At the end of a recent interview I did for an article on Gen Y, the twentysomethings of today, the reporter said to me, "Out of all the people I interviewed, you are the only one who had anything positive to say about this generation." That comment inspired this post. Today's twentysomethings are often labeled as entitled, immature, needing constant validation, self-absorbed, lacking a work ethic and respect for authority. While there is some truth to those stereotypes, too much focus in being put on what's wrong with Gen Y rather than leveraging what is so great about this global generation who are evolving far beyond their labels.
At 33 I am on the cusp of being a Gen Y but fit more into the category and shared characteristics of Gen X. However in my work as an author, life coach/counselor and speaker primarily dedicated to supporting people during their twentysomething decade, I see that there is a lot more to Gen Y than they often get credit for. It's time to highlight the positives that this generation brings to our society. Hopefully these insights may change your perception of your Gen Y employee, child or colleague. And give twentysomethings encouragement to disprove some of your less desirable stereotypes.
Gen Y is a unique generation with the same naivety and self-focus that is typical of the first decade in adult life. The characteristics that often give them a bad reputation, especially in context of work, are not necessarily their fault. Generally, they were over-parented, over-praised and overstimulated. They are doing the best they can given where they have come from. And now they are entering a grownup world created by preceding generations that is not so inviting. In a decade or two this is all going to fall on their shoulders, so why not celebrate and encourage what makes them unique, and quite possibly the ones who are going to change things for the better.