Does It Have to Be X vs Y?

By Lisa Correu, Principal/Job Search Advocate, AfterSchool Career Workshops

When I was an advertising recruiter I looked forward to entry level hiring. My agency was smart enough to know that the new ideas and new perspectives of recent graduates were vital to a progressive organization. So I’ve been a little startled in the last few years to watch so called Gen Y being looked at a bit like a new breed of human or exotic zoo animal. “What do we feed them? Can they get wet? What's a Band of Horses?” It’s also discouraging to see so many comments from resentful Gen Xers along the lines of “turn down that damned rock and roll!”

"Go ahead, get off my lawn."

And then there’s the other side; Gen Y texting thank-you notes, demanding to wear jeans to work and writing articles about how X is obsolete and needs to get out of their way.  Some have no idea how to conduct themselves in a professional environment. We once had an intern who asked if he could call in sick if he was hungover. Yeah, out loud.


Sure, there are generational differences and our complete conquest by technology, social media and coffee shops has accelerated the changes way beyond what was traditional so it’s not surprising that it’s been difficult.  But Gens X and Y aren’t so different. We all walk upright, have opposable thumbs and watch bad TV. We want success, family, friends and a planet that will still be here in a hundred years.

So what the hell with the standoff?

Can’t we all just get along?

Gen Y: stop being so bratty, value Gen X and the battles they’ve fought and won for you (like wearing jeans to work and flex time). Gen X: stop being old fogeys, be open to alternatives, give Gen Y a voice and start a dialogue.  Yes, it’s not easy, yes, we have different work and life styles but homogeneity is overrated and boring. And doing it the way it's always been done keeps you faxing while the rest of us are Tweeting. So be flexible, curious and receptive and get to work.

That’s all for now, I have to be at the UN to broker Middle East peace. Wish me luck.

AfterSchool Career Workshops is the answer to job search conflict. We give you the power to manage your job search successfully, impress your new employer, and get on the fast track to career success!

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