Penelope Trunk wrote a blog post referencing a report written by Stan Smith. She quotes Smith concerning Gen X and Gen Y: "The real revolution is a decrease in career ambition in favor of family time, less travel, and less personal pressure."
While Baby Boomers still set the standard for most corporations, that reality is already changing and will soon change completely. One of the most frustrating realities is the "Reality is set by the majority" principle. If 198 out of 200 people in a company believe that working overtime to meet a deadline is more important than family time, then that is the truth at that company. The remaining two people who believe that family time should never be compromised under any circumstances fit into the irresponsible /not-a-team-player category because they do not share the overarching value of the company.
Put those same two people with 198 similar people, and their beliefs are suddenly the moral majority. Those previous overtime workers? They are suddenly workaholics, a despised and unhealthy minority who constantly work as they avoid home life like the plague.
So corporate values are set and enforced by the majority. This is why it excites me to be "officially" part of Generation Y. I will accept that label more so now than ever because of the attitude Gen Y brings to the workplace. We are the product of workaholic parents. Our parents never lived the "good life" because they got themselves into so much debt that they never found a way out. We, like our parents before us, are reactionary. We might produce workaholic children (who knows?), but we are determined to balance the life our parents couldn't.
Which is why the quote above is so important. Decreased ambition in favor of family time. Less personal pressure. In a phrase: Quality of life. That is our pursuit. We may or may not know how to actually attain said higher quality of life, but we are dead set on pursuing it.
Which really only begs the question: what is it that you see as the answer for Quality of Life? Is it life on an island? In the mountains? Urban loft? Small town community? Farm life? Ministry? Culture? Vacations? Writing at your own pace?
We all have different paths, but the same goal. What path are you on?