Ok. I am back on the issue of moral ethics, this time the spotlight is on what 'they' are calling Generation Y – or rather Gen Y.
The Fortune 500 magazine recently published an article that really hit home for me. Its worth a read.
Owning a small business I have noticed its becoming increasing difficult to find young people with any kind moral ethic, commitment, basic manners or loyalty. BUT what is more frightening for me is total lack of passion and direction that most exude even in a job interview [this last point seems to contradict the Fortune article on the ambitious Gen-Y’ers]. They certainly don’t seem to be trying to impress, its almost as if they are expecting you to impress them! [I am basing this off over 100 interviews with early 20-somethings over the last 9 months]. I am now convinced that this behaviour is a result of a few things but mostly I think it’s a result of: indulgence, guilt & lack of quality mentorship/time.
More cash flush parents [more so than the industrial age lets say] indulging their children over the past decade [or more] because they feel guilty about the time they are able to spend with them in this fast paced world. Many families now also have different structures, they are made up of all sorts of different layers, all coming with their own issues and morals. This new age family often has split parenting complications that fuel the guilt that parents feel when dealing with their children. Sadly, this is only part of the problem, schools are not able to discipline as they did in the 'old days' incase the children’s rights are ‘infringed’. Advertisers greedily see children as a hugely important target for their products, further feeding the indulgence [or 'me'] epidemic.
Don’t believe me…. do a test, ask any teenager or 20-something where they want to be in 5 years and see what the answer is. Very few have even thought about today never mind tomorrow! Sure the business landscape is changing very quickly, and it is difficult to keep up, but what happened to 'following a passion'?? Technology has been an channel that has aided these ‘All about ME’ kids enabling a secret community that excludes parents & mentors…. fueling the growth of the communication canyon [or disconnect] between generations.
Understanding & providing opportunities to this generation is important, of course, but it should not be a one sided affair. I realize that I am generalizing here [always dangerous] but I am trying to illustrate a very strong trend that needs some discussion.
I am personally not sure how to deal with people that are not passionate about anything [is this because they have mostly never felt what it is like to really want anything ?] AND I believe that you have to be taught to care and give to others. So where do you begin, how do you reason with this lot? Just to complicate this further, being a parent of a small child, I am conscious not to fall into the same give, give, give parenting trap BUT that is not as easy as it sounds with such massive external pressures [peer pressure being a main one]. Teaching manners, empathy and caring is key BUT will that be enough…? Maybe for my child [she is still young and impressionable] but what happens to the Generations Y’ers floating out there in their-own-space???
UPDATE: Since writing this I stumbled across this article BizComArticle