Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Advice for Gen Ys in a Down Economy

As someone who fits into all of the Boomer, Gen Jones, and Gen X categorizations (who makes this stuff up?), and has seen both ups and downs in the economy, I offer the following advice to Gen Y folks who are trying to make it in the corporate culture. Take it with a grain of salt.

Most corporate management today will fall into one of those "old" categories - likely a Boomer or Generation Jones. They grew up in a different environment than Generation Y's. But they've heard about you Gen Y'ers with your high expectations, need for work/life/play balance, and your different attitudes towards work. They've brought in sociologists and HR professionals who have warned them about you folks and your different ways. In many cases they're worried about hiring you.

In a crummy economy, you can protect your position by standing out. Seth Godin calls them "Purple Cows"...basically you want to be remarkable and different and noticeable. (See also a great guest post on Chris Brogan's blog: Here's the secret - it's easy. Just do all the opposite things than what your manager is expecting from you as a Gen Y:

- Work really hard, sometimes later at night or on the weekends
- Take on extra assignments, put in extra effort without expecting anything in return
- Worry about the company's success as much as (or more than) your own

In affect, show them that you're just like them. It'll help you, your company, and the overall economy.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Seth Godin and Suction Cups

In this video, about 9-10 minutes in, Seth relates a story about suction cups on kids toys:

At my first job, one of my co-workers (Bill) came in with a huge bruise on his forehead one day. We asked what happened and he said he had banged it on a cupboard door. Only it didn't look like that. In fact one of my other colleagues (John) mentioned that it looked an awful lot like the blood blister he had gotten after he had stuck one of his kids bathtub toys with a large suction cup onto his forehead. When he had pulled it off it burst all the blood vessels.

Bill started to laugh. He had been victim of the same type of suction cup on his sons's toy...he hadn't wanted to tell us.

Those things should come with warning labels!