2010 Resolutions for Gen Y: On Accountability
Starting a new year always makes me want to embrace my best self — not wait for life to happen to me, but to make it happen.
However, I admit that I can be just as lazy as the next girl, spending my Saturday mornings recovering from the week with long bouts of HGTV-watching when I should be doing other more productive things… ahem, like blogging. A quick apology for my long absence — I started a new job, and on top of holiday season, I just couldn’t get into it.
But it’s time to jump back in, and I have many ideas to make whY genY better in 2010. Hopefully you haven’t completely given up on me and will be back to see changes.
Today, I’m thinking about being accountable in 2010. That means being accountable to my new job and bosses for helping drive new business and reach goals, to my husband to conquer our financial goals for this year (paying off credit cards and saving for a house), and to myself to find more ways to fill my life with meaning and joy. Those are each different types of accountability, ones that speak to a balanced approach to life I think is universal for generation Y.
Accountability at Work
I’ve heard Gen Yers complain about superiors frequently. Often we don’t feel our superiors are giving us enough direction, decision-making power or just not listening to us.
I’d like to challenge my fellow Gen Y peeps to confront bosses who don’t give enough detail with intense accountability. I’ve found that if I wait for direction or help, it pretty much never appears and I am left stewing until it all comes to a head. We all have to be better about being accountable for what’s expected of us — explicitly or not. Being accountable means finding out all the players, demands and details to get a job done, not wait till someone tells us we left something out. Maturing into positions often means being better at forecasting what it will take to get a job done, and then actually doing it.
Gen Y workers are sometimes derided for needing too much attention on the job — but here’s why that’s not true. Yes, we want a one-to-one relationship with our supervisors, and as much face-time as they can give us. That’s not needing our hands held, it’s just wanting the support necessary to really succeed at our jobs. We’ve been programmed to expect help from authority figures at all times, but the plus to that is that we’re highly driven and accountable to those people. A great Gen Y boss is one who figures out how to manage us each individually and efficiently, while maintaining his or her own schedule and demands.
If your boss is the kind that just doesn’t listen, help them find time to… that’s usually the problem. That’s easier said than done, but oftentimes an honest conversation about your needs at work can help. Come in with a solution not a complaint. Don’t say “I feel like you don’t have time to listen to my needs.”
Instead, try, “I’m concerned that I’m not doing everything you need me to, at times because I’m not completely understanding what needs done. I want to improve. Would it be possible to set up a once-a-week touchbase meeting to just check in and ask any questions? That way I can maximize my time and yours, and continue to improve my own performance.”
The current financial and economic crisis is causing many in Gen Y to take a hard look at our own finances, and hopefully we’ll learn from the mistakes those in power (even our parents!) have made.
I think there is an extreme lack of basic financial training for our generation. With the rise of e-banking and a cashless society, we’ve become accustomed to instant access to our money and less need to do basic financial check-ins, like balancing our checkbooks. I quite honestly have not balanced mine since I was a junior in high school… I barely write checks, anyway.
If you are confused by how many financial concerns you have, be accountable to your own future by stopping right now. Put down the credit card. Stop and attend a financial planning course… many financial services businesses, women’s groups and community organization often offer free ones. If you kinda know what’s going on, make a plan.
As I mentioned, my husband and I had to take a hard look at our debt to income ration, and lay out the steps we wanted to take now to put us in a place to get a house in the next year or so. It’s different for everyone, but it’s essential.
Gen Y — you’re a flake. I don’t mean that insultingly, but how many times have we all had tentative plans that get canceled with a quick email or text? We’ve all done it and we’re all guilty of it. Our generation doesn’t make plans — at least not very far in advance. Though our spontaneity is a plus, it’s also our downfall. Without planning, we lose out on opportunities to really create an original, interesting social life around us.
For example, there for awhile I found myself only meeting friends at bars for happy hours or dinner. In addition to the hit to my wallet and waistline, it got old. But because I wasn’t planning far enough in advance, it was too hard to get people out — everyone just wanted to meet somewhere in the middle and go from there.
I also am envious of the photos I’ve seen of the elaborate dinner parties my grandparents threw in the 60s. Cocktails and three courses were the norm — who actually does that now? That seems so fun to me, but I have to be more accountable and open to actually putting something on the calendar and sticking to it.
These are just a few of the challenges I’m putting to myself this year… how will YOU be accountable in 2010? Love to hear your comments!