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Gen Y - What's All The Fuss About?

Jennifer Prosek  Follow

Dear Gen Y, I think your generation has received a bad rap! Perhaps we are just hiring the proverbial “needles in the haystack” at CJP, but our young talent continues to astound and impress me right down to our interns. Yesterday afternoon, I was a judge for our internship case study competition where our six interns presented their strategies for how we could better promote and operate our firm. Knowing the caliber of our talent, I should not have been surprised to have walked away with a notebook full of ideas. I was also struck by the maturity, poise and passion with which they presented. So what’s the beef with Gen Y?  So the Millennials want responsibility early in their career. Well what’ the inherent problem with that? The answer, if they are capable… nothing!

At our firm which operates as an “army of entrepreneurs” these young graduates fit in quite naturally. CJP’s culture repels bureaucracy and 1950-esque command and control. People are encouraged to be themselves and speak their minds. And we give capable people as much responsibility as we can. We don’t hide them from clients; rather we put them right out front and celebrate their successes.

Now don’t get me wrong, we won’t tolerate entitled behavior which is a common stereotype of Gen Y, but we embrace the confidence, ambition and curiosity that they so naturally bring to the workplace. As someone who was running a business in her 20s, I’m very confident in the power of talented youth. I’d like to think I was one of them. And the college graduates we have hired have made me confident in the future.

Perhaps the issue isn’t Gen Y itself, but more a reflection of the broken hierarchies of corporate America which refuse to change in order to harness this talented generation. Or, perhaps, we just know how to hire the right ones. Either way—Cary, Julia, Kevin, Lauren, Briana and Emily, CJP’s 2011 interns—you are a very very impressive group and you break the stereotype. CJP

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