America is FAST becoming a service based economy again and Generation Y’ers, right there in the middle of it, are going to find themselves in over their heads. Gen Y has been sold a unique bill of goods regarding technology and communication. Taught that traditional communication such as Face to Face and Telephone communication are likely on the way out, Generation Y has focused on digital communication such as Social Networking, Email, and HTML Code.
To succeed in the next economy it’s believed that if one cannot build the perfect website and write html code for searchability then they might as well prepare for minimal pay and scarce work. However, those who wrote that curriculum didn’t fully understand the power of the new economy and what TRULY drives the dollars within it.
The true force of the economy, in any capitalistic free economy, is that people have wants, needs, and desires and people looking for income position themselves as best they can to fill these needs. The money exchanged is what grows the economy and makes life livable for everyone.
It’s no surprise that Bachelor Degrees,Doctorates, and PhDs are specifically in demand. Skilled people who know how to use these degrees as qualifications to gain entrance to the workforce will always be the ones who succeed and prosper. However, what is truly scary is that this element is not at the forefront of the education system. It would seem that the general consensus of those entering college today is:’Get Degree, Job will Follow.’ But, the degree is nothing more than a stepping stone. (Personal reference coming) I decided to pursue a bachelors degree later in life (30) for my own personal growth, not as a means to obtain a job. What I found astonishing is that little effort was made to show students how to actually use this degree. The thinking exists that suggests the degree is what gets hired, not the man or woman. This is far from the truth. A degree is a qualification needed for entrance into the corporate world, but it is not a definable skill set. Degrees are akin to being able to ice skate. Simply having that one qualification does not make one NHL ready. It’s a necessary step but a player must also have stick handling ability and the instincts to think on the ice in the midst of fast paced hockey action. Degree, like skating, may get you on the ice but once there you’re going to be expected to do more.
When attending college, students are taught getting good grades, which is simply an extension of the reading, writing, arithmetic model they had mastered in high school, will prepare them for the rigors of creative marketing strategy meetings, meeting payroll, securing a profit, and annual budgeting. The sad fact of the matter is that a degree is worth nothing more than the person who holds it. Even sadder is that the degree holders are not taught the necessary deductive logic to blame their own shortcomings when they fail to impress those doing the hiring. In fact, the popular response is to blame the economy, politicians, corporate executives, HR departments, and their post-graduate career services.
The greatest neglect made by the generations in, and just recently out of, college is in personal interaction. I know it’s shocking that the first generation to have Twitter and Facebook as a primary communication medium during what should be the most interactive time of their life (High School) might be rough around the edges socially, but it’s true. Unfortunately, through all the advancement made by the past generations away from basic social skills the next generation has been sabotaged and set up to fail.
So now we, as every generation does, expect the next generation to pick up their mantle and give the economy a boost. In the meantime we get less patient and more and more disappointed. Generation Y’ers who are raised to work only on computers, quietly without hand to hand communication, are now expected to successfully Negotiate, Sell, and Service? Convinced for so long that they would never need to pick up a phone, respond to a timely email, or actually speak with a customer? Here comes the boom!
While the world is connected via social networking and websites, forgotten is the need for human interaction and communication. This presents a unique opportunity for some wise entrepreneurial members of generation y. The skills that have kept their traditional social powers at bay have made them terribly intelligent technically. It would behoove the motivated within Gen Y to apply themselves to the ‘old school’ style of communication so as to diversify their value and stand head and shoulders about their peers. This is not hard, it is simply done by refusing to accept those practices which are considered the social norm. Picking up the phone to call rather than texting, making small trips to do some face-to-face interaction with those in power, leadership, or are simply older would take a few moments and go a long way in personal growth.
The fact remains that, at least for a while, generations who are not entirely understanding of social media, who prefer to work in a more traditional sense, those who own businesses that need to update to the times, these should be their target employers. Help them along in the new economy, by being a child of both worlds. Connecting the past to the present will find generation y’ers employed and valuable.
Kevin Redford is a speaker and author on the subjects of leadership, motivation, social media marketing, and customer service. He is available to speak at your next event, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Kevin is also available for small business consulting.