Thoughts of a generation Y graduating senior

March 2, 2008 at 4:15 pm (development) (, )

City Life1986. Generation Y. I’ve grown up in a fast-paced, ambitious world. At least, this is one perspective. I’ve also grown up in a value-minded, integrity-oriented environment.

Marshall Goldsmith talked to Eric Chestler, president of Generation Why, about generation Y individuals in the workplace. Personally, I find Chestler’s comments a little negative about the development and values my peers and I have. It may be that I am coming from the perspective of someone in generation Y; it may be that my parents brought me up to work hard for what I want out of life; and it may be that I like to give people the benefit of the doubt. But for what it is worth, I think my generation is a little misunderstood.

This is what I’ve seen:

  • Many of us are hard workers for the issues and tasks we care about.
  • Many of us study all night just to do well on a test.
  • Many of us thin ourselves out with activities just to stand out a little more than the other job candidate.
  • Many of us work and study, just to alleviate college loans.
  • Many of us work unpaid internships and jobs to get the experience required by employers.

I’m not saying everyone in my generation is hard working because I think every generation has individuals that take short-cuts. In fact, I’ve come across peers that join organizations without putting any work in just to stack their resumes. There is some truth to Chestler’s words. I just want to give my view as someone who doesn’t fully categorize herself with the description given.

However, it’s good to know that employers are feeling this way about us. It makes me work harder to prove myself worthy of each position I hold.

*Image courtesy of Flickr: VJ Spectra.



  1. Bianca Reagan said,

    I agree with you. We do work hard, no matter what Mr. Chestler says. However, just like his observations don’t accurately represent all (or any) of Generation Y, Mr. Chestler does not accurately represent all of our supervisors or employers.

  2. Robert French said,

    Sterotypes are an ugly thing. It is unfair to the entire generation. And, after all, we can find some of these similar characteristics in members from any era. Baby boomers, too.

    As for “I think my generation is a little misunderstood.” … All of them are … by their parents. ;o)

  3. Robert French said,

    Shared this with your colleague, so I thought I’d share it with you, too.

    Don’t know if you’ve seen this … Managing Up, Phil Gomes ::

    It addresses some of what you’re talking about, too. Refers to the reality that all parties need to participate in some good ‘ol communication if any organization (and its employees) are going to succeed.

  4. Eileen Chang said,

    Thanks for your comments!

    Bianca – that is a good point. He is only one of many other supervisors and employers.

    Robert – thanks for the link. Active communication between all parties is the way to succeed.


  5. bebeth said,

    This is interesting. I just met with two young but highly successful PR professionals in Portland about the PRSSA Regional Activity I’m planning. We got on the topic of job search, and one of the PRos suggested due to a combination of tanking economy and a negative perception of our generation, it’s going to be very hard for Spring 08 grads to get jobs. She said, which is something I’ve heard before, that many managers think our generation is basically unwilling to pay dues, expecting jobs with little internship experience, etc. This is in direct contrast with Professor Tiffany Derville’s thought that too many recent grads are accepting internships when they should be looking for jobs. Seems like there’s a lot of contrasting opinions out there on our generation’s aptitude.

  6. Eileen Chang said,


    I think your thoughts prove that people define generations from different point of views. I’m not sure what generation the Portland PR professionals that you talked to you are, but maybe you should ask them what even older generations thought of them when they were beginning to enter the job market.

    Also, if managers believe that spring 2008 grads are unwilling to pay dues and expect jobs with little internship experience, then it means one thing – we need to prove them wrong. Manager opinions are both from experiences and popular beliefs from discussions. As a spring 2008 grad myself, I set out to be one of the many generation y’ers that shows older generations that we are hard workers, flexible, mold-able and great assets to the future American workforce. Join me on influencing behavior and beliefs. It’s what we, PR people, do.


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