HR Meets Generation Y: Who Is Asking For Too Much?

Around 2007 it became obvious that Generation Y would never live up to the demands of working America – not due to lack of intelligence or drive, but sheer lack of interest in the corporate world. While some still went off to become doctors, lawyers, and big business moguls, the rest of the generation has squandered their lives away – according to the generations before – generation y is irresponsible, lazy, addicted to social media and technology, and a disgrace to everything this once great nation has stood for.


HR departments are having to reorganize all that their system entails to please the generation who refuses to live to work. So who is asking for too much? It is a matter of change and accepting change. It is hard to believe that no one can see the good in this generation – a generation that thrives on creativity rather than money, who would rather own a small business than work for a large one – a generation that truly does not understand what the hold up has been on green energy and refuses to move anywhere but forward – a generation that wants the time to enjoy life and success while they’re still young rather than waste away in an office building just to say they’re “productive” or “responsible”.

Generation Y wants more money for less face-time, notice I said “face-time”. Who said we need brick and mortar to be considered “working”? I wrote a post a while back on Social Media Mom, that discussed the digital revolution, one very interesting avenue big businesses were taking was working through avatars. Yes, this is initially very creepy, but think of the freedom. Of course, the host who was not a fellow “generation-y-not?”, sadly walked through the empty building that was once littered with busy people who couldn’t wait for lunch. Where were they? They were at home, cleaning the house, drinking tea, and dressing their avatars to meet colleagues from China in a digital conference room. Uh Sweet! Seriously though, there is an unease because the change is so great, but the work is creative and it still makes money – which is what we are all so worried about anyway, right?

It is true, Human Resources will have to get new statistics, maybe change their testing process – however, it will have to change eventually, why not now when it is for the better? We want the generations to speak out rather than lash out, and really think – is this really a matter of laziness or is this simply a resistance to change?


  1. Jesse R

    I believe that some are not willing to work as hard as generations before them. The same can be said for my gen too but that is because every generation before us has busted their butts so that their children (the …next generation) could have a better life and wouldn’t have to work as hard. Eventually that would spurn a generation of kids who won’t want to work.
    That all being said, I think a lot of gen y folks are products of parents who were workahlics. I and my sisters (who are gen Y) fall into that category. They see what happens when work consumes your life so they naturally don’t want to do that. They do however want the same amount of money. That is the disconnect. It isn’t all negative though. I think there needs to be a bit of a shift back to an actual balence between work and social/family life. I can’t say I fit that profile perfectly because I, if past experiences are any indication, am apparently willing to work for less.

  2. Nick Barnard

    I see it more of a matter as this generation pushing back against the trend of business always wanting more from their employees.

    Managers, even the best managers, are pushed into a corner to demand as much as they can from their employees, which ultimately devalues the employee’s humanity. If employees are just a cog to make a widget, why not just get a better machine instead of a human?

  3. Chase H

    Jesse made great points…so I’ll build on what he said.

    It’s far too early to tell what Gen Y expects in business. Even the oldest in the generation have barely entered into a career. I know as I’m a Millennial myself; most of my friends are still working menial jobs as servers or working retail.

    It certainty doesn’t help that a bulk of Gen Yers are force into an all time low employment; at time of writing this national average unemployment rate is hovering at about 10%. What is less known is the fact that it’s about 19% for Generation Y.

    Maybe it’s a combination of Millennials expecting more from their work (I once heard about 3 in 4 people dislike their jobs), the fact that they don’t want to become slaves to “the man”, and then of course there is the fact that a large bulk of Millennials are still in university.

    As Jesse alluded, people generally want their children to live better and easier lives then they themselves had. We are products of our parents and that has shaped our expectations in life.

    More importantly, and I think this is what a lot of people are missing – I think there is a huge push against “big business” in American society today. To most people, business = corporate, and corporate = unethical, corrupt, slimy, stiff, and harmful to small business. It’s understandable why Millennials want no part of that.

    I have a lot more to say – so speak up if you want me to expand on my thoughts.

  4. Kristina

    We are beginning to see the expectations of Gen Y, and that is less work while still making a living. Jesse called this a disconnect, whereas, I believe it is how it should have been all along. America is the hardest working country in the world, we are not nearly as family oriented as we pretend we are, and we spend more time desperately trying to make money and stay ahead than actually enjoying life. I’m not saying life should be all play and no work, but I think the disconnect occurred when we were working our lives away, and that this is an attempt to reconnect with everything that makes life worth living.

  5. Kiki

    I second these sentiments. I am Y and I don’t want to feel like I am part of a machine in order to satisfy someone else’s needs or be a slave to tradition. This is where previous generations may have failed. However, I do believe in hard work and responsibility, just not in vain. If there isn’t something in it for me forget it. Isn’t that what corporations do anyways? Look at Enron, Madoch and the other corrupt WS Financiers. I won’t go off and be corrupt like them, but I wish no part of that greed. I notice that some Boomers are out of touch in this respect. When the interest rates were low I could have bought a house if I wanted to, but preferred to live within my own means. I was criticized by my elders for not taking advantage of purchasing a home cheaply, upgrading to a vehicle and etc. When 2008 hit and people started losing their shit, the only thing I lost were my collection of gold and diamond jewelry that I had to sell in order to get by. I was saddened by this, but not traumatized. Money comes and goes. I did not believe it was sustainable and ethical to live a borrowed lifestyle in order to impress others or obtain the green light into the upper class. I firmly believe that status is reached the old fashioned way, through effort and not credit.

  6. John Souza

    It makes total sense. The 80’s were a very selfish and money centered time in this country. Generation Y was left to be latch key children while their parents competed with the Jones family down the street. It’s simply an attitude of understanding oftentimes with this age group.. An understanding that their work is NOT the most important thing in their lives. To an older generation this seems a foreign concept.

    J. Souza

  7. Michelle

    I am Y as well and I was also a latch key kid, I used to plead that I would way rather have dinner with the whole family instead of x toy or posession. I have graduated with two degrees and and a certificate or two and still have no “real” job, having passed up several “big” corporate opportunities because I dread living the same 9-5 life my parents lived. I am however one of the hardest working people I have ever met I just spend it on things that matter to me like humanitarian work and no I don’t make any money from it either.I feel if we would all do what we like and shared whatever that thing was the world would work it self out. If you enjoy working on cars do that and fix others cars for free , if you like to garden do that and feed others etc. we would all have everything we ever needed and money wouldn’t be an issue and we could work/ or not work as necessary and wanted