A few weeks ago, my colleague Emily Jarvis summarized an interview with Tom Fox from the Partnership for Public Service under the title, “For Young Feds, Is the Pace of Government Change Too Slow?” It sparked a pretty spirit discussion and it got me thinking about a different question:
Does Gen Y, in general, complete work faster than the rest of us?
In working with several Gen Y colleagues, I’ve found their pace of work to be extraordinarily speedy – much faster than what I’ve encountered in other organizations where the average age was a bit higher. The turnaround on most discrete tasks is blazingly fast and overall project completion happens at a blistering pace. I always felt like I was moving at 90 miles an hour myself, but my experience lately has been more like driving on a German autobahn with folks flying past me at 187 MPH or more!
I’ve been trying to think about the reasons for this reality and what I’m coming up with (based on some generational theory coupled with direct experience) is this:
- adroit use of the web accelerates time to answer on research and writing
- innate facility with tech tools speeds production processes
- keyboarding and phone-based texting skills quicken thought to page from anywhere
- team-based preference (vs. individual achievement of Boomers / Gen X) creates force multiplication on project completion
- active lifestyle growing up (think of how scheduled this generation has been) necessitates rapid completion of tasks
- business pace in general has precipitated a “get it done fast” mentality that filters into educational settings and reinforces prioritization of velocity
Now – speed can be beneficial, but it presents its own set of challenges as well. For me, when I work too fast, I tend to make more errors. I also think it can lead to communications issues that might otherwise be avoided. Lastly, I wonder if a heightened pace makes us all a little more stressed out, which ultimately leads to quicker burnout.
I’m curious to learn your experience:
- Does Gen Y seem to work faster in your office?
- Does that speed help or hinder your projects?
- Do you think the default to “get ‘er done” is a generational thing…or is the pace of work just picking up in general?
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