Generation Y Parents Vs. Marissa Mayer Of Yahoo

2 years, 3 months.

Dear Jack,

A really weird news story that has been trending for two weeks now is that Yahoo CEO, Marissa Mayer, announced to her employees that she will be banning them from working remotely, starting in June. This didn’t go over well, especially with moms who have been working from home.

Things got even more interesting when it was revealed that Marissa Mayer paid to have a nursery built in her office, so she could bring her toddler to work with her.

There’s no need to point out the obvious double standard here.

As a Generation Y parent, I am especially intrigued and provoked by this story. It’s because Generation Y parents live by a unique work ethic.

Dr. Randall S. Hansen, founder of Quintessential Careers, published an article called “Perception Vs. Reality: 10 Truths About The Generation Y Workforce.” He helps shed some light on why Marissa Mayer’s decision especially rubs a raw nerve with parents of my generation, born in 1981 and beyond:

“Generation Y is the first generation to expect — from day one — employers to realize there is more to life than work. Just as many Baby Boomers are now discovering later in their careers, Generation Y sees work as a means to enjoy life — and life comes first. They have a strong work ethic — just not in a 9-5 sort of way. Generation Y wants work to be fun and flexible because the line between work and life is seamless. (In other words, there is no such thing as work-life balance because it’s all just one thing.) Generation Y also follows a mantra of working smarter, not harder.

The key for employers is offering flexible work schedules, adjusting the belief that workers need to ‘put in the hours at the desk’ to be effective, and developing a work culture that is pleasant and positive.”

So for any Yahoo employees, this news about no longer being able to work from home is not cool. But it’s especially an insult to those who happen to be parents aged 32 and younger.

Something I have personally observed about Generation Y in the work force, is that we’re not good about keeping our mouths shut when we spot an obvious double standard. We have an (unrealistic?) expectation that our superiors should go by the same restrictions they place on us.

No eating lunch at our desk? No texting during work hours? Fine. Just don’t let us catch our supervisors doing those same things.

Because as Dr. Randall S. Hansen goes on to explain in ”Perception Vs. Reality: 10 Truths About The Generation Y Workforce,” Generation Y has been raised to question authority:

“While some people refer to this cohort of people as Generation Why for a reason, it is not so much an issue of a lack of respect for authority as much as it is that this group has been raised by their parents to question everything and raise questions when they don’t understand something.

This generation is very independent and not afraid to challenge the status-quo. Many in Generation Y want a relationship with their boss like the ones they have with their parents. It’s not that these folks have little respect for authority; on the contrary, they feel employers do not respect them.

The key for employers is realizing that asking questions can often lead to answers and solutions that are actually more efficient and effective. Unlike with any other set of workers in the past, employers must also provide more autonomy — and trust Gen Y workers to complete the work.”

I’m curious to see how my Generation Y mindset will affect you as my son. I am proud to be a Generation Y parent. I think you and I are going to have good, open and honest communication.

As for ever hearing me say, “Do as I say, not as I do,” well forget about it.

Question me as your dad and I will be glad to you give you an answer that is not “just because.” Learn by my lived-out examples, not just my words.

It’s very important to me that I’m a good dad… I associate that with my Generation Y work ethic.






Top image: Letter Y, via Shutterstock.

Bottom image: Work Ethics, via Shutterstock.

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  1. by Starla

    On March 1, 2013 at 12:57 pm

    As my husband will tell you, this story fires me up. And not in the way people may think. I feel like there are too many omissions when discussing this.

    First – let’s take a closer look at that nursery in her office. You forgot to mention that she returned to work TWO WEEKS after her baby was born. If she had to be back that soon while most of her employees have minimum 3 months off, then it’s completely understandable why that nursery was built. But I highly doubt she brought her kid to work after the first few months. And if she is still bringing her kid, then yes, that is a double standard.

    Now I also want to see what is in the benefits package being offered to Yahoo employees. From my understanding, there is on-site daycare and emergency back-up care for sick family members (very progressive). But what about paid time off – how much do they get in a year? How many sick days? How many holidays?

    If I had to take a stab in the dark, my guess is this ban on working remotely has to do with the bottom line. And they probably saw that workers were not using their PTO legitimately and instead would work from home (wink wink) in order to save PTO and have it paid out in a lump sum. It very likely hurt productivity and was a money suck.

    I certainly don’t blame a company for wanting employees to physically be at work – they have every right to make that a cornerstone of their culture. And I understand why employees would frown upon less flexibility. But my guess is this crackdown is only going to affect a select few. The rest will have to suck it up and take a full day off to wait for the cable man – and they’ll probably appreciate the day off more instead of feeling like they should be “working from home.”

    I could go on, not because I want to be devil’s advocate but because I know there’s more to this story than is being reported. Maybe we need to take a step back and look at why Generation Y feels they are entitled to such flexibility (sorry if I’m being a downer to my gen, I just don’t have sympathy for Yahoo workers who have a much better work situation than most).