On FastCompany.com: Why I Love My Gen Y Assistant

devil-wears-pradaI recently hired a part-time assistant to help me get a bit more organized. As someone who studies generational relationships in the workplace, I was curious to learn how my personal experience as a Gen X-er managing a Gen Y-er would compare to other people’s experiences.

Though we’ve only worked together for a couple weeks, I couldn’t be happier with the arrangement. Aside from the obvious advantages of working with someone younger (she tells me when I need to ramp up the cool factor in my speeches and blog posts), here are the top five reasons I love my Millennial employee:

1. She brings up things that never occur to me. As much as I study Gen Y and correspond with them frequently online, there’s something completely different about having a Gen Y-er physically in my presence. Since she’s fresh out of college, she brings a totally different perspective about my work and the world. By digging into her experiences and hearing those of her friends and peers, I widen my view of what’s important to her generation. For my business and many other businesses today, Gen Y is either our entire customer base or a large and ever-growing percentage of it. No matter what your business, gathering Gen Y input is not only a good idea; it’s become essential.

2. She’s just tech-ier. Much of my day-to-day work involves staying on top of Twitter and leading webinars on LinkedIn. Even with my relatively good technical knowledge, I sit mesmerized as my assistant zooms around on her Mac, flips through her Google docs and takes advantage of all the Internet has to offer. Gen Y has a natural facility with technology that even many of us active in the digital space cannot beat. I didn’t even know what I was missing in time-saving tech shortcuts until I watched my assistant.

3. She understands personal branding. As a speaker and writer, part of my job is selling myself and my skills. Gen Y understands the importance of personal branding, because they’ve been branding themselves since their middle school AIM profiles. In The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement, psychologist Jean Twenge says Gen Y’s preoccupation with Facebook and other social networks demonstrates their high levels of narcissism. To me, it’s not so much narcissism as it is generationally-appropriate personal branding. Whether you’re a writer, speaker, entrepreneur or just working on your professional image, it’s important to have someone who intimately understands personal publicity on your team.

Read the rest of this post on FastCompany.com…

8 Responses to “On FastCompany.com: Why I Love My Gen Y Assistant”

  1. Paige

    LOVE this post! Congrats on your new Gen Y asst.

  2. Manisha Thakor

    Love this post. It also serves as an inspirational checklist for yourself (ie – How can I push myself to think from a fresh perspective? What can I do to increase my knowledge about all things tech/social media? Do I understand personal branding?). Thanks, Lindsey, for yet another thought-provoking piece.

  3. Hung Lee

    Lindsey, great post. I think the older generations are going to have to get over legacy inhibitions about personal branding. Its an idea that is a challenge to sell, particularly in the UK, where attitudes about self promotion have always been on the conservative side. Hiring someone in is a great way of upgrading your skillset, something I am going to recommend to my clients. Keep up the good work!

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  5. Lauren

    Hi Lindsay,

    This article was really refreshing to read compared to the recent flood of negatively toned articles about Gen Y’s in the work place, lack of work ethic, and so on. I specifically like what you said about personal branding. I agree that Gen Y’s use of Facebook/Twitter/etc. is generationally-appropriate personal branding as opposed to all of us being narcissistic.

  6. Trace Cohen

    This is all very true as we (gen-y) just have a different mindset and thought process. Tech-ier I guess by default but still very pertinent as almost everything we do involves some basic tech which we are connected too 24/7. Personal branding though is a huge movement by Gen-Y because we are constantly using social media/networks to meet new people in our niche and make a name for ourselves. My AIM profile definitely branded me, it was based off my favorite game… 12 years ago.

  7. Jobless Genevieve

    I love this post and wish more people would notice this! There are so many young people out there, including myself, who want to work and have so much potential. Thank you for posting this and please visit my blog created especially for recent jobless graduates and unemployed young people.


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