Gen Y: Casual Communication and What it Says About You

I recently read a post on Careerealism that talked about a grad who wanted a promotion at his current job but was denied due to his lack of verbal and written communication skills. He was smart, resourceful, and had lots of great ideas, but the way he presented them to others made his co-workers wonder if he was actually a college graduate.

According to recent surveys, hiring managers from across the nation are seeing more casual conversation among 20-somethings, like text messaging and e-mails using shorthand or text lingo. While using these types of communication among certain social networks is OK, it’s not acceptable among more mature workers. Typically, those in a position of authority are older and perceive these types of communication as disrespectful.

Sometimes, I wonder if Generation Y has been stunted by the extreme speed of technology and text messaging capabilities and have lost the invaluable skills and patience needed to communicate clearly with the older generations who still play a vital role in today’s job market. You may not realize it, but OMG, LOL, and other shorthand acronyms for everyday communication among your peers will not pass with everyone in the workplace.

With many different generations in today’s workforce, it’s important to adapt to and learn a variety of communication styles in order to effectively communicate, get the promotion you want, or even land a job. And, when dealing with the older workforce, it’s best to stick with traditional methods of communication.

Instead of relying on e-mail or texting on your phone, try handwriting a thank you note to a potential boss. Write a short, clear message and avoid acronyms or emoticons.

If you’re already in the workplace and use e-mail to communicate with others at work, clearly state your message and try proofreading it before you send it. This will help reduce confusion and miscommunication among you and your co-workers. Also, try these nine simple tips to write an effective e-mail.

So, the next time you think about sending your boss, co-worker, or even a potential employer a text or an e-mail with text lingo or emoticons, think about how you might be perceived and try some traditional approaches instead.


  1. Hayli @ Rise Smart

    This is getting trickier all the time as the lines between professional onine networking and social online networking blur. Twitter is one of the most recent examples of this. 240 characters or less trends toward more casual speech, but what if your boss is following you?

  2. Jennifer

    You’re right! Trends are going towards a more casual speech, and I wouldn’t doubt that sometime in the near future these type of communications become more of the norm. However, right now, with so many different generations in the workplace, it’s important to try and get your point across to everyone, especially those in a position of power. I think each situation is different, and if your boss is from an older generation, try educating them on the benefits of online networking and it’s lingo. But, remember, being versatile in your communication styles will help you in your success.
    Jennifer-Express Job Blogger

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