I read a post on Penelope Trunk's Brazen Careerist Blog that made me vomit. Almost literally. I have become sick of the self appointed leaders of Generation Y acting like they live under a new set of rules. Life is still life. Ask all those who invested in Tech Stocks in the year 2000 who claimed that the economic model had changed for public companies. Ooops, the more things change, the more they stay the same!
This nutty blog post was written by a some dude who apparently is a Generation Y celebrity (I had not heard of him, but he had heard of himself!). The title was "Seven Reasons Why My Generation Is More Productive Than Yours", and he went on to point out why today's twenty-somethings are better human beings than anyone born before 1979. Apparently there has been an evolutionary shift leaving those of us born earlier in a state of inferiority. Sorry, I never got that memo.
At first I thought that the post was written as a April Fools Day joke, then I realize the author believed his mommy too much when she told him he was wonderful. His observations were a tapestry of his own youthful point of view, and were written as if some PhD at Stanford had conducted decades of research on his pontifications. It was insulting. Not just insulting to people over thirty, insulting to anyone with who lives the reality of life.
I was going to site his name, and link to the post, and encourage you all to read it (so you would understand what kind of generational divisive dribble people lap up on the internet)...but that would be rewarding him for bad behavior. I hope you don't read it. Save yourself.
But my faith in the future of humanity is not ruined. On Monday I had lunch with three Generation Y people who are not sniveling self-obsessed morons. My lunch companions were ambitious, gracious, and enthusiastic business professionals who are working hard to create real experiences that will lead them to achievement both personally and professionally over their lifetimes.
Never once did they seem need to prove to anyone (or to themselves) that they were part of some superior generation. Instead they showed by their conversation that they are motivated individuals who are focused on creating futures.
They completed lunch and did not feel entitled to having the owner of the restaurant to bring them a trophy.
They do not view the different generations as part of some cosmic competition, but instead they looked at establishing a network of contacts in the business world with people of all ages and levels of experience. Creating mutually beneficial connections that lead everyone toward success is their aim.
The contrast between my lunch companions and the punky post on Penelope's blog are night and day. My guess is that those who will achieve real success in their lives from this generation are not those who relish in their "twenty-ness" -- but instead those who take stock in themselves and produce results. Whiny people are always the same, regardless of their date of birth.
I am here to tell you that being "twenty-something" ends. You cannot stop it (although I have read about many social media industry executives who will not reveal their real ages, as they fear being seen as obsolete by their followers if their "thirty-ness" was known.... OH PLEASE!).
The problem with baiting young against old is that time marches on. The BabyBoomers who proclaimed "Don't Trust Anyone Over 30" now have to look in the mirror at their 50 and 60 year old selves. For some it is not a pretty sight.
Age happens. I say "bring it on", as I understand and like myself better the older I become. I am finding that wisdom and experience are not things you can claim, but instead something you must earn.
I did leave a comment on Penelope's blog, which I share below:
This is the most self serving piece of bulls**t I have read on any blog in a good long time.
Are you really better than me? Really, do you believe this in your heart and soul? Did your mommy tell you how wonderful you are today.
PLEASE. Please. please. Realize every younger generations thinks they are more cleaver than the earlier ones. In the 60s they knew their music was better. They said "don't trust anyone over 30". Your self love is not real, it is a product of being young.
I am so sick and tired of these types of generational argument posts. You know what the facts are. I mean real facts, not how you feel….
Every generation has good people. And schmucks. Sure, technology changes, and those who are exposed to it when young adopt it faster and have an easier go with it. But it does not make the "old school guy" bad or yesterday's news.
I think that everyone who reads crap like this post should stand up and cry "STOP" and not put up with it any more.
Don't encourage those who want to set generations apart. Tell the people who write baiting and insulting (and just wrong) stuff to STOP it. We should avoid them. But instead we flock to these contrarians and shower them with attention. It is like Britney Spears and Paris Hilton. Why must we enjoy them so damn much? And it goes on and on and on.
The good news is that I do not believe you can lump a whole generation together. There are just too many people in the world with too many ideas. It would be like saying "all republicans" or "all democrats" -- it is just not that easy.
Instead, most of the younger business professionals that I meet are just cool folks trying to find their way in the world. Few have these huge chips on their shoulders like the writer of the above mentioned blog post.
Most are just like other people who have come through their twenties in decades past. I admire their enthusiasm and dreams. Our future is in good hands, because those who give Gen Y a bad name will need to grow up, or they will be the ones who become obsolete. Those who are so focused on "being Gen Y" cannot compete with the cream of their generation who are focused on success. The three folks I had lunch with on Monday are a perfect example of the best that Gen Y has to offer!
Thanks for reading my rant!
Have A Great Day.