Share Tweet Layton, what do you consider typical characteristics of your generation? The media portrays us as a “happy go lucky” bunch of kids who just want to relax and take “cool” pictures that get a lot of likes on Instagram and Facebook. I think this is partly true. There have been times where I did something just for the Facebook status, but that isn’t what drives my life. I believe Millennials want to help people, change the world for the better, and live happier lives than our parents. I believe the most powerful characteristic of my generation is that we want to be happy, and we completely understand that happiness is different for everyone. For some, they won’t be happy until their net worth rivals Warren Buffett. For others, they are happy living the traditional suburbanite life. As long as we are happy or working towards happiness, there is nothing that can stop us. Layton Cox, Director of Retirement Plan Consulting, at Pathways Financial Partners, based in the USA. What do you expect from corporate leadership in today’s business world? To listen. We don’t have a lot of experience, but we do have a lot of ideas. It’s easy to look at a tree and forget you are in a forest. Since we are so new to this thing called life, we have a different perspective than the older generations. Listen to our ideas, and if they make sense, let us run with them. What engages you most in the workplace and makes you go the extra mile? I’m most engaged when I am given ownership of something; whether that be a client, a task, a project, or just a day of the week. I’ll work my butt off to ensure that MY project is the best it could possibly be. What kind of development opportunities do you expect to be offered by your employer? Formal training programs and ongoing education. I work in a niche field. I do 401(k) plan consulting and there really aren’t a lot of us out there, so there was no formal college degree for what I’m doing now. It would be nice if I was given a six month formal training program right out of college to help me prepare specifically for my career. Ongoing education every year would help me ensure I’m staying sharp and keeping up with the times. Outside of my employer, I believe everyone needs a mentor or two. ’m always looking for new mentors to help me work through this thing called life. I don’t expect this to come from my employer, but I think everyone should do it. How does your ideal workplace physically look like? I’m a big fan of the glass walls. I don’t think work should be private, I believe everyone should know how hard you are working whether that is good or bad. Big glass walls, big glass windows, and even big glass desks. Frosted glass for the conference room is appropriate, but all of the offices should be pretty easy to see into and see out of. What is your preferred way to communicate in the workplace? Email or face-to-face. I would much rather email someone than call them. I think it’s more polite because I’m not disrupting their day. They can take their time and provide me all the answers I need. At the same time, if it takes you longer than 8 hours to email me back then we have a problem. Face-to-face will always be the optimal way to communicate, you get the most done and there is little room for misunderstanding. Sometimes sitting down with someone is hard to pull off because of scheduling or geographical location, but with advances in technology via Skype and Facetime it is becoming easier every day. What are the priorities during this phase of your life? My number one priority right now is to find out how to live life. I want to create a lifestyle that will not only serve me well now, but will continue to serve me in the future. Waking up early, eating healthy, working out, fostering relationships, diligently saving, and laughing is about all I have so far. My second priority is to create a unique skill set that will be able to provide me income until I die. This is harder than I imagined. How do you balance your personal and professional life? This actually came to me a lot easier than I expected. I’m not sure if it’s my job or just me, but I never seem to spend long nights at the office or weekends traveling. I get to work around 8 every day and I leave between 4 and 5 every day. My evenings are full of either relaxing with friends or helping out a non-profit. Maybe I’m just not busy yet, but so far the covetous work-life balance has been easily achieved. Please complete this sentence: For me, my job is… … a second college. I’ve learned more in the year I’ve been at my job than the 4.5 years I spent at college. I hope to take the experience from my job and use it to help better myself and create more opportunities for myself in the future. I don’t get paid a lot, and that’s okay because I’m still learning. What do you wish your colleagues from other generations would know about Gen Y? We are working for a higher purpose than a paycheck. It’s nice to get paid a lot. It’s also nice to have job security, but the real driving force is that we are working for a cause. Whether this cause is to end poverty, end world hunger, or to help provide reasonable housing options. Everyone I know is working for a cause, not a paycheck. Thank you, Layton, for these valuable insights!