It used to be a very simple path. Go to school, get a degree, find a job where you work from 9 to 5 or longer, every year. After proving yourself for a few years, you’d eventually be able to get a few raises, added responsibilities, a promotion, which at some point would lead you to a retirement with a full pension from both that company and the government. That seems so 20th century doesn’t it?
I Am Part Of The Y Generation
You know, the generation that grew up with computers, smartphones, that learned as much on my own through books and the internet than I did in any classroom.
My Expectations Towards Work Are Incredibly Different
First, I know that loyalty is gone. I don’t feel loyal towards my employer anymore than I feel it is to me.I say that having been working for the same firm for 8 years now so it’s not as if I’m moving around every year.Things have changed though. A few years back, I was offered a 20% raise to do the same job at a competitor. I didn’t want to leave but at the same time, staying for a lot less didn’t feel right. So I met with my boss, and then my boss’s boss, and explained the situation. It wasn’t the best meeting of my life but the outcome turned out to be what I was hoping for. They matched that competitor’s offer.
My Expectations Are Different
I have very different beliefs than previous generations. Here are a few examples:
–It’s not about how much work but what I get done: The reason why I push hard to have flexible hours, to be able to work from other locations is that I believe that I should be judged on my productivity, on how much I can improve things, help the firm make profits, etc. It should not matter if one week I work 30 hours and the next one I work 60. As long as I can be an effective employee, that should be enough. Anyway, I have enough incentives to perform well in order to live up to expectations, get promotions, raises, bonuses, feel like I’m making a difference, etc.
–Vacations: Good for everyone. I know, a decade ago, new employees would get 2 weeks off per year and stay at that level for a long time. I don’t care. Don’t you think that I’m much more effective at work after a week of vacations? What if giving me 2 extra weeks of vacations made me 5 or 10% more productive the rest of the year. Wouldn’t that be a no-brainer? Win-win right? In a similar way, I’ve been thinking about taking a 3 or 6 month sabbatical to travel a bit around the world. Does my employer really need me to quit over that? I mean, if I’m determined to do such a trip, I’ll do it even if it means quitting. What’s the danger in making it easier for me to do so?
–Working forom remote locations: Again, this should be about getting things done. When I was in school, I used to be a lot more effective when I’d go from place to place to study. At school, library, in a Starbucks, etc. I understand that being able to meet in person for meetings and with clients is important. But I’m sure there is some way to reach a compromise?
–Help Me Feel Healthy: It’s to everyone’s advantage if I have a lot of energy, little sick days, etc. For that reason, I think employers should make it much easier to be healthy. It’s great if you are a company like Google or Yahoo and that you serve free (healthy) food. Having a gym or making it easy to leave for a few hours in the middle of the day works great as well. Long term, I’ll be able to get a lot more done.
–I Want To See Progress: I’m not saying I should get a promotion every 6 months. But it would be nice to get many smaller raises rather than one big one every 5 years. Help me learn by sponsoring courses I want to take, give me objectives, etc. It’s not a secret, Generation Y people like myself are not the most patient and we need to know where we’re going and how much progress is being made.