Generation Y - Peter Sheahan … subtitled “Thriving and Surviving with Generation Y at Work”
This book is hugely valuable for anybody whose business employs Generation Y. Written by a young man who is part of the generation to which he refers, it is about the demographic born between 1978 and 1994. Sometimes referred to as “Generation Why” (because of their dislike of doing anything without a good reason) the characteristics that define this generation are perhaps the most challenging of any group so far. They are materialistic, ambitious, image-conscious, cynical, tactless, skeptical, arrogant and utterly self-absorbed. This is the generation that demands its independence and freedom of choice but still lives at home and lets Mum do their washing. However if one happens to be a Baby Boomer (or even a very early Gen Xer) there is the uncomfortable feeling that we are actually getting what we deserve. Just as we are a product of our upbringing, so too are Gen Y… and those of us belonging to the older generation have to acknowledge that we were the fertile ground into which these bewildering individuals were sown.
Gen Y gets a lot of bad press and as a general rule they don’t do much to help themselves, being quite disinterested in what we (read “the older generation”) think of them. Yet it is impossible to read this book without experiencing an overwhelming sympathy. Sheahan explains the unique circumstances into which this generation was born, not seeking to excuse some of their more challenging attitudes but simply to explain how they ended up this way. It is not easy to understand or motivate them and many companies either don’t try or actively resist any change in their usual policies. Yet those companies that properly motivate and engage their Gen Y employees can become employer of choice for a whole generation of amazingly talented and productive individuals.
This is a fascinating, anecdotal but highly factual explanation of the mystery that is Gen Y, and something that every Baby Boomer parent (and indeed every employer) should read.