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Small Business Digest


Younger Generations in the Workplace; What’s A Manager To Do?

For the first time in American history, there are members of four generations in the workplace at the same time. 

While this brings a new energy and vitality to the work world, it can also bring confusion and difficulties. 

For the older manager, it means needing to look at the younger employees and deciphering what they want from their career and employer in order to remain with a company.

Life coach, Nicholas Aretakis, has written a new book, No More Ramen: The 20-Something’s Real World Survival Guide (Next Stage Press, 2006) that helps those entering the career world try to work through the confusion of being on their own for the first time. 

The book was written based on a yearlong tour that he made around the U.S. talking to current college students and recent graduates. 
While the book is intended for those “co-authors,” an older manager can also learn a great deal about their younger employees by reading the book. 

Aretakis does a great deal of comparing and contrasting with how those entering the workplace in 1986 thought about things and then how those entering in 2006 view those same areas, such as how to find a job, how many jobs a person will have in a short period of time, the amount of education needed to get ahead, and life in general. 

He also looks at the issues and feelings that the young employees may be having when trying to find a job or already on the job in terms of career development, balancing work and life, and dealing with older generations, particularly bosses of a different generation.

While Artekas does discuss the younger generation’s desire to move ahead quickly, not have to “waste” time on work they don’t see as meaningful, and wanting leisure time, he also makes a strong case for, and explains that paying dues is part of the work experience. 

Managers have a right to expect certain behaviors in the workplace, and not allow other behaviors.  Artekas gives his career and life advice in a “tough love” approach and tries to do away with many of the excuses that managers may hear from their younger employees. 

The book covers goal-setting exercises, on-the-job tips, financial basics and handling the real world.   He offers strategies for:

· Learning workplace etiquette for handling telephone calls, writing professional emails and memos,
· Dealing with coworkers and bosses
· Getting the most out of business meetings
· Figuring out when you’re working too much or too little
· Surviving in “cube-land” and proper etiquette for that situation

Managers desiring to strengthen their team can use these exercises with their younger employees and begin a mentoring relationship, which can lead to a more successful workplace for all ages.

To learn more about Artekas’ conversations with students/graduates and the book, visit

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