Getting The Job

Closing the gap between the ‘gens’

Sure, every young job seeker below the age of 30 talks about the ideal Google office environment where it’s literally stripped of all conformity of an office.

It’s the “Neverland” of a workplace where, in the name of creativity, staff are allowed to dress down, bring pets to work, play games electronic or otherwise anytime of the day and are feted by a 24 hour cafetaria with an impressive menu, so long as personal targets and deadlines are met.

And here in Malaysia, the closest we can get to an office like this is that of a Telco (telecommunications company) in Shah Alam. In order to adopt a work environment like this would require a change in mindset, one that not many managers from the baby boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) era would be able to achieve.

And having said this, I must also add that these managers are already putting in effort to understand and accept what some may describe as the quirkiness of the Gen Y employees.

“Like what?” you (if you’re below 30) might ask.

First, it is about your dressing when a person of your generation walks into interviews in spaghetti strap tees, jeans and sneakers. The next is your need for work-life balance as part of your job expectations even though many from your generation might not have as yet worked a single day in your life. Another factor is your demand to have freedom to access social media during office hours as you find that staying connected is indeed necessary.Unfortunately, for these youngsters, a larger population of those in managerial positions are still those from the baby boomers era and would still turn up their noses to these demands.


So how does one strike a compromise? I would say all job application rules should apply. That would include research such as getting into the minds of these managers and seeing what they expect, how to make a good first impression (like taking off the jeans and sneakers for something more formal) and request not demand for access to social media especially when you can point out its advantages in helping the company collect data. (This is more plausible as managers now are more open to social media being a useful tool for research).

With the recent move to extend retirement age, it is likely that the baby boomers and Gen X managers will stay in employment a lot longer. This would also mean a compromise in expectations between the two generations is very much needed.

It may be useful to take note that whatever the managers know about the Gen Y culture is through the reports they read and supported by their limited dealings with them which is usually confined to their own children.

And, often reports paint rather unflattering pictures of the young job seekers. A quick glance at some of the reports have given me the impression that more than 50% of them don’t pay their credit card bills, demand flexible hours and rather take a lower-paying job that allows them to facebook at work!

Hence, your first job before you get employed would be to brand yourself and to convince your employer why it would be worthwhile to hire you.

Convince them that you like flexible working conditions because regardless of where you are, your job is a learning experience so long as the environment is inspiring. Hence with the right factors, you can actually work the entire day and night or as they say 24/7, if need be.

Here are some points that you can put forth to your employer.

·The fact that you are Gen Y worker means you understand and are connected with the Gen Y market who may be among your company’s clients. You will be able to give valuable input on customer behaviour .

· Show off your technical skills by using the social media to learn and brand yourself. As such you will be able to understand and find creative ways to help with branding the company.

·Your eagerness and energy in persuading your employers or potential ones will give you a leg up in getting to the other side of the divide.

Article by Paul Kam in Workable Tips, Star Education