If you’ve never heard the term, or don’t quite get the connotation yet, take some time to tap into this article, this article, this article and this video, and you might be surprised by what you find.
Also known as the “Millennials,” Gen Y is a term used to describe anyone born between 1980 and 1995, so yep, that’s us. In the business and management world, we’ve acquired several not-so-hot stereotypes. This is the pretty all-encompassing list I found in the Entry Level Careers Examiner (written by @heatherhuhman):
- Gen Y is entitled.
- Gen Y is needy.
- Gen Y has no work ethic (read: lazy)
- Gen Y is self-centered.
- Gen Y isn’t loyal to employers.
Those five are among the most negative, but other career experts also hypothesize that we don’t crave work-life balance like Gen X; we just want our work (even entry-level) to be meaningful.
I don’t tell you to this to break your spirit or make you come to some realization that you’re a narcisstic, good-for-nothing, iPod-listening, disloyal employee wanna-be. I tell you this so you know what you could be facing from potential employers and hiring managers.
In an interview, the person across from you could be thinking, “Is this person going to do anything but come in at 10am and listen to her iPod? Will she ditch our company for the chance to fly to Mumbai for the Amazing Race?!” Yes, that’s an exaggeration, but I’ve had friends come back from interviews and say that a good many of their responses were met with, “Well, that’s because you’re Gen Y,” or, “Oh, how Gen Y.”
The stereotype is out there, so be ready to deal with it, or better yet, incorporate anti-stereotype qualities into your personal brand. Make it a point to show how you can think outside yourself and help others. Show how you’ve taken initiative. Show that you’ve started something and stuck with it. Dispel the myth of Gen Y before it even enters the employer’s mind. (And the @heatherhuhman article gives you some hints to do it, too.)