Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Technological Trauma: Generation Y In the Workforce
By Heather Bates

There was once a time when people listened to music on compact disc players, used land lines to make phone calls, and dressed in professional attire to go to work. Those days are over. We are in a day and age where technology is growing every day, and there is no doubt that millions of people depend on it to get a job done.

The workforce is changing rapidly, and while Apple releases another version of iPod, businesses are becoming flexible on the types of attitudes they condone in the office. Who is responsible for these changes? None other than the “Millennials,” or Generation Y who are forcing changes in the corporate workplace.

In the past few years, CBS News 60 Minutes aired two reports centered on this generation. In 2005, the program aired “The Echo Boomers,” which was followed in 2007 by “The ‘Millennials’ Are Coming.” Both programs focused primarily on the incredibly large group of individuals that will take over where their Baby Boomer parents and Generation X left off. Businesses are being forced to adapt to the changes that these tech-friendly people are creating.

Jeremy Morris believes Millennials will need to work harder to prove themselves
in the workplace.

Some people blame Millennials’ outlook on parents who raised these demanding youths, certain that as children, constant coddling and reassurance caused them to become too spoiled and too demanding about what they are looking for in a work environment.

In “The ‘Millennials’ Are Coming,” J. Walter Thompson ad executive, Marian Saltzman said, "These young people will tell you what time their yoga class is and the day's work will be organized around the fact that they have this commitment. So you actually envy them. How wonderful it is to be young and have your priorities so clear. Flipside of it is how awful it is to be managing the extension, sort of, of the teenage babysitting pool.”

How do these young people in question view the workforce that is evolving to meet their ever-changing needs? Jeremy Morris is a sophomore business major at The University of Akron and has a lot of ideas about the world that he will enter after he graduates.

"With all of the new business graduates coming out into the job market, it is going to be a different environment in the future,” says Morris. “We're coming into an unsteady economy, and our mindset is that the market is completely different than what it was for the generations before us. Because of the situation that they put us in with bad economic decisions, we will be expected to work harder to create more progress and to turn the economic situation around," Morris says.

Melissa Rosenthal says Millennials will be expected to be technologically experienced
when they enter the workforce.

With the economy in its current messy state, many college graduates are desperate to find a job that pays the rent and guarantees them the experience they need to move up in their selected fields. Marymount Manhattan College senior Melissa Rosenthal is worried about where she will work when she graduates in the fall.

"I think that many companies have much higher expectations of graduates now than they did before,” Rosenthal says. “Even without any prior experience, they are expected to know a lot more when entering the workforce. Technology has a huge influence on that because we have grown up with it always readily available to us whenever we need it."

In "The Echo Boomers" report, the generation is said to be "totally plugged in citizens of a worldwide community." Is technology to blame for the outlook that Generation Y has on the business world today?

Morris says, "Our technology changes every single day. We're at a disadvantage because the technology that we're using now in our schools and our personal lives will be outdated by the time that we graduate. It's impossible to keep up."

It seems that some "Millennials" are worried about the changes that they are inadvertently causing. "My biggest worry now with our generation is that the next one coming up will outdate us even faster," Morris says. "I do have a lot of faith in our generation, though. We may have somewhat of a bad reputation, but we have to work much harder to prove ourselves. And we will."

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