A few days ago, I heard about this very interesting news on the radio. It says that Generation Y is often fired after a year because of their extensive use of social media at work. That makes me wonder: Are we really that unprofessional? or are the majority of employers, being Generation X, do not understand how we work?
First of all, I do know there are always exceptions where some people really use social media too much that they don't finish their work properly. So we can't just group a whole generation of people into a specific type. But for the sake of this discussion, I did a quick Google search of what's the main differences between Generation X (born between 1961-1981) and Y (born between 1981-2000). And here are the results:
Most of us Intern Architects nowadays are Generation Y, and needless to say we LOVE technology. We can all admit that we will at least have one kind of social media on at work. Be it texting on our iPhone, checking Facebook, or chatting with another intern on gchat, we all do it in between our CD world. Does that mean we are not professional? I am not trying to find an excuse for us to do non-work related things during work hours. But I often find a little bit of distraction a good way to help me focus on what I actually have to do. The way drafting software is designed is very boring, especially when you have been using it 24/7 for the past 6 years. If we can step outside of the office every hour to get some fresh air, we probably won't need social media anymore. It doesn't really matter what the distraction is, but a change of scenery is always refreshing and helps me focus and work faster when I go back to drafting. But of course MODERATION is always key. When your drawing set is due, you really do have to dive into AutoCAD / Revit and finish all those details.
I was taught in architecture school that architecture is about collaboration, but as soon as I started working, I find little collaboration or even communication. We were brought up with so many ways of communications that we always feel the need to communicate. But the older generation seems to like doing their own work than working with us. So we go on Google to find our answers, which then become another internet surfing habit. We want to work with you! But do you want to spare a minute of your time to answer our questions?
My professor once commented that our generation is very different. You probably think we are always on our phone or the internet, but we can still produce some of the most amazing works while texting "LOL" to our friends. He said may be they need to rethink how to teach and work with us instead of just judging us for being tech-savy.
We are different, but we are not unprofessional. Yes, we text and we chat, but we also draft and work faster. All I am saying is you can't justify our urge for social media as unprofessional, if we still produce good work on time with high quality.
If you are an employer, do you think we are unprofessional because of this? And if you are an intern architect like me, what do you think about our often "defined" professionalism?
Thanks for reading!
Documenting the life between our graduation from architecture school and becoming a licensed architect. They say it's the journey that matters, so here we are experiencing the joy of being a great intern. Follow me @joannlui