Friday, April 24, 2009


Guilty, But So What?
By Sydney Zarp

Getting dressed every morning for work I base what I wear on how I feel that day. Sometimes when I’m tired I wear plain blue jeans with tennis shoes, while other times I may feel energized and wear a flowery spring dress. Whatever the decision, it is not based on what I think the boss or the company expects me to wear.

Some people may think I have an attitude problem, or maybe I am revolting against society by my making my own dress code. These two conclusions would seem like reasonable explanations, but after much discussion and research it turns out that I am a victim of my generation.

Bridgett Ryan, 20, believes Generation Y should
rewrite the corporate dress code.

This process of only thinking about my personal feelings when getting dressed is a defined characteristic of the self-absorbed ‘Echo Boomer’ who are also known as Generation Y. Defined as people born between 1982 to 1995, we have become a highly visible generation, according to researchers interviewed for the CBS 60 Minutes report, “The Millennials Are Coming.” With more than 80 million of us populating the land, we have given older generations something to think about.

Jeans with flip-flops, iPod headphones in our ears and the cell phone within reach is how most of us twenty somethings grew up. Being a part of this well-studied generation, I find I am worn out by the overload of information from other people telling me how “we” act. Researchers and psychologists are picking apart and analyzing every detail of our soon-to-be meaningful lives in the business world.

Well, I am tired of everyone telling me how I should act in the workplace, or how I lack face-to-face communication skills, because I was raised with e-mail and text messages. So my question is, what is the point of all these researchers warning everyone about the supposed dysfunction of our generation. Can’t they just sit back and enjoy the Gen Y?

Change is going to happen no matter what information they find, even if it is about our unconventional childhood. Every generation has brought uneasy change to the stubborn elders. Yes, we may be the biggest generation yet, but that doesn’t mean we are the most controversial to hit the workforce.

Being shuttled around from one activity to another planned activity is how the majority of Generation Y’s grew up. Our stay at home moms focused all their attention on raising confident and self-assuring children. Every child felt as if they were special, getting awards and ribbons for simply participating, without actually trying to excel. But, we realized quickly that if we put a little effort into things we got big rewards. Our elementary classes were small, with teachers focused on our happiness and offering individual attention. We are the kids of Baby Boomers, and our relationships with our parents couldn’t be better.

Looking over the supposed facts Generation Y, I still wonder what the older generation thinks of us. When talking Barbara Colby, 83, who is a parent of three Baby Boomers, the somewhat negative tone in her voice clearly shows her feelings about the younger generation.

“The population in general was smaller back then, making it all around less competitive,” says Ms. Colby. “The kids today have a different work ethic, they didn’t see anyone working for the luxuries, they just got them.”

Ms. Colby also believes that it is insane that households have more then one TV and computer. She feels that the drive for materialistic things is to blame for our demanding attitudes. Even so, she still offered some lighter moments.

“Although what do I know, maybe the kids now will have happier lives always full of constant entertainment.”

Ms. Colby’s insights are very different than those of Bridget Ryan, 20, who is an avid blog reader and has her own blogspot.

“I always work hard and am enthusiastic about going to my internship,” says Ryan. “A lot of the other interns are so eager to please, and I see myself following suit.”

Ryan believes that technology is a blessing in disguise. She says she is constantly checking her work e-mails, even after hours. “I love being in constant contact, but sometimes I wish I could turn it off.”

Her fondest hope for Generation Y, she says, is that they will rewrite the corporate dress code. Her blogspot is all about fashion and shoes, and she feels what better time than now for change.

Generation Y may be the most researched generation yet. But without reading the reports we know that the competition is higher and the toughest it has been in years, and a college education is standard, including graduate school. With our non-traditional dress code changes, and the variety of ways we communicate, I’m proud to be part of biggest and most driven generation yet, regardless whether researchers have anything positive to say about us.

My only fear is what they will say about Generation Y’s children in the coming years.

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