Apart from being known as Gen-Y, other popular names are The Echo Boomers; The Nexters; The Bittersweet Generation; the Millenials; Generation Dotcom; Net Generation; E-Gen and Cyber Generation.
Why is it called Gen-Y?
Because they love asking "Why?
What makes this generation unique?
- They relentlessly ask “Why?” (Y) and often question people about the way things are done and challenge the status quo. They ask because they need to know.
- They may have a high IQ, but often with a low EQ (Emotional Intelligence). This is due to a lack of life experience which leads to a lack of the appropriate coping skills.
- They demand instant gratification. This leads to quick decision-making, which in turn often results in a frequent and constant change of plans.
- Technologically, they are well-skilled.
- They excel at multi-tasking (e.g. simultaneous interaction with computers, iPhone, Whatsup, talking on mobile telephones, watching televisions, playing computer games, chatting to friends).
- They often suffer from ADD & ADHD, which makes this generation the most-medicated generation ever (e.g. Retilin, Prozac and recreational drugs).
- They need respect, confidence, trust. Therefore coaching and mentoring is of paramount importance and is greatly valued (albeit not always well received when meted out by parents or employers).
- They focus on personal growth and development, in particular on adding meaning to their lives.
- They are inclined to jump from one “source” of fun, enjoyment, advice, activity etc., to another as soon as their expectations are not met or remain unfulfilled.
- They sometimes harbour a sense of “hopelessness” with regard to the future in general. This may be perceived by parents and employers as apathy.
- They are self-assured.
- They have an exaggerated sense of entitlement and are often overly demanding.
- They value the opinion of friends and their friendships are of paramount importance.
- They are group ("gang") - orientated, placing a high value on universal human rights.
- They demand instant gratification.
- They accept mentoring and coaching when it is done with respect and in strict confidence.
- They seek cyber-relationships rather than “face-to-face” relationships.
- They readily break a friendship if it does not meet their expectations and then move on to the next.
- They insist on a balance between career, family and friends, but “play” is still of paramount importance. No distinct line is drawn between the various aspects of their lives, instead they rather seek complete integration. (e.g. working from home or working flexi-hours).
- They relentlessly ask “Why?” and often question management, question the way things are done and they challenge the status quo. They ask because they need to understand.
- They are in constant communication (debate) with their employer.
- They require constant change in routine and variety in their work environment, responsibilities etc.
- They require information to be presented in bite (byte) sized portions. This is due to their short attention span.
- They move from one employer or career to another if personal expectations are not met or if their career lacks meaning.
- They will make career choices which allows spending time with friends.
- They attach great importance to respect, confidence and trust in mentoring and coaching.
Noticeable difference between the "conflicting" generations
Baby-Boomers (most often the parent or the employer)
Think straight in cause-and effect, linear fashion
Listen and learn (theoretical)
The parent/teacher/employer knows bested is most important
Living by a 'Mission Statement'
Survival of the strongest or biggest
Intellect and Theory count most
'Who I am' is defined by possessions, status and career
Work 9-5 and only then play
Lives in an 'either-or' world
'Status quo' rules
Paradox is paralyzing
Science is the hope of the future
Think and Feel by formula and proof
Follow hierarchical models
Defines self by 'What I know'
Seeing is believing
Generation-Y (most often the child, learner or employee)
Work smart - play hard
Think 'loopy' in hyper-link fashion
Do and learn (experiential)
The child/learner/employee is the most important person
Living by an 'Image Statement'
Survival of the fastest and smartest
Experience and Practise count most
'Who I am' is defined by friends, lifestyle and meaning
Work while playing
Lives in an 'and-also' world
'Fluxus quo' rules
Paradox is second nature
Spirit is the hope if the future
Think and Feel by hope and intuition
Follow flat, distributed models
Defines self by 'Who I am'
Believing is seeing
- Listen to them when they speak.
- Answers their questions and address their concerns to the best of your ability.
- Admit to it if you don't know the answer or solution to a problem, since that will earn their confidence and respect.
- Treat them with respect and treat matters they discuss with you in confidence.
- Provide feedback, advice and mentoring without harbouring any expectation that your advice or guidance will be heeded.
- Be honest and sincere.
- Support their expression of individuality.
- Provide and support frequent change and understand their need for change.
- They are tremendously adaptable because of their fast pace of living, social connectedness and alert minds.
- They embrace technology.
- They welcome new concepts, are open-minded and open to learning and new experiences.
- They are excellent at multi-tasking.
- The support diversity as a result of their innate sense of fairness and because there were brought up in an era of human-, woman-, gay- and other minority rights.
- They are impatient as a result of the speed of technology and the internet, which provides immediate input and satisfaction.
- They are skeptical because of fallible role models, corruption in society and the questionable morality in society in general.
- They are abrupt, blatant and often rude, the result of their elevated need of self-expression, also because of a lack of interpersonal relationships with “real” people, as opposed to "people" in the cyber world e.g. in chat rooms, the web etc.
- They are extremely image conscious because of their need to express their individuality or uniqueness which is often the opposite of wanting to be part of a group.
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