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Women in Focus

Generation Y can Make-or-Break Today’s Businesses

by Marie-Sarah Published on November 16, 2015

This year, after months of travelling, I came home and told my parents that I planned to freelance instead of finding a “real” job. They were flabbergasted. Not only did they fear for my financial health, but they actually feared for my mental health!

Rest assured that I am perfectly sane; it’s just that I was born in 1989. And like many of my peers, I’d had it with the archaic practices of the traditional workplaces I’d laboured in for years.

See, I don’t buy that Millennials are just a bunch of lazy “princes and princesses”. Despite what many people think, we weren’t born with silver spoons in our mouths. That being said, we do share a specific set of preferences that help explain who we are as a generation.

Mobility

Not only do we like working from home or a coffee shop, but we change jobs a lot. Very few of us will work for the same employer until we retire. For example, when I was 22, I worked at Bombardier Aerospace and all the older employees told me I should stay there forever for the guaranteed pension I would get after 30 years of service. Sorry, not for me!

Mobility also refers to the fact that we see the whole world as our playground. We travel more than previous generations and make choices that will ensure that travel is a big part of our lives, so most of us are very open to travelling for business.

Merging business and pleasure

Rather than seeing a radical distinction between our professional lives and our personal lives, we just see life. After all, life is life, so why should it be separated into neat little categories? Since we know that technology is an integral aspect of today’s world, we use Smartphones and tablets to our advantage. We’re more than willing to respond to work-related emails until we hit the sack at 11 p.m. but we also feel it should be O.K. to log onto our Instagram and Facebook accounts during “office hours”. For us, it’s all about productivity, not a set work schedule, which, to us, makes a lot more sense.

Happiness first

The search for happiness weighs heavily on the minds of Millennials. And what’s the secret to a happy life? Well, that’s the age-old question, isn’t it?

But because Millennials put such a premium on happiness, we have to love our jobs and we won’t think twice about leaving one that doesn’t satisfy our deepest aspirations. That can be a good thing or a bad thing. On the one hand, we won’t tolerate unsatisfying work for long, but on the other hand, it’s difficult for us to find work that fully satisfies us. My mother would say that “we over-think things” and there may be some truth to that.

Millennials are doing their best to reinvent the rules of the game. We believe we can be just as if not more productive and efficient than our predecessors and want to live our lives as we see fit. So what effects have we had on today’s businesses? Stay tuned for Part II to find out!

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by Marie-Sarah

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