Wednesday, March 10, 2010

To Be Young

It seems a recurring theme in the world of Human Resources:

"...Generation Y, The Entitled Generation..."

I remember when I was in college and Matthew McConaughey accepted an MTV Movie Award noting that the young people in the world "impressed the hell out of (him)" and that he was amazed by us every day. For the first time in my life I felt like part of the world: empowered to take the baton and run with it.

In high school, I spent 4 years competing as a wrestler and rose through the ranks. In college, I spent 5 years in a fraternity and ended up President. When I was released into the professional world something strange happened: 4 years became 40. You see, our careers last significantly longer than a wrestling season or fraternity presidential term, so it takes longer to validate our achievements. Could it be that Generation Y is not entitled or impatient but used to receiving recognition in a more expedient manner?

It seems the case studies, industry articles and seminars put Generation Y not in a position of empowerment but rather throws them a 'wait and see' warning. As a young professional, I received some of the worst advise I ever have:
"slow down, you're making us look bad"
"it will take time, you have to be patient"
"if you keep this up, people are gonna start talking about you"

I am not sure why we see fit to wrangle young people's motivation and deter it. In fact, the aforementioned is not a characteristic of sage-like advice but a sign of insecurity.

In the workplace I see young people with energy, ambition and open ears...what more could you ask for as a leader?

I propose a workshop not on how to control Generation Y but on how to keep our immaturity in check:
A. Stop worrying about being replaced
B. Feel good about teaching young people to succeed
C. Help young people channel their motivation
D. Determine the difference between manic effort and a guided foundation for success

If you discourage the young people in your organization from using their energy for good: your time is limited, not theirs!

Lead with the intent of a legacy carried on by people who want to act and to be rewarded for their effort. Let your legacy be carried by your teachings, your actions and your intent to make the world a better place by empowering the young and ambitious.

So that when that door swings shut for the final hear tears dropping not cheers from the rafters.

Don't Forget to Remember!



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