When asked in an interview, “What do you think are your greatest strengths? Weaknesses?,” I always find it difficult to answer because I feel my strengths and weaknesses are intrinsically linked. Generation Y has three such instances where our perceived weakness are really our strengths:
1) Selfishly entitled. Guilty. Generation Y believes that we deserve everything the world has to offer. And we do. Paying dues when we enter the workforce is a joke. Not only have we already paid dues in high school by working harder to advance our standing in college, but we then work even harder in college to get ahead once we dive into the real world.
We’ve worked hard. We’re willing to work harder. We deserve success.
Being entitled allows Generation Y to avoid much of the stress and aggravation that comes along with the responsibility of making a difference and moving up the career ladder. We take care of ourselves through exercise, travel, socializing and volunteering in order to do the best job possible. We’re more productive and happy that way.
2) Impatience. Impatience is a virtue. Trust me. When I’m stuck on a charter bus full of strangers and have to pee really bad and have successfully made it through my entire life never having used a public bus restroom, I am grateful for the impatience the bus driver shows in navigating as quickly as possible through rush hour traffic. I adore him for it, in fact.
We need a sense of urgency and impatience to solve some of the world’s biggest problems within the next few decades. Fundraisers have spent entire careers trying to figure out how to instill this very sense into potential donors to empower action. Now here comes Generation Y, urgency coursing through our blood. No waiting here. We’re ready to get things done. Just show us how, or let us take the reins.
3) Commitment-phobia. Our lack of loyalty has made employers mad. They have a generally negative view of us, in fact, believing the only thing we’re good for is fixing the faulty computer. Employers invest in our talent and potential and we usually quit on them within two years of starting.
From their viewpoint, Generation Y looks a lot like their 28-year-old son who refuses to make a commitment to a girl, any girl, and settle down already. Employers are dying for a marriage between themselves and Generation Y.
Alas, Generation Y is skeptical of marriage. Our parents have the highest divorce rate out of any generation. After observing such rifts, we want to get it right. We want to avoid the divorces of workplace layoffs, scandal and general all around crap.
For Generation Y, commitment-phobia is more about being realistic about a situation than the lack of desire to work or be loyal. We don’t see the point in staying in a relationship that isn’t mutually beneficial. We’re practical about the extent of our abilities and reach. Millennials approach projects with an attainable goal within reach. There is no long-term commitment, but rather we’re involved with the project to achieve that goal, and don’t find it necessary to stretch it out further.