My Pet Peeve – Gen Y Characterizations

*Note – this issue has long been a pet peeve of mine. Beware.  Also, I am a member of the demographic cohort known as Generation Y or the Millenials.*

The ICMA twitter account (@LocalManagers) tweeted today about an article in the Globe and Mail about employees from Generation Y.

While the article discusses several generalities about Gen Y employees, the crux (and title) identifies that workers from Generation Y prefer job training to cash bonuses.

I don’t argue this point.  I don’t know what people from Generation Y prefer(and I truly don’t know which I prefer).  But, I object to the idea of this article (and thousands of others) that society can characterize people solely based upon their birthdate.

You understand that, right?  Any time we talk about Baby Boomers, Generation X, Gen Y, Millenials, etc., we are generalizing on defining characteristics of massive populations of people.  I’m not talking about the statistics like ten thousand Baby Boomers retiring every day (that can be statistically proven); I’m talking about people characterizing people from each generational cohort.  The people of our country have long fought generalizations based on race, religion, nationality, gender, or birthplace – so why generalize based on something so utterly distinct from personality, someone’s birthday?  Each person is different!

Most of these types of article (the ones I read, at least) tell managers how to manage employees based on their generational cohort.

Here’s my point: Manage your employees based on those individuals.  If you want to know whether they prefer cash bonuses or job training, ask!  If you want to know if they prefer open work environments, flex scheduling, meetings, health spending accounts, job perks, or anything else, ask them!  Need to know how to manage or discipline employees, interact with and get to know your employees!

Don’t manage me based on what a book or article in USA Today says people in my age group like.  Manage me!

This is how I will manage.