Friday, March 3, 2006

Talkin' 'bout my generation...

"...two scholars at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School and other demographic experts say that the generation born since 1982 seems to be breaking the mold. The Millennial Generation, as they’re now dubbed, are apparently a nicer bunch in many respects than the prior two – less violent, less alienated, and less selfish. Not only are the kids all right, but some pundits predict that they will go on to become another “Greatest Generation,” the World War II era cohort now mostly of sainted memory..."

So I'm not sure how much I believe in generalizing about an entire generation (i.e., in this study, the "Millennial Generation" means the American, middle-class generation), but it is interesting to see how the Man perceives people my age or thereabouts.

Some survey results:

Nearly 70% of Millennials agreed with the statement that “Authority figures should set and enforce rules” – compared to around 40% of GenXers.
60% of Millennials agreed with the statement, “I trust authority figures to act in my best interest.” Only 40% of GenXers agreed.
Nearly 60% of Millennials said they “felt comfortable asking for special treatment,” while only 40% of GenXers felt that way.

We're also purportedly really into social service and are "action-oriented". In the office, the survey suggests: women will take more responsibility, teamwork will be stronger, racial/ethnic tension will be lower, class tensions will be higher, and risk aversion will be greater.

A big part of me thinks this is unnecessarily sanguine. The story spins it in such a way that it makes me think, "Hey, yeah! We are the next Greatest (or is that next-greatest) Generation!" When, in reality, when I step back from my initial impressions, it's readily apparent that although we are motivated and committed to society, many of us are sycophantic, overly trusting (particularly of an untrustworthy government), and used to having things our way or the highway.

We were discussing this the other day in the office. What do you do with an entire generation that has grown up having their lives managed, their environments controlled? Will we ever be able to fulfill the potential implicit in this glimpse into the crystal ball, or will we be constantly disappointed? And, more importantly -- what will we do with that disappointment?

1 comment:

Marley said...

Basically, what they're saying is that we're soft. Good-hearted, soft people. Now, some of those things are positive, but I found their comments about structure (while not false) alarming. A majority of people my age and younger have that kind of trust for authority? Damn!