Like a straight 'A' student you'll find me upfront and center, pencil in hand, when someone describes the traits of my demographic group. I fall somewhere in the Generation X / Y / Millennial demographic group (the boundary varies widely depending on what source you cite). I mean let's face it, who doesn't like to read about how our droogs are perceived? Wait a ... this could be another manifestation of Generation X / Y / Millennial narcissism others have been writing about. Crap!
When hearing about the traits of our demographic group, I question how unique the traits associated with our group are. It seems that these traits could be common knowledge to smart people everywhere (regardless of demographic segmentation), but then again, this could be my squeaky Generation X / Y / Millennial voice discounting the other demographics (yet again).
I thought Andy Hunt had an accurate description for our demographic:
[Generation Xers are] free agents, with an inherent distrust of institutions ... Fiercely individualistic, and perhaps a bit on the dark side, they'll just quit and move on if there's a problem at work. They resist being labeled at all costs ... They are quite pragmatic, working for a positive outcome regardless of any particular ideology or approach. - Pragmatic Thinking and Learning: Refactor Your Wetware
I'd agree, an inherent distrust of institutions is a common trait in our demographic. It could be that we're immature and this tendency could wane as we grow older, or it could be a permanent scar stemming from our observations - many of us watched our elders (some with perceived jobs-for-life) jaded and unemployed in the 80's, then living through the uncertainly that prevailed in the following years.
Others have mentioned that we:
would prefer to work for companies that give them opportunities to contribute their talents to nonprofit organizations. - Volunteering as a Benefit
But then again, who wouldn't like to work for company that encouraged contributions to nonprofits and pet projects?
Yet others have noted that we:
demand to be communicated to in a direct, honest and transparent way ... are "'immediate driven" and quite keen to live their lives right now, rather than adhering to the old Protestant work ethic that suggests you can only reap the rewards of life after you have worked hard and basically sold your soul to your employer. - How to turn on Generation Y
Yup, that sounds fair. We expect transparency in the age of information. Continuing with that thought, it's also been said that:
[we] view time as a currency ... not to be wasted ... They want to get the job done, then put it behind them and enjoy life. - Retaining youth
Again, seems a bit obvious. We're not lazy, but we've seen our elders do a lot of weird stuff as they go through their midlife crisis - maybe if they didn't put off living in the name of work they would have maintained more sanity.
It's also been said that we:
prefer to dress as casual as possible and work with mobile gadgets or laptops in comfortable, creative spaces. - CareerNews: Tuesday, May 22, 2007
What demographic group doesn't like to be comfortable while working? Our attire should be an extension of workplace ergonomics - we're told to lift heavy object with your legs (not your back), and use ergonomically correct equipment. Wearing comfortable clothes and using gadgets should be a natural extension. :)
In general, I think our generation strives to work smarter (not necessarily longer hours), we try to atain a healthy work-life balance, and a number of us value experiences over owning stuff. I think smart people from other demographics have been doing the same things for years, but what do I know, I'm just another Generation X / Y / Millennial.