At age 28, Bruce Tulgan was a lawyer in New York City, working on Wall Street. He became curious about the generation gap that existed in the workplace, started doing some research, and managed to turn himself into an internationally recognized expert on young people in the workplace. He is the author fourteen books and numerous management training programs. Just in time for the Mickinac Policy Conference, Tulgan shared some of his insights with the Detroiter.
How do Generation X and Generation Y workers differ from Baby Boomers and their predecessors in the work place?
Every generation is an accident of its own history. But at the same time, life stages dictate part of the story, too. Baby boomers came into workplace in the 70s when things were still pretty old fashioned. You pay your dues, climb the ladder and have job security. The system will take care of you. Now everything has changed.
Generation X grew up in the 71s, when grown ups were caught in the "me" decade. Kids were alone while adults were busy being groovy. Generation X had parents who, in high numbers didn't stay together, or who both had to work, or who were much more permissive than previous generations of parents. Generations X came into the workplace during the late 80's and early 90's, a time of downsizing, restructuring and reengineering, and never knew the work place another way.
Generation Y was born between 1978 and 1993. Many of the same trends that shaped Generation X are shaping Generation Y. Institutions are in a constant flux because they have to be, and individuals realize that have to take care of themselves, because the institutions won't. There's also an immediacy factor-we live in a world where you can go online and find an answer to anything immediately. This new generation is going to be the most high maintenance and most high performing. They have high expectations for themselves. They expect to be connected...