Happy New Year!
You know what I love about the beginning of a new year…. the ability to start a fresh, and this year is going to be no different. What is going to be different, is how I am going to start a fresh for 2012…. fear not, this is NOT a blog about by new years resolutions, but more of something that I have noticed as a young entrepreneur running a business with multiple staff from different generations.
It’s interesting that up until maybe 5 years ago, the different generations didn’t have nearly as much focus as they do today – the focus on the differences in the generations has been very helpful in many ways… it’s allowed us to understand our fellow peers and it’s allowed us to be more understanding when working with different generations than ourselves, but it’s also helped us to do something else…. it’s allowed us to make excuses for bad behaviour, laziness, lack of learning, and a common disregard of basic human kindness.
What do I mean?
Simple… the more we understand about our own generation, the more it seems that we (as a whole, and yes I am generalising) have allowed these common traits to define the reasons behind us not living up to all that we can be. ”I am a gen Y and therefore you should know I don’t want to start at the bottom, I want to be CEO by month 3 of employment, you can’t blame me for it, it’s my generation” or “I can’t help not liking the Gen Y’s, as a Gen X I believe in working hard for what you get… and the fact they don’t get it isn’t my fault… I am a Gen X after all” or even this, ” I am a babyboomer and you need me…soon you won’t have anyone with the experience that I have, therefore I am indispensable”. No matter who you are, just because you happen to fit into a nice neat generational group, doesn’t mean you can blame your faults or lack of success, or arrogance on your generation, or the generation of others.
You see I have had examples of those who use their generational label as a “crutch”, but then I have witnessed those special few who have well and truly ignored every aspect of their label and become exceptional people in spite of the excuses they could have used.
Recently, we hired a marketing intern Christie. She has been magnificent. She is a 24 year old female, working hard to start her career. She came to Nexus understanding that the 8 week summer internship was unpaid… but she recognised that she would get a load of experience, and the opportunity for a permanent paid internship at the end. Christie was unique – the others that were interviewed all pulled out… the first few because they didn’t want to complete the interview task I had set, and the remaining few because they didn’t want to “work for free”. Christie on the other hand, not only produced the best proposal for her set task, but now she is working for us – I don’t know what we ever did without her. A Gen Y, willing to start at the bottom and work her way to the top… breaking all the rules!
We also have a babyboomer, who is breaking all of the babyboomer rules…. Lynne, our HR Manager who at the age of 53 has embarked on an adventure of a lifetime, moving to Australia from the UK to help us in the Nexus office… this is a major learning curve for her, and she has also thrown aside the “babyboomer characteristics” and is completely open to learning… and learning from her younger peers. She has learned how to use a MAC OS, MYOB the Australian lingo and has yet to lose her mind.
I am so very proud to be surrounded by people who are choosing to “do away” with the labels of their generation and ensure that they are a success no matter what. I personally get offended when others offer me excuses for my ambition, my drive, and my passion to succeed… “Naomi you are a typical Gen Y”…. am I? Or am I someone who is willing to give it a go, irrelevant of my age, gender, generation, or others perceptions of me…
I wonder how many of you are as brave as Christie, or Lynne… and are willing to shed the badge of honour you call your generational gaps and try something new this year… be you… the successful version minus the excuses.
Happy 2012… generations without boundaries!