Blog: Are We Working 9 to 5? Gen Y, Social Networks, and Accountability

Blog: Are We Working 9 to 5? Gen Y, Social Networks, and Accountability

As a CISO, I am trying to make the case for social networking sites like Facebook and much more in governments world-wide. I do think they can add value. I like the label of "enabler" and providing "secure" ways of being "innovative." We want to attract young talent to Michigan and to build policies that are "forward looking."

But the case is not an easy one. I find most arguments to either lack accountability or require a massive paradigm shift in basic workplace rules for everyone (including the baby-boomers to be fair to all.) We need to ask a few basic questions like, what assumptions are built into recommended approaches?

First some background. The article by Ashley Wilson "Gen Y Tech Tools May Not Translate to the Real World" is worth reading. Note this quote:

"Fang, who recently started a job at Grant Thornton says, 'The thing about homework is that it doesn't matter if you do it early, it just matters if you have it done on time. Conversely, most bosses prefer you to complete work assignments ASAP, which puts pressure to get them done without taking any breaks. And really it all depends on who your boss is.'"

The basic assumption in this article is that Gen Y workers should be able to go to for hours a week (or wherever else they want as long as it is not porn), because they will be catching up and doing their work in the evenings, at midnight and on weekends. Bottom line, just get your work done within a 7x24x365 window.

This position is supported by a quote from the related article listed on that page: In Defense of Gen Y Workers

"Just because I’m not in the office right now doesn’t mean I want to be cut off from work. Why would it? My work ethic is strong. That’s how I grew up. There was always homework to do, papers to write, tests to study for, and now you’re going to tell me to leave my work unfinished just because I’m going home? Doesn’t that seem wrong to you? It does to me. I want devices like BlackBerrys, Palm Pilots and the like, to allow me to stay focused on work at all times. Since I’m so used to having a 24-hour connection, being unreachable is a scary thought."

This argument seems fair enough. It passes the "smell" test for a public that demands accountability. If tasks are clear, well-defined and measurable (a big "if" but let's move on), we don't care if you do the work at 9 PM at Starbucks.

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Tags social networkingWeb 2.0generation y

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