Emma Brown

Call me blonde, but for the first time today I’ve felt what it is to be a Gen-Yer…And there are a few things you ought to know.

I’ve been outed

Call me blonde, but for the first time today I’ve felt what it is to be a Gen-Yer. I’ve been in denial about that, but now I can happily come out of the closet and say it proudly – I’m a Gen-Yer, I’m a Gen-Yer!

Today we have two finance experts in our office. One is my financial controller and the other is an external bookkeeper who he has been brought in to complete last quarter’s accounts. My financial controller is excited that he’s bringing someone new into the team – it means his workload just got cut in half and he can concentrate on what he does best.

So, my new “finance team” (sounds good, hey?) are aged in their 50s (perhaps I’m being generous here) and have been doing this sort of stuff for their entire career.

So, it’s the new bookkeeper’s first day with us today. When I walked in this morning, my financial controller looked horrified. The look of horror was because I had arrived a few minutes late (he didn’t know I’d already had a meeting with my lawyer on the way to the office); was wearing jeans (it’s Friday!), had my breakfast in hand (I’m not organised enough to eat at home) and was talking on my mobile phone (I win the prize for multi-tasking). It was almost as if he was embarrassed to introduce me to her!

Before I’d sat at my desk, my financial controller asked to speak with me. I said: “Sure, no problem, what’s up?” as I unpacked my laptop. He said: “Do you want to wait until you’re settled in?” and I said “No, I can do this at the same time, what’s up?”

My Financial Controller comes from an era where you book in a meeting to talk with the CEO. I come from an era where you have to grab the CEO when you can, and if that time happens to coincide with her unpacking her stuff and eating her muesli, well then you go for it. So, we had a chat on the fly and got done what we needed to get done.

A few minutes later my finance gurus needed some data from my bank. They were having IT issues and couldn’t get hold of it. So I jump online, download the file, Skype it to my assistant who saves it to the server and we have it for them in 30 seconds flat. The new bookkeeper was stunned at our pace, and our (now very proud) financial controller said: “Emma, you’ll get a speeding fine for being so quick!” and laughed out loud.

The last few hours have highlighted for me how to handle Gen-Yers. Here are a few tips:

  • Speak quickly and get to the point.
  • If you don’t have a point, don’t speak.
  • Let us wear what we want – it’s a form of self-expression.
  • Let us eat at our desks, and when we please.
  • Love us for how we embrace technology and its innovations.


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Kate Edwards writes: Great blog. At least I now know why the Y-ers I work with never say anything! It may also help explain the obesity problem affecting younger Australians – maybe too much eating when they please.  As for technology and innovation… hmm I wonder what Alexander Graham Bell or Henry Ford or Bill Gates even, would make of these amazing Y-ers. Let alone a plodding X-er like myself who remembers a world with no-such-thing-as-a-fax and whats-a-PC? Gee, how on earth does that “Gen-Y” manage to be so embracing of all this new technology and its innovations. I can’t imagine any previous generation ever being so astoundingly superior. Keep up the good work guys. Can’t wait till you rule the world and everything is super casual and efficient to boot. (Although perhaps not quite as well-dressed.) Posted 21 May.

Paola Branas-Born from clickalifecoach.com writes: Great article, yes times are changing and we need to adapt (I’m Gen-X), we are getting many requests for Gen-Y coaching on our website, as if Gen-Yers are not happy they will take ownership and FIND a solution, real getup and go! Wonderful trait. Posted 21 May.

Dale writes: That’s funny, I dont think they will ever understand us. Posted 21 May.

Terry writes: Not funny – or helpful. False advertising. Posted 21 May.


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