If you are passionate about your career, then you will expect to be given the same opportunities as the person next to you. Regardless of age, or gender. These are eight things we have been told young employees have had to endure in their workplaces ... Do you have any to add to the list?
1. ... but we’ve always done it that way
There used to be a time where if a senior staffer asked you “Do 'Task A' for me” then no questions were asked. You just did it, but no longer! GenY want to know WHY. Why do you want us to do Task A? How is this helping? and how does this make the whole organisation’s life easier?
Yes, we are questioning systems and wanting to know how they are relevant to our roles and workplaces. Many mature age workers are lamenting the decline in the ‘Yes, m’am’ mentality, but in reality it is creating a space for you to continually talk about how everything is connected, and engage that GenY in the story of the organisation.
2. You act just like my son/daughter
Now you're telling us that we are unprofessional and will always be viewed as your subordinate. You wouldn’t want us to say “you sound just like my Grandpa!” It implies that everything we say is irrelevant or unimportant. Seriously, take this phrase out of your vocabulary
3. You’re too young to understand
… really? No, we are not too young, We have experiences that you might not understand, but we should NEVER assume that because you have kids, don’t have snapchat, or are not married would exclude you from understanding my experience on some level. Don’t do it to us because you see us as young.
4. It’s work. It’s not supposed to be fun
Work is no longer about the 9-5, or TGIF mentality. Work is something that is embedded in everyday life. We are friends on Facebook, we connect on LinkedIn, we get email at all hours of the day. If you can’t engage us in non-work activities or frown at us for spending 5 minutes having a chat with a work colleague ... then is this a place where I can see myself working in 5 years time? (sadly probably not)
5. How old are you? // I didn’t know you were so young!
If it’s meant as a compliment, i’m sure it is well meaning … but asking our age really has no bearing on our work, or relationships. We respect you for the leadership you bring to this workplace, don’t base our ability on age.
6. When I was your age ...
Thanks. We don’t ever want to highlight that you are older than us. Why are you making us feel immature or inexperienced by bringing this up? We am here because this is where we want to be. We want to learn, and though we love hearing your experiences - relating them to our age isn’t the best way to go about it.
7. We tried a young person once and it didn’t work out
We have been told by aged care CEOs and departmental directors - “we don’t employ anyone under the age of 45”.
Organisations have tried employing a young person only to have them leave as quickly as they were hired, resulting in the continual talk that young workers are ‘immature’ ‘unreliable’, ‘lazy’, ‘not interested in aged care’.
Organisations can start shy-ing away from employing another young person, not considering that of that one young person that didn’t fit - there were 5 other older workers that weren’t a fit either. It’s just the young person stuck out like a sore thumb.
8. The real world doesn’t work like that
No we aren’t entitled or spoilt. We have had jobs in fast food, retail, and admin for years while we were at high school or through university. We have skills, we know how to work hard, and we have some amazing experience.
We may not know as much, but we probably know more that you did at our age. Keep in mind we have a thing or two to teach you too!