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Raising Ys: Boomers To Blame For Conflict Between Work And Home

Last month, I spent a great deal of time on the road speaking to audiences from the American Society of Association Executives in Miami to the International Ticketing Association in Salt Lake City, and I observed that people from coast to coast have become really forthcoming about the generational topic.

Last month, I spent a great deal of time on the road speaking to audiences from the American Society of Association Executives in Miami to the International Ticketing Association in Salt Lake City, and I observed that people from coast to coast have become really forthcoming about the generational topic.

I've come to the conclusion that the down economy has given Boomers the freedom to express their concerns about younger generations either because they are feeling secure at work in their positions of hierarchy, or because they are feeling threatened, or in some cases leveled, by job losses.In any case, I received some really emotional questions about younger generations and why they are the way they are and what the future is likely to bring.So, put yourself in my shoes as I was asked several versions of this same question:"These kids are wanting constant hand-holding. When we give employees feedback, most times it's direct and to the point. We tell you what's wrong or what needs to change, and then people go and change it. Now we have younger employees who want more information when you give them feedback, and they ask, 'How do I improve or change? What do I need to do differently if I'm not doing it right?' And we don't know how to respond. They just don't take initiative. It's like – go figure it out! I don't have time for all this micro-managing! Why is Gen Y so demanding?"

And inevitably, I always get a question related to raising Gen Y kids –and I am always amazed at how many people in the audience have come into contact with helicopter parents. I'm not a parenting expert, but I realize these two questions (or frustrations) with Ys are linked.It's in situations like these that I want to scream — this is not a Gen Y problem! This is your problem! It's a Baby Boomer problem! You are the ones who are overly-nurturing and protective of your kids at home, allowing your college graduate to move back home and live in your basements, and then frustrated by Ys at work because they want to be treated as equals, engaged in dialogue with you, and are constantly seeking your guidance and approval.It is easy to blame the new kids on the block for being demanding and self-centered. But the issues that a lot of Boomers peg onto Gen Y aren't necessarily Gen Y issues. Much of the conflict often boils down to a workforce's inability to create a culture focused on performance, and to provide good, solid management skills. It's not about barking out orders anymore and just expecting Ys to obey them.Generation Y is going to expect more because they've been raised to do just thatWhat do you think? Have Ys received mixed messages from the Boomers at work and the Boomers at home?

Sarah Sladek

Concerned about declining engagement in our nation’s membership associations, non-profits, and workplaces, Sarah Sladek founded XYZ University, the nation’s first and only generations-focused training and engagement strategy company, in 2002.

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