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A Gen Y speaks up: If you don’t know how to engage us, don’t put the blame on us

Posted by temasektimes on June 25, 2012

Not all Gen Y’s are like this, and this is not the norm but rather the exception. I for one am a Gen Y and my office does have quite a number of Gen Y’s too.

You said it yourself, the one who left after 2 weeks left for a better offer. If you have children would you tell them to stick with the first job even though it offers less simply cos they signed an offer. Don’t tell me about loyalty to companies. Companies have one principle, no one is irreplaceable. Therefore don’t expect employee loyalty cos no company is irreplaceable too! You wanna attract local talents, then learn to pay more! To get an S-pass you need to pay a minimum salary of $2000, plus levy of anything between $200-$400. If you can take out the same to pay a local, I’m sure you can retain them better. So stop complaining when you think peanuts can attract anything more than a monkey.

Spending time on FB is a common thing, Korean dramas are a little too much but do they make up a majority of your Gen Y employees? Maybe cos you are only an SME, but I know of MNC’s that actually encourage the use of FB, some even recognize that in this day and age, social media is the way forward and setup teams to man their social media tools. Maybe you are the one who needs to change your midset, we live in the age of technology now, where the internet opens up the world to us. We are no longer in your age of using paper and pen to send snail mail or reading an encyclopedia to find info. And threatening someone with the sack? This has to be the most immature thing a company and a man of your position can do. You wanna sack her, just do it. Don’t make empty threats cos everyone around can hear it and they will know it’s nothing but words. I’m sure you have a brain, think of how it looks on you instead of how it looks on the employee. Stop expecting Gen Y to behave like adults when you are not setting a good example!

I don’t take MCs unless the doctor tells me it is absolutely needed. Ask yourself this, why in the world would someone take an MC if all the work for that day is just gonna pile up causing him/her OT for the next 3 days!? And obvious point, MC can’t be obtained in advance. You fall sick can predict one week in advance I seriously think you should just spend your prediction efforts on gambling. Then no need to deal with these “strawberries” as you Gen X like to call us. If an employee goes to the doctor and returns to work why do you blame them for not having a valid MC? It just reflects that your company doesn’t have good policies in place, if you don’t allow them to leave work then tell them you don’t allow. Why allow them to see the doctor only to complain they don’t have an MC? If they have an MC they won’t head back to the office right? Then you start blaming them for taking MC. If an employee is really sick, would you prefer them to be in the office and spread the virus around causing more people to be sick and lower productivity? So you tell me, take MC also wrong, don’t take MC also wrong, what do you want from us!?

Job hopping? As mentioned earlier, don’t expect loyalty from employees when companies believe that no one is irreplaceable. If they have time to look trough the classifieds during work you must really not have much work for them to do in the first place. Gen Y needs to be constantly challanged, you need to understand that we grew up in a fast paced environment. In an era where technological advances at a mush faster rate than the time you were brought up in. Gen Y employees learn fast, develop fast and expect a company to retain them with a clear career path. If all you can tell your employee is your job will be an administrator for now and the next 5 years, who will wanna stay in such a mindless job? I would sprint out of your company in a heartbeat! And honestly, no right minded employee will want to pay their own short notice. If they can afford to give you short notice, it must be because the new hiring company is paying for them. Which means that new company recognises their talent much more than you do.

So after all I’ve said, maybe you should be the one to stop whining and start behaving as an adult. If we were really the ones hiding behind mama’s shadow, I’m pretty sure we mimic our mama’s action. Judging by your word’s, our mama’s are probably your age, so we are afterall just following the example set forth for us from people like you. I’ve finally decided to say this as there are recently so many acticles on how Gen Y’s are weak, easily crushed strawberries. If you don’t know how to engage us, don’t put the blame on us. Blame yourself for not having an open mind.


*The above was first posted as a comment on The Temasek Times.


31 Responses to “A Gen Y speaks up: If you don’t know how to engage us, don’t put the blame on us”

  1. dieno said


  2. dogmeat said

    Gen Y is not lazy in itself… just calculative and recognise a no future job, or exploitative, unreasonable boss when when they see one. So, please shift focus away from the gen y back to the foreigners.

  3. denzuko1 said

    I will just jump to the point of loyalty for the company. There is nothing wrong with not having loyalty to the company who employ you because the truth is that the companies in Singapore do not really treat their employees as valuable assets. the mentality of ” I can replace you with another one ” is a result of Government’s policy of indiscriminant foreigners import.

    However, has the author seems to have confused company loyalty to being responsible. What mentioned in the earlier article was that the employee left the job without giving any notification and did not fulfill the T & C of employment contract. In fact the company can pursue the case and even demand the employee who awol pay the outstanding wages as agreed in a signed document!

  4. Singaporean said

    good article, some older singaporeans are really stupid.

  5. Jardel said

    vote pap out. they are just servants. they are not our masters. simple as that. be more polticially mature. Singaporeans!!!

  6. Gen Y 2 said

    Actually it makes perfect sense why the Gen X will apply pressure on the Gen Y. Gen Y people should be somewhere late 20s to 30s by now. These are the age where they start taking management roles. New ways of thinking clashes with the old ways of doing things in an organization. These are quite common signs especially in companies that have been around for many years. You will see the tension between the long serving veterans and the upcoming young ones. For example; the veterans will believe that staying after work hours is a virtue where else the younger generation will believe that going home on time to recharge is better to strike a work life balance.
    The Gen X after slogging for 20 plus years and achieved their place in the society will inevitably feel threaten to the new ideas of Gen Y. Just like our current government, they have no clue how to new age works. They still believe strongly on their own set of beliefs which are probably outdated.
    I think instead of calling whichever generation inferior, why not just try to see in each others shoes and learn from one another? I believe the Gen Y ways of doing will bring new life into any organization and the experiences from the Gen X will bring stability.
    I won’t be surprise when the time comes, Gen Y will start to complain about the Gen Z being too tofu. 🙂 With that, I agree with the author of this article, be more open minded and ready for changes.

    • Blood suckers said

      Agreed totally. I am 31 this year. And FYI I did not follow the gen x and voted for such sucky and moronic political white party who has been spreading their lies to the gen x.

      Things changed. If you all gen x don’t change. You are destroying the future of gen y and it’s grandchildren.

      • jj said

        Blood Sucker – Well said … MIW is destroying all of us … not only gen y and it’s grandchildren…

  7. mayan said

    Gen Y are ready updated lah. It is like the new ipad replacing all of those PC. Microsoft had taken the hint to produce the new surface tablet. the problem is with all the older generation before GenY. Like the old PC, the older-Gen had slave mentality. Nowaday, technology had efficiently replaced human, there should be no more slave. The only problem is the greedy rich who hogged all resouces who don’t want to share. Especially in Singapore, which is the Only countries in the world who wholly embrassed the casinos.Like City of Macau, Monaco, residents in this Cities with casinoes are not required to work anymore with regular handout, free medical, free education. Those ready working are army of slave from all over trhe world. The Government must realised lah, by chosing Casinoes it is telling your citizen no need to work already just depend on gambling and gaming will do lah. there are no return route leow. We had become the Sin City of the world, only the Older Generations who don’t what hit them, they are in the denying mode.and fight on. Look very pityful.

  8. Realist said

    Whatever generation the employee comes from is unimportant. The bosses of SMEs should start looking at results instead of pinpointing the faults of the employee. Management by objectives should be the way to motivate these youngsters.
    Do not micro-manage as what PAP is doing but rather give them freedom to expand their potential.

    Bottom line is this. Company must have results in order to profit and survive and all employees whether FTs or Gen X must be measured with the same yardstick (ie by results).

  9. Singapuraboi said

    Well said! Bravo! I m from Gen X but raised in the US and realise the gen x here in Singapore r closed minded, arrogant and risk averse.

  10. cctan said

    I am a regular serviceman who has been in service for 25 years. The point I am going to raise may not be totally relevant, but I believe human being has a natural tendency to want to appear superior. That is why you have all our older generation complaining how we are much better than the younger generation. Work ethics aside, for the issue of army training alone, you always have people from my generation complaining how the Gen Y are soft and cannot compare to training in our times. I have been through the system, so I know maybe that’s true for certain aspect (last time tekan more often), but nowadays army also deal with more technology, and a steeper learning curve for serviceman. Holistically, I would say training is equally tough, after taken into account of all the additional learning involved.

    My point is, recognise the social shift. Different generations have different mindset, if you are so zai you go change the Gen Y’s mindset, if you can’t, learn to adapt, and stop complaining like a retard.

    • cctan said

      ultimately, for the case of the original author who complained about gen y, if he can succeed in changing his younger employee, then good for him. Otherwise, he needs to adapt, no point complaining, or he will be the one suffering.

  11. patin said

    員工..总是会對自己的工作..自滿..而希望能得到老板的赏赐..但往往都失望…因老板們的要求比你的希望更高….良禽擇木而棲…東家不打, 打西家…員工跳槽..這是難免的事..

    • Underpaid GEN Y said

      It’s not really the rewards that the Gen Y really wants. Its the acknowledgement that their superior gives. Let them feel that they are valuable to the company and keeping your promises to them. Then they will automatically gives the company their loyalty.

      • New Guard said

        Spot On.

        How many bosses / managers gives the slightest appreciation / acknowledgement when a job is done well.

        I’m a Gen Y in a company for 5years (joined after NS), the number can be counted using half my hand. I believe that this is not the culture that we Gen Y will portray when we hit management level.

  12. Time Survivor said

    Well said. Do not keep using the same old yardstick to determine how the younger generation shall be measured. Time has changed and with many new technologies and innovations and even social medias. SME bosses must learn to embrace changes not only on their staff but also on the products and technology in order to continue to survive in the ever-changing world.

    BTW, I am in my mid 50s.

  13. Xel said

    Much agree.

    Allow me to comment. I work with a horde of young Singaporeans in a very successful MNC, I have seen very little unprofessionalism mentioned in LAM CK article. Infact, a number of young Singaporeans here are contractors and working to their best whenever it comes to delivery. Facebook and Youtube are allowed in my company and commonly used by many people, FT, Singaporean, young or old, infact the company uses these new media as a tool for product promotion.

    Of course, being contractors, people choose to leave whenever a permanent opportunity comes. But I never heard of young Singaporeans skipping office irresponsibly here. Ask people who work in IT about Banglaore IT contractors. Their job market is so competitive that it is common for new employees to not show up after days of work when they got a better offer somewhere else.

    I work with people from at least 30 countries and travelled througout the asia region for projects. There was once I fell sick but insisted to take a jab so I could recover fast enough to fly for my work. I could have told my manager otherwise, but I happily did that because I work for a good company with good people. Are you exciting your staff in the same

    I suggest to LAM CK if he is real and his complaints are real, to stop complaining like a typical local boss, hire managment consultants to look into his HR policies immediately. Why are people watching korean drama? Don’t you have KPI to measure their output? Did you communicate those KPIs to them? If so, how are their time spent and what metrics do you use to track their performance? If you aren’t managing their performance, you cannot advance their careers. Ambitious and upright people would likely leave.

    The society should be glad that a percentage of we Gen Y / Gen X whatever you call take the lead to be different from our parents, instead of slogging our asses off, we plan time and activities wisely, use new media to network, find new means to solve problems so to meet company’s and also personal goals effectively. I think oppounities are there for you to encourage them to do so. If you cannot keep up with such a mindset, you are the one who are pulling us behind, you are the reason that causes our economy to frequently resort to cheap labor staff outside of Singapore to mantain productivity.

  14. Ron said

    Loyalty is an oxymoron. There is no such a thing as loyalty to an employer. Even loyalty to a country is now stretching the truth. Who wants to be loyal when the other party is not showing the same?

    I consider work as a business. I sell my time to the company. But if I find a better offer, I will sell my time to the next company. By looking at it as a business, I feel better when I have to move on.

  15. alex said

    Well said. To old people they expect the young to listen to them but they never respect the young or listen to them. Just like the old pappies they expect the young pappies to listen to them thats why the young pappies are groom to become the YES man.

  16. Ken Lee said

    next time give them advance 10 days if want take mc. advance 30 days for leaves.
    by the way MOM law 44 hour per week!

  17. SibehSoy said

    This author is seriously deluded. Would love to see if Mr/Ms Gen Y will still think this way when the day comes when he/she has to manage a team of young peeps who:

    1. wastes your time and effort in training them
    2. demand higher pay without strong performance to back up the demand
    3. engage in personal social media activities on company time
    4. take ‘strategic’ sick leave (it’s not THAT difficult..don’t kid yourself)
    5. using YOUR company’s resources to seek employment elsewhere

    Just merely paraphrasing the original article’s contention, which Gen Y’s point by point rebuttal offers rather weak and contrived justification. Gen Y, if you really do not mind any or all of the above, I sure would like to work for you.

    It’s easy to criticize other people without walking a mile in their shoes.

    Gen Y, when you REALLY do grow up to assume a managerial position, I hope you will remember this post you wrote with fondness.

    • New Guard said

      I beg to differ. If as a manager, and you feel the 5 points about your staffs, you should rethink your strategy.

      1. if you felt that you have wasted your time and effort in training, it is a failure of the training itself, not the participant.

      2. demand higher pay without back up, survival-ability in Singapore (if you cannot meet my minimum dollars and cents, why should i stay?) Look around, my Granddad got his house at $7,800(1970) my dad got his at $200,000(1980) i got mine at $350,000(2011). If companies and country does not recognized the issues faced by Gen Y, there will only be a one way route for us. (do you know that it has become a norm to job-hop as a young workforce contributor,although i disagree with this method, my peers are all giving me advice to “hop” around before I’m too late of age)

      3.ban social media activates, IT support are so advance now that you can “lock” facebook/youtube/other web pages. (i find it really lame when companies “blame” people who goes online to such sites when they dont put in effort to do anything)

      4. Dont tell me that the all mighty you did not do that once in your work life. (give and take, not all gen y are the same; we have black sheep and white ones and those in between.)

      5. i agree with you one this point, but if i have access to a resource which was granted by the company, it’s is my responsibility how to use it. But dont you think that it is the company in which should have a better control over such resources to prevent abuse? (and not blame the user)

      It’s easy to criticize other people without walking a mile in their shoes. —— same goes to you, we might not have that mile of experience that you have but have you tried to walk in ours??

      Every individual has his/her fair share of workforce experience, but Gen Y dont seem to get that mutual respect that we expect from our seniors. So what if you have tons of experience, if the respect is not mutual, do you think a good teamwork is forged between parties?

      back to point number 2, nothing much can be said with regards to salary as we all come from different background and educational level and industries, but the baseline is simple, are we rewarded as per performance? are we given a career path? what makes being under you different from being under someone else ?

      Let me share the 3R (one of my best managers told me this)

      Recruit / Retain / Reward

      Have the company recruited the correct person for the correct job ?

      What sort of schemes has the company offer to retain its personnel ?

      Are the rewards sufficient to cater to its personnel ?

      Alot of SG companies dont recognize that people are the assets of a company, not its product / service.

  18. Bobby Liu said

    Regardless of Gen ‘whatever suffix’, it’s not an entitlement. Gen X used to think they’re ‘it’, and now Gen Y. People, these are terms spawned by marketers. You are no different from your parents, who are no different from their parents. It’s called coming of age. We all have to go through the same growing pains; been an employee for less worthy employer, or if you’re lucky enough, be inspired by your employer.

    Times may be different, with the advent of technology, especially mobile technology, and the world has gotten smaller. Are we worse off than others?

    While a applaud the article of this particular Gen Y, to even have the guts to self-expression, I believe it’s nothing more than ranting due to lack of challenge. But do ask yourself this: if you want to be challenged, do you first have the passion for what you’re doing?

    Your degree or paper, or lack of, from school doesn’t dictate where you really want to go, or can go. It’s in your heart. How big is your passion? The size of your passion is your potential.

  19. Gnan said

    Like New Guard implies – one of the problems is rising cost of living (especially housing) and low wages. To generalise broadly, Gen Xers could work at market wages, save up, and maybe buy a HDB flat in your early thirties. Look at what the deal being offered to the Gen Y – $2,000 as a fresh grad, which for a Singaporean male is what, 24? How old will a Gen Y be before he can afford a HDB flat and buy into the system (unless he is lucky enough to have parents pay for the deposit or something)? If the system does not offer a Gen Y a real chance of success – and Gen X, with their inflationary behaviour, is partly to blame for that – can you blame them for switching off?

  20. working singaporean said

    $2000 gross can eat what shit? After cpf $1600. Btw its not even $2000 if most people.

  21. LOL said

    “Your generation has jobs. Our generation has Jobs”

  22. Freedom said

    There is only one loyalty. Loyalty to money. Humans will fight for only one reason Freedom.

  23. mos said

    I am a late Gen X’er and early Gen Y’er so I think I can identify with points raised by both the Gen X and Y’ers with regard to job hopping.

    “GEN Y” claims that the Gen Y have every right to job hop, because some companies
    1. do not reciprocate employee loyalty.
    2. do not set a clear career path for employees.
    3. do not keep employees sufficiently challenged.
    4. do not recognize their “talent” by paying better.

    On the other hand, LAM CK, the Gen X’er frowns upon job hopping because
    1. it makes them difficult to employ. SME employers like him struggle to employ Singapore Gen Y’ers amid stiff competition from MNCs and GLCs, high costs of hiring and investing in development of staff, and low worker productivity.
    2. it makes hiring foreigners a more attractive proposition; given that immigration rules force them to stay with an employer lest they are willing to risk loosing their E-pass when they switch employers.

    The Gen X values I possess tell me that I should study hard, find a good employer and work hard so that I’ll have a career path with the employer. After gaining experience with the company, I will be more valuable to the company than my younger co-workers, and thus will have job security.

    But having been young enough to witness retrenchments and the wave of companies packing up and leaving for China, even before I entered the workforce, I also know that loyalty means almost nothing to most large companies with tall hierarchies and an employee is just a statistic. But even in SMEs with nearly flat hierarchies -and thus loyalty is more readily recognized- given their limited resources, the tangible rewards are limited. Thus, in general, there is a lack of reciprocity from companies for employee loyalty.

    “GEN Y” justifies job hopping when an employer does not set a clear career path or keeps its employees sufficiently challenged. In my opinion, “that is so Gen Y” (pardon my allusion to the Gen Y “that is so yesterday”). Gen Y’ers expect to be spoon fed; and this thinking that “the onus is on my employer to set my career path, keep me challenged” clearly reflects that observation. I feel that the onus is on the employee to chart his own course, to identify his own skills and interests and aligns them with the employer. In general, employees need to be pro-active rather passive about their career.

    Gen X’er LAM CK, thinks that Gen Y’ers are making themselves unemployable, but given that a Gen Y’er may not even want to be employed by an SME, this point is moot. My take on this is that many SMES face stiff competition and thin margins because they are not innovative enough, or provide too little of value add. Thus, they can neither attract nor afford to hire Gen Y’ers in the first place.

    He also points out that the difficulty in hiring Gen Y’ers makes it more attractive to hire a foreigner. Post-GE2011, where employment passes are no longer issued as freely, that thinking may be valid.

    In summary, I think both camps have valid reasons for and against job hopping. While I agree with the “Gen Y” that it is no longer necessary (or even wise) to be loyal to an employer, I disagree that employers are responsible for planning their career path and keeping them engaged. I agree with LAM CK that the Gen Y’s inclination towards job hopping makes hiring foreigners a more attractive option, but I can’t agree that the Gen Y are making themselves unemployable.

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