Just two days before the ringing in of 2009 I’m finishing up my series on Gen Y perceptions based on the Gen Y Perceptions Study done by the Cal State Fullerton Career Center and Spectrum Knowledge. The study was an interesting read for me, obviously since I’m blogging about it. I wanted to put my own views on what the findings of the study meant to myself as a member of Generation Y. I think it’s an important subject seeing as I’ll be heading into my future workplaces being managed by Boomers and Gen Xers.

If you’re just stopping by for the first time on this post, I encourage you to visit my older ones and let me know your position on the issues. Whether you’re a Boomer or Gen Xer, all opinions are valid and encouraged! Moving on now, my final topic in the series is about the study’s findings which say my generation needs constant rewarding if it’s to be motivated and successful in the workplace.

Receiving feedback and professional rewards

The study talks about my generation as being one that constantly requires feedback from bosses. From my experience, I’d say this isn’t necessarily the truth. If it is, it’s only from our instructors in school reminding us to come to them if we have a problem or issue. Personally I can be pretty stubborn at times. I would much rather solve something on my own and stress about it to no end before I even think about going for help; maybe it’s a guy thing, but who knows?

When I finally break out of my stubbornness and go in search of feedback, I welcome it, as long as it’s constructive. I learn quite a lot when I have those one-on-ones with instructors/bosses. Not everything they give me in terms of feedback is treated as gospel, however. Since I’m in school for PR and formerly for Journalism, a lot of assignments are judged on what the instructor believes to be right. I could hand in a paper to 5 different instructors and get 5 different marks back with unique feedback on each. Early on in my post-secondary life I realized: a) grades don’t matter, and b) that feedback, while valuable, is something I can store away and use later to judge for myself against different feedback I’ll inevitably get from another instructor or boss down the road.

The study mentions that Boomers and Gen Xers are shying away from giving feedback to my generation for fear of hurting our feelings. If you’re a Boomer or Gen Xer and you’re reading this, I say DON’T. As long as the feedback you give is constructive and doesn’t put the person down, it does nothing but benefit your employee. As I mentioned, I make a mental note of the feedback my boss is giving to me and I can add it to the list of things I’ve learned from previous bosses/instructors. A thing I’d like to point out is that in a job I realize I’ll be writing for a client in many cases and that style has to reflect them. If the criticism is along the lines of me not doing that, then I’ll fix it as I was told. I mentioned it’s a subjective business so you’d better be trying to please the boss of today more than worrying about the instructors of yesterday if their lessons differ.

To alleviate our supposed easily bruised egos, companies today are encouraged to offer rewards such as days off or awards for good practices. The study points out that over 60 per cent of respondents from each generation expect rewards frequently. Because of the way the economy is going, employees can’t be expecting bonuses or pay hikes very often. This is where Gen Y’s preference for a work-life balance comes into play. Employees can offer more days off for good work performance, which costs them, but not as much as a bonus or pay hike, in my opinion.

Conclusion

The study seems to talk about how my generation was so cottled growing up and how we’re so fragile. Obviously when talking about such a large group of people it’s hard to avoid mass generalizations like this. I not only wrote this series to give readers a bit of insight into how I view myself as part of my generation, but how I may differ in some ways. I admit I haven’t had a bad life where I’ve had to overcome a ton of obstacles, but I know how to take criticism and I’m not all about me in the end. I realize I’m entering a business environment where I’ll be expected to work as part of a team as well as receive criticism for my work. I hope from reading this series, and my blog in general, that you’ll see my generation isn’t necessarily like the one portrayed in the study. We’re all unique individuals with seperate goals and aspirations and we don’t all necessarily fit into the neat moulds prepared for us.

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