Harnessing An Opportunity: Taking Ourselves Seriously


Proving yourself at work can be difficult, and being doing that while being under 30 can be even more challenging. Traditional notions of seniority and experience are becoming more defunct: employers are looking at capacity and results above longevity.

What’s been defined as a brazen attempt by Gen Y to push baby boomers out the way is nothing more than dealing with issues of capacity. Filled with active distractions via being connected, Gen Y can come across as scattered by managing varied project, while baby boomers can easily be perceived as slow by following the processes. Neither is right or wrong.

These different ways of operating provide opportunities, not challenges. Gen Y should be seeing what the difference in result is – because there is a varying result. Boomers often place emphasis on attention to detail, and want service (and deliver service) that is traditionally considered “high quality”; on the other hand, Gen Y has a greater focus on efficiency and accessibility. This is old news, especially if you work in a service industry, but this tension remains.

How can Gen Y lead the change to a more harmonious work environment? I had a friend tell me that these issues caused her stress and even to leave former workplaces. We discussed a lot about her previous workplaces, and came to the conclusion that it is about splitting different tasks between staff. No workplace will ever be perfect, but Gen Y as future leaders, needs to start taking responsibility for business outcome more than any other generation.

That might seem unfair, but we’re going to have to deal with the decisions of tomorrow – taking the initiative now makes sense. We need to be conscious of other people’s abilities and how we can all get the best out of difficult situations.

I spoke to my baby boomer boss about this and she noted that “boomers were about to retire in droves”, and that this meant that millennials needed to step up to the challenge and start delivering. Gen Y is being gifted an opportunity to lead from the bottom or middle – bringing HR results from across functions for better workplaces.

Tina Fey, TV actor and writer, said “in most cases being a good boss means hiring talented people and then getting out of their way”, this sums up fundamental management knowledge that Gen Y needs to lead into the future – provide the environment and reap the rewards. This can start at any part of your career. Understanding management and getting the best out of colleagues is essential for a successful workplace for millennials.


About the author

Conrad Liveris


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