Thursday, June 19, 2008

Generation Z-Squared

Jason Alba at the JibberJobber Blog had a post about all the whining of Generation Y. I have written about this before, and think that with each new crop of young whipper-snappers, the older folks complain that they just don't have the work ethics of their forefathers.

Here is my reply to Jason:


Good post, but I do not think that this generation is any different than those that have come before. Sure, the technology has changed so fast that they get to be “cutting edge” coming out of college (there is a big shift now when your better tech equipment is at home than at the office. Think about that, when we all started working the best stuff was at work!), but “cutting edge” only takes you so far.

We all come out of school wanting to live large. We feel we have earned it, and look around at our “bubble” of our college and think we are so far ahead of everyone else. But a few years later the real world kicks in. Marriage, children, mortgages, college funds, retirement savings, aging parents, health care, the cost of random stuff, work pressures, bosses, employees, etc…. (the list is long).

What the young idealist discovers is that you have to make it all work, and to do that means that you have to show up at work on time, and work hard, and build alliances, etc… The lone ranger, do what I want mentality takes a back seat to the real world of responsibilities.

Look at the baby boomers when they were this age …”Don’t trust anyone over 30″ was their mantra. Now they are all pushing retirement in the next few years and they have a different outlook than they did as teens and young twenty somethings. Sure, they long for the idealistic days of the Summer of Love,…..but they have kids to put through college and parents to care for and busy careers, etc….

My guess is that in 20 years there will be a new crop of idealistic kids and journalists hungry for anything to write will lump them in as Generation Z-Squared and people will complain about their work ethic. Meanwhile, Generation Y will be living in the real world and wondering what hit them.

Have A Great Day



William Uranga: said...

I'm in whole-hearted agreement, Thom. Classical delta between generations. There are 3 generations in the work place and this could be a new, continuing wrinkle moving forward. The rule is we hope that the next gen will respect the wisdom of the present and that the "old guard" will appreciate the "vigor and vim" of newly minted idealists.

I'll continue to have my hand open to offer constructive encouragement when asked and remember that this gen isn't afraid to fail AND don't know what they don't know with the latter sounding a lot like me not too long ago. 8~)

Rob said...

Gen Y folks just seem so self-important and have an incredible sense of entitlement. They tend to show up at the workplace with the attitude, "Well, I'm here - what are you going to do for me?" These folks lack the work ethic of Gen X but it isn't because they're unafraid to fail. It's because they're unconcerned with failure. Very often, their parents have constantly "helicoptered" around, fixing all of their problems so there's little need for them to ever break a sweat.

Unless Gen Z's kids are given the opportunity to learn the consequences of their actions at an early age, this disturbing trend will only worsen. Children learn best when they're allowed to make choices when the cost of failure is still small. For example, if a child breaks a toy, he must be allowed to feel the sting of that toy no longer being available otherwise he's learning nothing from the neglectful way he treated his prized possession.