Category Archives: Gen Y

Dad lessons

“Do as I say not as I do!” – This was/is a favourite saying from my Dad.  Normally trotted out when we as kids, busted doing something, which we found amusing.  Talking with his mouthful and farting/burping in public being a few examples that you cannot go past.  (Those last two normally followed with the infamous “Where ever you may be, let your wind go free”)

———> MY Dad!

Now I’m an experienced Dad (well, I’ve been one now for 8.5 years and have now ramped my Dadness up to cover 3 (not so) little tykes, I’m finding myself morphing into my parents.  Sadly (I feel) it’s not just at home.  It’s creeping into my work life.  It’s quite confronting when you realise that you have people in your team, who are almost a generation younger than you!

I felt this yesterday.  I took an annual leave day to spend what turned out to be a stunning day with the family.  Being school holidays and all, it was the least I could do to at least seem like I was shouldering the load with my wife.  It was a great day, weather wise, couldn’t have asked for better, best Spring day for the season.  We jam packed it with activities which were fun for all of us.  We laughed when we heard about the traffic chaos almost shutting poor Melbourne town down, as I wasn’t needing to battle it.  We played, we worked in the garden, we got haircuts and we played some more!  It was gold!

But I was still drawn to the phone, the little mobile office in my pocket.  I only took one call, which we concluded in less than 2 minutes, but I was still compelled to check.  I’m not sure why.. I’m not a workaholic (sorry boss), sure I enjoy what I do and have a real passion for it, but reflecting back…. seriously? one day?  My mistress iPhone gets me in. (I get grumpy with my team do it) I can remember the days when you just travelled somewhere.  If you were out and someone wanted to catch you, you had to leave a message on a cassette tape on the answering machine (I think I’ve lost my Gen Y readers – check this for clarification) I couldn’t take calls, I couldn’t check status’ (that was done at the pub with the lads) and my message bank was a number of red slips of paper in my cubby hole at work when I returned to the office!  I’m wondering how my kids will actually be able to take a break from the office? They’ll be doing stuff we haven’t even thought of yet.

Is this a comment on me? society? a new working culture?  Does it make you good at your job or just bad at living?

Funnily, I accepted a meeting invitation which takes all of a microsecond to click “Yes” I’ll attend.  This acceptance was followed by a quick email, in capitals no less from one of MY team, saying “GET OFF THE EMAIL!”.  Humph… Double Humph!!!!  She was right mind you, and I would have done exactly the same thing, if the roles had been reversed.  But come on, “Do as I say not as I do!!” I can say that right? 😉

Getting my grump on – Dan v “innovation” and Gen Y’s

OK it’s been a while since I’ve blogged, a month or so it seems.  Time flies when you’re flat out huh?

So after mentally recovering from Phil’s #SOSU12, it’s time to come up for air and maybe vent a little of steam.

I’m normally a positive person, but today, I think it’s time to talk about some things that really annoy me.

I”m nor sure if I’ve written about this before, if I have, it’ll be interesting to see if my themes/thinking have changed or evolved.

Let’s talk about abused terms and theory’s in today’s market.

The biggest one I see is “INNOVATION”

Seriously, “Innovation” is, according to Wikipedia “Innovation is the development of new customer value through solutions that meet new needs, unarticulated needs, or old customer and market needs in new ways.”

The Key word to me here is NEW.  I’ve seen too many things popping up in the Recruitment sphere as “Innovative” which are seriously just re-hashes or pure rip off’s of things others have done before.  You may not think we notice, but we do.  Especially Recruitment and Social media junkies such as myself.

My biggest case in point at the moment is Recruitment marketing via videos, cartoon etc.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a great video campaign, and really see the value, have even done a few tacky ones myself and will probably do so again.  However, PWCs video in Singapore for fresh grads was touted in places as innovative.  I mean yeah it was cringe worthy, it was catchy, it showed another side of a company not known for it’s fun and personality, and well now I cannot hear the attached song and not think “PWC”.  So in that respect it worked, and it did go viral and get lots of commentary, so it is really great work.  But seriously…. was it innovative? was it new and ground breaking? NO, not at all.  Pa-lease!  Give me something new, and pundits calling this type of thing “innovative” check out the meaning of it first.

Something as simple as this, well, this is what I call innovation… hats off to Volkswagon for this bit of Creative awesomeness

In short, to quote the great AFL coach Dennis Pagan “Don’t piss down my back and tell me it’s raining”

Gen Y’s

Again, not that I have anything against this generation, but surely this is old news now? Time marches on, and this generation are now working stiffs like the rest of us.  They’ve been in the workforce for a number of years now.  Stop this talk of what it takes to attract, retain and interest this generation.  I’m over it!  I saw the other day someone tweeted (don’t ask me to find the tweet please) the “important” fact that by 2020 40% of the workforce will be Gen Ys.  Woo hoo… so what?  Do we really think that the idealism they entered the workforce with will still be intrinsic within them when the realities of kids, schooling, mortgage, trying to keep a job, rise prices of everything seriously kick in?  I’ve never understood how the things stated as key/core beliefs needed to show in your company were specifically to Gen Ys?  Work/life balance, making a difference to the world, community, (rapid) career growth, consistent and timely feedback,mentors etc etc.  Wouldn’t everyone want this stuff? I know I do.  But reality doesn’t always reflect what I want! As those wise men of the Rolling Stones sang “You can’t always get what you want”  Maybe all this genuflection to the Gen Y’s is more a commentary on those of us who may be a little more experienced who hate to say “no” to people or our kids?  Were they given too much, told how good they were too much when they were young or is this all just a beat up by those who want their 15 minutes of fame and need something to talk about on the social blogs and need an excuse to charge Corporates $100 an hour for their services in solving this “problem”

Sorry, I don’t get it.  Maybe it’s just the bitter, ignored Gen X in me coming out (PS Gen X sounds better!)

That’ll do for today’s rant.  So please, if talking innovation, please make it innovative (I love innovation) and please stop beating that expired equine of Generational needs, I’m over it!

Wanted: Inspiration… DEAD or ALIVE

Well, here we go again… doing my nightly blog reading, and it seems it is the same stuff, different day. Hold on… did I just see a Groundhog?

Articles on Gen Y, v Gen X v Baby Boomers. Gen Y’s “you just don’t understand us!” Baby Boomers “and we really don’t care!” Gen X’s where is the money in this debate?
Articles on Thought leadership, who is one? how do you become one? and just because you say you are one…. are you really?
Articles on the next big technical advance (AKA twitter me this Batman! Does Twitter work for you)
Articles on the Recession. Are we close to the end? Of life as we know it or the Recession… depends on what you read.

Or variations of the above…


Honestly, I’m getting a little jaded. I must be, I’m getting into conversations about the validity of a cover letter in a job search (again).

John Sumsers TOP 100 INFLUENCERS in the HR/Recruiting world may spark some interest, some great reading and some high level debate (or some low brow name calling, Jerry Spring style, which we all love). Hopefully John will have a good mix of the generations and where they sit in the HR/Rec value chain. Having been an avid reader of John’s over the years, I’d expect nothing less in what will prove to be a huge excise for John. (But will make him a great resource for those people Recruiting in the HR/Rec niche!)

Maybe it’s me. My life seems to have hit 4th gear, with holiday finished, commitments with the children and work commitments firing up across the country. Don’t get me wrong I am so appreciative for this and I value every minute. It’s just that I enjoy this part of my life, the late night blog reading, the learning about Recruitment and the frivolity between the participants. I seem to be missing that. It has left the building Elvis style.

Maybe it’s the missing chat area from one of my favourite sites. Maybe I’m a little more tired at the moment and don’t get around as much anymore, so only see those certain discussion/blog topics.

I’m obviously not a thought leader, as I cannot at this time of night come up with something fresh or alternative to what I’ve said, although a new kids book article could be on its way soon.. be warned.

I am happy, comfortable and challenged in my life and work.

So herein is the challenge blogoverse, give me something new! Get me thinking, inspire me… please.

Is this the Death of the Revolution?

I saw a video today which re-ignited a thought of mine, which has been bubbling away in dormant fury for the last few years.

I have got fed up with generation generalisations. In particular the constant genuflecting to the Gen Y’s of the world. Get ready world, change everything here they come! They need to be treated different, they expect more, more quickly, they care for the environment, the crave community, they are more fluid in their employment ideals, they are new, fresh, the likes of we have never seen before etc etc etc… blah blah blah…

What awakened this idea in me was a blog post by Veronica Altemus which featured this video.

Is this a real work place Revolution? Or is it the same as it always has been for new generations making their way in the world?

Here are a few of the thoughts that have been floating around in my head.

Is the Gen Y phenomenon that new?
Doesn’t every generation seem “different” to the preceding generations? The Baby Boomers “freaked out” their parents, the social discourse found in the 1960’s is a badge lots of that generation hold onto. However they were born into an era of prosperity, which afforded them the freedom to think big, to dream and to expect those dreams to become reality..(sound familiar?) The world keeps evolving, but as they say the more things change the more they stay the same.

Older people will always think their way is the right way and younger people will think they know how to do it better, and will tell the other party that. My 5 year old is re-affirming this for me at the moment.

With the war for talent currently in a state of detente, will the apparent need to bend to the apparent will of the Gen Ys of the world, dissipate? I know it will in a number of companies with Leaders across the world thinking people will be thankful for employment, “they should feel lucky working for us.”

I presented a talk to a Group of first year University students the other week, around the topic of “Consulting, what it means to me and should mean to you.” Whilst I was preparing this talk, it occurred to me that this generation of students won’t have the advantages of their predecessors (ie those graduating 1 or 2 years ago) when it comes to job search, I’ll be surprised if employers are clamouring all over themselves to hire as many of them as they can (although I also believe that those who do will have a huge competitive advantage in the future, but that’s a different post.) Their prospects in the near future are a little scary, they may have to work harder to find their first job, they may have to accept things like starting at the bottom and working their way up, of not just being the most junior person on site to actually being treated like that.

Will the perception of entitlement disappear or become more realistic now that we are in economically unpleasant times? Will that confidence we associate with that generation fade away?

Did Baby Boomers eventually tow the line when the economic climate changed and they gained more responsibilities? Did the Utopian ideals go the way of the Dodo when they had to deliver food and shelter for their families? Or did they become more like their parents (shudder) just morphed versions.

Obviously the world has changed, evolved if you will. Certain ideals are not common place anymore, technology has evolved and will continue to evolve. Things are different. However, is the generation gap any different now to what it was 20-30-40-50 years ago? The Baby Boomers would have had to put up with the questions around their “far out” ideals, of social etiquette, questions over their attitude to work, questions over their behaviour, questions over their music, questions over their hair cuts etc.

Is this just the human race version of collaboration and versioning? Everyone builds on what was done before. Some things better, some things worse, some things change, some don’t. Very little is torn down, and rebuilt from scratch.

Social Networking and collaboration etc as just technical versions of what people had to do face to face previously. Same thing, just with a different spin. Does the way the world works have to revolutionise itself or will this new generation work their way into corporations and just continue to evolve the practices, over time, the way it has always been done?

Part IV: "Guess how much I love you?" – Gen Y v Gen X and Baby boomers.

I can’t help it… I was going to write another blog tonight, but was given this book from my kids to read tonight and couldn’t resist.

“Guess how much I love you” is a charming little tale of a little Nutbrown hare and his older, bigger, wiser friend Big Nutbrown Hare. It does sound a little sucky really, and the language is simple and easy, the kind that is easy to read to my kids, and fun to hear them recite. Hit “play” above and you’ll see what I mean.

However, my take on this tail..oops I mean tale is based around the generation gap between Gen Y, and Gen X/Baby Boomers. It may be a long bow.. but a lesson to be learned anyway. No offense meant to those Gen Yers reading it.

Little Nutbrown Hare (our poster boy for Gen Y), needs to communicate with Big Nutbrown Hare’s (Gen Xer) and needs his undivided attention. He needs it so much he grabs his ears… .ouch! Why? He has a question, which will both try to suck up as well as try to prove he is smarter that his more experienced counterpart.

Little Nutbrown Hare and Big Nutbrown Hare, spends most of the book trying to out shine his older, larger counterpart. Trying to out jump and out think his more experienced mentor.

“I love you as high as I can jump” said Little Nutbrown Hare
“But I love you as high as I can jump” said Big Nutbrown Hare, almost hitting his ears on the tree branch.

How did I get the generation battle out of this?

I deal a lot with Gen Ys, and whilst I think the whole, “they are so much different to the rest of the workforce and thus need to be managed differently” mantra is a little over cooked, there definitely are truths.

You need to be prepared to both hear and listen to them. They are surrounded with information, so much more than most of us were when we started our careers, and they aren’t afraid the share it. You cannot fear it, shun it or ignore it. It is there. You have to follow Big Nutbrown Hare’s attitude. Listen to them, and if they are not right, or their idea is not so new or ground breaking, tell them. Bluntly, yet nicely, encourage allow them to keep thinking.

One of the proudest things I have been involved with over the last year was our Industry Based Learning Student. He arrived at our company wanting to run the world, requesting responsibility, people reporting to him etc… When he gave his presentation at the end of his tenure, he outlined that one of his biggest takeaways from this was the fact that he now knows, what he doesn’t know. (and I believe an increased level of respect that others already working may know a thing or two). There was a lot of work done in the middle.

Whilst you cannot discount Gen Y’s, you cannot build an organisation around just that demographic. You will need experience to get through the current climate, you need battle scars, people who have survived downturns in the past, and you need mentors for those entering the workforce. I think now is going to be more important than ever. We are going to have people entering the workforce, already confused as to their part in this world.

Gen Y’s have gone through university with a certain feeling of entitlement, there was a skills shortage remember, the war for talent was well and truly underway. Their career was already mapped out, one company as a stepping stone to the other, 20% increase min each new company, companies falling over themselves to hire them. Now, the world of 2009. Graduate programs getting scrapped, wages getting frozen, job losses everywhere… how did we get this surplus of people? (Recruiters must have been doing one hell of a job!) Their picture of self must have been challenged greatly.

It is not the time for employers to get too excited and get even with the talent market, no matter how tempting it is. We still need to nurture the talent of tomorrow, we still have to keep the stars of today and respect the greats of yesterday. Maybe this new world post 2009 will get rid of these tags, and will work together as survivors of 2009… until the next generation comes along that is.

Now, when I was a boy……….

Web2.0: Did video really kill the radio star?

This has been really interesting for me… trying to manoeuvre my blog from to here. Only because I was looking for something a little more mainstream, I think it could be time for me to really start to get my voice tuned up.. I will continue to double post if you will as I cannot get enough of the RBC community. It has opened my mind introducing me to so many new tools and techniques, giving me more insight than most training courses I have ever attended.

Web2.0 as it is called now, man I love labels, has opened up a whole new world, connecting with people all over the world, sharing ideas, giving and receiving feedback from people I’ve never ever met, but are willing to help nonetheless.

I just read a blog from the fine people at Fistful of Talent around Social Media and how it will do us all out of a job. It was a great perspective, and gave me some room to think. Will Social media do me out of a job? It reminded me of a conversation I had recently an old boss of mine. He’d recently learned about this page called and something else called, he took a weekend to explore these sites and was amazed at their power. “This will make you job so much easier he said, you will be able to cut out the agencies and job boards. All you will need is just a subscription and you’ll be able to find anyone.” Imagine my reaction to that.

In the most diplomatic way I explained that Social Media will and has enhanced our roles. Does it make it easier.. yes and no.. it adds another level to it… Recruitment is all about finding people, or should I say finding the right people, with the right skills at the right time. Will any of these tools do that for you? Not really. Will it give you great reach for people and access to names you may have had to struggle to find previously? Damn straight. Will it foster those relationships, or work those relationships to ensure that when you reach out, people will respond? Not likely.. people do that not tools or internet sites.

I may be old fashioned, however, whilst a sucker for this medium, I find it hard to believe that Social Networking could replace or improve face to face networking, or personal discussions over a coffee. I find it hard to fathom that relationships will be that strong, or that someone would try to help if there is no emotional buy in. Whilst this is doable via social Networking, it takes time, effort and real work to cultivate that.

Has email eliminated the phone call? Does a questionnaire get rid of the need for an interview? Has the Internet killed the newspapers? Did video really kill the radio star?

That said, my parent bought a Beta video player and were proud of it, defending their choice even after years of picking from the same 5 videos in the video shop. It apparently is widely known that Beta was the better product, however VHS was the biggest seller (Gen Y’s please google the terms Beta and VHS 🙂 ).

The moral….? nothing will ever replace hard work, quality does count, however you do need to move with the times, catch the occasional wave to ensure you stay relevant and be flexible you never know where you will end up.