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Expectations v. Reality : Which Side are You On

It is no surprise that the way an office is run is changing due to the increasing presence of us “Gen Y”-ers. We’ve been labeled everything from the ‘MyPods’ to ‘the Baby Boomlets’ to ‘the Boomerang Generation” (and that’s just to name a few). We’ve had negative connotations associated with us, such as lazy, greedy, self-centered and unrealistic. We’ve been ridiculed for our outlook on life, but what if the perceptions on both sides of the matter are just so completely polar from one another that we are struggling to find middle ground?
I was reading an article on called “Generation Y for Dummies” , in which they listed some of the main differences between these ‘millennials’ and senior management in companies.
One of the differences they mentioned was as follows:
“Generation Y workers have a reputation for experiencing boredom and frustration with slow-paced environments, traditional hierarchies and even slightly outdated technologies- that is, almost everything common in most workplaces.”
So now my question is, whats wrong with that?
In this day and age, we are having to work longer hours. It’s no longer a traditional 9-5 work day. It’s a stay late, be twice as productive(if not even more), do the job of what traditionally would have been 3 or 4 different positions, work environment. We need that fast pace.
The boredom and frustration comes in when we feel our time is being wasted, precious time that could be spent with our loved ones for example.
I personally have no problem working long hours, staying late, working weekends, whatever it is that needs to be done to get the job done -and well- but I have worked with people on projects who are strong believers in ‘face time’ (aka being there even if you aren’t doing anything/contributing) and that is extremely frustrating.
Generation Y-ers value their time. We believe that there needs to be a balance in personal and work life as opposed to our parents who would have sacrificed anything for work. Again, this is often viewed as laziness or selfishness but I suggest for people to stand back and look at it again with a new angle. In my lifetime, I have already witnessed multliple natural disasters that have stripped people’s loved ones right out of their lives in a matter of seconds. It’s just like that saying “live like your dying”, you’ve got to appreciate every moment in your life and not just worry about working yourself to death. Not to become a complete downer, but most people when they become terminally ill or who are just older in age, will say if they could’ve changed one thing about their life, it would’ve been to spend more time with those close to them.
When it comes to our work environment, we like it to be open and yes- we like to be equipped with all the latest technology. Our knowledge of these tools could be utilized to our maximum potential and benefit the company greatly. They could increase productivity and again, save us even an hour or two, if not more, of that precious time. It is also this knowledge that sometimes causes conflicts with those senior managers who are too routine, and stuck in their ways to accept the new and boot out the old. We are not afraid of CEOs and senior management, we see our ideas as valuable and worth sharing with all members of the company. What’s wrong with that? Shouldn’t a work environment encourage this open sourcing of information and sharing? Isn’t that how good ideas develop into great ideas? As workers, if we are terrified of management what kind of work do you think would be produced?
I know that this street runs both ways, and there are certain aspects of our generation that are lacking but instead of debating who’s expectations are realistic and who’s right or wrong about these things, we should instead aim our efforts into finding that ying-yang balance and making the most out of the experiences and knowledge of all the generations involved.

><(("> Michela Fleury

Michela is a ><(("> Team Member at Catch Your Limit, a management firm with offices in Tallahassee, Florida and Richmond, Virginia. To learn more, visit

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  1. Emma says

    Well said my friend. My thoughts are along that line (my blog comes tomorrow) and I love working with Gen Y.


  2. Anne says

    Perfectly true!What we expect is not true always and what is reality is not our expectation.Ne ways good post!I will keep following your each new post.

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