The greatest thing about Generation Y is something that was said at the Partner Channel conference last week—they have great contempt for retreats and all-day meetings.
“When do you get your work done?” was the way the Gen Y position was expressed by Bonnie Robertson, a former executive with Great Plains/Microsoft as she discussed in Fargo, N.D., the issues the Baby Boomers face in dealing with the work force moving up the career chain. Right away, this generation has my support. But other oldsters may like their touchy-feelie outings.
The question is how does the generation that made a big deal about the generation gap (or was that our parents) cope with the gap between our cultural and the cultural that technology has played a large role in shaping. Robertson, in addressing an audience of Dynamics GP resellers who were there for the Partner Channel’s sessions on marketing and business development, noted the Gen Y workers were used mice and computers before they could read. We should add they can’t remember when there wasn’t email and may not know what a phonograph player is.
Baby Boomers must adapt. The next generation comes along whether we like it or not, although there are enough of us, and our generation is narcissistic enough, to hold block the way and hold onto power until enough of us are carted off to nursing homes to pave the wave for new leadership. That’s my nightmare anyway.
Take how the younger generations treats email addresses—or IM addresses, assuming many have moved past email. Instead of simply having firstname.lastname@example.org, the even younger sets in high school and college have names like “Imlemonyfresh” or “Hoppygreenfrog” @whatever service.com. Even more revealing was when at lunch Robertson asked three Gen Y-ers, who had earlier participated in a panel in her talk, how many email address they had. I think the average was four. Technology is not something they use because it’s required at work. It’s as much a part of their lives as old cars and cheap gasoline were in the 60s.
They, of course, will change as they move through life. But those of us in the older set must also change, unless we want to waste a lot of time insisting “Our Way is the Right Way.”
Because short of a major economic change that dramatically shrinks the number of jobs, these are the workers who need to be sold on working in our companies. Unless, of course, a majority of them run off to start their own companies.
And that’s apparently what a majority of them would like to do.
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