Reaching out to ‘Gen-Y’ ears!

Gen-X folks, I guess, get it wrong right from the opening statement, which invariably goes, ‘When we were your age…’ that statement, intended to arouse wonder and respect mostly stimulates swirls of agitated smoke from those young ears!

Numerous studies (mostly done by Gen-X folks) label youngsters generously. Journalist Rick Newman recently called them “Cynical, untrusting and mercenary”. A Gen-Y blogger responded by saying that that those traits are needed and are “necessary to survive.”

Reaching out to ‘Gen-Y’ ears!

Are Gen-X pushing them away by constantly appraising them? Like a self-righteous Bollywood mother with an acute sense of right versus wrong.

‘It’s not like we don’t want feedback. But don’t keep poking us with your judgements’, says Anika(22). She goes on to say that they should be viewed in the context of their times. ‘I can get it if my grandmother calls me lazy and unreligious as she thrusts the puja offerings in my face. But, I can’t take that attitude in the workplace.’

Yes, the contexts are different. Successes, failures, even being dumped by girlfriends is in public view, with unkind hashtags to boot! Gen-Y has been compelled to grow a protective hide to keep sane. It takes a lot more grit than it took, say 30 years back to hold your own against the then ‘neighbour’s son’ who had made it to the best I.I.T.

It’s not just the neighbour’s son today — it’s a veritable flood of sons (or daughters, since we are now breaking down the gender divide) — belonging to school friends, college friends, childhood friends, colleagues, random-person-your-father-met-on-a-flight. The competition is out there in the open and the peer pressure can be devastating.

‘It’s not that I am averse to feedback’, says Mitali, ‘but give it to me in forms I appreciate.’ Gen-Y is averse to nitpicking and nagging.

Give them food for thought, stimulate their grey cells, challenge them, help them form opinions. That kind of mentoring may receive more willing ears.