7 Lessons That Older Workers Should Learn From Generation Y
Generation Y is constantly criticized for having a poor work ethic, displaying a sense of entitlement, and having weak social skills. They are known to sit at the dinner table with their heads in their phones; they undervalue face-to-face communication. However, as someone who works with this generation and is a member of it (I'm 28), I've noticed Generation Y workers also possess traits and work habits that are incredibly useful -- and could help older workers' careers.
Here are 7 habits of Generation Y workers that could make older workers more successful.
1. They focus on work satisfaction, not the paycheck.
Studies are continuing to show that Gen Y cares less about money and more about being happy in their careers. They look for jobs that challenge, motivate and educate. They aren't interested in jobs that will only act as "jobs" and not further them mentally and emotionally. If you focus on work you enjoy, you'll likely be more productive and less stressed.
2. They are adept at multi-tasking.
You may find it annoying that they drive their cars while eating sandwiches, talking on their Bluetooth and making Fantasy Football trades. You may be mystified by how they check their Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Tumblr accounts within seconds each morning. They are juggling more things both professionally and personally than any other generation. But this flexibility has enabled them to launch successful freelance careers and startups, an increasingly important skill as we move into a "gig" economy. The ability to juggle multiple gigs means that you'll be able to thrive in a 21st century economy and you won't have to be stuck in a job you hate.
3. They know how to be productive anywhere.
Young people know how to get their work done from coffee shops, planes or their homes. As more companies are reducing office space, being able to stay productive while working virtually makes you an asset to the team.
4. They are comfortable reaching out to top executives.
You may hate the fact that they don't seem to respect authority or the hierarchy; when you were entering the workplace, it was verboten to reach out to the head of the company. But not being intimidated by position or ranking means that they are more likely to establish relationships with powerful people who can boost their careers. As a result, they are more likely to get what they want out of the workplace.
5. They embrace connectivity.
Gen Y workers don't remember a time when you networked without social media. As a result, after they've chatted with someone at a meeting, they automatically connect -- over Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. They build relationships online -- which means they know about job opportunities first and have more contacts who can help them get jobs.
6. They're in love with their smartphones.
They use it for everything and it is a tool that enables them to multi-task, increase productivity, and stay in touch faster and more frequently. Mobile is becoming the new force in the economy, driving how companies and consumers affect it; those who don't embrace it will be left behind.
7. They are job hoppers.
Unlike the baby boomer generation, Gen Y expects to move from one employer to the next, in pursuit of better opportunities. They've seen their parents get laid off; they know that there is no such thing as company loyalty. They seize opportunities to grow their skills, which means they're much more likely to stay employable throughout their career.
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Lauren Berger is known as "The Intern Queen" and Chief Executive Officer of InternQueen.com. She is the author of the National Campus Best-Seller, ALL WORK NO PAY: Finding An Internship, Building Your Resume, Making Connections, and Gaining Job Experience (Ten Speed/Random House), and arguably the nation's most in-demand career/internship expert. She has been internationally recognized for her work with young people and her entreprenuerial spirit has attracted millions of job and internship seekers. Recently, Berger has been featured on The Today Show, Fox & Friends, The New York Times, The New York Post, Teen Vogue, Bloomberg, LA Weekly, and more. She regularly contributes to AOL Jobs, USA Today, Huffington Post, Seventeen.com, Justine Magazine, and more. Berger's personal blog on BuzzNet can be viewed here and her current campaign with Best Buy can be viewed here.
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