Reinvent the day job for Generation X & Y

Start working on reinventing the day job for Generation X and Generation Y.

A new generation is starting to establish leadership positions in companies all of this country. They are driving change. They are driving innovation. You should want them driving in your company!

This generation wants work to be in balance with outside interests, like playing in band, acting, family time, traveling, and maybe all of those. Working 70 hours a week is not acceptable. Hyper productivity in 38 hours, perfect!

They want the company they work for to be fun.

They want the company they work for to be different.

They want the company they work for to have integrity.

They want the company they work for to treat them like an individual and not with a one sized fits all HR policy.

They want to be enabled to make decisions and impact rapid change. The way something was done yesterday is rather boring to this generation.

Those who are able to engage these generations in the creation and execution of their companies mission will win.

If your company can focus on giving Gen X and Gen Y the above, I’m confident that they will be able to lead your organization to new heights.

What else do you think Gen X and Gen Y’ers want out of a job?

18 Responses to “Reinvent the day job for Generation X & Y”

  1. Zach says:

    Agreed!! I want to work to live. Not live to work.

  2. Dan says:

    I think the biggest thing we want is to be heard. A lot of times, things are delivered from the top down – from an ivory tower – and the younger folks at a company feel like they’re just pawns with no say. A lot of these same folks have new ideas, because we’re more in tune with what’s new and exciting and fresh now.

  3. Andrew says:

    I’ve never worked in a place where so much thought goes into making the day-to-day such an enjoyable experience. In fact, at this point, I can’t imagine working anywhere else.

    A big thank you to Ed Scanlan and Kevin Chern for placing such a strong belief in company culture and transcending the typical corporate stereotype that seems to plague so many other companies.

    See you at the bags tournament!

  4. Jeff Belcher says:

    Related to this, I forwarded the culture video to my parents and they remarked how much better the world would be if everyone approached business that way. I agree. I’m glad to know that I’ll be able to tell my children about my work history and that I’ll spend most of that time explaining Total Attorneys and how it set the bar so high for any job before or after because it does cater to my generation as well as the next one.

  5. Rick Leitch says:

    They want opportunities to grow professionally.

    They want to be ahead of the curve, stay on top of the latest technologies.

  6. Zach says:

    To elaborate more on my prior comment, I can speak from experience that working for a place you love makes for a far more productive employee than working in a place you dislike.

    It seems to me that an unhappy employee will only want to do what it takes to get to the end of the day. Where an employee whose happy with his or her job will work diligently to preserve what make that job great–be it a great corporate culture, fantastic client list, etc.

  7. Ryan Postel says:

    Great post today, Ed.

    Gen Y has been negatively referred to as the Generation of Entitlement. But isn’t that we’re all working towards — working to give our children and future generations better opportunities than we were afforded? It’s not too much to ask that we make an impact where we work or think that we deserve to be treated as equals. That’s called progress. People seem to be threatened by our ability to multi-task.

    And Jeff, thanks for your parents’ comment on the video!

  8. R LaCour says:


    A big difference between gen x and y’ers and previous gen’s is that for x&y folks, recognition actually does play a large part in why they come to work. I would dare to say it approaches the significance of compensation, and certainly contends with benefits such as health insurance and retirement investment programs. Whereas previous gens expected to be recognized when they did over and above what was expected, gen x and y folks need to be told they are doing a good job when they are merely meeting the requirements of the job. This is neither good nor bad, just a fact that managers must recognize these days.

    Born from their parental generation, the boomers, who were the first to use carrots instead of sticks as behavior modification tools. What can I say? We’re addicted to positive re-inforcement.

    So…feel free to let me know how I did on my post :)

  9. Colleen Dorn says:

    Watching this video it reminds me of the jobs I’ve had before that could have thrived if they followed the guidelines that Ed just spoke about. Many people today work hard and rarely see anything in return for this. I think one of the reason Generation X and Y are misunderstood is not because they are “lazy” but because they feel as though if they work hard why can’t they play hard as well? With this company, everyone matters. To the CEO to the person that cleans out the fridge at the end of each day. Everyone’s opinion matter’s here. I can’t think of any company today that you can actually say this and MEAN IT. Like a previous post, I can’t see myself (or want to) working anywhere else.

  10. Larry Gasik says:

    To me – it is about enjoying life. I’m going to go wherever I’m happiest and most comfortable. I’ll make sacrifices to do so. If it means I have a two hour commute one way to work some place I like, I’ll make that sacrifice. It makes working more enjoyable, I’ll do my job more efficiently.
    You talked about having youtube and Facebook open – I see it a lot. But what happens is that gets passed around the office. It gives employees something to laugh about. That in turn builds a relationship between the co-workers, and makes them look forward to coming to work every day. It helps because I know when I have a bad day – one of the people I talk to regularly can see that, and know what will make me laugh. Maybe it’s a funny video, or a reference to an old joke. It just makes coming to work easier.

  11. Beth Bond says:

    Another amazing thing about the kind of culture Total Attorneys has created is the incentive-based referral program. Who knows who would be perfect for your companies culture more than your employees?

    This gives them the opportunity to work alongside friends and get up every morning that much more excited to come into the office.

    In a sense you’re creating more than just a workforce of people that are happy and productive but a network of friends and family who are all working towards the same goals. How empowering is that?

  12. Beth Bond says:

    boo auto corrector

    And Rick- your post was amazing. Well Done :)

  13. Gen X/Y appreciate continuing education and staying on top of the trends that matter to our career. We want employers to facilitate that.

    We also don’t want to be defined by a single job description.

    I don’t want to be just a writer and stuck in a corner to sharpen pencils and write. I want the opportunity to develop Web sites and research best designs and dig into search…

    We have talents outside our specific career paths. We need our jobs to be multifaceted because we are.

    Before I came to Total Attorneys, I was stuck in cubes typing away at lawyers’ offices, in corners writing/editing copy at publishing companies, and barked at in newsrooms.

    Bosses and directors made the laws of order. And the laws were out of touch with the people who actually produced the work and products. In many employees opinions, the laws were actually hurting their company and their products.

    I’m so happy to be out of those bureaucratic messes.

    Like others have said, I couldn’t imagine working anywhere else. I am the most fulfilled employee I’ve ever been.

  14. Lindsey Nelson says:

    I would have to agree with what’s been said -

    Having a fun yet engaging and encouraging work place is the key to having happy employees. Happy employees are going to do better work and at a better turn around time.

    I speak with so many friends that “hate” their job – meanwhile I’m talking about how much fun we’re have while being successful. I feel a strong connection to the people on my team and often times it doesn’t even feel like work, it feels like we are a group of friends looking to take on any challenge or mission.

    Another aspect that I love, and i feel every company should invest in, is the opportunity to share and grow. Our company has taught me that its okay to be yourself and in doing so has helped me grow career wise as well as personally wise.

    I can truly say that there isn’t a day that goes by where i don’t look forward to coming to work.

  15. Nejat Sassounes says:

    I couldn’t agree with these sentiments more, Ed, and I am thankful to work for a company that has these principles at the helm, not to mention the fact that we all get to work in a fun, unique atmosphere.

    Here’s to the future and to our generation running the show…it’s happening faster than we realize.

  16. I agree that Gen X/Y have different requirements than older generations, but Generation X (born 1961-1981) and Generation Y (born 1982-200?) are also very different from each other. It’s important to understand that the midlife Gen X’ers grew up in a world where they learned individualism and survival were the keys to success. Generation Y (aka Millennials), born after 1982 when Boomers started to raise children experienced a very different childhood. They are the “everyone gets a trophy” generation and have higher expectations for involvement from managers and co-workers. Gen X’ers are fine to be left alone after being told what to do. Gen Y need more support and encouragement. Gen X enjoy collaboration but don’t like getting caught up in corporate collectivism. Gen Y like to work as long-lasting teams who support each other.

    Because of these, and other, differences, it is important to understand the work-styles and expectations of each generation. Although many members of each generation may not fit the description, it is amazing how often they do, especially in organizational situations.

    Dave Sohigian

  17. CECIL says:

    We want to be appreciated. We have all the energy in the world to put behind our company if they appreciate us. We think of sleep as something you find within a “week” not a “day”. We want support because we’ve come into adulthood with an entrepreneurial spirit. We want a seat at the table no matter what level of the company that table is in. Lastly I will add is that we need freedom. Freedom to surprise and impress. Freedom to be able to work with a smile and not be looked at as the slacker or person that’s not fully invested. Freedom to discover new practices and the ability to be able think outside the box and knowing this kind of risk taking is sought after.

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