The curmudgeons strike back

Wow. Could The Age of the Millenials have been any more one-sided? I know the audience for 60 Minutes skews older but this episode was pretty over the top, even for a generation gap story  (hat tip to the Twitterverse). Here are a few phrases from the episode:

  • Stand back all bosses. A new breed of American worker is attacking everything you hold sacred.
  • Narcissistic praisehounds.
  • Safety net or safety diaper.
  • The coddling virus.
  • While we’re having this delayed adolescence, are we getting behind as
    an economy … because we’re all just playing computer games at work
    while we wait to grow up?

  • (and, my favorite…) Praising is psychobabble.

Where is the understanding that every generation is different than those that came before? Where is the recognition of the many talents that the Millenials bring to the workplace? Where is the idea that perhaps these millenials have a pretty keen understanding of their current worth in the American employment market?

Did there have to be so much grumpiness? Are the boomers just reaping what they sowed?

9 Responses to “The curmudgeons strike back”

  1. To quote my sister from another family debate about generational issues (we are on the same side):

    The result is a generational gap, largely unnoticed by boomers. “They have relatively little generational consciousness,” writes Brooks, “because this generation is for the most part not fighting to emancipate itself from the past.”

    The suggestion is provocative considering that while “the baby boom included the largest U.S. birth cohort to date, the game generation will ultimately outdo the baby boom in size, in scope, and presumably in influence,” notes John C. Beck and Mitchell Wade in their study of the game generation’s influence on organizational values in business. “The total size of the game generation is already greater than the baby boom ever was,” and the whole generation of gamers, “including X and Y and letters to be named later-simply approach the world differently than their predecessors.”

    I run into generational bias all the time at work. The rules of the game are changing and the folks in charge haven’t read the memo. Take for example benefits offered. Why should I work at the agency for 16 years before I get four weeks of vacation? They have this convoluted way to calculate how many days you get based on how long you’ve been there. Please. It should be more important that I have 5-10 good years where I strive for professional growth than 20 years of doing year 1 over and over again.

    I truly believe that the Millenials will bring some much needed change in the workplace with regards to family/worklife balance. Along with innovation once the boomers stop thinking we are slackers. They got rich (in their 401Ks) from ideas put forth by GenXer’s in the dot .com boom.

  2. Baby Boomers are, by every measure I’ve ever read about, far more narcissistic.

  3. I’ve been a K-12 educator for 35 years, so I’ve seen more than one generation pass through the school hallways. I love the energy, self-confidence and innovation that the Millenials discovered. I can also tell you that my current middle school students will raise the bar even further. My guess is that in the future the Millenials will be singing their own version of “Ya got trouble…right here in River City.”

  4. After reading Everything is Miscellaneous and Meatball Sundae I have to say that I am disappointed in the fact that we continue our futile attempt to classify things or people and then apply a set of characteristics to the group.
    Values of society are changing, I will give you that. I am not sure I like the way in which it is changing. Our populace is becoming one of entitlement. The young want things now and feel they are entitled to them. This is why we have economic instability right now. Very few in society now save up for things, stay in a job and work towards a stable future, or even consider how they will pay for things in the long run.
    This is why we have people that jump from company to company. Why we have individuals who negotiate for salary and not benefits like health insurance or retirement plan contributions. This is why we have a significant number of individuals who are now defaulting on their mortgages and teams of investors who now pay modest sums of money now for control of longterm structured settlements which would provide individuals with a solid future. I really believe that we will soon see the crash of our economy like we saw in 1929. We are doing this to ourselves because our culture has us focused on the here and now and immediate gratification. We take risks without fear of the possible repercussions. If we lose in the game, we just hit the restart button. If a marriage is not going well, we just quit and get a different one. If we don’t like some aspect of the job, we quit and get a new one and draw welfare while we look. If we get behind in our loan, we walk away from our obligations and start new somewhere else and expect a fresh start.
    I don’t know if it is video games or the invention of paper plates (establishing us as a disposable oriented society) that did this to us, but I am certainly concerned about the impact it will have on our country. I think we need to take some lessons from the baby boomers and not be so quick to think we are better. Only time will tell how well our country is doing after we have played boss for awhile.

  5. As the supervisor and academic leader of teachers both older and younger than myself, I appreciate that there is a difference among the ages (call them what you wish). Generally, I will tell you that younger educators feel more entitled and our eldest are less tolerant of change. Does this surprise me? No. Here is the real key – I can see it in myself. I have little patience for the “young” (read as “younger than me”) when long hours are required but not important, and I am frustrated by more “experienced” educators dragging their feet on something that is “clearly” an improvement or advancement. Maybe I’m the problem with both of “those group” instead of the other way around. Agreeing with Dave on several fronts, I ask myself, “what can I do about it?” The restart button is not as available as we like to believe, but I can relate to that mentality that it “won’t happen to me,” or “I’ll get help/support from somewhere/someone.”

  6. Scott,
    You may want to check out this article from Tools for Schools: Had some interesting ideas for working with Millenials.

  7. The sense of entitlement that Millenials bring to the table is nauseating. I see it in k12 students. The higher the parents wage, the higher the progeny’s view of ‘give it to me now, you owe me’. This is not how America stays on top. We are here to serve others, NOT ourselves.

  8. I agree with Bruce when he states he is ,”disappointed in the fact that we continue our futile attempt to classify things or people and then apply a set of characteristics to the group.”
    Baby Boomers,Millenials, etc. I think if you reflect these labels are just relabels. The characteristics are simular thought processes that individuals have that just involve different scenarios.
    These thought processes seem to be cyclical. So what do I mean? Take a jog through history…who was a millenial 100 or 200 or even 1000 years past? With this analysis can we predict possibly what generation of individuals in the future might want or possibly accomplish?

    Just a note ‘entitlements’ end when there are none to be had. A lesson for Millenials to learn .

    The restart button is easily available and starts with constant conversation and perhaps blogging can be a part of that restart.

  9. See also Sylvia Martinez’s post on the 60 Minutes episode:

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