Thursday, February 26, 2015

Baby Boomers and Millennials

I haven't figured out if all the late 20 and 30 somethings (the Millennials) feel they are immortal and therefore will never age or by the time they reach 50 they will have solved all the world's problems and riding off into the sunset will just be another Friday afternoon jetting to St. Barts with some friends. 

Let me make myself clear I am not putting all 20 and 30 somethings in this box, only the ones who are very bright, are sure they know more than anyone else in the room, and want to run the world by the time they are 40. Well good luck with that one. I hope they start with that little fellow in North Korea and those beasts in the Middle East who take pleasure in taking prisoners, removing heads, and filming it all. And, while they are at it, can they solve global warming, cancer, and diabetes? 

Chop, Chop you only have 25 years or so. 

I crawled up on my soap box (you youngsters can catch up after you Google that term) this morning simply out of frustration. I have total confidence in the next generation. I find them remarkable. Actually I find them astounding. Their coming of age and technology have merged and now the world is theirs for the taking, improving, and, God help us, saving. The only issue with all the new brain power, enthusiasm, energy, and ideas is a lack of empathy and humiliation for others. 

This new generation I speak of is not the generation who got a trophy for showing up, where everyone won. That group is just coming into their early 20s and  life will be hard without Mom and Dad to catch their every fall.  Showing up doesn't count. Everyone doesn't win. Sure, a few will be fleet of foot and ready try what is necessary to conquer the world.

Yes, while the newest generation is trying to get what they think they deserve, the Millennials have left most of us Baby Boomers  in their dust. Hopefully enough of us realize that this is a good thing. "The baton has been passed to a new generation," as JFK said. Only in this case, it is the third generation. However before we are all put on cattle cars and sent to pasture perhaps everyone should consider the experience that will be going with it. 

Now I am not talking about the method in making widgets, or even the best way to do things. Those days long gone, if anyone would even listen. But there is some institutional memory that everyone needs to hold on to. There is that rock on which you want to build the future. Some of us have worked hard to grow with the new technology, to embrace the change, to understand the potential. We jumped out of the box years ago. 

Personally I am in awe of the chances this generation will take. Their mobile and flexible look at life allows them to experiment and take things where few Baby Boomers dared go. And, truthfully, most of those Baby Boomers who tried such in their day succeeded in flying colors.  But they were the exception.

Old codgers with good attitudes, technical skills, and curiosity can be of great value to these new ventures. So perhaps they should not dismiss us out of hand. After all we have a work ethic you may find puzzling and we don't expect a trophy for just showing up. 

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