I am Gen Y, part of the millennial generation (1981-1997): hate to be sold to, don’t look to acquire ‘stuff,’ can self-organize peers for grassroots activism, trust friends first and parents second, seek ethical business practices and value customization. My mother is between Baby Boomer and Gen X (early 60s to early 80s): educated, active, balanced, happy & family oriented. My cousins, ten years younger, are part of the next generation Z (2000+): “the internet generation.”
There is some dispute as to where some generations begin and end. Some would consider my cousins part of the millennials, but as someone raised in the 90s not having access to internet that did not tie up your phone lines or a personal laptop until I went away to university, I can’t help but think I come from a prior generation. I have watched my younger cousins own everything from Netbooks to cell phones to iPads to laptops in their 15 years – more than my whole family has owned in 54 years – I am led to believe there are some generational differences. In fact, we speak a whole different language – mine is not on fleek.
But it is not our differences I am promoting. It is the gifts that generations can share. While there are certainly notable variances between generations – our use of technology, our expectance of ethical practices, our acceptance of abhorrent practices, our political views, our work ethic, our education – I think there needs to be more focus on our similarities. Sure, it is of great importance that employers to take note of the differences between generations when it comes to employee engagement and interests, but what do people need to best interact with each other?
Alright, that does seem super hippy and oversimplified or maybe too big a request…but let me break it down for you. When I suggest that this generation should love the next, what I mean is that they deserve respect, kindness, empathy, guidance and acceptance. What each generation has in common is the previous generation saying: “Things weren’t like this in my day,” or “You guys have it so easy with technology…” A simple dismissal of the current reality, no empathy, no Leadership, no love.