We have a new employee. For the purposes of this narrative, let’s just refer to said employee as “Pat”.

Pat is brilliant in the way John Nash was brilliant. Pat does math faster than I can type in a calculator, writes flawless code faster than this blog is being typed to beat a deadline and understands modern cultural references which, in as much as I try to be “cool”, just baffle me.

Pat is smarter, more vibrant, more socially responsible and less emotionally volatile than me. Pat is also 22 years old. Twenty-two. I’ve got shoes older than that.

Pat was born in 1994. For perspective, people born in 1994 don’t remember a pre- 9/11 world. They have no recollection of phones with cords. They think God made the Internet on the 8th day as a sort of “wrap up” to the making the universe complete. It’s on Wikipedia, it must be true. They see no need for cursive handwriting, because who’s handwriting anything? They instantly adapt to new technologies and eschew manual processes. In fact, when we asked Pat if a dry erase board would be welcomed we were met with a dumb stare and simple question “for what?”

How to engage Pat in a maximally beneficially way was an open question for us to answer. It was also a question entirely wasted on Pat. How the heck would Pat know? Pat is 22! So, it fell to me and mine to cipher. You won’t believe what we found out (… and not in that clickbait kind of way)

Critical Pat insights:
• Pat likes to work hours that fit Pat’s schedule (In Pat’s case, that’s 7ish to 4ish – emphasis on the “ish”).
• Pat appreciates the opportunity to work independently.
• Pat appreciates clear direction.
• Pat responds well to praise and less so to criticism.
• When Pat is given good direction, space to work and praise, Pat delivers amazing results – frankly, better than many much older cohorts.
• Pat is easy to get a long with, easy to laugh and compelling in conversations.

In short, Pat is like the rest of us. There is so much more to Pat than an assigned demographic or targeting algorithm.

For all the gnashing of teeth and hand-wringing related to Pat’s generation and their alleged entitlement, lax work effort, desire to work weird hours and demand for access to beer dispensers and/or baristas; we’ve found no such requirements from this employee to ensure great work. Pat is just a plain ol’ great employee and I am guilty of being swayed by bias.

Look, we have all types and sort of employees. Many of them do like the idea of beer coolers and Ping-Pong tables. We have early risers, night owls, first-to-churchers and honky-tonkers. We have folks who grew up on The Brady Bunch, Saved by the Bell and now a few who think Tom Petty came over on the Mayflower. Pat is another (outstanding) cog in the works of this big, awesome wheel. We are so glad Pat chose us – and we’re lucky to benefit from Pat’s perspective.

The moral of the story? Take heed, my friends! Learning from my experience will save you time and worry: Judge not the book by its cover, and you might just be delighted by the results. We are looking for every opportunity to double down on generation Y, and maybe you should too.

As an aside, if you know anyone in the market for a used Fireball machine please give me a shout…