Yes, the Gen Y-Millennials are different from their older colleagues. They care much more about having a personal life so they’re sometimes seen as slackers. At least, that’s how one general manager at a NATPE conference responded to a student’s question about how to find a job that fulfills “personal values.”
I don’t mean to sound like a jerk but at 22 you don’t get to talk about work-life balance. I mean, it’s all about work for you at this point. It’s about building a career.
In the latest issue of Electronic News, Rogus writes that she used to think that way too. But now, she believes the Millennials’ differences are good for journalism.
Do we need to ensure that they understand news is a 24/7 business and not a 9-to-5 job? Absolutely! But should we treat their desires for a life beyond the job with disdain or as evidence they aren’t committed and passionate about journalism–not willing to pay their dues? Absolutely not!
Rogus says her students are involved in their communities and close to their families. They’re willing to work hard and they value work that has an impact, but they also want time to do other things. They’re great team players and highly savvy about technology. Rogus believes all of these attributes make Millennials “good for journalism and right for our newsrooms.”
What concerns her about this generation is their strong respect for authority and lack of skepticism of government.
We need to make sure they understand the necessity of holding our leaders accountable to the people who elected them and how important their role is in maintaining our democracy.
Rogus was a panelist at an RTNDA session on managing Millennials that I moderated in 2008. Here are a few additional tips that came out of the discussion:
Because they crave structure…set clear expectations and provide lots of written guidance
Because they thrive on positive reinforcemen…create systems for providing regular feedback, for coaching and mentoring
Because they work well in teams…create group projects and reward group achievement
Because they’ve been sheltered…recognize what may stress them out and help them get over it
Because they are accustomed to technology…harness their talents and let them teach others
Because they desire work/life balance…encourage them to use their off time to connect with the community
Why bother? Because, as Rogus so aptly puts it, “before we know it, Generation Next will be Generation Now, running those newsrooms.”