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Gen Y Characteristics: Stereotype of a Generation

Updated on May 21, 2014

Many people that belong to Generation Y, born between 1980 and 1989, detest being lumped in with the stereotypes Gen Y has come to be known for - being self-centered, irresponsible, and having a lack of understanding for how the work world functions.

While negative Gen Y characteristics apply to a few people in this generation, they also apply to some people of every generation. And almost every generation is put down by the generations that have come before them, at least before they take hold of the financial power in a country. The truth is that Generation Y is not a negative force, they are simply their own force.

In this hub we will discuss positive Gen Y characteristics.

  • Generation Y is the most educated generation in American history. Regardless of job availability, Gen Y is knowledgeable, intellectual, and skilled. This proves their ability to stick to tasks mentally and follow through. When the economy rebounds, it will no doubt be flooded with the collective smarts of Gen Y.


  • They challenge the status quo and ask, "why?" Young people are often silent politically, but every now and then, as in 2008, they force a change. Their votes made a political statement and changed history.


  • Many Gen Y adults grew up in households with two working parents. This required a maturity for understanding the priorities of work and family, and how to balance them. This is often a reason Gen Y seeks flexibility at work. They don't want to spend more time at work than is necessary to get the job done. They have family and friends to get back to.


  • They are tech-savvy. With the future becoming ever-more computer-oriented, Gen Y has a stronghold on how to function in the digital age. Gen Y has even produced tech billionaires such as Mark Zuckerberg, a man who has changed the face of communication across the world.


  • They are not slaves to corporate America. Gen Y saw relatives and sometimes even their own parents laid off, lose pensions, healthcare, and sometimes their homes. Realizing that the corporate world does not actually care about employees, Generation Y has adopted more of a free agent mentality. They will stay at a job as long as they need it, but if something better comes up, then they will hop to that. Many people of Generation Y have also lost their own jobs in the recession of 2008, and the concept of entrepreneurship has become generationally popular as a result.


  • They have found ways to connect with family and friends 24/7. Facebook and texting have brought Gen Y closer to the people they know and love, whether they live near or afar, social media allows them to connect with family and friends with a click of a mouse or a quick press of a button.


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