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Gen Y Workers Reinventing IT for the Better 447

Posted by Zonk
from the worse-or-better dept.
buzzardsbay writes "We all know the complaints about young employees. They depend too much on their parents' money, they need constant hand-holding, they have no job loyalty, they demand more than they're worth, they disrespect older employees, and they're naive about corporate culture. But despite this conventional wisdom, there's growing evidence that the different working styles of Gen Y workers might be causing fundamental — and beneficial — changes in the way enterprises run, especially when it comes to IT. For example, they may show better judgment when making tech purchases and are often better with green IT initiatives. This is a nice counterpoint to a previous story (and resulting incendiary comments) that dubbed young tech workers a risk to corporate networks."
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Gen Y Workers Reinventing IT for the Better

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  • by mr_mischief (456295) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @11:23AM (#22806836) Journal
    Is it any wonder, with tens of thousands of layoffs every couple of years, why workers don't feel a strict loyalty to the companies that employ them? If the company isn't willing to maintain their educated, trained, experienced workforce through a minor downturn, then they should expect the employees to look for better opportunities.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by electrictroy (912290)
      I've been working as a "1 year contractor" ever since 1999 (I graduated 1997). I have no loyalty whatsoever. This is just a way to collect money for my future retirement.
      • by cayenne8 (626475) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @12:05PM (#22807360) Homepage Journal
        "I've been working as a "1 year contractor" ever since 1999 (I graduated 1997). I have no loyalty whatsoever. This is just a way to collect money for my future retirement."

        I agree 100%. I like my work, and will work my butt off, but, I will not work for free. I hope I never have to have a salary job again. Even when I have to do some contract work W2, I go hourly. But, I prefer c2c 1099 work. I can easily afford my own insurance (I'm a bit of a risk, but, still only about $200/mo)...and with the high deductible insurance, I can run my own HSA (Health Savings Account), and sock away about $2900/yr pre-tax, and use that to pay any medical fees...glasses, contacts...OTC meds, etc. The HSA isn't use it or lose it as are the medical savings accounts you get as a direct employee. I can also invest the money in the HSA like an IRA..and have it grow over time too. In the long run, you can come out way ahead that way.

        Also, if you incorporate, you can write stuff off (cell phone, mileage, internet connectivity)...and best of all, with an "S" corp, you can save a good deal of money spent on employment taxes (SS, Medicare).

        I'm loyal to whomever wants to pay me. I'll work when they need, as much as they need, but, I will make money for ever second I'm there. I'll happily take that money, and invest it myself for my retirement.

        Years back, I learned that the old days of company job for life was over. The companies have NO loyalty at all for employees. I figured, fine...if that's the case, then I'll treat them the same way. If I'm just a body....then they are just a paycheck, and I'll go wherever the biggest paycheck comes from.

        • by Moryath (553296) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @12:13PM (#22807478)
          They depend too much on their parents' money

          Really? I hate the silver spoon assholes myself. Then again, I'm a Gen-Y who had to work my way up and had a job at age 14.

          they need constant hand-holding,

          Try not hiring stupid silver spoon assholes.

          they have no job loyalty,

          See parent post - when you can be laid off at any time, when your work doesn't give a crap about you, when the employer is constantly trying to find new and inventive ways to screw you for health insurance or even for basic wages, why should you be "loyal" to them? How about when I watched my dad, a "loyal" employee for three decades, booted out the door after his company was acquired with the equivalent of a "don't let the door hit you on the way out"???

          they demand more than they're worth,

          Probably so that they can have something left when the employer inevitably fucks them over.

          they disrespect older employees,

          Give respect, receive respect. It's a two-way street.

          and they're naive about corporate culture

          On the contrary, they know enough about it to know that employee "loyalty" is something their employer likely doesn't deserve and to be alert enough to know that they shouldn't expect the employer to give a shit if something happens.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by cayenne8 (626475)
            "See parent post - when you can be laid off at any time, when your work doesn't give a crap about you, when the employer is constantly trying to find new and inventive ways to screw you for health insurance or even for basic wages, why should you be "loyal" to them?"

            From my previous post...you'll see I am not a proponent of 'loyalty' for many reasons you put forth.

            But, as far as basic wages...you gotta learn (the earlier the better) how to negotiate for max $$. A bit hard to do on 1st job, but, after tha

            • by Moryath (553296) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @02:29PM (#22809474)
              if god forbid you have a chronic or congenital condition - heart murmur, asthma, family history of anything at all, severe allergy to something or other.

              Really. From experience: private health insurance isn't worth the paper it's written on, and your rates will screw you if there is anything that they can call a risk... or worse yet, you get "coverage" and then they claim that everything under the sun is "related to a pre-existing condition" and force you to go into court to try to get them to pay, knowing they can run the clock for fucking years before having to present you with your check and hoping that you'll give up after the umpteenth appeal their army of shysters^H^H^H^H^H demonic assholes^H^H^H^H^H^H lawyers file.

              Shop around for doctors like you do anything else

              It's the emergency stuff I most worry about. There's nothing worse than sitting in the emergency room and being told by the nurse that you have to talk to the insurance company's lawyer to get approval while you're coughing blood. And when it's an emergency, "shop around" doesn't apply.

              That and the fact that you can't "shop around" for insurance. Every time you apply for insurance and get rejected, they stick it in the file and it's a black mark against you for future applications because the other companies go "hey, company X rejected, let's find out why using triplicate forms and make sure it takes longer than they're willing to spend time on to even apply for ours."
          • by plague3106 (71849) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @12:49PM (#22808024)
            Really? I hate the silver spoon assholes myself. Then again, I'm a Gen-Y who had to work my way up and had a job at age 14.

            Well, I'm only a Gen-Xer, but it seems that you are an exception to the rule when it comes to Gen Y.

            See parent post - when you can be laid off at any time, when your work doesn't give a crap about you, when the employer is constantly trying to find new and inventive ways to screw you for health insurance or even for basic wages, why should you be "loyal" to them? How about when I watched my dad, a "loyal" employee for three decades, booted out the door after his company was acquired with the equivalent of a "don't let the door hit you on the way out"???

            This I agree with. I never have known company loyalty, I survived a layoff only because I was a better value than the employees they let go.

            I pretty much agree with the rest of your post.. but don't fool yourself, Gen Y seems more sliver-spooned. Don't feel too bad though, the current crop of kids seem even worse.
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by Kelz (611260)
              I've worked since 15 as a Gen-Y'er, and most of my friends have done the same and/or are just getting out of college right now (I had to work, because I fall in that gap that the government says my parents should pay for college, but my parents won't). But my friends are more tech-oriented, and are generally starting to be successful in their field of choice. I can't say much about my other "peers", but then I have no idea what people my age were like 20 or even 10 years ago.

              The basic problem that *I* foun
          • by t0rkm3 (666910) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @01:09PM (#22808330)
            Give respect, receive respect is a lazy thinker's mantra to excuse bad behavior. I give respect whether or not it is deserved, and believe it or not it leaves me a superior position.

            Employee loyalty is highly conditional. Depends on where you work.

            Starting out with a negative attitude is likely to have you treated negatively. A self-fulfilling prophecy initiated by your behavior.

            On to the Article:

            1.Tech Savvy Purchasing.

            Maybe, but from the way the article was phrased it seems like they will be easier to marks for the advertising drones. So far, it seems this is true. Our interns are far more likely to ask if there is a product for a given task, rather than ask if a tool already possessed is adequate for our needs. (Obviously anecdotal.)

            Also IT GenY people seem more likely to see IT as a stepping stone to an easy management position. Good self-serving business acumen, but poor analysis of the market.

            2.Changing Job Roles and Responsibilities
            "Everybody in my generation wants to be a leader," says Healy. "There are 22 year-olds who already say they want a leadership position, and they're ready for that. I think it's a pretty cool thing."

            This is particularly troubling. I find this as I work with elite and aspiring athletes. Most of them think that they are far better than they are. This stunts their ability to work and grow. They are less likely to stick around and pay dues. This behavior extends into the workplace. GenY'rs seem to have a compulsion to speak when they should be listening.

            This could be good if you think a bunch of self-serving ladder climbing egomaniacal syncophants is good.

            3.Greening Up the Data Center

            Yep. Already seeing this as well. Some of it is valid but a lot of the proposed projects are over-hyped and poorly researched. Some poor schmoe has nearly been sacked because his overzealousness in pushing virtualization where it need not be.

            This reaches back to my previous statement about GenY's propensity to buy into marketing.

            4. Ending Consumer vs. Enterprise

            Ummm... No. The technology for enforcing this delineation is becoming more mature and feasible. This will enable us (Global Security Wonks) to keep the line clearly demarked through such things as temporal workspaces carried around on flash drives. You can carry your work environment with you, but that environment will be hardened to protect our assets, not yours.

            A wide distribution of technology does allow some bleed-over but it won't expand as much as this author seems to believe. Also GenY will probably get savvy to the idea that publishing your life online opens it to scrutiny, which is not necessarily a good thing.

            5.Bridging the Gap Between Business and IT

            Hrmmm... Possibly true, but again I think this is a marketing issue. I think the GenY management types will be easier to sell to. Good for IT, but not necessarily good for the business.

            As for the panoramic vision statement... I think that is a result of the current work environment. Businesses are more demanding. They want someone who can anticipate the next step in the business model rather than someone who presses a button when the light turns red. GenY will benefit from this, but this attribute is hardly unique to them.

            Mostly, it's more of the same. Some new ideas will stick, some will stink.
          • by AHumbleOpinion (546848) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @01:25PM (#22808550) Homepage
            Give respect, receive respect. It's a two-way street.

            I agree that it is a two way street, but respect is earned not given. When you walk through my door your will receive courtesy but not respect, and you will be treated fairly. Once you have proven yourself to me in my domain you will have earned my respect. I've seen too many who looked good on paper, had good references, talk a good game during an interview but also have overinflated opinions of their own abilities and turned out to be duds. In turn I expect to have to prove myself to you as well. IMHO you are not a real leader unless your people would follow you even though you have no rank nor authority.
    • by morari (1080535) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @11:31AM (#22806926) Journal
      Agreed. Only the foolish feel loyalty toward their employers. Not only is it due to the lack of mutual respect (whereas you are simply a number in a sales book, not a person), but also ties into Generation Y "demanding more than they're worth". This is simply not true, and an especially laughable concept when you have lazy, ignorant executives making more in a month than most actual workers make all year. You do all of the work while some higher up makes the money--why should anyone feel loyal toward that? You'd have to be pretty naive to like being exploited.
      • by gnick (1211984) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @11:56AM (#22807254) Homepage

        ..."demanding more than they're worth". This is simply not true, and an especially laughable concept when you have lazy, ignorant executives making more in a month than most actual workers make all year.
        I agree that the situation with lazy execs making fortunes off of our labor is deplorable. But, just like anything else, you're worth what somebody's willing to pay for you. That's how the free market works. If you can find another employer that feeds its execs less and its grunts more, hire on.

        If you're making $45k, but have another offer for $47k for similar levels of effort/benefits/job satisfaction, then you're worth $47k and should demand to be paid that much or jump ship. Even if you're contributions generate $250k/year for the company, you're still only worth $47k because that's all that you can market yourself for. If you were in a very scarcely populated field and could generate $250k/year, you would be worth more and could demand more. But, if $45k is all that you can demand from your employer, it's because they believe that they can replace you for someone they can pay $45k. That's how they determine your worth - Just like any other resource.

        A sad situation, but not all things in life are what we'd like them to be.
      • by mclearn (86140) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @12:02PM (#22807316) Homepage

        I hate ignorant comments like this. Do you realize the massive amount of work required to run a company? Do you understand the job security you have as an employee of a company? It's *my* job to make sure you continue to have a job. It's my job to work ridiculous hours and be on call for things you can't even imagine. I have to be multi-talented, multi-disciplined, multi-tasking, and multi-personality. I have to understand the nuances of industries that aren't even related to my field. I spend massive amounts of money and personal time making sure that YOU are able to produce for me without being sidetracked by unrelated issues.

        So don't tell me that I don't deserve it.

        PS: For all of those people about to come back with crap-ass comments about "I should pay you more to retain you.", let me get that out of the way. I pay what I can. In fact, I go without pay to make sure you get paid. Yes, perhaps I'm in the minority, but you know what? Those years that are better than others? I'll take my fair share. If I am directly responsible for procuring 100% of the business, and you are responsible for creating a product that retains that business, then I trump you anyday. This is what people don't understand: sales *is* hard. If it were easier, you'd get paid more.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 20, 2008 @12:21PM (#22807596)
          "So don't tell me that I don't deserve it. "

          Bullshit wage is a matter of population size and how much that populationt will bear, wage vs skill has been decoupled for a long time. Imagine being as skilled as you are in a small population, your wage wouldn't be shit, yes you ARE exploiting people give it up. I mean no offense what-so-ever but there are generally two strategies to get rich (with a bit of back and forth):

          -take a lot from a few
          -Take a little bit from everybody

          It's how massive corporations are able to pay insane wages to their employee's, simply by having an economy of scale and being in a strategic position in the market where demand and profit is not grossly out of line.
          If I'm a CEO there's fundamental limits on my time, there's no way anyone deserves $250 fucking million dollars, I don't care who you are. Once you're making over a few hundred grand a year you're treading on very thing ice.
        • by danaris (525051) <danarisNO@SPAMmac.com> on Thursday March 20, 2008 @12:27PM (#22807682) Homepage

          First of all, you certainly seem to be in the minority, judging from the figures I've seen over the past few years.

          Second of all, I have to ask what you consider your "fair share", because if it's more than 300x what I made that year, I can tell you for certain it's not "fair".

          Third, unless you're running a very small company (which is, of course, entirely possible), you are not personally responsible for procuring 100% of the business.

          Now, don't get me wrong: unlike many slashdotters, I believe that someone with really good management skills can make a *huge* difference to a company or whatever fraction thereof he is given charge of. But you can't pretend that executive compensation in America, in general, is anything short of insane right now. Executives get brought in, proceed to take the company boldly into completely the wrong direction, lose it billions of dollars, and are sent packing with a "golden parachute" worth more money than my gross income combined over my entire lifespan.

          You may very well be different. And, in all honesty, that might be the exception, and not the rule: I haven't done exhaustive research to come up with statistics on it. But I do know that the average executive salary is more than the average worker's salary by a greater percentage than (I believe) it ever has been in the past—including during the Gilded Age before there were any labour laws.

          Don't even try to claim that this is the way it should be.

          Dan Aris

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Red Flayer (890720)

            Now, don't get me wrong: unlike many slashdotters, I believe that someone with really good management skills can make a *huge* difference to a company or whatever fraction thereof he is given charge of. But you can't pretend that executive compensation in America, in general, is anything short of insane right now. Executives get brought in, proceed to take the company boldly into completely the wrong direction, lose it billions of dollars, and are sent packing with a "golden parachute" worth more money than

        • blah blah blah...I don't sympathize. All the stuff you list that you do for your employees are things that you are SUPPOSED to do as an owner/upper management. The fact that you think you are going above and beyond the call of duty by doing basic management functions is a major problem.

          My advice to you is find a few of your most talented younger employees and see if they can help you streamline the way you operate on a day to day basis. See if they can help you clean out the uneccesary, process-oriented BS in your proceedures and focus on what will make you money.

          Also, please take a vacation. Judging from your post, you are pretty stressed out.

          I think your heart is in the right place, you just need to rethink some things so that all of your effort isn't wasted.
        • by pla (258480) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @12:36PM (#22807830) Journal
          If I am directly responsible for procuring 100% of the business, and you are responsible for creating a product that retains that business, then I trump you anyday.

          Following your hypothetical - Without me, you have no product to sell. Without you, I still have the product, just not an efficient way to get it to market.

          The combination benefits us both, but don't get all uppity that you "make" the company. Put bluntly, I can do your job (admittedly not as well as you). You can't do my job at all. If I make half as many sales without you, I make the same, and you starve in the gutter.


          This is what people don't understand: sales *is* hard. If it were easier, you'd get paid more.

          Selling refridgerators to Esquimos takes work. Selling gasoline to an SUV owner takes nothing more than physical presence.

          Most products fall between those two, but if you believe "sales" really takes hard work, you most likely don't really care about serving your customers' needs, just closing the sale - Which means I would neither work for/with you nor buy from you.
        • by AutopsyReport (856852) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @12:47PM (#22808002)
          The difference you missed is that he was talking about executives, you're talking about being the owner of a business. There's a substantial difference between the two positions.

          Executives have lower risk. They typically have no responsibility to ensure employees are kept employed, but they are charged with keeping the business flowing, keeping shareholders smiling, etc.

          Likewise, owners also do not have the responsibility of ensuring their employees are kept employed. A business owner doesn't conduct business to keep people employed, but it's a byproduct. The owner has the responsibility of ensuring their business succeeds, and that translates into sustainable employment for the hired hands.

          You can jump off that horse anytime. The tone of your post is even insulting to me, and I, like you, also run my own business and employ others.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          I've got to agree that as techies we often discount the huge contributions of the business-centric employees that we only see in the occasional meeting (making technically challenged comments we'll probably snicker at later). The two worlds rarely understand (or even see) the work entailed in the others' job. Being occasionally stuck somewhere in between gives me a big appreciation of what you do.

          On the other hand, it seems a little ironic that you're complaining about techies' "ignorant comments" and you
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Pojut (1027544)

          I hate ignorant comments like this. Do you realize the massive amount of work required to run a company? Do you understand the job security you have as an employee of a company? It's *my* job to make sure you continue to have a job. It's my job to work ridiculous hours and be on call for things you can't even imagine. I have to be multi-talented, multi-disciplined, multi-tasking, and multi-personality. I have to understand the nuances of industries that aren't even related to my field. I spend massive amoun

      • by Ethanol-fueled (1125189) * on Thursday March 20, 2008 @12:07PM (#22807390) Homepage Journal
        "90% of my job is convincing you that you don't deserve yours"

        --Catbert, evil director of human resources
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jellomizer (103300) *
      Most companies do... Employees are considered an assets and if they lay them off there is the fact of having to hire and retrain new ones when it picks up again. Most of the time these layoffs are not from a down turns but from a buyout or mergers where they are duplicate jobs, that are no longer needed. But there is a vicious catch 22 problem if the employees are willing to work only 18 months then the company is not going to invest in them just to have them higher skilled to work for a competitor. In t
    • How about Worker loyalty?

      LOL. Thanks to this dumbfuck [wikipedia.org], we're all just replaceable cogs as far as corporate goes.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by R2.0 (532027)
        Hmmm...From your link:

        General approach

        * Defining the skill sets required for each job.
        * Select workers with appropriate abilities for each job.
        * Setting standards on method for performing each job.
        * Training for standard task.
        * Planning work and eliminating interruptions.
        * Wage incentive for increased output.

        How many rants on /. have th
  • by Infonaut (96956) <infonaut@gmail.com> on Thursday March 20, 2008 @11:26AM (#22806860) Homepage Journal

    These sorts of broad characterizations about the youngin's have been going on forever.

    If you really want some insight into how generations interact in America, and how this interaction influences history, check out Strauss & Howe's Generations [wikipedia.org], a book published in 1991 that still offers many insights.

  • by gnutoo (1154137) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @11:26AM (#22806866) Journal

    Ask Bill Gates if there's anything wrong with having lots of backing when you need it. Getting time on computers in high school, going to college and having a backing were all very good for Microsoft. The same lessons and more apply today because there are far fewer "real" jobs to go around thanks to H1B stuff [programmersguild.org]. Ignoring resources is harmful.

    • by megaditto (982598)
      Microsoft paid many billions of dollars in taxes, with Bill paying over US$ 5 billion personally. It's very impressive considering that the only thing they sell is a bunch of abstract 0's and 1's produced by their workers' brains. New engineering hires start off at $80k /year, H1B or not.

      If you are any good, they'll hire you. If you aren't, you can take your xenophobia somewhere else.
      • by truthsearch (249536) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @12:02PM (#22807320) Homepage Journal
        I guess you've never worked in human resources for a medium or large company. I don't know about Microsoft specifically, but it's very common to pay H1B employees far less than other employees. When asked why, the employees are typically told it's due to legal fees to support the H1B. I've seen people threatened to have their work visa revoked when asking for a raise that was common to all other IT workers in the company. I've also seen HR turn away every qualified citizen for a position so they could fill it with a cheaper employee on an H1B. Meanwhile the H1B was specifically created to fill positions for which no local workers qualify.

        It's not xenophobia. These are things discussed openly with HR departments. It's no secret that many companies use work visas to get cheaper labor.
      • by gnutoo (1154137)

        Sheesh! Have things gotten so bad around here that you can't even say something good about Bill Gates without some fanboy jumping to Microsoft's defense and calling you a racist?

        And what a pathetic and contradictory slander that is. The Programmer's Guild is looking out for everyone's interest. They point out that Microsoft no longer hires US workers for entry level positions, so you can stick Microsoft's starting rate up your ass. Companies abuse the H1B program to treat people like slaves [wikipedia.org]. Anyone d

    • by ricebowl (999467)

      because there are far fewer "real" jobs to go around thanks to H1B stuff. Ignoring resources is harmful.

      For the record I'm British, and not working in the US, or for a US company. But, there's two responses to your comment; the first is that 'ignoring resources' is not harmful, it's a violation of the H1B program; foreign workers are allowed into the US only if workers with a similar skill set cannot be found locally [wikipedia.org] (I suspect that this doesn't take into account the cost of labour, but I'm not sure).

      My s

      • by gnutoo (1154137)

        A real job is one where you can apply your training. An unreal job is one you could have gotten out of high school or before that you have to take to make ends meet. It happens.

        Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] and the Programmer's Guild [programmersguild.org] both explaining how the H1B program is nothing like you think but that's beside the point. My point was to take advantage of family money if you have it. Bill Gates never had to work for anyone else in his life, which proves that you don't have to work for others if you have a good enough id

      • by cayenne8 (626475) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @12:55PM (#22808086) Homepage Journal
        "But, there's two responses to your comment; the first is that 'ignoring resources' is not harmful, it's a violation of the H1B program; foreign workers are allowed into the US only if workers with a similar skill set cannot be found locally [wikipedia.org] (I suspect that this doesn't take into account the cost of labour, but I'm not sure)."

        Except that's not how H1B works in practice. What happens is...companies bring in all the H1B's they can, feigning that they can't find US workers to fill the spots. There are plenty of US workers for the spots, but, just not at substandard wages. They bring in the H1B's at much lower salaries, and often with unwritten threats of termination or revocation of visa if they ask for more money. All this does is drive down wages and take jobs from US workers trying to live and raise families here. To a H1B, it is still a LOT of $$, but, often they just live here in poor conditions and send money back home. They accept wages that would be very hard for a US family to get by on with a decent house and kids.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Stiletto (12066)
          To a H1B, it is still a LOT of $$, but, often they just live here in poor conditions and send money back home. They accept wages that would be very hard for a US family to get by on with a decent house and kids.

          This last sentence contradicts the previous one!

          So what you are saying is, the H1B worker can not only live with his salary, but has extra money to send back to his family, yet the American couldn't even get by with that very same salary?

          Do you think it might just possibly be the fault of the America
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by macshit (157376)

          Except that's not how H1B works in practice. What happens is...companies bring in all the H1B's they can, feigning that they can't find US workers to fill the spots. There are plenty of US workers for the spots, but, just not at substandard wages. They bring in the H1B's at much lower salaries

          Maybe that's how the companies you're familiar with work, but don't pretend it's some universal rule.

          The H1Bs I know all make pretty damn good salaries.

          A basic problem seems to be that U.S. immigration laws are b

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 20, 2008 @11:33AM (#22806966)
    Company loyalty does not exist with respect to a company's 'loyalty' to an employee.

    As an employee, my loyalty extends only to the next paycheck, and no further.

    Want to assure my loyalty, treat me like a person, not a 'resource'.

    Give me what I need to do my Job, and listen to how I could possibly do my job better.

    Give me training, don't let the value of my skills decline.

    Give me a mentor, don't just sit me at a cube and expect to learn EVERYTHING myself.

    Many companies think they can just bully young employees into working long hours, for crappy pay, nope, not me. But then again, I'm in engineering, and NOT IT, so it's a bit different.
    • by cayenne8 (626475)
      "Many companies think they can just bully young employees into working long hours, for crappy pay, nope, not me. "

      That's pretty much how everyone has started their careers...since the dawn of time.

      I don't see it changing very soon. Everyone since now...has generally had to pay some 'dues'....

  • Yes, they have grown up with IT, so when they replace the previous IT manager who had moved there from accounting because he knew more about computers than the CEO, sure, they'll improve things.

    But it doesn't mean they'll be better than a seasoned IT professional. Experience is still the best teacher. In a few years Gen Y will be bitching about these damn "Millinials" and whatever buzzword they tag on the next generation as well.
    • Gen Y == Millennials the oldest millenial is about 28 (born in 1980), so they could have about five years experience after college. funny thing I thought the job loyalty went out the window with the last half of Gen X, course I'm right there at the tail end so I could be a bit skewed, but wasn't it the 90's when the dot com bust hit and other industries suddenly panicked about paying for retirements and pensions for the baby boomers and started slashing middle management positions?
  • by ivan256 (17499) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @11:35AM (#22806996)
    The summary has three pretty common statements in it:

    they have no job loyalty, they demand more than they're worth, they disrespect older employees,
    Let's take them on individually, shall we? I think I can, since I think they all apply to me in one way or another...

    No job loyalty? Well, my employer will ditch me whenever it's convenient for them, so why shouldn't I treat them the same? My older co-workers do the same. This is a fact of the modern workplace and is generation neutral.

    Demand more than we're worth? Ok... Well if I have a job offer for 20% more elsewhere, I'm worth 20% more... It's not my problem that you have "no budget for raises" three consecutive years. My value increased over those years even if your shitty business model didn't. Now if you want to tell me that I demand more than I'm worth to you, then we'll talk... Or if you want to revisit the loyalty issue, maybe I'll be willing to cut you some salary slack... Either way, I also don't think this is a generational issue since many of my older co-workers are significantly overpaid for their contribution level without even needing to ask. This leads into the third point.

    No respect for older co-workers? Well I'll cop to this in a conditional fashion. I have tremendous respect for some of my older co-workers. The ones that pull their weight, keep up with required knowledge, and appreciate the value of a more junior contributor than themselves. The ones that a right all the time because of what their resume says, and not due to any critical thinking, and who contribute zero to an effort beyond their experience can go suck a nut. I can put an older co-worker into one of these buckets within a few technical conversations. If somebody disagrees with me on a technical issue and tells me why with a reasoned explanation, they go in the "earned my respect, and a mental note to learn as much from them as possible". If the same situation arises and the more senior co-worker explains that their right by quoting their resume to me they go in the "probably full of shit 90% of the time" bucket.
    • Gen Y gets it right. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by iknownuttin (1099999) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @11:49AM (#22807174)
      I don't know how old you are. My daughter is 26 and I noticed that she and her friends value friendships more than careers. Much more than my generation did. They also value the quality of life more. Meaning, life doesn't revolve around career or the job. Yes, they'll spend time and $$$ training and learning, but it's not the end all like my generation. I busted my ass in my career and so did my friends. My career is meaningless now and all of my "friends" have moved on.

      I think the Gen Y or Millenials or whatever they're called has their priorities in order. Basing your life on your career and job is idiotic and I think that's where my generation is clueless when it comes the Gen Y'ers attitude towards work. They mistake wanting a life with apathy towards their job. Jobs come and go and are easy to get; but people who really matter to you are hard to find.

      • by RobBebop (947356)

        Meaning, life doesn't revolve around career or the job. Yes, they'll spend time and $$$ training and learning, but it's not the end all like my generation. I busted my ass in my career and so did my friends. My career is meaningless now and all of my "friends" have moved on.

        (age 25) Life revolves around whatever you make of it. I think the trend in America is to make an entertainment and social experience out of it. YouTube, MySpace, and Facebook are awesome for this. People get to seek out all sorts of like-minded individuals to share experiences with, and that is also what life is about - Experiences.

        That being said, busting you rump for a career can most definitely be a significantly rewarding experience. At some point during your career, I will bet that an idea th

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        I think it's not so much Gen X vs. Y, but a cycle that happens over and over again with different families in every generation. One generation starts with almost nothing, scrimps and saves, busts their asses and works insane hours. They build a future for their children -- instilling work ethics, providing money for education, etc.

        But then their kids look around them and weigh things. They're already starting pretty well off. They're going to college, and they can probably get a decent job without havin
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        I don't know how old you are. My daughter is 26 and I noticed that she and her friends value friendships more than careers. Much more than my generation did. They also value the quality of life more. Meaning, life doesn't revolve around career or the job. Yes, they'll spend time and $$$ training and learning, but it's not the end all like my generation. I busted my ass in my career and so did my friends. My career is meaningless now and all of my "friends" have moved on.

        My sixty-something year old busin
    • by readin (838620) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @12:05PM (#22807358)
      No respect for older co-workers? Well I'll cop to this in a conditional fashion. I have tremendous respect for some of my older co-workers. The ones that pull their weight, keep up with required knowledge, and appreciate the value of a more junior contributor than themselves.
      One common arrogance of youth is to presume one knows enough to adequately judge the qualities of the old. I'm not really old yet, but I've learned as I've left youth behind is that I didn't know nearly as much as I thought I did, and that I didn't even recognize that I needed to learn much of what I've learned. In fact you should respect older co-workers, not give them a blank check of course, but respect them. You don't know what wisdom they may have.
      • by jedidiah (1196)
        You should judge everyone on their own merits as if you know nothing
        about their background. The old geezers should be judged by the same
        yardstick you would judge colleagues your own age. The geezers should
        get no slack for merely being old and the kids should not get any
        grief for merely being young.

        On a purely technical level, there are plenty of jobs that will never
        really allow you to develop your talents. Life in general can be like
        that. Having "served time" doesn't necessarily mean you've gained any
        wisdom
  • As easy as that. It's not easy to change a whole corporate culture, so in the end you have to break the rules to get more efficient.

    For example - a friend told me that due to company policies, the SSL port was blocked by the company, so there was no way to securely communicate with the outside (or between the workers themselves, for example, by testing the network - a lot of them used MSN). What kind of policy is that? Just to keep information from leaking without being detected? How about emergencies? People then transferred files and information via open chat, where EVERYBODY could see it. Including non-loyal employees. Last thing I knew is that my friends' team ended up using http tunnelling. In the end, nothing was gained and the IT team spent more time than they should to just work around stupid company policies.

    Another example: Forbidding non-default apps, I think this was discussed before. So you can't for example install software that will make your Windows safer, like Ad-aware or Firefox.

    This is the problem about management. You just put an idiot in front of the department and have him send orders here and there. But programmers are hackers by nature, we find out how things work and find a way to make them more efficient - whether authorized or not. And the difference between younger and older people is that older people tend to play more by the rules - even when they know the rules are WRONG.

    A "safe computing" seminar given by a security expert, could make things much more efficient at work, and educate employees to act smarter instead of having to babysit them with counterproductive policies.
    • This reminds me of a situation I encountered with a customer who's security department banned the use of SSH because "they couldn't see what was going on" in the tunnel.
    • I'll put aside the inaccuracy of 'the SSL port', and assume you meant http SSL and/or imap SSL, etc. This I cannot think of a defense for.

      In terms of third-party applications, they do have good reason for blocking software. Namely, most all users are in the mindset of 'hey, it's free', without reviewing the details of the licensing. At my work, lawyers review licenses of popular 'freeware' and often reject it due to legal liabilities. One *extremely* common thread is that all this 'free' software is 'fr
  • Gen Y (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rijrunner (263757) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @11:42AM (#22807096)

        I think the big difference is not anything they point out here.

        1) Face it, computers are basically as intimidating as cash registers. They are tools. Nothing more, nothing less. There is a mind set in a lot of workers - of any age - to be intimidated by certain technologies. Younger workers are more likely to be less intimidated by computers as they are familiar with them. Stick a Gen-Y in front of the controls of a 747 and you get a different reaction. Basically, the Gen-Y's are being presented with a technology for which they have a framework to be able to approach the technology as a tool, not a roadblock.

          Seriously.. in the IT field, we can tell who will be good at IT based upon how intimidated they are by the box coming in the door.

      2) As to length of time at a job.. well, the days of going down and getting that job at the town mill/factory and working until retirement are gone. I recall my father working a couple years at one job, then moving to the next job, then the next trying to build up that resume so he could land a job at one of the major plants in the area. When you get down to it, I think a lot of the view of how-things-were is nothing more than mis-remembering how things were. Back then, the US was where the jobs were and the companies planned to stay around awhile and there were unions to act as a balance. Companies promoted from within. Usually.

        Now? It was not the Gen-Y's who moved the garment industry to Central America and China in the 1970's. They weren't even born yet. They did not move the auto industry to Japan. They did not move the semi-conductor industry to Taiwan. They aren't the ones moving IT jobs to India now.

        They are the ones who are going to have to deal with those moves. They are the ones who have to come up with a coping mechanism for the current state of business.

        And, one of those realities is that there is no industry or company that there is a reasonable expectation of retirement in 30 years. Get a job in IT and, even if it looks good now, what will the new CEO do in 5 years?

        While I think there is hope for the individuals that comprise Gen-Y and a lot of companies, I don't see too much overlap in their outlooks. Companies do *not* have much loyalty to their employees and will look at the bottom-line first. The employees need to do the same. Gen-Y seems to better adapted to this sort of reality as it is the one they grew up in.
  • by blhack (921171) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @11:43AM (#22807106)
    The description is just flat out wrong.
    Employees today (skilled employees, not "data input specialists") are OVER educated for their jobs. Think about how common it is for people to be in college these days. EVERYONE has a bachelor's degree in something. Schools are pumping out MBAs by the Auditorium load. The sad thing is that these people are UNDER paid.
    Their bosses expectations are also WAY too high. People work 60+ hours a week for 30,000 a year. These are people with college degrees! These same people are given HUGE ammounts of responsibility, but very little authority to actually take care of their responsibilities without interaction from "higher-ups".

    The pay scales need to change.
    $30,000 a year might have been enough money to live on in 1990, but it isn't anymore. Try and rent an apartment in a major city in this country on a $30,000 a year salary. Now pay your power bill, your internet bill (so that you can work even while you're AT HOME), pay your car payment, your insurance, buy the clothes that meet your companies dress code, oh yeah, and maybe even buy food while you're at it. Don't even THINK about buying gas for that car too.

    As far as disrespect towards older employees:
    This is just ridiculous. Age should NOT be an issue related to making decisions. It should be based on experience, and knowledge. If I am more experience, and more knowledgeable about a topic then you are, you're damned right I'm going to tell you if you are forcing me to do something that is going to make ME look bad. /rant over.
    • by CRCulver (715279) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Thursday March 20, 2008 @11:52AM (#22807198) Homepage

      $30,000 a year might have been enough money to live on in 1990, but it isn't anymore. Try and rent an apartment in a major city in this country on a $30,000 a year salary. Now pay your power bill, your internet bill (so that you can work even while you're AT HOME), pay your car payment, your insurance, buy the clothes that meet your companies dress code, oh yeah, and maybe even buy food while you're at it. Don't even THINK about buying gas for that car too.

      FWIW, I lived for two years in Chicago on US$12,000. I had no problem making ends meet. If you live in a large city, you don't need a car because public transportation is adequate. You can bargain with your local neighbourhood dry cleaner's if you are giving them suits to press on a regular basis. I paid all my bills and evidentally had a lot left over, because I bought hundreds of CDs and books in that period. Now, I reside in Finland on what is probably an even small budget and get by just fine.

      What you really need a lot of money for in the U.S. or anywhere is raising a family, but if as a single person you can't get buy on a small income, you should really check to see if you have a hole in your pocket.

      • by blhack (921171)

        If you live in a large city, you don't need a car because public transportation is adequate. You can bargain with your local neighbourhood dry cleaner's if you are giving them suits to press on a regular basis.

        Chicago, new york, and the Bay area are probably the ONLY places in the country where that actually applies.

        I live in Phoenix. There is little or NO public transportation here (at least not that goes to and from my work). There is no "neighborhood" anything. There are actually LAWS in the city that prevent this from happening because it wouldn't be "pretty".

        And what job were you working that required a suit and only payed 12k a year?
        I call BS.

        • Chicago, new york, and the Bay area are probably the ONLY places in the country where that actually applies.
          Also definitely Washington D.C., and maybe Boston.
        • by CRCulver (715279)

          And what job were you working that required a suit and only payed 12k a year?

          I was getting 12K a year in student loan surpluses. I bought suits because I like to look nice. Oh, I should mention that during that period I even had enough left over to fly back and forth to Romania a couple of times a year. There's no BS involved. You can see the travelogues on my website.

      • by Kelz (611260)
        Wow, so you must've been paid under $600 rent then. At minimum $780 for a year for public transportation (assuming $3 a day). Thats $7980 just spent on rent and transportation. You have ~$4k left. I could see you eating ramen and salt for the entire year, but thats it.

        I'm basing my rent at $600, because thats about as cheap as you can find right now in the bay area anywhere close to transportation, with a roomate. If I lived near work I could rent a studio for $1600 a month, in the crappy part of town. Wh
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by powerlord (28156)
        I'm curious what the time period was for those two years.

        Currents rents in the NY Metro area are ~$2,000 a month for a one bedroom apartment.

        The lowest listed rentals I saw in the city itself were ~$1,400, in "bad" areas there were some for ~1000$. Anything further away might not put you near a train line which would necessitate a car (and insurance, gas, tolls, etc.).

        That alone just ate up your $12,000 (that was after taxes, right?). Add Telephone and/or cell phone, Gas & Electric, Internet (DSL or C
  • Same old story (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bbasgen (165297) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @11:44AM (#22807120) Homepage

      It is the same old story, retold generation after generation. I wonder how much of this cycle is a part of natural life, and how much of it comes from ignorance? After all, you'd think people would clue in that when they were young they heard the same kinds of things they are now telling a new generation of young folks. This at least seems to be a tangible way to lesser the effects of such nonsense; because the young won't so strongly revile older generations without their antecedents being so intolerable to the change their own seeds have sown.

      While change may be harder to accept the older you get, is it possible that this concept too is being challenged? It is one thing to be a farmer or an industrial worker all your life -- surely being intolerant of change is almost inevitable here. Yet, in such a dynamic economy, with jobs changing constantly, and information accessibility just beginning to reach extraordinary heights -- is it possible that tolerance of change will be ingrained in the coming generation? Imagine the kind of changes that would likely mean for society as a whole!
  • by petes_PoV (912422) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @11:47AM (#22807140)
    The claim in the article is that since these people grew up with technology they have a better idea of how to make purchases.

    So far as I am aware, none of these guys grew up in a datacentre, with terabytes of enterprise storage, robotic backups, commercial quality databases or corporate security policies. To try and scale up from having a Nintendo as a child, to being able to instantly grasp the complexities of a mulitnational network infrastructure is a bit of a leap.

    If people think that because they have always had a PC or a Mac, that qualifies them to have an opinion on "IT" (whatever that is) then there are going to be some rather big surprises coming.
    However that could explain a lot of the more egregious IT problems in industry and commerce.

  • This is good? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by wytcld (179112) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @11:53AM (#22807214) Homepage

    "All the technology-driven people I encounter are really interested in the business side of an enterprise," says Healy. "They actually go into IT because they want to be entrepreneurial, not because they they're especially technical."
    Certainly fits with what I see: 20ish kids who come in mixing MBA-style buzzwords with techie-style buzzwords and not really understanding either. The article recommends keeping them from being bored by fast-tracking them to management. Won't that make for some corporate brilliance!?

    I've been to parties in years past with young derivatives traders oh-so-impressed that they were of the generation that had removed all risk from our financial markets. Surely kids who have gotten tech degrees and jobs, but basically find tech boring and so mostly want the thrill (and money!) of a fast track to upper management can make the rest of our industries just as brilliant as it's turned out the financial sector is. Oh yeah. Let's bet the economy of the 2010's on this batch of clowns.
  • by gsslay (807818) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @11:57AM (#22807258)
    What's with the fuss? Every generation is like this.

    The previous one thinks they're feckless and idle, the new one thinks they're god's gift. The previous one had radical and new ideas in their day, the new one has radical and new ideas of their own. So all this stuff about "different cos they grew up with technology" is nothing new. Every generation "grew up with technology" of their time, they're nothing special.

    My bet is that in 30 years time we'll still be reading stuff about the latest generation "growing up with technology" and how this is overhauling the preconceptions of previous generations, whose own "growing up with technology" is apparently no longer good enough.
  • CEOs make more than they're worth. Young, entry level workers make a lot less than they're worth. Then again, who decides worth in north america? the market.

    And gen-Y-ers are more tech savvy, so ... it isn't a surprise that they make better tech decisions.
  • by MikeRT (947531) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @11:58AM (#22807270) Homepage
    I'm 24, my section manager is 37 and my department manager is 44.

    When my department manager called design meetings on products he wanted to design, I frequently shot down his ideas.

    Why?

    Because they're so bad that a 24 year old with 2 years out of college can pick them up with just a spot check from looking at his ideas. I can't disclose the details for the usual reasons, but suffice it to say that the ideas ranged from "no one would buy it because no one could use it" to "you might get our customers arrested for trying to market a product that can evade European telecommunication laws."

    Let me tell you, it's hard working someone who is nearly twice your age, makes probably 3 times more than you do, and you know has no freakin' idea about how to design a product and get it out there to the customer, especially when he originally came from a technical background. It's hard because of the fact that everytime you interact with them, you feel like you are in a twilight zone where competence varies directly with youth.

    Here's a fact, that hopefully people will learn someday. There is little connection between age and wisdom. Age will in fact make those who lack wisdom even worse because it gives them time to compound their foolishness.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by beavis88 (25983)
      You're right, I'm sure the reason your manager is clueless is because he's old. No doubt he was a whiz bang product manager when he was your age, and it's just been downhill ever since.

      Or maybe he's just a dumbass. Yeah, I know it doesn't make the story quite as juicy...
  • I have to laugh at some of these comments. I run a small high-tech company with a nice mix of old and young workers, and I see the differences in attitude every day, but somehow we all manage to get along. For the most part the young workers really are very good at keeping up with current technology and making good decisions on IT purchases. I usually just listen to their justifications briefly and then tell them to go ahead and do what they think is best. On the other hand, confirming some cliches, I can t
  • Company loyalty (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Daishiman (698845) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @12:23PM (#22807620)

    Here's a nice example of why the current generation has no loyalty to its employers.

    I work in the same place my father did. He's been working at the same company for 25 years. When he got there there was a clear expectation that it was a place where you could develop a carreer, and the company made efforts to retain employees. Good maternal/paternal leave, extended health benefits, country club, child care, discounts for many vacation places, gifts for employees' children for Christmas (I recall they were amazing gifts; I got a chemistry set and a bicycle on two of those years), a baby shower gift package for newborns with towels, diapers and food.

    20 years later, and all of that has completely vanished. One generation later and none of that is to be seen, and I doubt if there's some corporation today that has such an extensive benefits package on what once were excellent benefits but were considered within the norm.And the thing is, some of those benefits didn't add up to that much monetarily, but they did at least give the impression that the company took extra steps to take care of you.

    So, tell me again, why do these people deserve my loyalty now when it is clear that I could be laid off any minute without them looking back?

  • Who gives a fuck? Show up to work on time. Stop texting during 15 minutes meetings. Basically STFU and do your job well enough so that I trust you to make your own decisions. Stop questioning everything because at the end of the day your MySpace page experience is bullshit.
  • by Anonymous Codger (96717) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @12:56PM (#22808108)
    I'm an old fart who's been in this industry for a quarter century. About a year ago I started working at a company with a lot of young'uns just a few years out of school. I have never worked with a smarter, more creative group of people in my career. Sure, they don't feel much job loyalty, but who can blame them, given corporate behavior in recent years. These people are hard-working and dedicated, and they give me hope for the future.
  • by h3llfish (663057) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @01:13PM (#22808394)
    I really question the usefulness of this type of article. One can no more make accurate blanket statements about an age demographic than one could about an ethnic demographic. We don't see articles about what types of risks Latino workers pose to an IT infrastructure. No one would touch that with a ten foot pole. If anyone asked me to make such an assessment, I'd point out that people are all individuals, and I could easily point to good and bad examples from any given group. People should be assessed on their own merits, and not prejudged before they even act based on membership in some arbitrary category.

    But while anything that could be perceived as bashing a gender or ethnic group is off limits, the age demographics are still fair game apparently. Why? What useful information is to be gained by collecting anecdotal evidence, and then posting this type of "kids these days..." article? Should IT people treat workers differently based on age? Certainly not! Should hiring practices be informed by this type of article? I think that would be a mistake.

    I can't wait for the article that tells me not to hire Caucasian lesbians between the ages of 30 and 45, because they spend all day downloading episodes of The L Word on Bit Torrent.

    I'd prefer that I be judged on what I do or don't do, rather than someone's perception of my "group"... whatever that is.
  • by Qbertino (265505) on Thursday March 20, 2008 @05:55PM (#22812452)
    My Senior in the last company I worked for is around about 55 right now. He's one of the best programmers I've every worked with. Humorous, patient, respectfull to me (ca. 15 years younger, his subordinate), allways helpfull and an absolute wizbang when it comes to picking up new technology. And allthough me made no secret of it that he thought I am not as good a programmer as I might be a key account manager or consultant, he allways had a good word for my coding and my ideas. Some of which were better than his which he never denied. I introduced him to Linux, Python and OSS Webkits (he had like 20 years of Pascal & Delphi under his belt :-) ) and he was way ahead of me 6 months later.

    The Project Manager I'm now working with as contract Lead Programmer is a 22 years old Media Designer Trainee. He's 16 years younger than me. In his spare time (nights and weekends) he's the founder, Project Lead and lead modeler of Star Wars - The New Era [invision-games.com], a Half-Life 2 Total Conversion Mod that allready has raised some brows of Lucas Arts Execs. The man (boy?) is a fucking genius. He sucks at programming but that's not his job. ... He actually *can* programm a few lines of PHP (also because I help him along) - but *everyone* should be able to do that in a PL of his choice - remember the C64 days? What an upside it is to know what computers were built for, no? ... On it goes: He's at least as slow and detailed in his work and as easyly distracted as I am, but that's no problem. Because when he's moderating our talk with the Boss, explaining our custom CRM to end-customers, staying calm when I get all agitated over some issue or just plain doing the template/testing grunt-work it just feels great to have him around.

    If I had 10 Million Euros to found the kind of IT company I have in mind, these two would be the first I'd call. They are more than 30 years apart. And I somehow can't shake the feeling they both would get along with each other wonderfully aswell.

    Bottom line: Generation & gender issues are mostly hysteria. If you've got the right people it nearly matters squat what age they are, if they are a man or a woman, if they are a Granny/Grandpa or barely out of school. And if they are the right people, they all will get along perfectly. That's my experience anyway.

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