*I like to introduce you to Chanelle Schneider. I met Chanelle on Twitter in one of the chats (I actually forget if it was #blogchat) but she is so interesting and so much fun to talk with. Something I discovered along the way is that she has such a passion for all things Gen Y and she is an emerging expert on Millenials/Gen Y people. So here is her guest post which is the framing post for this week’s #kaizenblog.

Chanelle Schneider, also known as @WriterChanelle on Twitter, runs There From Here where she often writes on the topic of adult internships and other career and life advice for Generation Y with a specific focus on non-graduates, the students who had to leave school but didn’t drop out. Chanelle writes for Examiner.com as the Washington, DC Social Media Examiner, and is the founder of the generational chat: #GenYChat on Twitter.

AHHHHHHHHH!!!!!! RUN FOR COVER! Generation Y is coming and they want to rule your workplace because, face it, they’re better at your job than you are! AHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!

We should all be very afraid, right? The way people are writing about Generation Y, you’d think it could be a remix to Antoine Dodson’s viral smash. We’re climbing in your office windows and snatching your jobs up. Come on, let’s be honest. There are a few occasions when an 18-34 year old can do the job of a 35-60 year old better than them, but it is not an absolute. There are differences between the generations but ample research exists to prove that these differences are less generational and more cultural or environmental.

“‘Our research shows that when you hold the stereotypes up to the light, they don’t cast much of a shadow,’ says Deal. ‘Everyone wants to be able to trust their supervisors, no one really likes change, we all like feedback, and the number of hours you put in at work depends more on your level in the organization than on your age.’” The Myth of Generational Differences in the Workplace

In the same way that all Baby Boomers are not obsessed with work, and members of Generation X are not all slackers, Generation Y is not wholly made up of coddled kids who don’t want to earn their way to the top. Many Millennials just want a seat at the table.

Understanding Generation Y

Merriam-Webster defines obligation as something you are bound to do, specifically a duty. Do you agree? How do you feel obligation has played a role in your decision making? Generation Y may appear to feel less obligated to do what Generation X and Baby Boomers have to do. Generation Y also happens to be younger and less likely to have children, a home, or be married. With these responsibilities come obligations that GenY will inevitably have to consider but don’t have to right now.

“@swonderlin: most people aren’t that happy with their jobs lol, its a Gen Y thing to want to be happy in your work over high pay #u30pro”

Is it really just a GenY thing? If so, why? At what point did people who were born prior to 1978 come together to decide they wanted to be unhappy at work?

Generation X Defined

GenX, the first generation to be raised with both parents out of the home, had to fend for themselves. They don’t like authority and are bitterly opposed to those who argue in favor of revamping corporate culture to remove the ladder model of rising to success. “Do you know how long I had to wait to become middle management and this kid wants to do it in a couple of years?!” has probably been said by a GenX’er. Well, why did you wait so long? Did you feel obligated to stay with a company that felt no obligation to recognize your work?

Baby Boomers

Baby Boomers have this mentality. They will stick with a company for twenty years, giving eight hours a day, every day. Are they happy? Is it unrealistic to consider being happy at work? If so, why are books such as The Secret so popular? Why do self-help gurus exist? Why do we have a term for what people experience at a midpoint in their lives when they feel the need to change directions? The mid-life crisis exists because many Boomers and, soon, GenX’ers made life decisions based on what was expected of them and not what they wanted to do. Generation Y knows this, and we want to avoid the same fate, if possible.

Is Generation Y Doing What Other Generations Wish They Had Done?

As the founder of #GenYChat on Twitter, I’ve spent a great deal of time following related keywords and reading articles and blog posts on the subject. It is rare to see a tweet or story shared that has something positive to say about Generation Y workers unless it comes from GenY. I’m not sure if this is in reaction to the notion that we need and crave constant praise, which is a stereotype, but it doesn’t win over the target audience. It seems these writers are guilty of the same whining they claim to be beholden to Millennials, writing rants that fall on deaf ears.

“@KariOBrien: @WriterChanelle they say Genx are the rebels that turned into the most productive ppl ever. Not a bad example. :)”

 Meanwhile, GenY’ers often offer positive comments.

 The Big Kids Table

We want to learn from you. We want to rise to the top, eventually. We don’t want to take your jobs, but we won’t stay where we aren’t valued. GenY is about change and finding a solution to our problems. If we need an answer, we Google it without waiting around for someone to tell us it can’t be done. Yes it can, we say. It’s already been done. We just want to get there sooner. Don’t you?

*Join us Friday, November 19th at 12pm ET/5pm GMT/9am PT to discuss “Is GenY Doing What Gen X’ers & Baby Boomers Wish They’d Done?” We’d love to hear your perspective!

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