Lately I’ve been reading and hearing a lot about this whole Generation ‘Y’ thing. One of the latest pieces I’ve just finished is  The Gen Y Perceptions Study, done by Cal State Fullerton Career Center and Spectrum Knowledge, done earlier this year. The study talks about perceptions that Baby Boomers (born 1946 – 1963), Gen Xers (born 1964 – 1978) and Gen Yers have about Gen Y.

Since I’m a part of this generation, which is debatably anyone born after 1978 to the late 90s (I was born in 1984), I’d like to give my own opinions on how I fit in to the perceived notions on what we’re all about. During my next few posts I’ll be breaking them down into the categories used in the study for easier reading.

Gen Yers are Technologically Savvy

It’s a commonly held opinion that my generation is one that is down with technology. My brother got his first computer when I was about 10 years old (he was 21), so for the past 14+ years I’ve had some connection with computers in my life.  It’s safe to say that connection’s grown over time, especially after I got my own at 14.

In the study it says my generation is connected to information 24/7 and I’d say that’s a fair assessment. As soon as I get my first iPhone or Blackberry I’ll officially be dependent on technology for my survival. That connectedness means we want answers quickly. I try to get back to people with info as soon as I can because I know I’d like the same done for me. If I have to wait for an e-mail I get really frustrated, unless the person has a good excuse for the delay of course.

The interconnectivenes overlaps into what Gen Yers think about the typical work week. My generation seems to prefer telecommuting and shorter work weeks because we want to be measured on work completion and not time spent in the office. The latter appeals to me more because I don’t think anyone is really benefitting from having me sit in the office when I’ve done all my tasks.  The former comes into play because since I’m so connected through technology I’m easily reachable when I’m at home and could do my telecommuting after I’ve completed my work in the office for the week. I understand the value of having that face-time because it’s just another way to develop relationships that could be beneficial down the road.

I find that social media is also a great way to connect with people and build those key relationships. One thing I understand is utilizing the Internet to connect with people around the globe. Being interconnected with so many people relates to having information at my fingertips. Through sites like Twitter I can read about the Mumbai attacks, or earthquakes in California, instantly. Twitter, blogs and other sites allow me to connect with people who are not only connections, but can more importantly teach me things about the communications industry.

I’ve noticed through personal experience that other generations such as the Boomers and Gen Xers don’t really have the same grip on technology as I do. I think this issue is pretty common across the board, with exceptions out there of course. At work I’ve used my layout, Internet, Microsoft Office and other skills that I’ve picked up over time through school and have been (embarrassingly) praised for things I’ve deemed to be common knowledge. The study mentions that tension is created (not my personal experience) when the Boomer or Gen Xer don’t get the technology, which I think could possibly stem from a Gen Yer thinking it’s common knowledge and that everyone should know it.

Conclusion

I think each generation has to deal with something new and foreign when bringing in the new crop of workers. Technology in this form just happens to be one of many that Boomers and Gen Xers have to deal with from my generation.

Next post (coming sooner rather than later) I’ll discuss the issue of my generation wanting to be a bit too casual in the work place.

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