By Caroline Smith and the Mind Tools Team
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Generation Y's First Recession

Standing Out While Blending In

© iStockphoto
PhotographerOlympus

Be in the best position to flourish when the environment changes.

You've grown up in a buoyant economy and are accustomed to a flush jobs market. Unlike your 40 or 50-something colleagues, you've never known mass unemployment. You're used to asking for what you want at work – and getting it.

If this rings true with you, then you're a member of Generation Y (born after 1977), for whom economic recession has always been a matter of history rather than reality.

But times have changed. You're experiencing your first ever downturn. Layoffs are happening all around you, and your peers are anxious about their jobs. Members of Generation X (born 1965-76) and Baby Boomers (born 1946-64) have seen it all before. They're old hands at weathering a slump.

So what can you learn from your older colleagues about keeping your job? How can you best position yourself to ride out the economic storm, and flourish when things pick up again?

This article aims to answer those questions and to provide Generation Y-ers with a toolkit of ideas to help you stay afloat until the economy bounces back, without compromising your long-term career goals.

Why Y is Different

Before we look at the typical characteristics of Generation Y-ers and those of preceding generations, let's first acknowledge that generalizations inevitably put somebody's nose out of joint! Not everyone born in a specific era will have lived through the same experiences, or share the same behavioral traits. But for the purposes of this article, we're going to take a broad-brush approach.

There are many synonyms for Generation Y. These include the Millennium Generation or Millennials, Echo Boomers or The Trophy Generation (having been typically awarded trophies just for taking part). They're generally well educated, techno-savvy, and brilliant at multi-tasking.

In the workplace, they're used to...

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