The GenY Leadership VoidPosted on November 17th, 2011
Today’s guest post comes from Carrie Tilton — a twenty something who is passionate about women’s rights, country music and George Clooney. She recently graduated with a Masters in Organizational Leadership and works for a private university where she spends her days practicing good leadership, discussing office politics and drinking green tea. Read more from Carrie on her blog, Carrie-ing On (http://www.carrie-ingon.blogspot.com/).
The Huffington Post recently published an article claiming that Gen Y (our generation) wasn’t creating the kind of work environments they said they would create. The article said Gen Y was supposed to “usher in a new workplace model where employees don’t have to be tied to their desks 9 to 5 or slowly climb the corporate ladder of success” and goes on to explain how we have not changed anything. The author claims that our generation was supposed to bring more balance to the tension between work and home.
Gen Y cannot change workplace culture until the leadership of each office is run by someone from Gen Y.
How can a group of young people at the bottom of the corporate ladder change anything when their bosses believe in running an office culture as they see fit? Of course, my dream job includes flexible hours, childcare centers, longer paternity and maternity leaves, and sees working from home as a viable office option, but that is not possible at this point in my career.
I work in an environment where seat time is more important that productivity, absences are frowned upon, despite having vacation time, and where men are in most top positions in the office. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy my job and who I work with, but it is not the ideal “Gen Y” set up.
I often wonder if our generation just doesn’t care to fix anything.
Are we too lazy? Do we lack a work ethic? Some think so. I have heard many adults our parents’ age talk about how their young staff members are disrespectful, attached to their cell phones, and not focused on the job at hand. Judging by some of my own employees, I can see their point. However, I like to think I am a 25 year old exception to their rule.
So, what do we do, Gen Y? How can we work in the kind of environments we hope to work in? I’m not completely sure, but I think it starts by working as hard as you can within the rules of your current work culture. Then, once the leadership at the top retires, your hard work will hopefully lead you to their positions and then you can be the change you wish to see.
The key is not to lose sight of the work culture we hope for in our future. I have seen many people get to top positions and no longer believe in changing the status quo. Don’t be that person. Work hard, get to the top, and then change the way we work. Bring in flexible work hours, options to work outside the office, and remind your staff they are family members first and employees second. The work-life balance can only be achieved with bosses who believe in flexibility, freedom, fun, and family.
We need to be those bosses.
Photo Credit: Diego da Silva – Creative Commons