Generation “Y” for “Yeah, we’re kind of a big deal.”

It is difficult to pinpoint exactly who is in Generation Y. Some say it’s everyone born between 1970 and 1990, but I don’t think anyone who was old enough to actually understand the adult jokes on Pee Wee’s Playhouse and ALF should be included, as well as anyone who was too young to look forward to Full House and Perfect Strangers on Friday nights.

ALF. He ate cats! Our parents must have thought that was hilarious, especially since we had no clue what was going on.

So while different sources will say varying years, I am aiming at the group that was born between 1975 and 1985.

We were born during the years of Star Wars, Apple, and Nintendo. We saw the last generation of good cartoons, where My Little Ponies and Rainbow Brite had their place next to Transformers and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

We were forced to do soccer in the fall, basketball in the winter, and baseball in the spring, unless you were in gymnastics, karate or dance, because those sports went all year.

Our parents had us multi-tasking and competing to be the best at very young ages.

Our parents believed that all we needed was a college education, and we could be anything we wanted.  Maybe they wanted us all to be the rich, successful yuppies they saw on TV all the time. The problem was that once we got to high school, we realized that nearly everyone was going to college. To distinguish ourselves, we set our own goals and our own high standards.

We are the over-achieving, high-maintenance, high-tech, and high-performance generation.

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. They taught us to not pay attention to that "slow and steady" bullshit. Grab some pizza and go out there and kick some ass.

We’re not just “Keeping up with the Jones,” we are finding ways to be superior in every way possible and designing apps to brag about our victories.

We love ourselves. And we want everyone else to know how awesome we are. So we tell them on Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, Twitter, and countless blogging sites (thanks, WordPress).

Our generation is not afraid to challenge the status quo, asking not only “Why” but “Why can’t we come up with a better solution?”

Most of us are now into our careers and are at early or middle-management levels, but in 20 years, we will be the CEO’s. We will finally be making the rules. And when we are, we will know exactly how to run a company, treating our employees as we had always wanted to be treated.

Profits won’t be the number one drive, because we will have spent decades perfecting methods of efficiency, innovation and marketing. To us jobs have never been just a means to earn paychecks. We are passionate about what we do, and we are sure to do it well.

We will ask that our employees come to work with the same respect and drive that we do, and that’s all we will ask of them.

"Oh, and remember: next Friday... is Hawaiian shirt day. So, you know, if you want to, go ahead and wear a Hawaiian shirt and jeans." - Lumbergh, Office Space

And for a job well done, our employees will enjoy benefits like minimum four weeks of vacation, flexible schedules, telecommuting, relaxed dress codes and Summer Fridays. There will be excellent programs for 401K matching, health care (including vision!) and tuition reimbursement. And if we can find more ways to treat our employees to free lunches, we’ll do that.

Items like this won’t just be bonuses or only exist at a few companies like Google, Adobe or IBM. They will be the standard practices.

It’s not that we just want more time off and free food. We can just see the benefits of high morale and employees actually wanting to come to work. Was the term “burnout” in the corporate world before our generation came along? Probably, but we’re the go-getters that are actually going to do something about.

We don’t need the stuffiness of ties and rigid schedules to show that we mean business. Our work speaks for itself.

From where we are now, our generation has learned to laugh at corporate humdrum. The Office is a hit show because we can relate to it. We don’t get caught up on the pomposity of pointless meetings and talking heads. To many of us, a successful conference call is one where we can accomplish five other items during the allotted time.

The minds of Generation Y are constantly engaged, thinking about solving the next problem, and creating the next way to do things faster, bigger and with more funny viral videos. Our bosses have only figured out how to harness that energy, rather than cultivate it. Which is why so many of us feel stifled, underemployed and unappreciated. To be fair, many of our bosses are haunted by the dot.com bust, so they are wary of the ever-changing technology spectrum.

Ladies, this gratuitous shot of Zack Morris and AC Slater is for you. Enjoy!

So to the Baby Boomers and Generation X, thank you. You were our professors, mentors and managers. You gave us jobs. We’ve learned a lot from you. We’re happy to play by your rules as long as you’re the boss. Just know that when we take over, we’ll be doing things a bit differently. Imagine a corporate world run by Mark Zuckerbergs, Googlers and Gagas. You can take all of your corporate jargon, bullshit and TPS reports with you. Our plugged-in, turned-on minds don’t have time for that.

We’ve got three-day weekends to plan, iTunes to download, Facebook pictures to upload, and Saved By the Bell reruns to watch.

~ Elissa

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About elissasblog

About the Author: Elissa writes about her experiences with her career and relationships and the difficulty in keeping the balance, especially while wearing 4-inch heels.
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11 Responses to Generation “Y” for “Yeah, we’re kind of a big deal.”

  1. Pingback: FYR: America’s Happiest Companies | Glass Heels

  2. Abigail says:

    I was always confused about the Gen X, Gen Y thing. Are you sure of the timeframes? B/c I’m pretty sure I’m a Gen X’er otherwise my whole life has been a lie

    • elissasblog says:

      Time frames are different, depending on the articles that you read. Some people say that Y is everyone born in the 80’s, others say that it’s everyone that is too young to be a child of the Baby Boomers, but too young to be their grandchildren as well. The lines are pretty fuzzy. I chose anyone born between 1975 and 1985 because I wanted to focus on the generation that is middle management right now, and those years fit into what all of the other articles said.

  3. Amanda says:

    Great post E! A co-worker and I have a running list of the things we will do differently when we are CEOs- so you definitely hit the mark there!

    • elissasblog says:

      Thanks, A! Yes, I keep thinking about all the things we’ll do when our generation finally gets to rule the world. I think it is going to create a revolution of high productivity because we’ll be tossing out corporate bullshit and office politics and just getting shit done. Thanks for reading!!

  4. Kelly says:

    There is definitely a line between X and Y generations, and it is somewhere right around where you and I sit. We may actually be on different sides of the line on different days. But beyond where you draw the line, your assessment is right. What I find interesting, though, is that all the things our generation wants, Europe has already figured out. They’ve got the vacations, the benefits, the low stress (and fewer deaths from heart disease, etc.) we wish we had, because they skipped right to being plugged in. They figured out a few decades ago that the American Dream was sort of a nightmare. Sometimes I wish they’d sent us a memo. Other times I think it was a lesson that had to be learned the hard way.

    • elissasblog says:

      I would still put you in Gen Y. If you grew up with ALF and the Ghostbusters, I think you’re Gen Y. But if you don’t wanna be, all right. We’re also the video game generation… just sayin’. After WWII, Europe wasn’t trying to beat anyone in a Cold War. We were, so we had the Baby Boomers fighting to prove that Americans and capitalism were the best. That carried on to their children (Generation X), who created the yuppies and “Greed is good” mantra. Generation Y is saying “can’t we all just get along?” and “Is there an app for that?”

  5. Nora says:

    Sigh. You are spot on with this one: And for a job well done, our employees will enjoy benefits like minimum four weeks of vacation, flexible schedules, telecommuting, relaxed dress codes and Summer Fridays. There will be excellent programs for 401K matching, health care (including vision!) and tuition reimbursement!

    Great article Elissa! I really enjoyed reading it.

    • elissasblog says:

      Thanks, Nora!! There is a huge difference in the generations, whereas with our bosses, they accept so-so work and status quo, as long as the bottom line leaves them in the black. But with us, our generation is a bunch of high-achieving, innovative perfectionists. Good work IS the status quo. It will be very interesting to see what happens when we’re finally in charge. I think it will be great, and the items I listed won’t just be rewards or bonuses, they’ll be standard, and we will know how to create a high productivity-high reward work environment. Thanks so much for reading! Glad you liked it!

  6. Chastity West says:

    Wow. This brought tears to my eyes. It’s so inspiring and I’m not even a corporate business person. I’m just trying to eek out a meager writing career and raise my kids…but yes…everything here is true, even for those of us working at home and drowning in domesticity. Well done.

    • elissasblog says:

      Thanks, Chastity! I just think our generation is dead set on finding better ways of doing things. Writing career AND raising kids? That’s amazing! And I’m sure you’re constantly looking for ways to just get things done and keep moving along. The next 20 years will be very interesting. Thanks so much for reading! I’m quite flattered, since I know you have so much else going on. 🙂

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