Arrogant, lazy and impatient.
Words that have been bandied around in society to describe Generation Y also known as the Millennials or Me generation. They are not words that are typically thought of as favourable, are they?
Let’s consider how these qualities can be seen as favourable in the context of entrepreneurship and small business.
With the increasing trend toward the ‘quarter life crisis’ replacing the once well known ‘mid life crisis’, reassessing life and career direction across society is happening earlier. Marriage and kids (and sometimes moving out of home) are happening later.
There’s much more space for entrepreneurship and innovation in Australia and I believe it’s Gen Y who have the capability to lead the charge when they encounter these ‘quarter life crises’.
Which is why Gen Y is Gen Yes when it comes to entrepreneurship and small business.
Some of you may think that entrepreneurship isn’t necessarily a generational thing. That it’s not just Gen Y and that a fair share of Baby Boomers and Gen Xs have given it a go. Many have been, and others currently are, successful in the space.
The difference is Gen Y have been blessed with more freedom and choice. That includes freedom to explore all different types of career options. That’s because access to information, social media and technology change are making it easier to make career choices.
Although Gen Ys have been less likely to be starting a business in Australia when compared with their older compatriots, this is not the case in the US and UK.
I already see signs of this happening and predict the overseas trend of impatient and agile Gen Ys accounting for a larger share of small business start ups will become apparent in Australia in the near future.
So how can arrogance, laziness and impatience support a shift in thinking beyond having a job to being the boss?
I wouldn’t call it arrogance. Confidence is more apt. That is, confidence in abilities, confidence to try something new and confidence to embrace technology. Confidence is a key component of starting a business, and when combined with courage, provides a good foundation for taking action.
It’s not about being lazy. From my experiences of managing Gen Y in the workplace, it is instead about not wanting to follow inefficient processes and procedures that defy logic. Asking Why?, for example, ‘Why is it done this way’, ‘Why don’t we do it another way’, is a good thing. Not wanting to comply or conform isn’t about laziness, it’s about wanting to do things a better way.
The workplace attitude for prior generations was all about doing your time, earning your stripes and proving that you work hard. If you did this, then you were able to get ahead. Gen Ys want to focus on lifestyle and more work life balance which can be misinterpreted by some as being lazy.
It seems the Gen Ys follow the ‘smarter not harder’ approach in both life and business.
Is there really an issue being fast paced, agile and proactive when it comes to career choice and wanting satisfaction and enjoyment?
Today’s society doesn’t allow for much waiting time given the pace of change across all industries and the ongoing developments in technology.
Let’s not take exception to Gen Y for overstaying their welcomes and still living with their parents, or be annoyed for popularising selfies.
We should be riding the Gen Y wave of optimism, relishing in their responsiveness to change and admiring their ambition.
Let’s encourage the healthy attitude to entrepreneurship, risk and innovation that they bring to society, and in particular, Australia. And at the same time use them to help us develop the attitude that if we are letting life lead us on a path we don’t want to be on then it’s okay to change direction and create our own path.
To the Gen Ys: Consider those behavioural traits in a positive way and consider where you might fit in the entrepreneur landscape.
To everyone else: With regard to any potential gripes against Gen Y that some of you may have in relation to those traits of arrogance, laziness and impatience, then just remember, perhaps some of us were like that when we were that age anyway!
I would be interested to hear your thoughts on this topic so in true Gen Y style, please provide your comments AND connect with me on my social media platforms.