Gen Ys - do they really exist to stereotype?

Yes. Oh my, they surely do! I have had the honour of trying to train a Gen Y to manage our office for 2 days next week (when both myself and my colleague are away). I have spent the past week trying to train said Gen Y to answer our phones. Our phone system is not difficult. Nay, my 11 year old has mastered it. Basically, phone rings, pick up, answer, press hold and tell whomever the call is intended for who is on the line. Easy? Uh-uh. I am told “I am really clever, I have two degrees from a like-you-know university and I can handle smart stuff, but when I have do like-really-dumb stuff, my brain, like-you-know, freezes.”

(Deep breath DellieM). “It’s a phone, not a set of impossible mathematic equations.” And I hear back “Yes, but you are forcing me to operate on a totally different thinking plane to what I am used to.”

(Deeper breath DellieM) “I understand. However, you are being very highly paid to ANSWER PHONES.”

“Yeah but, can I do something else instead, you know, like, something interesting?”

(Pause, DellieM bangs her head against brick wall. Office is commercial residence and was built for all of $27, therefore chunks of plaster fall into hair, lights flicker and kitchen sink falls off wall).

Gen Y is 22. She has a degree in archeology. Great. She is living at home until starting another degree in a year which will cost her parents about $150,000. They pay her $150 a week allowance for which she does nothing. She doesn’t even have a license. When quizzed about the license Gen Y responds “It’s easier to get someone else to drive me, and then I don’t have to be stressed.” Oh La.
“What do you do whilst at home?” asks DellieM.

GenY responds “I sew, I read. My parents get really, you know, freaked when they come home and I haven’t like, you know, done the dishes and stuff.”

Oh really - your father works 13 hours a day and your mother, a nurse, is pulling double shifts at a country hospital, to pay your way through your NEXT degree.

DellieM wants to yell “Here’s your novel, that you will continue to read, because in your words “I didn’t answer the phone 'cause I haven’t finished the chapter” and here’s your backpack, and give me the key back because you are useless, and lazy and have no work ethic.” But I don’t. Because she’s the boss’s daughter.

You had me really scratching my head over here until that last sentence.


Thanks fessie! I hug you right back! I am now looking forward to another 6 days of plaster falling, sinks giving it up, plumbing overflowing, and vast billowing hurricanes of paper, because I am so worked up I’m like a 13 year old girl inviting poltergeist activity!


Obviously, daddy indulges his daughter.

Equally obviously, he has a great deal of respect for hard work.

So my suggestion - and I admit, this’ll require far more courage than I certainly have - is to rat her out. Tell him everything she did. Make sure to mention her “I didn’t answer the phone 'cause I haven’t finished the chapter” line. Be as polite and deferential as possible. Then wait to see what wins: his indulgence, or his work ethic. If it’s the latter then he’ll give his daughter a stern talking-to; there won’t be much of an improvement, and she’ll probably be gone within a week, but at least your ass will be covered. If it’s the former, then he probably won’t do anything to you, unless he’s an asshole. If THAT’s the case, you’re screwed.

The thing is, I think he’ll probably take your side. People act differently at work than they do at home. At home he’s the daddy, and she’s his precious little girl. At work he’s the Boss, and he thinks like a boss. That’s why I think he’ll have much less patience with her antics than he’s shown before - he’ll be seeing them in a different context.

Gen-X = Capable slacker
Gen-Y = Helpless slacker

'nuff said

I apologize on behalf of my generation. Some of us try to not act like that.

Part of me hopes it’s that she thinks she can get away with it because she’s the boss’s daughter. The other part of me knows that, no, she’s probably just useless.

I’d like to offer another apology on behalf of my generation. Some of us aren’t, like, you know, totally useless, you know?*

*How does one properly use commas when inserting pointless bits of drivel into sentences? Is there a correct syntax?

No, they also have haircuts like the Bad News Bears for some reason. It’s important to mention that too.

I would like to say, on behalf of all the Gen Y peeps out there, that this is not representative of Gen Y. This is a spectacular representative of the human species homo loserus, subspecies boomerangerius, examples of which may be spotted occasionally by the patient observer, but which are not as common as seminar gossip would have you believe.

I have personally produced two Gen Y’ers so far, and neither of them sounds remotely like your gal there.

So I wouldn’t categorize quite so hard or so fast, just because you got hold of a boomerang kid loser. :wink:

My grandma would have called it “plain laziness”, BTW.
And would have had a remedy for it, oh yes indeedy. “Who will not work, he shall not eat.”

I told all my kids, “When you’re 18, you’re either in college, or you’re working; you’re not invited to just hang around the house.” These parents are enabling this, for deeply dysfunctional reasons. If I were you, I’d simply acknowledge that this gal is damaged in some way, and treat her accordingly. Nobody ever made her grow up, so she’s still 10 years old at some level.

It’s not a “All Gen Y are slackers” thing, therefore–it’s just a “you got a bad apple” thing.

Er, I don’t really know. I just try not to say “like” and “you know” in the same sentence unless it’s absolutely necessary. Keeps me from sounding like a Gen Y Valley Girl equivalent.

Thank you! Honestly, I don’t understand a good portion of “my generation” (I’m 24, so it’s debatable as to whether I’m a full Y or an XY.), especially when it comes to issues of work. I think it has a lot to do with my upbringing. Lucking out in the parenting bowl, I was not saddled with indulgent yuppie parents; instead, I had parents who were pre-baby boomers and had a bit more old fasioned ideas combined with some more liberal ways of dealing with other issues. I grew up with a love of books, but also with a strong sense of duty to my parents and to my responsibilities. No, I didn’t get my license until I was 22 and almost out of college. Why? I didn’t need a license with no car and no money for car insurance bills, and public transportation worked out okay for me.
I do find my biggest issues with Gen Y kids is that a lot of them really have no clue about what a good or at least decent work ethic is and how to get one. Now, I’m not talking a “nose to the grindstone” approach; I’m of a younger generation and my best work tends to come in spurts of concentrated activity. While it’s not necessarily the best time management in the eyes of other generations, I do my best work (when it challenges me to think) by thinking about the approach and then going and doing whatever the task is for as many hours as I can sustain it until it’s done. If this means I work for three hours, take a half hour break to regroup to work on it for another four hours to completion, or that I only take a full four hours to do it, I’m getting it done. Now, if it’s something that doesn’t require a lot of thought or [real] concentration, I just start working at it like it’s an assembly line and just keep going until I’m done. My problem with other Gen Y-ers on this part is that I do this without having to resort to an electronic device to keep me amused on the job. (Jobs aren’t about having fun in most cases; they’re about getting paid for work done.) With boomers, however, they’re a little baffled at my pace and I’ve had to learn to slow my work into spurts of work activity interspersed with bouts of what looks like work activity but is really me slowing down my pace so I finish at just barely faster than they expect me to get the job done. It’s really annoying to have to do that at all, but some jobs are really good at only giving you half the work you’d need to stay occupied during the day and are more annoyed when you’re done early than when you’re not done by their deadline.

The girl described in the OP is a twit. Answering phones is easy, even while reading a book or surfing the internet. She should only be so lucky to have a job that pays her well to do next to nothing.

It’s a style choice. Most people seem to use the style you did, offsetting “like” with commas. I’ve never liked that because that’s not the way it’s spoken. In my experience, people either say pause after saying like, or they just drop it into the sentence with no pause.

I was actually just joking with that sentence. The sentiment was true, we aren’t all useless, but the phrasing of it was not a style I would normally use.

I agree with you whole-heartedly about Gen-Y’s work ethic, though. I lived in a public house last year. The upstairs was just for residents, but the main floor and the basement level was open to other students during the day. The residents were responsible for general tidying up and, in exchange, our rent was quite low. I was there for the entire academic year, but I had a different roommate for each semester.

During the fall semester, my roommate was a dream to live with. We simply made the agreement that if something needed tidying, we’d do it. We didn’t need a chore chart or anything, we just did what needed to be done and that was that. The house stayed clean.

My roommate during the spring semester had the stereotypical Gen-Y work ethic. Unless someone specifically asked her, “Will you sweep the kitchen floor?” she wouldn’t do it. Even then, it wouldn’t always get done. Time and time again, she would tell me that the dishes in the sink weren’t hers, so it wasn’t her job to move them into the dishwasher. They weren’t mine either, but part of living in the house was tidying up after others (as a side note, it wasn’t as if we were maids for whoever stopped by, it really was as simple as moving one or two extra dishes to the dishwasher each day and things like sweeping and mopping that would have needed to been done even if it wasn’t a public house). Eventually, we had to make a chore chart because I was tired of doing all of the work around the house. The kicker was when she told me that she’d rather not do any vacuuming because she didn’t enjoy it. Well, you know what, vacuuming isn’t my favorite activity either! Sometimes, you just have to do things because they need to get done. I don’t understand why this is such a difficult concept for people in my age bracket to grasp.

So all of your generation are hard working? None of them are idiots? Seriously, its not a generation thing, its a person thing. Acting like it is just shows your biases.

Sounds like you’ve encountered a spoiled brat. Unfortunately, they exist in all generations.

Her attitude does remind me of a joke, however:

A person gets a new job, and is promptly handed a broom by the manager.
“What’s this for?” asks the new employee.
“It’s to sweep the floor,” says the manager.
“But I went to college and got an MBA,” announces the new hire.
“oh,” responds the boss, “then let me show you how to sweep the floor.”

(ok, it’s not the funniest joke)

I have a lot of grievances with Gen-Y’ers, but a lot of the blame goes onto their parents, most of whom are Gen-X’ers (my generation), with a fair number of baby-boomers, who raised such listless, sheltered, and spoiled little shits.

I’ve thought about starting my own pit thread just to trash the Gen-Y slackers I work with. Maybe we could get simultaneous threads going for all the generations represented here on the Dope so everyone can voice out without turning a single thread into the typical shit-flinging flame war.

Y’s have to have their responsibilities and duties *explained * to them or it does not enter into their heads to do it. This is the disconnect between them and other generations. They have no concept of the extra mile. A task is something to be completed, preferably as quickly and easily as possible in order to get back to reading or surfing the net or whatever. Most of them are very bright, able to multitask, and more than a little spoiled. The problem is that they never learned patience, or the ability to ask “what next?”

Wow, over-generalize much? There are irritating people like those you describe in every generation, I’m sure. But most people are responsible and fairly normal…eventually, anyway.

thats a pretty broad paintbrush you’re using…

It’s hard to quantify this;
But I do have one observation that , even if it’s not be a full data point, I think it is more than just an anecdote:

There are 130,000 soldiers in Iraq right now,and many (most?) of them are Gen Y’ers.
They seem to be performing their jobs better than their parents did in Vietnam.

Who said that the above behaviour is irritating? It is simply different than what a lot of the older generations are used to. Like it or not the immediate accesibility of information has created a different type of animal from the previous generations. Since we are talking about a few million people I think it’s fair to generalize.

Those dealing with Y’s might get a great worker or a zombie. There have been a lot of books written in a frantic attempt to try and cope with the Y mindset. While of course each person should be taken on the merit of their own work, it’s more than fair to say that people of a certain age and a certain culture share similar tendencies. It is also fair to expect those same tendencies and find a way to work with them, instead of trying to break them thus making everyone successful. Knee jerk much?

Given the Y mindset, that doesn’t surprise me at all. Downtime followed by periods of frantic activity, coupled with a system that keeps them organized and rewards them with promotion for their efforts is exactly the type of system they thrive in.

I never said the brush I was painting with was a negative one.