Thursday, September 4, 2008

I’m from Gen Y and these are the things I want


My name is Mike and I’m from Generation Y. I’ve read a fair bit about what people are saying about Generaton Y, and after some introspection, I’ve realized that a fair bit of is true. So let me tell you a little bit about myself.

I’m 21-years-old and I’m university educated. Towards the end of high school, everyone told me to get a degree. Before heading off to university, I never thought about learning a trade, even though there are more and more “big money jobs” in the skilled trades.

My upbringing was pretty relaxed, actually. Both sets of my grandparents lived through the Great Depression, and they were extremely conservative in their finances and in how they raised their children. My own parents, as a consequence, were a lot more liberal in how they raised me.

In truth, like most of Gen-Y, I’ve never had it “tough.” I’ve never been extremely worried about finances. When I worked a summer at a moving company and didn’t enjoy the erratic 17 hour days followed by two hour days I didn’t grit my teeth and soldier on – I quit.

I guess because I’ve never worried about finances too much, I’m not always looking for the highest paying job there is. I’m looking for great benefits and room for growth in an awesome work environment. Provide that and I’ll be more loyal than you’d expect.

Look, my parents work long, long days. They don’t relax much. I’ve enjoyed a fair bit of material wealth because of it, but I don’t want to lead the same kind of life they do. I want to balance my career with my personal life. Guarantee me 150k/year if I work 100 hours every week in a small cubicle and I’ll tell you to get lost. Half my friends have divorced, “career-driven” parents, and I’m not walking down that path.

You might think I’m lazy, but I’m not. (No, really.) I’m willing to work hard – just not in a dead end job. I want to know my work makes a real difference at your company. Maybe it’s a bit presumptuous to want to make an impact and have a personal life, but so be it. I still think I have something to offer the right employer.

And whether you’re trying to sell me a work environment or a new cologne, please don’t try and BS me. It’s not that I can smell it a mile away – I just get so much of it these days that I ignore it. I don’t care much for random testimonials or buzz words. I care what my friends think. In one way, I’m actually very susceptible to trends - I own an iPod Touch, an iPod Shuffle, and I really want an iPhone 3G.

My ego certainly isn’t big enough to let me claim I’m immune to marketing. I just appreciate great ideas. I admit I never thought all that much of Burger King’s Subservient Chicken, but Pepsi’s Mentos videos on YouTube are pretty neat.

It would be very hard for you to repeat the sucesses of either of those unique campaigns. And the last thing you want is to look like you’re trying too hard. What I really appreciate (and what I suggest) is a bit of honesty. Show me your product’s benefits (but stay away from the hyperbole) and I’ll listen.

For example, take those Apple ads on TV with the hip Mac kid and that office drone PC guy (you know, he sort of looks like a chubby Bill Gates?). Sometimes I think that it almost seems like Apple is trying too hard with those ads, but I let it slide because:
  1. They’re amusing.
  2. They bring up good, salient points. Gosh, now that I think about it, I am tired of Windows asking me if I’m sure I really want to do such and such a task.
Really, all you have to do to appeal to me is get rid of the obvious fluff and buzz and give me the information related to your product that I’m looking for.

Also, everything I’ve read about “Generation Y” tells me that I want things like information fast. I guess that’s true, but all this really means is that it’s nice if your website has the relevant information I’m looking for in an organized format. Heck, I’ll even subscribe to your online newsletter and let you blatantly try and sell me stuff if the newsletter is also filled with quality information.

Oh, and about wanting things fast: you really need to offer a cheap, expedited shipping option (if you ship things).

No, really – this isn’t a joke! I order a lot online and I can’t stand having to wait more than a week. Please don’t try and make me wait. If you do, I’ll probably just find a store that does have the option.

So that’s who I am, and that’s what I want. I don’t think it’s too much. I don’t think it’s too unreasonable. Is it?