After having worked a year in the organisation I’m in right now and as a Gen Y individual, I figured there are some things I am able to sympathize with both Gen Ys and also “older employers”.
Firstly, the first two years of work experience is much of a journey where you get to know yourself better. We Gen Ys often pride ourselves in being more assertive and outspoken than previous generations, of knowing exactly what we want and how we want those things in life. However, therein lies the fallacy because as you venture out of uni, probably a place where you were also told that you were special and achieve great things, you venture into the real world where you are just another statistic.
More often than not, while we are probably indeed more self-aware, I think it would be inaccurate to say that we know ourselves inside out. That no matter what happens, we would not be susceptible to change and if anything, our dominant traits would become more amplified.
Lesson 1: You will keep changing, you would not know exactly what you like at work or out of life until you have done a bit of groundwork. Until you have sweated it out and tried your hardest, regardless of the outcome.
Sometimes when things do not go our way, we think it is not our cup of tea, that organisations should change for us, be mindful of our needs and give us all the things we have on our wishlist simply because we are the future.
Lesson 2: The organisation has been around first and it has its own intricacies of culture and people and processes woven in over a span of years. If it wants to change, it will take most of their people to change because there are so many other employees rather than so many of you. Be patient and realise that it is all about the steps you take daily rather than the structure itself making leaps abound for you.
Lesson 3: No matter where you go, unless its a very new start up, lesson 2 will apply. Don’t expect it to be any different.
In that sense, some things are not so different for us as they were for our parents and those of generations before us. It may be a faster world and it takes more out of us to adjust, but we still need to work hard and gain experience in deciding what we want to do in life.
Couple that with marriage and the expenses, therein also lies a whole different story. Some of us have the privilege of leaning on our parents to help support us, some of us have to work to support our parents and you realise that while you could probably spend time and money more freely during uni, it is no longer the case.
Lesson 4: Stretch yourself. Learn how to deal with struggles, rather than be bogged down by them. As how it was for those before you, you will come out stronger and more so if you work at being a life-long learner. What you do today will be the legacy of your children and your family.
We have an abundance of resources. Compared to the bricks and mortar of yesteryears, many economies now revolve around ideas and initiative. To this extent, there is so much to gain. We have YouTube, Google, other very intelligent subject matter experts we can often tap into that it would truly be a waste to be stagnant or to think that something is impossible to do or learn.
Lesson 5: You can literally do anything you set your mind to do. The only one stopping you is you.
True, there are generation gaps and we view the world differently than those before us. Sometimes what they advise us sounds irrelevant to our day and time, but nevertheless I have learned that if you have the humility to listen and absorb what they have to say; if you can try applying it to certain situations, you still save yourself from the possibility of making some mistakes that they have made. It is like a short cut and for the advice you receive but have no use for, you could always take it with a pinch of salt.
Growing up was never meant to be easy. Expenses are escalating, we may have different struggles now but that is why it is important to never give up. Keep pushing and before you know it, you will get to your destination.