Knock It Off, Gen Y: 3 Ways You’re Driving Your Boss Crazy

Gen Y, Gen X, Boomers.  No matter what generational label you’ve been assigned, everyone wants make a good impression at a new job.  Sometimes, in our eagerness, we unintentionally rub our new coworkers and bosses the wrong way.  Gen Y is particularly skilled at this.


Perhaps it’s because they move at a hyperfast pace, leaving the rest of us with heads swirling.  Maybe it’s a result of their extraordinary need for approval that they happen to be a little more eager than previous generations.  And maybe it’s related to their assertiveness and impatience with the idea of a corporate food chain that makes them just jump right in instead of waiting their turn.

Don’t misunderstand–these are all good things–in the right setting.  But at the wrong time, in the wrong place, to the right person, these habits might be misconstrued as, well, annoying.  Sort of like “Little Miss Bossy” from Roger Hargeaves’ Little Miss series.

Instead of getting upset at me for calling it like I see it, why not listen to some advice on how to make sure you don’t do it again. 


Do not interrupt someone while they’re speaking.  Especially not if it’s your boss who’s speaking and especially not if your boss is trying to give you instructions or explain something to you.  Generally, when this happens, it’s a sign that you should be listening–not talking.  If you have a question, just hold it until your boss asks whether you understand.  Interruptions are disrespectful, knock it off.


Do not “agree” or “confirm” another’s conclusion unless you actually could have and would have reached the same conclusion totally on your own.  By nodding emphatically or saying “right, right” while someone else speaks, it indicates that you already know this information and, frankly, you are finding it quite boring to have to listen to it again.  I know, I know, you are really trying to show enthusiasm and team spirit.  This is not what is conveyed. So knock it off.


Don’t be a show off by asking questions if you already know the answer.  This is the conduct of a six-year-old who asks her mother, “Mommy, am I pretty?”  Of course she knows that her mother thinks she’s the most beautiful child that’s ever lived–her mother tells her so every day.  The child just wants to hear it again.  And that’s ok when you’re six.  It’s not so cute once you grow out of footed pajamas.  When you ask questions that you clearly understand already, it make you look like you are taking your bosses [highly valued and very limited] time to seek gratuitous compliments.  It’s childish, knock it off.