Through my years in business, I have noticed a trend that seems apparent no matter what industry or size of business. People love to hate on Gen Y’s. Being a Gen Y myself (I can already hear half of you sighing behind your screens) I can see the ‘Gen Y’ issue from both sides of the table.
Sure majority of Gen Y’s want to be paid $100,000 first year out of University. Sure Gen Y’s expect to be able to use social media at work. Sure Gen Y’s think that making coffees or sweeping floors are beneath them, but there are some key things that Gen Y’s can teach us.
This is the generation of being told ‘you can be whatever you want to be’, ‘follow your passion’, ‘never accept second best’ and other overly ambitious statements that give the Gen Y kids the authority to feel that they should challenge the status quo. This often leads to prematurely over ambitious teenagers learning a harsh reality when they finally get their first job. The whinge and moan that their years of study are wasted on the menial tasks they are doing. They drive their older, settled, realistic colleagues crazy and generally breed an air of contempt in the office.
However, this breed of ‘I can do anything’ Gen Y outside of the workforce has started a revolution in the business world. Young entrepreneurs under 30 are building a solid and formidable force that sees them making millions before they can even contemplate a midlife crisis – a status that was once reserved for those born into money, or those that worked hard and studiously, invested well and reaped their rewards once the kids were all moved out and had kids of their own.
This new generation of entrepreneurs see gaps in the market that those working in the same markets fail to capitalise on. They understand the way that other Gen Y’s consume and take advantage of many new platforms to reach their market. A lot of established companies try to adopt a similar approach with little to no result because they simply do not understand what the consumers want.
Often my age has been perceived as a hindrance when initially meeting prospective employers, clients or other key business people; however I was able to prove myself and my ability by being confident in my knowledge and skills, whilst still being humble to know I wasn’t always right. Through that ethos I managed to build successful relationships formed off mutual respect. My Gen Y status has proved extremely challenging but also rewarding as my viewpoint will often challenge the status quo, to great financial benefit of the business owner I am working with.
The moral of the story is, next time you are hating on some overambitious, young whippersnapper, be mindful that they could be the next Mark Zuckerberg. So nurture their abilities , leverage their skillsets and listen to their whacky ideas – they may just be what propels your company into exponential growth.