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Educating your employer.

How to manage Gen Y.

     
4:04 pm on Aug 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Those of us in our 20's, who have to work for someone probably know what I mean. We're different than our older coworkers, we need to be managed differently.

We grew up with technology, and information at our fingertips. We have more knowledge than any generation before us.

We grew up expressing our opinions and point of view. We expect to be heard, and our thoughts considered, even if not acted upon.

We grew up with a sense of success. A knowledge that we can be whatever we want, with hard work and determination. That we shouldn't settle.

Recent events like Columbine and 9/11 made us realize life is short, more so then any threats in the past (cold war, etc) as these hit home. Because of this, we don't put work ahead of friends and family.

We multi-task. Just because we appear distracted by music, and other stimuli, doesn't mean we aren't still working efficiently and effectively. This is how we grew up.

We know our abilities and limits, and how we work best. We don't work well chained to a desk 9-5. We need freedom.

How do you explain to an employer that his workforce (all 20 somethings) that there management style is costing them employees. They aren't leaving because they are "young and immature" but that they are quiting and seeking employment elsewhere because of you. Because you don't challenge them with work that enables them to learn. That watching the clock like a hawk discourages them and ultimately decreases there productivity. That stifling their ideas and creativity destroys their moral.

As you might have guessed. I'm in that situation now... My boss (company owner), comes from a communist country. He feels he gives his employees a lot. When in reality, he gives the minimum the laws allow. You work 9-5:30, with two 15 minute breaks (which he threatens to take away if you happen to take 16 minutes, literally!) You get 30 minutes of unpaid lunch, and it's near impossible to actually go out if you want to run an errand or meet someone. It's so quiet it's like a church! Talking to coworkers while working is discouraged. All his employees are in their 20s. We have to arrange and pay for our own coffee service, and he insists the coffee maker be unplugged evenings and weekends, so when you get in on Monday, it's an hour wait for coffee....just what you want on a Monday morning. If you go above and beyond and make a project better (because you were given no scope in the first place) you are called into the office and lectured. Don't even think about calling in sick unless you're dead...while we get a mind blowing 4 days a year, when you try to use one, you end up feeling guilty and can end up coming into work. Miss your normal break time because you're working, and don't even think about taking it later...no way. You end up watching the clock all day and killing your train of thought just so you get your break, which ultimately, slows down your work. And don't even think about telling your boss he's wrong...even if it's an absolute and you prove it...it takes an hour to dig your way out of the hole, and you end up having to do it his way anyhow, only for it to fail, and THEN you get the blame when it fails...after all, you worked on it.

I could rant for hours...

Would you believe this is an IT company?!?!

Is this a total lost cause? Or is there a way to open this employers eyes to reality. That giving us the bare minimum only ensures we give the bare minimum in return?

4:19 pm on Aug 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Yep, this is a lost cause. With as inflexible as your boss appears to be in every aspect of the business of managing people I'd doubt if he'd ever change. Sounds like time to get the resume together and find a better environment.
4:29 pm on Aug 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Welcome to the world of employment. You will find a variety of management styles (almost as many as there are companies), and you'll probably find quite a few that don't suit you.

Unfortunately, managing corporate culture usually has the least emphasis in business schools and entreprenurial workshops. (And when you add the extra dimension of different national cultures, you're talking about opening multiple cans of worms or herding multiple groups of cats- take whichever analogy you prefer.) Yet it can be one of the most important aspects of whether a business will succeed or die a horrible death.

It's unlikely that your manager is going to change much (even less likely than you or your co-workers changing your styles). It's unfortunate for him, because he is going to continually lose people because of his management style. He really needs to communicate to prospective employees what the work environment will be like- he'll be able to save lots on turnover costs. Realistically, his best bet is probably to hire recent immigrants from his country (or outsource from there), as there would be less likelihood of culture clash.

For you (and your co-workers), there are two options: 1) accept your situation, or 2) change your situation. As I mentioned, it's highly unlikely that you are going to change your boss, so changing your job probably has a better chance of working.

That said, you do have some good comments about managing Y-gens. However, you also need to understand that the world doesn't revolve around you. (Yes, I know it's shocking. But every generation has to eventually learn that. :) )

And it may surprise you to learn that every business is not a welfare organization whose sole purpose is to provide you with a paycheck. The purpose of the business is to make money, and your purpose in working there is to help it make money. If you are not contibuting more to the bottom line than you are costing the company, then you have no business being there.

So the key is to find a company that you can contrbute to and is willing to reward those contributions. You may very well be able to contribute more to the company by workign flexible hours, but many companies do not know how to manage that type of schedule and will decide that the "cost" is too much for them. But they are certainly other companies that do manage that well.

Don't expect that you are going to find your perfect job in your 20s. Yes, a few people do. But most people don't. Many people don't find their perfect job until they are in their 40s, and some never find their perfect job.

[edited by: LifeinAsia at 4:30 pm (utc) on Aug. 21, 2007]

4:40 pm on Aug 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

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While normally I'd recommend a quiet word with your boss, explain all these things, and maybe getting him to run an anonymous survey in the office to see if everyone feels the same.

But if your boss is from a communist country, and he thinks a 15 minute non-flexible break is generous, then he probably sees a high staff turnover as a way of life.

He has a confrontational, strict way of running things, for the possibility of anything changing you need to do it his way.

Write a letter to him explaining your issues, much the same as you have here, but make sure you include EVERYTHING. Word it politely. Make a list of reasonable recommendations and changes, NOT a list of demands. Turning the coffee maker off out-of-hours is not an unreasonable thing to ask, after all we're trying to save the environment aren't we? Buy a thermos for the mornings!

But have a backup in place, you need to give him an ultimatum, things need to improve or you (and preferably get the support of a few others) will leave. Make sure you have a plan just incase he does refuse.

Whatever happens you can't stay there, the mere thought of your office depresses me.

5:28 pm on Aug 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

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<chuckle>
Kids these days... Kids of the last generation... Kids of my generation... Kids of our parents' generation... Kids of.....
</chuckle>

I used to "complain" like this, then I grew up. Didn't believe my father when he said I was history repeating. I'll wager he didn't believe my grandparents.

You don't have more knowledge (than the rest of us); you do have a larger access to information than the previous generation. As it has been since - oh, I don't know - Gutenberg?

> We grew up expressing our opinions and point of view. We expect to be heard, and our thoughts considered, even if not acted upon.

Self-expression - what a queer Twenty-First Century thought! ;)

Oh, for the daze of my arrogant youth, when the Universe did revolve around me!

:)

5:35 pm on Aug 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

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You don't have more knowledge (than the rest of us); you do have a larger access to information than the previous generation. As it has been since - oh, I don't know - Gutenberg?

I'd say that currently all generations pretty much have access to the same amount of information, but each younger generation has more experience with better tools to access that information.

And balam didn't quite point it out, but there is a HUGE difference between knowledge and information.

5:39 pm on Aug 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

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It's also worth noting that knowledge is NOT related to intelligence.
5:39 pm on Aug 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Do what I done, set up your own limited company and go it alone! I get to have lunch when I want, breaks when I want and I even sometimes work! :)

... its a hard life being a young yin these days ...

5:45 pm on Aug 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Yeah, I went the Limited way. It's not always like that though is it? When you're starting up (which can take 4 or 5 years) you can't afford to turn work away.

It's not unusual to work a 38 hour day. Yes I know what I just said!

5:47 pm on Aug 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Is Gibble old enough to remember the mantra, "Don't trust anyone over 30?" That's three generations old now. :)

"Knowledge!= Information!= Intelligence," is an equation learned after 30, but don't trust me on that!

6:02 pm on Aug 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

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... its a hard life being a young yin these days ...

Better than being an old yang.

6:39 pm on Aug 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

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We multi-task. Just because we appear distracted by music, and other stimuli, doesn't mean we aren't still working efficiently and effectively. This is how we grew up.

Countless studies have shown that this is inefficient. Perhaps these studies are some sort of conspiracy among "old people" who don't use iPods. But most likely there is some validity to those studies.

...two 15 minute breaks ...30 minutes of unpaid lunch...

That's fairly standard. But if you work hard and make your way up the ladder, this will go away and believe it or not, when you're not subject to that schedule you probably won't care about this issue any longer. I know I don't care about it.

It's so quiet it's like a church! Talking to coworkers while working is discouraged.

I *wish* it was like that in my office. It's very difficult to concentrate on code when someone is having a conversation right next to you. If you want to socialize, use IM. It doesn't disturb people who actually want to work.

We have to arrange and pay for our own coffee service, and he insists the coffee maker be unplugged evenings and weekends, so when you get in on Monday, it's an hour wait for coffee

Gasp! Now THAT is downright Un-American! But then you did say he's from a communist country, so I guess he doesn't understand. You have to pay for your coffee?!?!? This is one issue where I agree with you. OMG, does he charge for parking, too?

6:55 pm on Aug 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Time to refresh the ole resume - you are not going to change your boss.
7:13 pm on Aug 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Lost cause....

Even the old people here think so - and they think they're always right :o

7:28 pm on Aug 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

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If you really don't think we have more knowledge than the generations before us...well, that's just ignorant.

We're financially smart.
We saw the financial insecurity of past generations, we saw what happened when the dot com bubble burst, and about half of the people in their 20s are already saving for their retirement (according to a survey by Purchase, N.Y.-based Diversified Investment Advisors).

We embrace change.
We aren't as likely to be blindly loyal to our employer, because we've seen what happened to Enron and Arthur Anderson and aren't going to get burned like that.

We want flexibility.
We don't want to be at work our entire life, we want to spend time with family and friends and personal growth while we're young, not when we cant' enjoy it. Like I mentioned, the threats we face have been close to home, 9/11 for example. Life is too short to spend it all working. Why commute to the office if I don't need to put in face time with anyone? Why not just work from home...we grew up on this technology, let us use it.

We expect a level of trust from our employers. If I can't be trusted to work on my own schedule, from where I want, I shouldn't be working, I won't be employed. That was college/university. You aren't supervised, your profs don't care if you show up. All they care is that come the deadline the work is done, and done well. That's how we grew up working. Teach me, give me the work, then let me do it. I don't need to be prodded for 8 hours to do it.

We grew up bombarded by entertainment. We're impatient, BUT we have a drive, we WANT to succeed, we are a generation that thrives on praise and acceptance, and while that can be perceived as insecurity, it's not. We all want to be leaders, to be important, to leave our mark. That's why we seem brash and outspoken. We have a need to succeed.

That hour stuck in a commute...that's an hour I could have spent doing work...making money for myself and my employer. Why waste it?

7:37 pm on Aug 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

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We multi-task. Just because we appear distracted by music, and other stimuli, doesn't mean we aren't still working efficiently and effectively. This is how we grew up.

Countless studies have shown that this is inefficient. Perhaps these studies are some sort of conspiracy among "old people" who don't use iPods. But most likely there is some validity to those studies.

Inefficient how...it all depends how you measure it. In that span, I may have worked less on one task than had I been 100% dedicated to it, but I likely accomplished more cumulatively, than if I had done each task separately one after another.

ps, I do have the resume out. I'm just not jumping ship until the right one comes along. But in the meantime if I could make things better for myself and those around me, that would be great. Heck, I'm the oldest employee here at 26...

7:48 pm on Aug 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

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two 15 minute breaks (which he threatens to take away

By the way, you may want to check with your local labor board- this might actually be a violation of the law.

If you really don't think we have more knowledge than the generations before us...well, that's just ignorant.

No, a statement like that is ignorant and egocentric. However, what I meant when I said something similar is that people of your generation CURRENTLY have no more knowledge than people of older generations. And I will add to it by saying that many people older than you DO have more knowledge than you. That's a simple fact of time and life.

We aren't as likely to be blindly loyal to our employer,

And it's exactly that type of attitude that causes "older" managers to not trust younger workers. Why give lots of bennies if they're just going to jump ship in 6 months when they get an offer for another $1/hour?

We expect a level of trust from our employers.

See the previous comment. Trust is a 2-way street and go together with loyalty. Trust is not given, it is earned.

We all want to be leaders

Not everyone can be a chief- some people have to be indians. Once again, you have to EARN it.

That hour stuck in a commute

Who told you to live an hour away from work? Move or find a job closer to your home. Or take public transportation so you can do work on your wireless device.

Unfortunately, your second post smacks of expecations of entitlement and won't get you any sympathy (or results) from others.

If you want success, you have to EARN it. If you want trust, you have to EARN it. If you want loyalty, you have to EARN it. iPods/PDAs/wireless devices may help you achieve some of those, but they aren't going to give them to you on a silver platter.

8:01 pm on Aug 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

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If you really don't think we have more knowledge than the generations before us...well, that's just ignorant.

You are mistaking access to information with actual knowledge. And by the way, that information is available to everyone, not just twenty-somethings.

...about half of the people in their 20s are already saving for their retirement

That's nothing new. Let me ask you something. Is your retirement in a 401K? If so, then perhaps you didn't learn something from Enron, after all.

We aren't as likely to be blindly loyal to our employer

Again, nothing new. This isn't the 50's.

We expect a level of trust from our employers. If I can't be trusted to work on my own schedule, from where I want...

LOL! You're not blindly loyal to your employer, but you expect them to be blindly loyal to you?!?!?! Again, LOL.

BTW, telecommuting has its drawbacks. I did that for awhile, and felt like I had to accomplish more to prove that I wasn't goofing around. I prefer going to an office, especially since the commute is only about a 10-minute drive.

Inefficient how...it all depends how you measure it.

Do a Google search for: multitask inefficient

I do have the resume out. I'm just not jumping ship until the right one comes along.

Actually, it seems like you're taking care of your problem in the best way possible. I don't know why you want to try to change your employer. It's his business, and he's running it the way he wants it to be run.

8:28 pm on Aug 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

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If you really don't think we have more knowledge than the generations before us...well, that's just ignorant.

As suggested by many in this thread - the best advice, then, is to create your own company while you still know everything. By the time you are 30 - you won't. :-)

Everyone's razzing you because some of us are privy to something you are ignorant of - we are reading your plight and every single one of us has been there already, believe it or not. I knew it all when I was 20 too. :-) You'll look back on this in 20 years and laugh. Well, hopefully.

8:49 pm on Aug 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Sorry, but this comment has just been grating on me:
Like I mentioned, the threats we face have been close to home, 9/11 for example.

What gives you the right to claim 9/11 as your personal tragedy?! Every single person in the workplace today lived through 9/11: Y-gens certainly don't have a monopoly on it.

In fact, how many Y-gens lost sons and daughters in 9/11? A helluva lot fewer than the old folks around here, that's for sure. And your elders lost many co-workers and friends whom they'd known longer than you've even been walking the Earth!

And I won't even mention the other tragedies that a lot of us have lived through that you've only read about in textbooks. That's a sort of "knowledge" that you'll never have, no matter how much information you have access to.

9:01 pm on Aug 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

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By the way, you may want to check with your local labor board- this might actually be a violation of the law.

He has to give us breaks...he doesn't have to pay us for them...but then again, he also tries to get the girl who answers the phones to take it on break with her...uh...no, that's not the definition of a break.

No, a statement like that is ignorant and egocentric. However, what I meant when I said something similar is that people of your generation CURRENTLY have no more knowledge than people of older generations. And I will add to it by saying that many people older than you DO have more knowledge than you. That's a simple fact of time and life.

Let me rephrase, I don't mean we know more than our elders, I mean, we are entering the workforce with more knowledge than past generations entered the workforce with.

And it's exactly that type of attitude that causes "older" managers to not trust younger workers. Why give lots of bennies if they're just going to jump ship in 6 months when they get an offer for another $1/hour?

First, I don't know anyone who would leave for $1/hr. Heck, currently, a $1/hr would be an insult of a raise. Conversely, why should we be loyal, we've seen our parents get burned for that kind of loyalty. If I take that entry level job, in a year, I expect to move up. Most people would prefer to stay with the company, but if the option isn't given, I'm going to go elsewhere.

See the previous comment. Trust is a 2-way street and go together with loyalty. Trust is not given, it is earned.

We're going to have to disagree on this. Personally I think once the job is accepted, and after a few months of initial 'training' (I use the term loosely, as what I mean is learning the processes unique to that company, apart from where you came) a trust should have formed. Obviously you don't hire a person, then leave them on their own ... but eventually you have too let your employees do their job, how they know how. That's why you hired them isn't it? For their expertise?

Not everyone can be a chief- some people have to be indians. Once again, you have to EARN it.

You think? But it's hard to earn that respect when you're immediately discounted because you're young. When I say we want to be leaders, I don't mean management, I don't mean the boss. I mean we want to be dominant at what we do. We don't like to fail. We want to prove ourselves, yet, aren't given the chance. That's why we leave after 6 months...which is something my boss is going to learn really soon if he doesn't change.

Who told you to live an hour away from work?

I didn't when I bought the place...things changed.

Move or find a job closer to your home. Or take public transportation so you can do work on your wireless device.

Could move, but really...I don't mind driving...I just find it pointless at times. When my day is simply going to consist of coding and nothing else...why should it matter where I do it from?

Unfortunately, your second post smacks of expectations of entitlement and won't get you any sympathy (or results) from others.

It wasn't my generation that gave us those expectations. And technically, it makes more sense economically to NOT have me drive into an office. There's nothing I need here. We use no paper. All I have in my desk is some plastic cutlery and food in case I don't have time to make a lunch, or am hungrier than what I packed that day. I communicate with my peers through email already anyhow. There's no reason to waste the money on office space when it's not needed. Not a single client comes through these doors. Not one. Ever. There is absolutely no reason to have offices or come to the office on a regular basis. Our entire business can be done without them. On the odd occasion we need to get together, book a meeting room somewhere else.

And to be quite honest, the coming in to work isn't even what I don't like. It's the complete and total lack of anything positive. You can't control our generation through fear. It doesn't work. Fear of disappointing your boss, fear of losing your job, it doesn't work anymore.

As suggested by many in this thread - the best advice, then, is to create your own company while you still know everything. By the time you are 30 - you won't. :-)

Already done, two in fact. One is just freelancing at the moment, I need to get a steadier base of clients before it is enough to rely on. Though, my latest project includes a percentage of the company as payment, so that will help immensely. The second is a joint project between several people, which is still in the development stages and it should be to market soon. Lots of work, no money, tons of potential. And there's actually a third I'm just thinking about at the moment and need to talk to a few people before going further, but is looking promising.

Do a Google search for: multitask inefficient

One of the biggest knocks I saw, was the introduction of errors when multitasking. I don't make mistakes. That may stink of overconfidence, but it's the norm in my case. I don't release code that will fail...and because of that, I don't waste time fixing it. Unfortunately, my coworkers and predecessors weren't so capable, and I'm stuck fixing their mistakes. I hate that. And my boss just writes it off as "well, they were just learning while they did it.", which is fine...but why did you settle for it? If it had flaws, have them fix them before you go to production...why work around them for a year? How will they learn to do things right if you don't provide feedback when they make mistakes? I went off on a tangent here, but the other downside to multi-tasking was not letting your brain rest. It uses the most energy in your body. But when you're forced to take breaks at inopportune times, it's even less efficient. You get on a roll, you load your brain with the information to perform the tasks at hand, you can't just pause for 15 minutes then pick up where you left off...that "loading" is gone. You lose your train of thought and waste time getting back to where you were. It's inefficient. You have to know how to multi-task properly, and have an environment conducive to it. You need to be able to take more breaks. You can't multi-task unfamiliar tasks, that's again, inefficient. Those tasks must be concentrated on solely.
9:08 pm on Aug 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Just walk, I worked for someone like this for nearly Ten years, they dont change.
9:38 pm on Aug 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Let me rephrase, I don't mean we know more than our elders, I mean, we are entering the workforce with more knowledge than past generations entered the workforce with.

Fair enough rephrasing, but I'd still disagree with it for the most part. A lot of people entering the work force these days don't have the fundamentals. Additionally, even if you did enter the workforce with more knowledge then previous generations, those previous generations have tons more knowledge on you now (based on their years of work experience).

If I take that entry level job, in a year, I expect to move up.

Then you'd better hope that you work for a company big enough to support that type of rapid movement, which is rare. Are you going to expect advancement every year? Assuming you're going to work for 40+ years, you 'll need to find a company with 40+ levels of management. And if such a beast actually exists, it's certainly NOT going to have the type of flexible work environment that you're demanding.

Here's a rule of thumb for you: before you can expect to "move up" you should know everything there is to know about your job AND most of the job you're moving into. AND you have to be able to show why you are more deserving of the promotion than all your other co-workers who also know their jobs and your boss's job. In many cases, this ain't gonna happen in 12 months.

I mean we want to be dominant at what we do.

As I said before, you do have some valid points. And not every work place is like this. In this case, I really think your only choice is to move on, because it is highly unlikely that the boss is going to change. It's not necessarily and older vs. younger issue, it's also cultural. Your work ethics/style do not match those of your boss. That type of thing has been going on long before even I entered the workforce. :)

I've worked at places not quite as bad as that, but very inflexible. And I (and others) left after short periods of time. I moved on to other places that fit in more with my work ethics/style.

Oh, and in regards to the advice of starting your own company so you can make your own rules- guess what? You'll find many clients (who become the roles of employers) will also place demands on you that you don't like. And unless you make clones of yourself, you'll eventually find that your employees disagree with your management style and start complaining about educating you about how they should be managed. :)

9:50 pm on Aug 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

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P.S., Gibble, are you posting all these messages on your 15-minute breaks?

:P

10:10 pm on Aug 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Hey Gribble,

I'm 28, and I never really cared what 'generation' I was part of, but after all this I hope I'm generation X. You're not the type of person I would want speaking for my generation. I'm sorry, but in every post you've made in this thread you've been over-the-top with your better-than-everyone-else attitude. You keep referring to 'your generation' as though they're (or we're I suppose... since I'm almost your age) all immaculately conceived. Get over it.

I'm lucky enough to have an employer that teats me like a college student... I can come and go as I please and basically do what I want just so long as the coding gets done. I'm sorry for you that that isn't your case. I'll echo everyone else that you should probably find a different employer... but if I were you I don't think I would EXPECT to be treated with the level of worship you seem to feel you deserve. I feel extremely lucky to have a supervisor who understands that a hands off approach works for this industry. It works for everyone in my office... even those who are not (*gasp*) generation Y.

And, I simply cannot let this comment go:


I don't make mistakes. That may stink of overconfidence, but it's the norm in my case. I don't release code that will fail...and because of that, I don't waste time fixing it.

It's too bad that you think so. Someday you'll be put in your place, and the less you expect it to happen the more it will hurt.

10:27 pm on Aug 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I don't release code that will fail...and because of that, I don't waste time fixing it.

Hey, I've got a request. can you please go work for Adobe? I am so sick of having PhotoShop crash on me. And I hate the way they rearrange everything on Acrobat whenever they have a new release.

11:02 pm on Aug 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I certainly don't get why you think your generation has more knowledge.

My observation is that when the electricity goes out, your generation can't count out change for a $20.

11:12 pm on Aug 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Wow, so many of your responses prove my point better than my posts ever could have.
11:23 pm on Aug 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Just for fun, here's the OP written from a different viewpoint:
-------------------------
Those of us in our 40's, who have someone working for us, probably know what I mean. We're different than our younger coworkers, we need to manage them differently.

We grew up building the technology they use and take for granted. We learned how and where to go out and get needed information instead of having it handed to us on a silver platter. We have more knowledge than the yonger generation from our life experiences.

We grew up expressing our opinions and point of view. We expect to be heard, and our thoughts considered, even if not acted upon, not simply dismissed because we're "old" or don't do things the way they expect us to.

We grew up with a sense of success from our achievements. A knowledge that we can be whatever we want, if we worked hard with determination. That sometimes we have to settle for the short-term in order to achieve long-term results. We learned that success doesn't come easy, that you have to work for it. And even then success can be fleeting with new innovations or unforeseen challenges constantly bombarding you.

Recent events like Columbine and 9/11 reminded us that life is short and precious, just like similar threats from the past (Cold War, being drafted into the military, etc.). Because of this, we value friends and family and recognize that work is a part of taking care of them.

We learned how to prioritize and complete tasks instead of trying to do too many things as once (to the detriment of all of them). Just because we appear focused on one task doesn't mean we aren't still thinking about the next step ahead and what else has to be done.

We know our abilities and limits, and how we work best. We may not work best chained to a desk 9-5, but do our best under the circumstances if we are not able to change them. Sure, we complain about it sometimes, but we either accept the situation or change it.

How do you explain to a workforce (all 20 somethings) that their work style is costing them their jobs? They aren't being let go because they are "young and immature," but because they are not pulling their weight in the company. Even though you try to challenge them with work that enables them to learn, they complain that it's too hard or not what they want to do in life or they just don't want to do it. That watching the clock like a hawk until 5:00 discourages us from giving bonuses and other benefits. That destroys our trust in them.

As you might have guessed. I'm in that situation now... My employees come from schools that didn't require them to actually learn anything. Many of them can't spell, have attrocious grammar, can not formulate ideas logically, do not know how to make change without pulling out a calculator, and have no attention span beyond 5 seconds. They come in late, rush out the door before 5:00, and spend much of the time in between IMing their friends, surfing the Internet, and making themselves oblivious to their surroundings and co-workers by falling into their iPods. We have a coffee machine available to everyone at no charge (they ar edemanding an Expresso maker) and a refrigerator where people can leave their food & drinks. We even stock it with soda (which they go through at a rate of 5 cans/day per employee), but they keep asking for 15 different flavors of different sodas, energy drinks, designer water, and even beer!

You try to educate them and help them avoid the mistakes that you've learned about in your years of experience. But they still insist on doing their things their way because they are so convinced they're right. So they make the exact mistakes that you knew they would, forcing you to spend hours to fix their mistakes (after they've run out the door at 4:58).

And don't even get me started on those employees demanding raises and promotions after just a few months on the job. They don't even understand their own positions- how are they going to take on additional responsibility?

Can you believe these are IT people?!
-------------------------

OK, so the last few bits are not from current experience, but I have talked with lots of other people who have employees exactly like that.

Anyway, the whole point of this is that every situation has at least 2 different viewpoints. Some of us older folks have learned this (apparently your boss hasn't). But it also makes us less tolerant of those who don't see that there are different viewpoints yet, especially after we try to educate them.

[edited by: LifeinAsia at 11:26 pm (utc) on Aug. 21, 2007]

1:02 am on Aug 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

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nice foo, really fun to read, almost like the war of the worlds. BTW I am 'like' in the middle of it..
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