I’m working on a column for one of the publications for which I write/edit. I decided to take a look at the generation gap in the workforce (since the magazine is a business one). Right now Gen X (depending on who you ask, those born 1965-77) and Gen Y (1978-1990) make up a majority of the workforce. Soon the Baby Boomers will retire and Gen Y will actually be the majority of the workplace workers. As all of these newbies are entering the workplace, Boomers are having a little trouble relating. I felt this was an interesting topic to explore.
There have been many books and articles written about this new generation – Y or Millennials or whatever you want to call them (us). “Adults” can’t seem to figure us out. I first got fired up about this topic in November when I saw a 60 minutes segment, “The Millennials Are Coming.” Some of the things these experts claimed: we’re spoiled, selfish, self-absorbed and don’t know what it’s like to punch a time clock. I know there are exceptions to every rule, but if I look at my entire circle of friends, I can actually find many exceptions staring back at me. So, something has to be wrong with this theory, right?
I picked up Generation Me by Jean M. Twenge to read up on her insights. She lumps some of X, Y and Millennials into one group: GenMe (1970-2000-ish). So, at 33, she’s considered a member. I haven’t read to book in its entirety, just the introduction and all the parts relating to the workplace, but I find her insights interesting. While we may be more forward and feel more entitled – after all our parents (those same Boomers) told us we could do whatever we want – we do have more acceptance of diversity, more knowledge of new technology, the ability to think outside the box and the willingness to learn new things.
Twenge also covers sex, equality and depression in her book. At the end, she offers suggestions to older generations on how to relate better to the puzzling beast that is GenMe. I didn’t agree with everything she had to say, because she is forced to generalize, but I did learn more about myself and more about how older generations think as well.