In my field of study (Industrial and Organizational Psychology), oodles of research exists on generational workforce and how unique characteristics, traits and values adopted by specific generations play out in a professional setting – for better or for worse. Your generation – in the social science world – is your clan….your peeps…those in your life who experience the same significant events within a given period of time as you.
I am on the very front end of the Millennial generation (those born between 1981-1997). We are passion-seekers, spontaneity-junkies, risk-takers and world travelers. We are, in my opinion, pretty sweet.
Yet my generation’s story is a one of innocence lost. Raised during the boom times and relative peace of the 1990s, our world was abruptly shattered one sunny morning by the Sept. 11 attacks and the two economic crashes that followed. Millennials are fighters however, and so we rebuild.
And now, we see new blood emerging…an entirely different breed of builder, a motivated crew who one-by-one are raising their hands to help. With LEAD, I get to expand my love of generational studies to a group which my fellow psychologists have not yet had the opportunity to touch (simply because they are not working age yet).
Introducing Generation Z. Have you heard of ’em? Well, we all should pay attention.
Born after 1997, this young group has had its eyes open from the beginning, coming along in the aftermath of those cataclysms in the era of the war on terror and the Great Recession. They are the most web-savvy and app-able people on the planet. Which means, ironically enough, that stepping AWAY from social media to connect more personally with folks on a face to face basis is considered rebellious and alternatively cool. And so – to my own five kids, my nieces and nephews, all their friends, their friends siblings and every other member of GenZ: us forward-thinking, progressive Millennials applaud those of you who are going against the grain…those rebels who show facial emotion and give high fives and hugs rather than sending an emoticon from across the room – you rock. Take it from your mentor generation and a slightly more seasoned clan of social disruptors: challenging the norm IS cool (and post-college, you’ll be the first of GenZ that we Millennials will hire)!