of the biggest differences between Gen X and Gen Y is the way we view privacy. Gen X understands and has the same comfort level with technology as Gen Y, but has less of a need to broadcast every facet of life. For example, I have younger cousins and family members who use myspace and facebook to post personal (and sometimes compromising, IMO) pics and video of themselves; Seemingly unaware that saying and posting content like that may come back and haunt them later. Though I use the same social media, I’d never reveal my personal life with that level of detail.

Kay Lynn October 31, 2011 at 8:38 pm

Mari, your comment reminds me of post a week ago on my father-in-law nearly falling for a scam. His info was found on facebook we think. Seniors don’t protect their info because they don’t know and younger people because they don’t think.

YFS October 31, 2011 at 5:52 pm

As a general Y person I think we are amazing and creative. I would say Gen X is different from Gen Y and Gen Z in loyalty to their employer/companies. I know Gen X’ers who wouldn’t leave their companies or trusted corporations for any reasons. I on the other hand want the best value for my time at all costs.

Kay Lynn October 31, 2011 at 8:40 pm

YFS, your description of Gen X sounds like baby boomers as well. Kudos to Gen Y who take the risk to work for themselves.

Jackie October 31, 2011 at 6:56 pm

I love that your son was befuddled by a rotary dial. When my son was little he came to me once and told me the phone was making a strange noise. It turned out to be a busy signal.

I can never keep the generations straight, so couldn’t tell you really what it’s like to work with one or another. I guess I work with a range of ages anyway, so it’s all the same to me 🙂

Kay Lynn October 31, 2011 at 8:44 pm

Jackie, there are a lot of things we grew up with our kids have never really seen (percolator coffepot?). My grandson is a Wii aficionado at age 2.

Brittany November 2, 2011 at 9:27 am

I find that Generation Y’s are really needy for praise- they constantly want to be told they are doing a good job. I wonder if it stems from getting trophies just for showing up?

J.B @ My University Money November 5, 2011 at 4:00 pm

Simply put…They don’t make them like they used too…. And I’m that generation Y

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