Jason Dorsey and Gen Y

All Clovis Unified school administrators attend a yearly two-day retreat affectionately known as “Charge!” This is our time to catch up after the summer and get ready for the new school year. In addition to reading and sharing the book, It’s not about the coffee, we had a guest speaker. Jason Dorsey is 30 years old and has been writing and speaking since the age of 20.

Jason spoke to our group about Gen Y (also known as the Millennials), which he defines as those born from 1977-1995. There are 80 million of this generation. Their defining moments have been: a) The Challenger Explosion; b) The Fall of the Berlin Wall; and c) 911. He went on to explain that these are some of the factors of Gen Y:

  • They may still be living with their parents when they get their first real job.
  • No expectation of lifetime employment. Will work for 60 years because it may take until they are 28 to get a “real” job.
  • Feel entitled. When they got old enough to work, they found there were more people than jobs, so they decided to enjoy life rather than look for a job. Jason says they suffer from “Adult Olescence” which means they want all the freedoms of being an adult, but none of the responsibilities.
  • Their attitude is, “don’t follow the money, do what makes you happy.” This generation decides on day one of a new job if they are going to like it or not…and if not, they may not show up on day two and not tell anyone.
  • They hunger for instant gratification. They appreciate weekly feedback from their employers.
  • Are entirely outcome driven. They decide where they are and where they want to go.
  • They value relationships and lifestyle above career. They leave work on time because there are other things more important than the job.
  • They have no sense of history…no sense of geography…they don’t know quick answers to historical facts. However, give them access to the Internet and they can prepare a presentation in two hours on any historical topic.

Based on his research, he had these suggestions in dealing with GenY:

  • Guide them when the start their first day of work. They like to itemize and prioritize. Give them a list of things to follow.
  • Deliver continuous feedback. A quick email saying, “You did a good job in handling that customer” in the subject line is all that is needed.
  • Give them diverse challenges.
  • Show them how they can reach their personal goals.
  • They are Tech Dependent! Embedded into their being. Their most important device is their cell phone.

Jason was a great speaker and gave us lots to think about, especially about how to interact with the GenY generation who are currently in our high schools and are now entering the job market.

He then said that “soon, everyone will have access to all information.” And then to all of us in the room – none who were under age 30 – he asked: How do you know that you’re over 30? You spell out all the words in a text message. How do you know when you’re over 40? You spell words correctly and use punctuation in your text messages.

Much of what he said about Gen Y affirms what Don Tapscott wrote in his book Growing Up Digital in 1998.

His message was a wonderful contrast to this article I came across today on CNN that suggested that in the next three years, 54% of 8-12 year olds will have a cell phone. However, there is also a warning in the article that cell phones may lead to “a sexual predator’s “grooming” process.” Other experts recommended that parents should put a device on their children’s cell phones so they can monitor phone calls and text messages. I wonder how the Gen Y-ers would respond to this article?


2 Responses to “Jason Dorsey and Gen Y”

  1. 1 Alice Keeler August 21, 2008 at 6:31 pm

    His presentation was EXCELLENT. I’m going to get his books. I am so glad the district had him come in to speak to everyone. I would like to see him as the General Session Speaker

  1. 1 Blogging About Today’s Students « Virtual High School Meanderings Trackback on September 16, 2008 at 2:59 pm

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