Honestly, I don’t think there’s anything that bothers me more than when people tell me, “Kayla, you have to pay your dues.” Almost instantly, I want to punch them in the face. Lately, when everyone talks about Gen-Y, one of the first things they discuss is Gen-Y’s sense of entitlement. The fact that we think we don’t have to work for anything, that things will be handed to us. I, for one, DON’T think that things should be handed to us. If you don’t believe me, see what I have to say about Occupy Wall Street. I think that things need to be earned. But you know what? I’ve worked hard. I went to school. I studied. I pushed myself. And now I’m here, at work, just making copies? No, thank you.
Now hear me out…I’m not saying that I’m opposed to making copies. There are certain mindless tasks that need to be done in any office. But when older employees treat us Gen-Yers almost like newly- initiated fraternity members, that’s not okay. We’re here to work and we expect to be treated like equals.
I don’t get it. Older generations complain that we don’t want to work. Then, when we ask for work, they let us use the fax machine. Sometimes, if we’re lucky, they let us use the scanner. Oh but wait, I felt really useful the other day when they let me put binders together! Really? This is all we’re capable of?
We need to be challenged. We all bring different strengths to the table and we can all benefit from learning from one another. Just because the people we work with are double our age does not mean that all we have to offer a company is the ability to press the START button on the copy machine.
So my question is this…As a manager, if you have employees that are committed to doing more, to doing better, how is that a bad thing? I mean, you’re paying us anyway. The complaint from Gen-Y isn’t usually that they want more money, it’s that they want more meaningful work. Managers just need to really focus on utilizing Gen-Yers’ talents. And at the end of the day, that’s the difference between a good leader and a bad leader. A good leader will foster their employees’ talents in a manner in which both the employee and organization benefits. A bad leader will be threatened by the potential success of the employee and encourage this “pay your dues” mentality.
It’s obvious which leader Gen-Y would rather work for.