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Managing Generation Y

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Lollygaggers, Aug 3, 2008.

  1. Lollygaggers

    Lollygaggers Member

    I'm going to try to tread carefully here . . . I'm a mid-20s desker, and I'm growing increasingly frustrated with the management styles I have encountered so far. My biggest problems have come from a lack of feedback, a lack of motivational skills and a lack of innovation. I know there is something to be said for being self-motivated (which I feel like I am) and pressing your own ideas (which I have), but it seems like there is a disconnect with a lot of managers and my generation. I'm just curious what some of my fellow Gen Y journos have encountered out there, and also how some veterans (especially managers) view our generation. Fire away.
  2. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    Lack of feedback is something you'll have to learn to deal with -- that's been a problem in this industry since, well, forever. You'll get 100 negative responses before you get a thank you, both from coworkers/bosses and readers. It's called "having a thankless job" (and yes, I'm a desker, too.)

    Lack of innovation? Umm, send a note to Sam Zell. He seems to have some ideas about that.

    (On a serious note: this isn't a generational thing. The culture of this biz has a lot more to do with it than anyone's age. If you're young, it's new to you. ... It's not new.)
  3. Songbird

    Songbird Well-Known Member

    i'll write more tomorrow when i'm on my laptop. you sure you want the straight poop?
  4. Bubbler

    Bubbler Well-Known Member

    Gen Y? Why?
  5. JakeandElwood

    JakeandElwood Well-Known Member

    Xan, I'm interested in if he's not.
  6. IGotQuestions

    IGotQuestions Member

    well said.
  7. cranberry

    cranberry Well-Known Member

    Oh sweet Jesus.

    Feeling a little under-appreciated, are we? People not running with your great ideas, perhaps? Boss not consulting you before making key decisions? Not sensing an openness to your innovation?

    Why don't you call your mom?
  8. kleeda

    kleeda Active Member

    Umm, have the hounds been unleashed yet?
  9. Bob Cook

    Bob Cook Active Member

    Lolly, if you haven't noticed, your generation is getting a lot of bad press for being the most spoiled, whiny bunch of high-maintenance brats to ever enter the workforce. Then again, these cracks are often made and written by baby boomers, so you can say it takes one to know one. :)

    Every young employee feels like he or she doesn't get enough feedback, and that his or her brilliant ideas keep getting shoved into the memory hole. My first piece of advice (as a sterotypically cynical Gen-Xer) is get over yourself. No manager is going to respond if he or she thinks the employee (young or not) in question is a whiny pain-in-the-ass and clearly more interested in himself or herself than the interest of the publication. It annoys me if a reporter tells me my job is to help make him or her better. No, it isn't. My job is to put out the best publication possible, and my interest in your improvement rests on that.

    Also, if you're presenting your innovative ideas like your new and exciting stuff is the most brilliant thing ever developed and is going to throw aside what those old farts do, prepare for the old farts to kick you out the door. Equal and opposite reaction, you know. Before you present an idea (and, by god, don't kiss yourself to say it's innovative), ask yourself -- has my publication tried this before? If not, why not? If it did, what happened? What are the resources required to make this idea work? Is this an idea readers will respond to?

    Even the fartiest old farts, such as the direction I'm heading, are willing to help someone out who is sincere and thinking of the good of the publication. If it's somebody who acts like they need special treatment or is doing this with one foot out the door, for better or worse, it ain't happenin'. Remember, the love you take is equal to the love you make. (Old fart Beatles reference -- your bosses will love that!)
  10. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    Yeah, that's key. And it isn't just young employees who do it. Stick around and you will see failed innovations tried again 10 years later. Some of the middle-age folks running newsrooms have never bothered to learn anything about the history of the business in general or their publication in particular. Really, you have microfilm in the news library. At least take a look at where the paper's been over the past four decades before you reinvent. It really won't take that long.
  11. spaceman

    spaceman Active Member

    hey kid, get me a cuppa coffee will ya? half and half, two sugars. And get a Pick Three for me on the way back, you know my numbers.
  12. armageddon

    armageddon Active Member

    Gen X member here...

    When I was young, like you, I started out as a part-timer. After my first few months on the job I took the initiative to call my immediate editor and ask for a lunch sit-down to go over my clips.

    I wanted feedback on my reporting, writing, ideas, etc. The editor, a great guy, was stunned I took that step.

    After the shock wore off, we met and talked about my performance to that point. It was a great session for both sides.

    He didn't avoid giving me feedback because he couldn't relate to me. First, he was busy as hell. Second, I'm a self-starter so he felt he didn't have to worry.

    As others have said, it ain't a generational issue.

    As for how I view the younger generation of today, I can't go there unarmed.
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