Finding the Right Jobs for Gen Yers

Bruce Tulgan
March 04, 2009

Bruce Tulgan

Founder of RainmakerThinking, Inc. and Top Expert on Leadership Development and Generational Issues in the Workplace

What a job means to Gen Yers depends on what’s going on in their lives at any given time.  Here are the seven job types for Generation Y:

Sometimes they just want to hide out and collect a paycheck. I call this a safe harbor job. There are no upsides for the employer.

Sometimes Gen Yers take a job while they are still taking stock and trying to figure out what they really want to do next. I call this a weigh station job. The key here is to get her to decide what she really wants next is to build a great career working for you … or at least convince them to work hard for you so they can trade up to that job she really wants.

When they take a job in order to spend time with friends, I call that a peer group job. At least they may look forward to coming to work. The downside is that social relations will be their primary focus.

When Gen Yers find work that aligns with their deep interests and priorities, I call it a passion job. The upside for the employers is that they will bring energy and enthusiasm to the work. The potential downside arises when the work part of work makes the passion seem more like a grind.

When Gen Yers see a job as an opportunity to work like crazy for some time with the chance of a giant payoff, I call it a big gamble job. They will often work like crazy for some time … until and unless they lose confidence in payoff.

Sometimes Gen Yers take a job to meet some idiosyncratic and hard to fulfill desire. Maybe it’s working the night-shift or working with books or working on a boat. I call this a needle-in-a-haystack job. As long as you can provide what they really want, you can be pretty sure they won’t leave.

The best case is when Gen Yers are looking at the job as a chance to make an impact at work while building themselves up with your resources. I call this a self-building job. This is most likely to bring out their best for a sustained period.

Taken from Not Everyone Gets A Tropy: How to Manage Generation Y  (Jossey-Bass, 2009) by Bruce Tulgan.

Bruce Tulgan is an expert on working with young people. For information on how to bring him to speak at your next event, visit www.premierespeakers.com/bruce_tulgan.

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