Generation Y makes waves in workplace

Thu Jun 25, 2009 10:36am EDT
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By Ellen Wulfhorst

NEW YORK (Reuters) - They might wear flip flops to the office and address colleagues as "dude," but the youngest generation of workers brings fresh creativity and openness to the workplace.

The challenge of managing Generation Y, or the Millennials -- born between 1980 and 1999 -- has spawned a small industry of expertise and literature, including "Keeping the Millennials," new this month, and "Y in the Workplace," due out in July.

Both books argue that the newest generation is making waves in the office that must be addressed and tended. Some 40 million Millennials work in corporate America, a figure expected to hit 58 million by 2014.

Tech-savvy and fast-working, Millennials are also impatient and indulged, the product of hovering parents and educations that never let them fail, the books say.

And they communicate differently from the rest of us -- tweeting and texting and writing "CYL" for "see you later."

"Y in the Workplace" (Career Press, $15.99) cites an impasse between a Generation Y worker, working at home, and her older boss. "I'm only texting today, not talking on the phone," she wrote. He replied: "Well, I'm only talking on the phone."


Older managers tend to generalize that all younger workers are alike, said Joanne Sujansky, co-author with Jan Ferri-Reed of "Keeping the Millennials" (Wiley, $24.95).   Continued...

<p>A generic picture of a woman working in an office sitting at her desk typing on a computer. REUTERS/Catherine Benson</p>