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WWL: Generation Y at Work
Where We Live - with John Dankosky
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In this episode:

"Not Everyone Gets a Trophy."


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49:00 minutes (23.52 MB)
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Entitled.  Demanding.  Disloyal. These are words that have been used to desribe the Generation Y workforce. Bruce Tulgan joins us to talk about his new book Not Everyone Gets a Trophy: How to Manage Generation Y. He'll argue that Generation Y, the most high-maintenance workforce in history, is also full of great potential. We'll be discussing the myths and the truths about  those born between 1978 and 1990. Join us. Are you a Gen Yer working your way towards a rewarding career? What are your expectations from your employers? Or maybe you manage young workers and have noticed some trends? 

 *Originally aired March 10, 2009*

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Listener email from Nancy

My son is 26, a Choate and '06 Yale grad. He and a friend want to change the world. They are community organizers who work for SEIU, a health worker union. They are hungry to learn and have been sent from the Southwest to the East and now to the West.  They traveled to Florida and Ohio campaigning for Obama.
Thy remind me of the '60's idealists. They work long hours and have a deep respect and affection for the working class people they deal with. There are still idealists left in the world.

Listener email from Patrick


I know I’m getting in late and this is specifically about the workforce, but I’m wondering if you can talk briefly about Gen Yers in the educational setting, especially in higher education. This sort of sense of entitlement about which you’ve already spoken, coupled with a need to see a payoff for any grunt work doesn’t seem to translate well in the educational environment. There was a recent NY Times piece that focused on this general sense of entitlement amongst students in higher education today, that it is generally believed that if I as a student do what I feel is my best work, that I am entitled to an A, regardless of the quality of that work. This notion in conjunction with what seems like a general distrust about the need for traditional education, especially a broad humanities-based education, seems to be creating big problems for universities and profs today. When everyone (both gen yers in school and their baby boomer parents who are paying for the education) wants to see directly transferable job skills  in every class, it becomes difficult for profs to build that trust that is essential to a meaningful classroom experience.

Listener email from Ellen

I work in the “green” economy, which is very attractive to Gen Y workers.  They do have expectations that all their ideas are good ones and deserve immediate praise and action.  However, in their defense I’ll also say that they think “outside the box” because their world and what they expect of the availability of information is so much bigger than mine (I’m 48) and they have ENERGY that they want to apply.  I want more of them around – they challenge our beliefs about the status quo and are exciting to work with.