I was watching the TV show "Mad Men" the other day. The show is based in 1961 and in the episode there was a receptionist who couldn't find her boss. She asked around and was told he sometimes goes to the movies during stressful days and that he'd probably be back in an hour or so.
Keep that in mind when reading the following article entitled "Want to attract and retain Gen Y? Better rethink everything" from AZCentral.com...
Dubbed Generation Y, there's a festering love-hate relationship between employers and this group, which I happen to belong.
One the one hand, young workers are praised for their technological savvy, specialized training and passion. On the other, they're often crucified for their long lists of hiring demands, unconventional workplace conduct and lack of company loyalty
Author Russell Perry, himself 25, gives this suggestion to workplaces...
I would argue that more than money or gadgets, we want a challenge. And we want our professional and personal lives to co-exist without eight-hour blocks of segregation.
In order to appeal to us, employers need to rethink their rules a bit. Forget rigid 40-hour workweeks. Forget traditional company hierarchy.
Before going further a little full disclosure: I'm in the age group in question.
That said, I specifically picked the two quotes above because I think they show the contradiction in what is being said. In the first quote the author (rightfully) points out that many Generation Y employees are complete mercenaries ("long lists of hiring demands"), demonstrate poor workplace judgement ("unconventional workplace conduct") and have no loyalty to the company employing them. Then, in the second quote he suggests employers give those people complete autonomy ("Forget 40-hour work weeks and traditional company hierarchy")
My counter argument would be this: That's completely insane.
You don't give complete autonomy to people who only care about themselves because they will, almost by definition, abuse it. I started this post with a personal anecdote about a TV show based in the 60s and I asked that you keep it in mind while reading this post. The reason for that was to demonstrate that even in the 60s Employees were given all the perks outlined in the above quoted article.
Its always been a good idea to give quality employees as much freedom as you can and good companies have always had a policy to do just that. The only thing that has changed with "Generation Y" is that they demand such treatment even before they've proven themselves to be quality employees. That's the problem.
It's unfair to employers when potential employees walk in the door demanding to be treated with the trust and respect of those who have already proven themselves. So far Generation Y has gotten away with that behavior because a good economy means more jobs than workers. But given the current economic times you have to wonder how much longer that will be the case.