Gen Yers: The Pseudo Generation?Posted: January 16, 2010
This AM I was reading Penelope Trunk’s post over at Brazen Careerist on the generational differences between Gen Xers, Yers, and Baby Boomers. I’m a cusp child, but closer to the Gen X mindset – at least when it comes to conducting myself in the workplace. Xers are naturally more inclined to strive for independence professionally and not big on being constrained by rules of the corporate establishment put into place by the Baby Boomers who have capitalized on these rules, but whose rules don’t do much to help position Gen Xers as up-and-coming leaders.
…Leaving us wondering if Boomers are simply paving the way for Yers to move into those coveted spots? Then again do we even want these types of hierarchical roles or would we rather establish some sort of specialty niche in the middle where we could still get our hands dirty with the work (and not just delegate) but also be recognized as an esteemed expert in our field on level with those in sr. management roles?
While Trunk contends that Gen Yers are better at the pretense of teamwork than the rest of us, that they get along with Boomers better (all of which might be true), I’d also like to assert that Gen Yers lack the depth of their X counterparts. They grew up in a post-Max Headroom, Glasnost era where the open world was enjoying the fruits of technology, far enough away from the footprints of fear that left our generation uncertain and distrusting. Theirs was a universe swept by the rapidly changing landscape of technology and its suitability for the type of accessibility and connectivity human relationships crave – resulting in Yers’ affinity for over-exposure (not just in the literal sense by them realizing their exhibitionist tendencies online, TV, etc) but also a desensitization to the world around them – an indifference that may mimic on the surface the Gen Xers’ cynicism but is coming from a very different place. Whereas the latter’s cynicism is rooted in idealism gone wrong and a sense of injustice and disillusionment in the world as a result, the former’s comes from a self-awareness which has more to do with how they will be perceived. By always being “on” they may be perfectly suited to act the part they need to win the workplace, just possibly not be the ones to revolutionize how we work.