One of the SXSW interactive panel sessions (and discussions) I attended this week was called “Why Gen Y Wants to Work ‘With’ You, Not ‘For’ You.” The five panelists were all Gen Y employees who shared their personal experiences and tried to dispel some myths and stereotypes placed on their generation. The audience did a great job of sharing their opinions and interacting with the panel. They also had a screen with the live twitter feed projected for people to follow along both from the session and online. Check out the comments by searching #sxgeny
At times it seems unfair to stereotype an entire generation, so we crave to be individuals. I especially feel that when the negative attributes of our generation come up, people are quick to dismiss a collective Gen Y status. However if you are talking about hiring Gen Y employees because there are tech savvy and eager to grow, then yes, “I am Gen Y, please hire me.” Sometimes I feel that I switch my generation status on and off depending on the company I’m with, always trying to have the best of both worlds. I don’t want a label stuck on my forehead but that same label can empower me in some situations.
I felt this same divide during SXSW interactive and the Gen Y panel. Before I arrived I was proud to label myself a Gen Y or millennial. I wanted to be classified with that group. As the discussion heated up I started to squirm in my seat a little. I started to wonder if I’m better off being Hannah-non-generation-specific rather than Hannah a Gen Y-er. I didn’t like the idea of embracing that status if older generations were going to view it negatively.
In the end we often can help the labels placed on us anyway. We can’t help the year we were born or hide our obvious ages, but I do still struggle with the labels I give myself. I want to be an individual first, but I want to be part of the next great generation as well.
Do you own up to your Gen Y or millennial status all the time, or just when it’s convenient?
Photo Credit: davidgiesberg