They sure don't make 'em like they used to.
That's something I often say when my friends and I--people in our mid-30s now--talk about the younger generation.
Having grown up in a post-Internet era where any information they want is at their fingertips, Gen Y professionals have never worked in an environment where they had to plough through brick-thick telephone directories just to find a contact number. Neither have they ever needed to read through volumes of encyclopedia to learn more about a subject matter.
This generation is well-versed in the latest technological fad, and isn't afraid to embrace the next cutting-edge IT tool.
Perhaps because of that, they're often seen as high-maintenance and tend to have inflated egos with overpowering self-confidence. They demand rewards and promotions in the quickest time possible, but are not always willing to put in the work for it. They're impatient and prefer to take shortcuts. They want things spoon-fed to them on a silver platter, and never really had to slog very hard to get what they need.
They're easily stumped when faced with a problem--not because they lack the aptitude to figure out a solution, but because they lack the desire to want to find the answer on their own.
These attributes have led me to worry about how Gen Y professionals will cope with the current dismal economic climate.
They've never been in a recession of this gravity, and are unfamiliar working in an environment where their cutting-edge IT know-how is no longer their organization's most valued asset.
Will they have the tenacity and resolve to drudge past this economic storm, and learn to dust themselves off when dealt with the harsher reality of the business world? I think so.
Even if they don't have the propensity now, I believe they carry that inherent instinct and can get into survivor mode--only if they're willing to put in the effort to do so.
Gen Y workers have the domain knowledge and astuteness to be resourceful, but all that means nothing if they lack the drive and desire to use these abilities. And now is as good a time as any to start doing so.