Is “Paying Your Dues” dead? The rise of GenY’s Participatory Requirement.

I’ve noticed many blog posts lately about Millennials / GenY / etc in the workplace and their ‘sense of entitlement‘ or ‘not wanting to pay their dues‘, and it’s a bit confusing to me.

I am not a Gen-Y-er (though being born in 1979, I’m not technically a GenX-er either), but I’m not sure what value is brought by expecting talented people (they are talented, that’s why they got hired, right) to immediately suffer through menial tasks that do not allow them any responsibility, encourage them to contribute, or include them as part of the team.  What kind of lesson does that teach? It seems like needless discouragement to me.

I would say that if you have a Gen-Y-er on your team, a better strategy would be to include them in meetings, allow them to offer suggestions (even if you may think they’re dumb questions, it is your job to help them refine their thinking to come to a more workable idea), and generally value their contribution.  If you meet all these needs, then you create an atmosphere where they want to get you coffee to show appreciation, rather than it being a chore to be resented.

Also, do this with everyone.

On compassion.

When we are quick to judge others, people or companies that may not be communicating honestly, that may be scared of having people gossip, or spread untruths, or being perceived inaccurately, we are creating an ‘me vs them’ space for ourselves, which is fear-based and can make us feel very constricted and small in our definition of ‘ourselves’.

Bodhisattva and Compassion
Image by Tony the Misfit via Flickr

Today (whenever you may be reading this), try to remember that each of us, as individuals, employees, mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, friends and lovers, strangers and enemies are doing the best we can at this moment.  We all want to love and be loved, to be understood, to be happy.  We each struggle to get past our fears and our thoughts in order to achieve this goal.

Even you.

Even me.

We’re all in this together.

[inspired by Teresa Basich’s wonderful manifesto, and the first decent conversation I’ve had with my father in  years.]