Archive | February, 2012

Yes, I’m Young. Thank you, Captain Obvious.

29 Feb

I almost threw my stapler at some lady’s forehead today. But then I thought about how annoying it would be to have to go down to HR and explain this,  so I didn’t. No…It was probably more because I like getting paid. $$$ =

Ok but really, this lady…

I was minding my own business at my desk and apparently a former employee of the department walked in and everyone went crazy. I don’t get what was so special about this chick. She was being very rude actually, completely ignoring me. Then someone had the sense to introduce us. She looked at me, grilled  me up and down, and then decided to bring up the age thing. Ughhh the age thing. Why do people feel the need to point it out? Gen Y is always being called out on their age and quite frankly, it’s annoying.

So she says, “Oh, how cute, I’ve been working here longer than you’ve been alive.”  

Really?!? Is that necessary?!?!

When I meet an older worker do I say, “Oh, how cute,  you’ve been using Botox longer than I’ve been alive”?

NO. I DON’T. Because it’s RUDE.  Yes, I’m young. Get over it please.

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Why Being The Youngest Person at the Office Sucks

28 Feb

I have this consuming obsession to write. Mind you, I have a paper for one of my classes that I need to write but that doesn’t seem as important. Lately it seems that all I can think about is writing for Gen Y Girl. I’m amazed at how many people are reading what I have to say and I absolutely love it. I really thought that I’d start writing and NO ONE would read. Except for my group partner in my HR class that sits next to me while we make fun of everyone else in class for having zero real-life experience and thinking that they’re going to be ridiculously successful in the workforce. So yes, let me just say I’m pleasantly surprised that some people actually take what I have to say seriously. Because usually, people see that I’m 21 years old and they dismiss me. Ughhh nothing is more annoying. Except for my group partner in my HR class (hey, you wanted me to write about you).

When I started my new job, I scanned the office and quickly realized I was the youngest person there—by at least 25 years. Wonderful. These thoughts ran through my mind instantly:

a)  Who the heck am I going to talk to?

b)   What did I get myself into?

c)    I’m going to be forever alone at this job.

9 months later, I can say that yea, I’m still forever alone. It’s been a struggle being the youngest person. People usually think I’m a volunteer.

Annoying person: “Oh how cute, your volunteering for the department. What are you studying?”

Annoyed me: “I’m an employee, thank you very much. And I already graduated college. Oh, and I’m working on my Master’s Degree.”

It’s as if they still see me like this: In Pre-K, in my car seat, dressed up as an Indian for some weird Thanksgiving song I had to sing.

But I’m not in Pre-K anymore.

My favorite thing has to be when I go to department meetings. We do this thing where we sit in a circle and go around the room sharing things about our personal lives. So I sit there and listen as these ladies (because there are no men in my department) talk about how their kids got into college and how one of them is going to be a grandma and then it’s my turn…awkward silence…I think about telling them about how I went to a club last week and met an Australian guy with a beautiful accent and was a wonderful kisser and got home at 4am…but instead I say I’ve been swamped with school work.

Being the youngest one sucks. I can’t sit here and straight up lie to you. But here are some ways that you can make the most out of this really terrible time in your career:

  1. Understand that being the youngest allows you lots of time to gain experience. Take this time to learn ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING.
  2. Understand that there will be plenty of room for you to grow. Old people retiring = job security for you if you’re smart and position yourself well.
  3. Understand that the people that dismiss you for being young won’t be around much longer. And it’s okay to be happy about this.
  4. Utilize EVERY SINGLE OPPORTUNITY to prove them wrong. Nothing feels better than showing everyone that you DO bring something to the table. That you DO have skills and knowledge and that you ARE awesome. 

How about you? What kind of crap have you had to deal with being one of the youngest people in your office? Let me know 😀

Understanding Generation Y & Their Need For Feedback: Yes, It’s Freaking Important

24 Feb

It seems that people are annoyed with us. Among the many characteristics associated with Generation Y is the notion that we have a need for constant feedback. Well, of course we do. But some managers think that we require too much attention. They find it exhausting. I was recently put in charge of conducting a survey to improve supervisor/employee relations. So I asked the question, “How often would you like a one-on-one meeting with your supervisor to obtain feedback on your performance?” I said I wanted that opportunity at least once a month. And you know what?! Everyone else said it wasn’t necessary. Apparently they must think they’re super awesome or something.

So I wonder, are we, GenY, a bunch of divas? Maybe. But I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing. Here’s why consistent feedback is ridiculously important:

1)      No feedback makes us think we’re doing something wrong

The use of social media has trained us to expect immediate feedback. Take for example this classic case…You’re out, you take a picture of yourself (or annoy someone else and ask them to take it for you). You look at the picture and think yes! I look hot. Success! New Facebook profile pic! So you instantly upload it (you can’t even wait until you get home like a normal person), and you just wait for the “likes” to come in. Why? Because OF COURSE people are going to comment on it. You look awesome. Only, they don’t. Ten minutes pass and you’re confused. Why hasn’t anyone liked my picture?! It probably didn’t upload. Oh wait, it definitely did. UGHHH. It must be that I look fat. *Starts crying* Picture DELETED. You see, we live in a time where the LACK OF FEEDBACK leads us to believe that we’re doing something wrong. Managers need to commend exceptional work on a regular basis. I think it’s called positive reinforcement or something like that.

2)      No feedback makes us think we’re doing something right

Someone please explain to me the following- how are we supposed to fix a problem if we don’t know that it freaking exists? I’m about 99.687%  sure that nowhere on my job description does it say I have to be a mind reader.    

I ask because my boss called me into her office the other day and mentioned that HER boss had run a report showing that I’ve been late 166 times and that it was not acceptable. WTF? 166 times? Alright. When I was hired, I was told I was a salaried worker so I figured being 5-10 minutes late wasn’t a big deal. Besides, you already know how I feel about set work hours. But here’s the thing. Don’t you think someone should have said something around the 5th time I was late? The 15th time, maybe? The 57th time? Even the f*&$#@& 100th time?!?!?! How the heck do you wait ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTY SIX times to tell me that this is an issue?? Managers can’t just let things go until they suddenly decide that they have a problem with certain behavior. They can’t just wake up one day and decide they want to enforce a policy. If a manager doesn’t address a behavior, the employee is going to continue behaving that way because they believe it to be acceptable. You can’t blame them for that.

So yes! We need feedback. Good managers will know this and they won’t find that annoying. They’ll understand that communication is key to ensuring that their departments function efficiently. They’ll understand that as a MANAGER, their job is to MANAGE. So if you find this exhausting and annoying, why are you in management in the first place? Perhaps you should consider an alternative profession.

Gen Y & Sexual Harassment

20 Feb

Soooo you see that bullseye? Yea, that’s what Gen-Yers look like when they start a new job. We are the perfect target for sexual harassment.

We make it so easy for them and here’s why:

1. We want more than anything, to be liked

You freaking got that job you’ve been dying for. Congrats! So first day on the job, you get dressed up, you’re beyond nervous, and you practice your lines so that you sound like the perfect employee robot. Why? Because you want people to like you. You want your boss and your co-workers to think that you’re the best thing that ever happened to them. Ok cool. Doesn’t seem like the worst thing, right? But it is because the desperate desire to get along with everyone, to please everyone, leads us to draw our boundaries a lot farther than where they should be. When someone does or says something innappropriate,we let it slide, because we feel that if we say something, we’ll be that conservative bitch that can’t take a joke. When we’re afraid of people not liking us, we accept certain things that are just not acceptable.

2. We want to move up the career ladder (even though it won’t exist for long)

We keep getting awesome projects. You can be sure that when your boss likes you, he’s going to make sure that you like him back. So he’s brilliant. He gives you great, rewarding work. And you eat it up because OF COURSE you’d rather coordinate a community event than make copies and schedule meetings. He introduces you to all the right people. He makes sure you get to attend important meetings. AND YOU LOVE IT.

3. We’re ridiculously naive

It’s pretty difficult to notice sexual harassment when you actually like the person, when the person is nice and seems to be helping you with your career. That’s why so many of us fall for it. We think, awesome, I’ve got a friend now and it just so happens that he’s in a position of power. In addition, most of us Gen-Yers entering the workforce do so single. So we want to meet a cute guy and when we find one that’s being nice to us and showing interest we think, score! We picture ourselves going to company parities together. We think, wow, how cute, John and his secretary ended up together. Or Sarah and Phil from finance, they’re quite the power couple. Not to mention that they’re in suits. Ohhhh the power of the suit.

BUT IT’S NOT OK.

It’s not okay for anyone you work with to put you in these situations. At the end of the day, they should know better. We’re easy targets because we don’t know any better. Most of us don’t have an extensive experience with sexual harassment. So Gen-Y, be a little more aware when in the workplace. Here’s a tip…If your boss has an issue being seen with you in public, then something is up. Soemthing is inappropriate. Because if his intentions are genuine and there’s nothing inappropriate going on, he won’t try to hide it. Some relationships should be stricly business. Keep them that way or I promise, you’ll find yourself in a situation that sucks.

Disconnecting Gen Y? Big Mistake

15 Feb


My boss tried to cancel my Microsoft Messenger account. This morning I logged on to my computer just like any other day and well, my account was down. Zero access to my e-mail. So I called my awesome IT guy and he tried to figure out what the heck had happened. Then he goes, “Well it seems that someone tried to cancel you IM account and instead, they cancelled all your accounts.” RAGE. Why on earth would anyone try to cancel my IM account?!?! I think I would have been less upset had someone told me my cat died. Ok maybe I’m exaggerating, but only a little bit.

THAT IS HOW I SURVIVE MY DAY!

So now, I’m upset because I spent a good oh I don’t know, 3 hours, working with IT to get my e-mail account up and running again.  In an effort to make me more productive, my boss took away 3 hours of my working time.  She also made me really mad. She made it seem like I don’t do my work. Lucky for me, it seems IT doesn’t really know what they’re doing because my IM is working again!

Why Instant Messaging is So Important to Me:

1. Allows me to obtain information faster than almost anyone in a not so annoying manner

Dude, IM is efficient! There have been so many times that my boss asks me to find out how to do something or who it is that she needs to talk to in order to resolve xyz issue. So what do I do? I IM my friend from my old job and ask her. AND I GET AN ANSWER. Imagine that. Rather than spending five minutes on the phone getting the run around, or rather than e-mailing someone who avoids my message when they receive it, rather than spending time trying to formally compose a professional e-mail, I just freaking ask a question! Hey, who’s the contact for Accounts Payable. Hey, if I need to create a check request, where do I find the form. Those questions are easily answered via IM. Not to mention that when I use IM, I don’t bother ANYONE. I’m not on the phone, making noise. I don’t inconvenience my co-workers with my loud voice that makes it hard for them to concentrate on their work. I just type.
2. Provides me interaction with human beings so I don’t shoot myself at work…I mean, so I learn essential social skills

Everyone in my office hates me (more on that later). NO ONE TALKS TO ME. So yes, in order tot prevent myself from jumping out the window due to boredom, I use IM to interact with my friends from other departments. It’s not like I don’t get my work done. It’s just that since I don’t have any friends in my office, I chat with them online. Besides, you need friends at work. I really don’t think that’s a crime. Instead, I think it keeps me happy and therefore, engaged.

In an age when almost everything has become digital, what separates us from others is our ability to communicate. We need leaders with social skills that aren’t socially awkward. Those are the people are going to want to do business with. I’m sorry, I don’t care how smart you are, if you can’t hold a conversation and if I can only be around you for 10 seconds before I become uncomfortable by your awkwardness, I don’t want to work with you. So really? Employers are punishing us for developing these essential communication skills? Who is it that they’re really hurting? Us or the organization?

Future of Work for Gen-Y: Project Management

13 Feb

What the hell is an Administrative Project Manager? That’s what I asked myself the first time one of my former bosses introduced himself to me. Sounded like a pretty BS title. All I knew was that he dressed up in fancy suits every day, had lots of meetings, was a workaholic, but seemed to love his job. At 30 years old, it looked like he had a good thing going on. So why do I mention this?

Because the future of work for Gen-Y will be Project Management

Here’s why we find the idea so attractive:

1. Flexibility

We can manage our projects wherever we want. You know why? Because of the beauty of Wi-Fi! Most projects that we’re put in charge of consist of extensive amounts of research, e-mails, and meetings. So please explain to me why we can’t do our research while sitting at Starbucks or at a park, outside, on a freaking gorgeous day. We want to be able to work flexible hours, tossing aside the 9-5 mentality allowing us to blend our work lives with our personal lives.

2. Accountability

I know that this might come as a shock to some people but Gen-Yers don’t want five supervisors and a manager AND a director breathing down their necks every two seconds. There are few things more annoying than that. In my current job, we have a task-tracking table where all the employees from the department have to record what they’ve accomplished that day. Every day I’m tempted to delete the file.  Now, I understand that my supervisor asks us to document our work in an effort to cover her ass. However, for us employees, IT’S ANNOYING. And quite frankly, it makes us feel like we’re being treated like children.We like knowing that we are accountable for our work. If we fail, we’re held personally accountable, not our bosses. And we don’t like to fail, so that is motivation enough to succeed. 

3. Meaningful Work

We want meaningful work. This is nothing new. In my brief experience with project management, my boss put me in charge of coordinating a Bone Marrow Drive. During the three weeks that it took to coordinate, I was so engaged in my work. I loved waking up and knowing that I was working to put together something that would help others. I didn’t mind that I was getting e-mails on my iPhone at 8pm. It actually excited me. I felt proud of the work I was doing and I felt a certain sense of pride knowing that my boss was confident in my ability to work independently to see this project through.

4. Proper Credit

We’re a generation that’s obsessed with receiving credit. We go almost anywhere and we have to “check in”, letting everyone know that we were there, regardless of the fact that they couldn’t care any less. Have a favorite restaurant? Now you’re obsessed with being the “mayor”. As new members of the workforce we want to prove to those that think we should only be making copies that we are in fact quite capable of doing real work. Nothing feels better than being able to complete a project and take credit for the work that was done.

Office Bitch or MVP? How Gen-Yers Can Use Entry Level Jobs to Their Advantage

7 Feb

God I hate doing travel requests. Calculating mileage. Running around to get the freaking paper signed by upper management. Wondering how the hell they can afford letting these people stay at 4 and 5 star hotels for their meetings. Oh well, not my business. I just fill out the form.

Travel requests, invoices, bitch work. Answering phones, scheduling meetings, running around to collect signatures. These are all common tasks that are delegated to none other than the office bitch. And who better to fill this position than a new-to-the-workforce Gen-Yer.

So what do we do? We take the job and quickly become acquainted with the world of purchasing requests, Staples orders, and PowerPoint presentations, which by the way, we never get credit for. I promise you, you’ll never hear this…

Big time Exec: “Ladies and gentlemen, that concludes my presentation. Thank you so much for joining me for this big important meeting.”

Members of big important meeting: “Big time Exec, that was a fantastic presentation. Great job.”

Big time Exec: “Why thank you, my assistant actually put it together for me. I don’t even know how to use PowerPoint but my assistant is a pro.”

It’s no secret that Gen-Y is not a fan of “Paying Dues.” Penelope Trunk even goes as far as calling it “Old School.”  So yes, Gen-Y, we’re not alone. However, for now, until management decides to wake up, we’re still going to have to deal with being the office bitch. So here’s how to make the most out of every single boring, annoying, shitty, situation.

1. The Value of Face Time

Most managers are so busy that they hardly have time to meet with their employees. The beauty of being your boss’ bitch, I mean, assistant, is that you DO have the time. If your boss asks you to find out something from one of his/her employees, rather than always sending an e-mail, whenever possible, try to meet with them face-to-face. THAT’S how you will build your network and make connections that are essential to the beginning of your career. Eventually, I promise you, these employees will start coming to you to resolve their issues, rather than waiting a week to hear back from your boss.

2. Market Yourself

At my old job, I was the Publisher Queen. I created flyers and invitations better than anyone in my department. Sure it was a bit annoying. Sure I’d rather have been doing other things. But guess what? I was good at it. So what did I do? I made sure that EVERYONE knew it. Anytime that there was an event, I would offer to create the invite or the flyer. After a few months, people from all different departments were e-mailing me asking me to create their flyers. Whatever it is that you know how to do well, regardless of how tedious it is, make sure you market yourself as a pro. If you’re really good at creating spreadsheets, jump on every chance you get to create one.  That’s how you’ll make a name for yourself. That’s how people will remember you. That’s how you’ll be given opportunities to grow.

3. See Everything As A Learning Opportunity

Ok, so sure, invoicing and contacting vendors are really a pain in the ass. Here’s my advice to you though:  learn how to do anything and everything that is a pain in the ass that no one wants to do! Why? Because there is nothing more amazing than having your boss ask you to explain XYZ process. The more you know, the more of an asset you are to any organiztion. The more reason they have to keep you. When you can teach them something, you have power. You have leverage. It’s called being indispensible.  

So even though your boss might treat you like the office bitch, if you take advantage of all that you can learn, you will certainly prove to be the MVP  and you’ll leave your boss saying…

“Kayla, what would I do if I didn’t have you as my assistant?”

Well sir, you’d be fired, because quite frankly, you don’t know how to do anything yourself.

My Rant On “Paying Dues”

5 Feb

Honestly, I don’t think there’s anything that bothers me more than when people tell me, “Kayla, you have to pay your dues.” Almost instantly, I want to punch them in the face. Lately, when everyone talks about Gen-Y, one of the first things they discuss is Gen-Y’s sense of entitlement. The fact that we think we don’t have to work for anything, that things will be handed to us. I, for one, DON’T think that things should be handed to us. If you don’t believe me, see what I have to say about Occupy Wall Street. I think that things need to be earned. But you know what? I’ve worked hard. I went to school. I studied. I pushed myself. And now I’m here, at work, just making copies? No, thank you.

Now hear me out…I’m not saying that I’m opposed to making copies. There are certain mindless tasks that need to be done in any office. But when older employees treat us Gen-Yers almost like newly- initiated fraternity members, that’s not okay. We’re here to work and we expect to be treated like equals.

I don’t get it. Older generations complain that we don’t want to work. Then, when we ask for work, they let us use the fax machine. Sometimes, if we’re lucky, they let us use the scanner. Oh but wait, I felt really useful the other day when they let me put binders together! Really?  This is all we’re capable of?

We need to be challenged. We all bring different strengths to the table and we can all benefit from learning from one another.  Just because the people we work with are double our age does not mean that all we have to offer a company is the ability to press the START button on the copy machine.

So my question is this…As a manager, if you have employees that are committed to doing more, to doing better, how is that a bad thing? I mean, you’re paying us anyway. The complaint from Gen-Y isn’t usually that they want more money, it’s that they want more meaningful work. Managers just need to really focus on utilizing Gen-Yers’ talents. And at the end of the day, that’s the difference between a good leader and a bad leader. A good leader will foster their employees’ talents in a manner in which both the employee and organization benefits. A bad leader will be threatened by the potential success of the employee and encourage this “pay your dues” mentality.

It’s obvious which leader Gen-Y would rather work for.

Occupy Wall Street: C’mon Gen-Y, They Already Think We’re Entitled Bratty Kids

3 Feb

Okay so some kids at my college campus got arrested a couple of weeks ago at Occupy Wall Street demonstrations. Joy. So everyone’s been upset and saying that it’s not fair, and yet they continue ranting about how life sucks and how the government should be giving us free stuff meanwhile, doing weird stuff like this…

and this…

Dude, that’s a lot of money to have stuck on your face.

For some reason, this issue really upsets me. A bunch of college students are prancing around campus complaining because they’re broke or because they’re going to have so much debt when they graduate (they even tweet about it on their iPhones that they bought with their credit cards) or because they’re not going to be able to find jobs, or really, any combination of those complaints. Well kids, here’s what I have to say to you. Start making better decisions in college and you won’t be so screwed post-graduation.  

The idea of getting a great education and landing a job after college debt-free is not impossible. However, people fail to recognize that as with all things, there is a trade off. Opportunity cost, for those of you more economically savvy. In high school I worked my ass off. I wasn’t the most popular girl in school but I did manage to graduate third in my class and I got offered a scholarship to my local university. The last few months of senior year consisted of everyone bragging about how they’d be going away to school at some fancy school (that won’t even pay off for another 12-13 years). For some reason, they thought that going away to school meant that they were extra smart and/or that they’d be making more money later on in life. When people asked me where I was going to school, I told them my local university. Everyone’s response was, “Why? Aren’t you smart?” My response was always, “Yes, precisely why I’m staying.”

I worked part-time since my very first semester in college. During my second year of college I applied for full-time positions and ultimately landed a full-time secretary position at a hospital. Score! I was studying Health Services Administration. I saw that as the perfect opportunity to get my foot in the door at a large health care system, securing me an employer post-graduation. I faced a lot of criticism for getting a full time job so early in life. I was 19 years old and could have spent my days sleeping until noon but I knew that it would be the best way for me to get to where I wanted to be. Graduated, employed, and debt free. Here I am two years later, 21 years old with a bachelors degree, working at one of the largest health care systems in town, completely debt free. 

My favorite part has to be running into people that graduated with me from high school. They sit together and freak out about how much money they already owe in student loans and they cry when they think about how much more money they’re going to add to that as they pursue their Graduate degrees. Then they look at me and ask, “How about you? How much do you owe?” I respond with, “Oh, $0.” Then, in an effort to make themselves feel better they always continue with “That’s great. But it’s going to suck now when you get your Masters.” That’s when I look at them and put on a giant smile and say “Actually, no. My job’s going to help me pay for it!”

With the Occupy Wall Street movement, there’s so much discussion these days about the reduction of the middle class. Now more than ever we see that people fall into the upper or lower classes and less people fall in between. Re-distribution of wealth they call it. The top blank percent make blank percent of all of the nation’s money. Now let me just say that yes I believe that there are some cases of abuse. Certain CEOs and investment bankers make more money than anyone could ever need.

But when it comes to the disappearance of the middle class, could it just be that so many Americans have gotten lazy? If that’s the case, is it necessarily their fault? Or is it the fault of the policies and social programs that have been implemented in our country throughout history? People have become used to government help. They assume that when times get tough, someone will help them out of the messes that they got themselves into. They expect it. What then, is the motivating factor to not be lazy? You see? Society in general has become more and more entitled, it’s not just Gen-Y.

Basically, what I have to say to the students at these Occupy Wall Street demonstrations is very simple. Please for the love of God or pot or whatever it is that you value, stop thinking that the world owes you something. Stop thinking that everything will just be handed to you.  Remember where you live. This is America. Things are earned.  

Embracing Change: Why it’s in Everyone’s Best Interest

3 Feb

So my boss called me into her office today to discuss my tardiness. Lovely… Okay so yes, I’ve been late the past oh I don’t know…week. Now you see, I tried to explain to her my view on standard hours  and I thought she’d be impressed with my research. Negative. Instead she told me to not let it happen again. I sat there, and nodded my head. No point in fighting her, at least not right now.

I could clearly see that she was NOT receptive to what I had to say. It seems to me like the very thought of change unsettled her. So then I had a thought. The fact is that by 2025, 75% of the workforce is going to consist of Ge-Yers, true story.  So excuse me for saying this, but really, wouldn’t it benefit our leaders to be a bit more receptive to our ideas? Given that in less than 13 years we will outnumber them?

Now I don’t think Gen-Yers are asking for anything outrageous (most of the time). I’m not asking to come into work in a bikini or get paid to watch tv shows. I want to work. But if our leaders continue implementing rigid policies and procedures with absolutely no intention of listening to us, it’s going to get old, really fast.

Gen-Yers don’t want their creativity to be stifled. They want to set their own hours and have the opportunity to learn and grow.

Unfortunately, if leaders continue to clash heads with Gen-Y, the organizations are going to suffer. Let’s work on building a two-way street of communication. Don’t be so quick to dismiss Gen-Y ideas, they may be of some value. I promise, keeping us engaged is a win-win situation. 

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