It’s great fun to track trends to try to figure out what the future holds. The Generation after Gen Y is a mystery. Sort of. There are some things we know. And what we know, we know doesn’t change much. For example, people thought Gen Y’s sunny optimism would die down under the ardors of raising kids, but it didn’t. And people thought Gen X’s cynical, outsider approach would change when they became soccer moms, and it didn’t.

So it’s a safe bet that once you peg a trait in a generation, it likely won’t change much over time. But it could play out in interesting ways over time. Here are some ways that the traits of Generation Z might play out in the workforce of the future.

1. Generation Z will not be team players.
We know from Strauss and Howe that as generations cycle, the team generations (such as gen y) are usually followed by individualist generations. So it is not surprising to see trends that the same thing will happen over the next decade.
Gen Y are great team players. In fact, they are so team oriented that they often feel that nothing is getting accomplished at work unless there has been a team meeting about it.

But they are not likely to teach the value to their kids. In typical parent fashion, parents stress what they are lacking so that their kids don’t lack it. This is why, for example, first generation immigrants often do not teach their native tongue to their American kids.

One way to read this trend is with baby naming. Gen Y is naming their kids eccentrically. Throughout history, most people have had common names, and common names help people to fit in and be part of a group. Uncommon names make people feel different and encourage them to think of themselves more as individuals.

(For those of you who doubt the power of naming, check this out: If your name begins with a K you will strike out more often in baseball. If your name begins with a letter toward the end of the alphabet you could be economically penalized.)

2. Generation Z will be more self-directed.
One of the failings of the helicopter parent generation is that kids had parents telling them what to do all the time. And Gen Y is known for being good kids: rule-followers, close to their parents, very good students.

Which means they are terrible at figuring out what they want to do at any given time. No one taught them. Gen X, on the other hand, was left to their own devices at an early age and is very self-directed. (So self-directed that they are basically unmanageable, but that’s another story.) For Gen Y, the quarterlife crisis is not figuring out what you like or dislike by the time you’re 30.

This will probably not happen to the next generation, because parenting is less focused (via Dr. Eades), which means self-discovery is more prominent in childhood. In an article in the New York Times magazine, Lisa Belkin explores the trend that parents are no longer spending tons of time and money dragging their kids to classes and specialists and guides to the world of overachievers. Parents are hanging out at home instead. And so are the kids. And everyone is learning about self-discovery. Because what else do you do with a chunk of unstructured time?

3. Generation Z will process information at lightning speed.
So much of the workplace today is about processing information. And the information sector will grow at twice the rate as all other jobs . We see that the more native one is to Internet technology, the better one is at processing information. We can spend time lamenting the fact that people don’t write essay-long memos by hand, and people don’t sit at their desks uninterrupted for eight hours a day. But what is the point of the lament? It won’t change. Successful leaders of the next generation will move past the lament, to watching how people adapt to the change and leveraging that happens in the workplace.

Besides, the next generation will be so good at processing information that they will open doors we can only knock on today.

Sam Anderson writes in New York magazine that, “The brain is designed to change based on experience, a feature called neuroplasticity. London taxi drivers, for instance, have enlarged hippocampi, a neural reward for paying attention to the tangle of the city’s streets. As we become more skilled at the 21st-century task [of moving through bits of information quickly] the wiring of the brain will inevitably change to deal more efficiently with more information. Neuroscientist Gary Small speculates that the human brain might be changing faster today than it has since the prehistoric discovery of tools.”

It’s not surprising, then, that when Matthew Robson, a fifteen-year-old Morgan Stanley intern, analyzed his generation, the report he generated is basically a summary of how his generation collects and processes information. This ability will be the defining feature of his generation.

4. Generation Z will be smarter.
Generation Y is the most educated generation in US history. By far. It’s not just that they have access to more information and teaching. But also, they did way more homework than any of their predecessors (which, by the way, is thought to be maybe damaging, and another reason that Gen Y is no good at self-direction.)

But the next generation could be even smarter, thanks to neuro-enhancers. Today kids experiment with ADHD medications to use in off-label ways, mostly to be more focused on getting more homework done, so they can have time to party at school.

But today’s off-label users are mostly smart, rich, at-a-great-college kids who will have wild success in life anyway. And the downside to neuro-enhancers—squashed creativity—hits these kids too hard to keep up the habit.

Another approach would be to give less privileged kids access to neuro-enhancers. Scientists and sociologists surmise that this would actually be a socioeconomic leveling mechanism that we have not been able to achieve with education.

Margaret Talbot wrote in the New Yorker that a “pretty clear trend across the studies say neuro-enhancers will be less helpful for people who score above average” and cognitive enhancing pills could actually become levelers, if they are dispensed cheaply. And Talbot quotes The British Medical Association as declaring: “Universal access to enhancing interventions would bring up the base-line of cognitive ability, which is generally seen to be a good thing.”

How does this affect the workplace? A wider range of people can do cognitively challenging jobs. And, if you think Gen Y is obnoxious about being better at processing information than the older people, think how Gen Y will feel when the next generation tells them their IQ is much higher. And they’re right. Gen Y will be getting on the Adderall bandwagon to stay competitive the way Baby Boomers today get on Facebook.

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  1. Dave
    Dave says:

    Do you just find studies that seem interesting, then write a column around them? The study supposedly showing that baseball players strike out more if one of their initials is “K” seems to be fundamentally flawed. Even if it is true, then the real question is why? Do pitchers throw better against “K” players, or are “K” people just worse baseball players? Come on, statistics can be made to say just about anything, if you frame the proposition correctly. Besides, 48.3% of all statistics are made up on the spot, right?

    I really can’t agree with all your generalizations concerning the various generations. Sure, there may be some general trends, but somehow your characterizations seem little different than those used by racists (“all are “). I just don’t buy it.

    • Kris
      Kris says:

      Generalizations are always a derivative of the truth. And maybe if you understood what a bell curve was you would then realize that everything has outliers. You, maybe, an outlier that doesn’t fall into this relm.

      The funny thing about a “feeling” one has, through observation, is that they are usually more valuable than statistics…..because feelings, unlike numbers, cannot be massaged.

      Lastly when, through observation, you see something more than say, 10 times, that, buddy, is a “trend.”

      Dont take too much offense in labeling……why is it that in marketing we segment and label all day long, and its ok, but when we make a general statements then its racist? Get real.

      • Deb
        Deb says:

        Kris

        It’s a bit of a surprise, looking at the value you place on observations vs. statistics, that you still choose to stick to the bell curve. You may like to read N.N. Taleb’s ‘The Black Swan’.

      • Matthew
        Matthew says:

        I’m one of the first of Generation Z, or Generation Net. I can tell you with my super processing super powerful super-brain, exactly why Gen X is so unmanageable. (also, both my parents are Gen X) if I am correct, you probably liked Heavy Metal when it was first coming out. It was such a reckless and chaotic style of music, and the rest of the world didn’t know how to handle it. Also, not to mention your probable 40’s or 50’s raised parents were pretty strict, and something like that can only lead to you being a very unmanageable person. It’s elementary my dear Watson!

        • Jeffrey
          Jeffrey says:

          I was born in 1995, so I’m pretty sure that makes me a Generation Y-er.

          It’s a little… anxious thinking about what will become of our generation, and how it’ll work out. I’d rather not be forced into a bandwagon just because the generation I was born in doesn’t feel good or something.

          I think I’d be fine following the directions of a dashing Generation Z-er. But that’s not what I’m anxious about hearing.

          I can only wonder if our dreams will ever be fulfilled by Willy Wonka.

        • Karam
          Karam says:

          I like your thinking Mathew. We also invented mountain biking n played rough, n had lots of time to adventure on our own. We love authenticity n will give loyalty to it. We’re unmanageable because boomers are lousy at keeper it real for us while r militaristic parents were abandoning yet strick. I’m looking forward to gen z in the marketplace. Gen y to a xer require what we hate which is micro management. We like to give freedom. To us it is respect n it’s hard to manipulate even though gen y requires it like breathing. To us xers it’s akin to being fake. Here’s a example I hated yer wants ice cream as a kid, moms like “u want the peanut butter cookie or the chocolate pretzel”? Kids like I want the ice cream. Boomers then repeats cookie phrase in placating tone n direct drives it out of kids mind ice cream even exists. Kids takes a choice they did even care about n gets unhappiness they smile about while looking for morphine like approval. Now they can’t work without this heavy mindedness at every step of progress.

  2. Clare
    Clare says:

    Maybe we’re unmanageable because we were left alone to find our own feet. So because we worked it out for ourselves first, we don’t like anyone telling us how, when or where to do something.

    Would be interesting to find out if the percentage of entrepreneurs, freelancers and sole proprietors is any greater among Gen X, or whether Gen X is in fact, any worse at taking orders than other generations.

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      Yeah, I think this is largely on target, Clare. If you help someone their whole life (gen Y) then they like help. If you leave someone on their own their whole life (gen x) then they don’t like help. It seems like a totally reasonable outcome in both cases. And (good) management is fundamentally about giving help.

      It doesn’t mean that gen x is better or worse because of this. Just different. different skills beget different contributions and achievements :)

      – Penelope (Gen-Xer!)

  3. funkright
    funkright says:

    I can only hope my children don’t get on the “Adderal bandwagon”, that would be sad day indeed. Neuropharmacology isn’t a trivial glass house to through rocks within :(

  4. jenx67
    jenx67 says:

    Bravo! I loved this. First of all, you called them Generation Z. We need the Z so the X becomes less and less of a pejorative. =) Second, your links are always great. I right click; copy and paste them and then visit them all after I’ve read the article. I hope this doesn’t reduce your pageload. =/

    Finally, as the parent of three Gen Zs, I really enjoy this discussion – of what their world will be like; what they will be like. My father imagined that my possibilities would be endless. It feels that way most days, even with the economic meltdown. I think the possibilities will be even greater for my little Zs. I hope anyway. And, in the end, maybe we will all reframe just what a possibility is. Something that involves less aquisition? Less consumption? Less rampant obsalescence? Maybe if their brains are more evolved, then they will reach further for the intangibles that bring the biggest blessings of all. Great job, as always, PT.

  5. www.GenerationXpert.com
    www.GenerationXpert.com says:

    Great post, but I would argue that Z’s are being parented by Xers, not Ys. And I think that’s why you’re seeing less helicoptering and over-scheduling. As a Gen X parent of Zs, what I’ve noticed in a lot of my peers is this sense that I need to teach our kids to be able to stand up for themselves and rely on themselves – which is one of the reasons I think they will be less group oriented (like Xers). It won’t be the Ys that teach the Zs to be less group oriented directly (i.e. parenting), it will be the Zs observing the weaknesses of the Y group orientation (like the Xers still observe of the the Boomer group orientation).

    • Caitlin
      Caitlin says:

      Definitely agree with @generationXpert.com here. The generation after Generation Y is not Generation Y’s children! It’s people 10-20 years younger than Generation Y – ie. Generation X’s children. Analysis of Generation Y’s parenting techniques is a) premature, given that most of Gen Y are yet to have children and if they do they have small children not teenagers and b) irrelevant to how Gen Z will turn out.

      @penelope I don’t think the ADHD drug thing is a genuine long-term trend. Even if it is and even if it does enhance IQ, haven’t you always argued that high IQ won’t get you by?

      I am disappointed you brought the Morgan Stanley “research” note up. (I use the inverted commas advisedly since it was more note than research). The best analysis I saw about this was Suw Charman-Anderson’s ‘the plural of ancedote is not data’. http://strange.corante.com/2009/07/13/the-plural-of-anecdote-is-not-data

  6. Patrick
    Patrick says:

    “In typical parent fashion, parents stress what they are lacking so that their kids don't lack it. This is why, for example, first generation immigrants often do not teach their native tongue to their American kids.”

    I am a first generation American, born from a Vietnamese family, and that’s how I’ve always tried to reason and explain to others why I know English yet not any Vietnamese…

  7. The Frugal New Yorker
    The Frugal New Yorker says:

    Argh. I don't object to anything in your post, Penelope, but I object to the title. I'll be honest, I resent the fact that you discuss my generation so often while continuing to call us "Generation Y." It bothers me that you're helping this name to catch on. I dislike it because it is meaningless, because it has nothing to do with anything that is unique about us- – it just happens to follow after Generation X. And now you want to do the same thing to the next generation, and call them Generation "Z", for pete's sake? Argh! In 1997 on World News Tonight Peter Jennings asked kids and teens to vote for what name we preferred, and “Millennials” won. It'd be nice if you paid attention! http://www.scribd.com/doc/16954222/ABC-Family-Meet-the-Millennials

    • Caitlin
      Caitlin says:

      @TheFrugalNewYorker Firstly, I think the horse has bolted. Generation Y has stuck as a name.

      Secondly, Millenials and Generation Y are not the same thing. Millenials are not even an entire generation – it’s just used to refer to people who came of age in the 21st century. At least half of Generation Y came of age in the 1990s.

      I am 33 (born in 1976 and therefore turned 18 in 1994). I am considered to be on the cusp of Generation X and Y. When I was 18 I was definitively not in Generation X (at the time the definition of Gen X ended at birth year 1974). Under many current definitions I make it but only just. I identify with both generations.

      • Deb
        Deb says:

        @Caitlin “I identify with both generations”. Which is why it’s so hazardous to generalise. I took a quiz not a long time back which put me in a generation ahead of my birth-year-generation.

    • Kimberley
      Kimberley says:

      Wow! Who would have thunk it? A Gen X-er (me) in total agreement with a Millenial (you). I also do not like the term “Generation Y” simply because it makes the term “Generation X” less unique.

      Also, is it just me, or are entire “generations” getting smaller, and smaller? The Baby Boomer reflects those born 1946 – 1966 (give or take, depending who you ask). Generation X only represents those born in 1967 – 1978. There are already arguments as to how to define the Millenials, and now we’re already naming the next generation before they’ve even had the chance to define themselves.

      Maybe it’s time to stop naming generations and focus instead on the individuals?

      • The Frugal New Yorker
        The Frugal New Yorker says:

        See? It’s not just me! “Generation Y” takes away from everyone. :-( I also think it’s weird that we separate Generations X and the Millennials, when they’re both kids of the Baby Boomers.

        Sadly, I think Caitlin, above, is correct–the term “Generation Y” has stuck. Caitlin, however, is incorrect in trying to distinguish between Generation Y and Millennials–they are in fact exactly the same thing. Howe and Strauss, authors of "Millennials Rising" and considered the authorities on generations, call anyone born between 1982 and 2000 a Millennial.

    • Caitlin
      Caitlin says:

      @FrugalNewYorker Does that mean that Howe & Strauss think anyone born up until 1982 is still Generation X? That doesn’t sound right to me. It sounds like he picked 1982 as cut-off simply because that would make you turn 18 in 2000.

      I’m not sure you can have THE authority on generations anyway – there’s lots of compelling but contradictory research drawing the lines in different places. Since it’s arbitrary where you draw the lines anyway, no one can ever be definitively right or wrong.

  8. KateNonymous
    KateNonymous says:

    “For those of you who doubt the power of naming, check this out: If your name begins with a K you will strike out more often in baseball.”

    Although not in softball, apparently, since the stats for my teams always showed that I had the fewest strikeouts. And then, of course, there’s the important wording issue: “will” versus “are statistically more likely to.”

    “Maybe we’re unmanageable because we were left alone to find our own feet. So because we worked it out for ourselves first, we don’t like anyone telling us how, when or where to do something.”

    I’m always happy to learn a shortcut that will increase efficiency, but all too often people fail to realize that their way is not necessarily better. Which, of course means that mine isn’t necessarily better, either. But people can rarely provide a good reason for me to give up my arbitrariness in favor of theirs.

  9. Dale
    Dale says:

    Penny,
    This article depresses me. The Gen Z kids I know are whizzes at searching for data, but have the attention spans of Gnats. I worry about them becoming truely becoming expert at anything.

    • greg_ske
      greg_ske says:

      I couldn’t agree more on the attention span. It really is something that worries me. On top of that lifehacking posts “teaching” how to become an expert in anything in no time reinforce this trend. E.g.: http://www.copyblogger.com/become-an-expert/

      The other comment about the naming of Gen Y and Z are also on the spot. Maybe the people coining those terms had a lack of creativity due to Adderall. Personally I prefer the term millennials. At least the term Generation X was based on a great book by Douglas Coupland http://www.coupland.com/category/books/
      But even Mr. Coupland seems to go on with the trend as his new book is called Generation A.
      I wonder what we will do when we run out of letters :-)

    • Look again
      Look again says:

      Threatened by generation Z? Let me guess you are X or Y. Your generation decided Baby boomers are to old and slow and cannot adapt to new technology. Afraid and you should be, this generation will be taking over very soon. So you attack generation Z, hoping to remove their confidence making them subservant to your generation, good luck it is not happening. Z will soon be in the drivers seat, they to will be higly educated more tech savy then you ever will be, and have grown up with the internet. my son is a Z he is an honor student,quick, smart a high IQ he does not just read back what he has memorized he puts this into practice. Imagine what his generation is capable of, the internet is like breathing to him.His ability to learn what he learns and put into practices amazing me daily. Then he takes what he learns and makes it into something better. Watch out he will soon developed a program to replace all you Y’s who feel the world owes you. He quicker and faster and younger!!!!!!!something employers want. He is confident on his own and does not require constant rewards and recognition like your generation does

      • john c
        john c says:

        does gen z theaten me nope your kids are annoying so suck it. great the maybe wise with all there internet knowlegde and high iq bull but they lack social skills something employers look for as well dumb dumb, its not all about smarts, not to metion they have no taste you think they are more higherable than people my age im 25 seriously shutup ive worked since i was 16 and guess what weather you like it or not they have to step in line a wait there turn like the rest of us. in fact i bet they end up being a shit little generation at the workplace and lead to the downfall of society since you spoil them like crazy. my parents taught me values what have you taught you kid how to not piss the bed or shit his pants sorry he/ or she got a ways to go. now stfu

  10. Denis
    Denis says:

    If your name begins with a K you will strike out more often in baseball… and become a chess champion ;)

    4 out of the total of 15 chess champions had the last name that started with the sound “k”: Capablanca, Karpov, Kasparov, Kramnik. The probable next chess champion? Carlsen.

  11. Margaret
    Margaret says:

    “And everyone is learning about self-discovery. Because what else do you do with a chunk of unstructured time?” – Perhaps way back in the day, but I think a lot of kids watch TV and surf the net also. If they were inspired, resourceful kids on the other hand, then big things can happen! :P

  12. Mark W.
    Mark W. says:

    The subject of smart (or intelligence) is one that fascinates me. There is a good post written by Billie Sucher over at Career Hub ( http://www.careerhubblog.com/main/2009/03/how-are-you-smart-.html ) that points out there is eight types of smarts according to Howard Gardner. In summary, in her words, “the important thing is to identify the ways in how you are smart, then use your smarts to well serve self, and others. Put your smarts to good and valuable use. Are you using your smarts to your benefit, and for the benefit of others?”.
    If Generation Z is smart, they will learn to know themselves and identify the ways they are smart and they will do it without neuro-enhancers unless it is medically necessary for them to perform.

  13. Fleur Brown
    Fleur Brown says:

    Hi Penelope
    Interesting post. I agree with the majority of your points, however we recently completed six months worth of research on thousands of Gen Z teenagers to find quite the opposite of what you reference in the front part of your blog. Gen Z are showing up as quite the “community” players. They also hold quite traditional values, are more altruistic than Gen Y and are closer to their parents and their peers.
    Fleur

  14. Brady
    Brady says:

    I get really scared when richer people proscribe solutions for poorer people. If you effectively squash the creativity of the poorer class, you ruin much of their hope.

  15. Kenneth W. Gronbach
    Kenneth W. Gronbach says:

    It is difficult to comment about generations without defining exactly who they are and how old they are. I am a demographer and I currently have a best selling book on the subject “The Age Curve, How to Profit from the Coming Demographic Storm”. My researchers and I opted to use the traditional twenty year definition of a generation. This has been used since biblical times with the rational being it takes about twenty years before humans mature and begin the next generation. Given that the commonly accepted duration of the Baby Boomer Generation birth years, 1945 to 1964, it was easy to define the five living generations in the United States. Between 1965 and 1984 the small Generation X was born. When they entered the entry level labor market there simply were not enough of them to satisfy the demand, literally eight workers for ten jobs. This is what precipitated their entitled attitude. Now the biggest generation in the history of the United States, Generation Y born 1985 TO 2004, is entering the labor force and overwhelming it. This will create an employer’s market so we can clearly expect different behavior and productivity from a work force that wants to eat. Generation X will get a wake up call and lose their attitudes or lose their jobs. Generation Z is under five years old.

    • KateNonymous
      KateNonymous says:

      “Generation X will get a wake up call and lose their attitudes or lose their jobs.”

      This sounds like something written in 1997, not about Generation X today.

  16. Maureen Sharib
    Maureen Sharib says:

    I’m a baby boomer and I’m mostly unmanageable. In fact, my mother imparted a lovely gift to me when I was about 21 – though I did not know it at the time. She said, exasperatedly at the time: “Nobody will ever hire you.”
    Thank goodness for that.

  17. Danny
    Danny says:

    Penelope, you know my favorite examples of your writing usually have a naughty curve ball, which keeps me coming back. However, I would like to complement you on this posting. Great information and I have to say, you are right on the mark on this one. I have nothing to comment about it other than, I agree with all of it. Keep it up, but don’t forget the occasional shocker for your crazy fans like me. Take Care!

    Oh, some may dispute your generalizing, but they need to realize that it is just that. Generalizing, i.e., generally true but not all the time. If they can understand that there are always exceptions, they might find it easier to grasp your points. Take me for example, I’m Gen X and I’m smarter then all the Y’s and Z’s! LOL

  18. delia
    delia says:

    In order for this post to be relevent PT, you need to define the generations. Also, it’s quite entertaining to listen to old people try to define generations they clearly don’t understand. If you think helicopter parents are on the decline and the zealous overscheduling has stopped, you’re not paying very much attention.
    moreover, i think your understanding of who is parenting which generations is a little simplistic and flawed.
    read outliers, it makes interesting points on similar topics.

  19. Kevin
    Kevin says:

    Does this article assume Gen Z to be the offspring of Gen X or Gen Y. Or both?

    I think the answer to that question has a huge bearing on how this article should be taken, if taken at all.

  20. ST
    ST says:

    I was with you all the way, until you started proposing that a variant of speed is a good way to educate our youth. Adderall will not overcome the ills of poverty and bad parenting…and could simply propogate an addictive spiral in some students versus true self-reliance and hardwork. We should respect psychotic drugs for treatment of true disorders; otherwise, it starts to look like the same argument in athletics (that steroids are necessary for baseball, or any sport where performance is demanded).

  21. Editormum
    Editormum says:

    Um … think you meant “rigors of raising kids,” not “ardors.”
    Ardor = intense love and adoration.
    Rigor = intense labour and exertion.

    Sorry, but you completely lost me with that one, because I was reading along and went “huh?!” and then my ADD kicked in and off down the rabbit-trail I went.

    Now I’m going to go try reading the article again! :-)

  22. Joanne
    Joanne says:

    So far a good portion of Generation X and part of Generation Y have sadly demonstrated that they cannot communicate an idea in acceptable English since their vocabulary is limited (example – the over-use of the word “amazing” – 10-years ago it was the over-use of “awesome” – they are still on the first letter of the alphabet).
    They also have very little intellectual curiosity – despite all the “eduation”, if it did not happen in their
    recent memory, they don’t know what it is, don’t care what it is, and don’t have the interest to find out what it is.
    With technology having advanced exponentially in the last 20-years there is little excuse for the XYZ-generations to
    remain uninformed as to what the world has been doing before their birth.
    And as far as XYZ-generations wanting “BIG MONEY” before anything else: they should be reminded that quick math is not a guarantee of success (as noted by today’s economic crisis), but that knowledge of history would serve a better purpose since it repeats itself so often.

    • KateNonymous
      KateNonymous says:

      My mother used to edit her club’s newsletter. I remember looking at some of the materials that were submitted to her. Although the club members were, for the most part, college-educated women, a dismaying number of them were apparently unable to write in complete sentences. Perhaps this issue is not as new as many might think.

  23. Shawn
    Shawn says:

    Dear commentor Joanne,

    Even though I am a Gen X’er and disagree with part of your comment I still think you are awesome, er wait, shit, no…I mean…amazing!

    Come’on really? Penelope said it best in one of her past posts. Gen X has a highly sensitive bullshit meter. You need to add references when making bold statements like that, oh but wait – baby boomers don't understand the Internet enough to add reference links so you are forgiven (this time… ;-).

    Some of the best bloggers/writers on the Internet and in offline media are Gen X (Penelope included). We may not always use the best sentence structure or spell like that of our previous generation. Seriously though, can you blame us? We grew up with computers doing most of the spelling and simple grammatical work for us, even our typewriters (circa late 70’s, early 80’s) had backspace erasure capabilities. The only good use we found for white out was to get high.

    I will agree with the part about my generation (and subsequent generations) not being very educated about history. Then again I think the baby boomer generation isn’t much of a walking encyclopedia either, the current economic meltdown was mostly their fault – they have been the purveyors of bad polices based on the greed of the BIG MONEY remarkably similar to the type you mentioned plaguing Generations X and Y. If you do your research people like 54 year old Joseph Cassano at AIG were some of the biggest greedy spokes in the wheel. I won’t even write the long list of baby boomer big corporation execs who make extraordinary salaries. (See there..I didn’t use amazing!) Baby boomer's threw money around like they were printing it. Which they are literally doing now!

    Saving and Loan Scam in the 80's (baby boomers)
    ENRON debacle (run by baby boomers)
    Dot Com Bubble (major investors – baby boomers)
    2nd Worthless Iraq war (designed and marketed by baby boomers)
    Housing market bubble (major speculators/investors – baby boomers)

    This deep recession is just the result of money abuse.

    Meanwhile Gen X and Y has been suckling the almost dried up teets left over from the older generation currently “running the show”. So before you go throwing stones about the greed of younger generations, you may want to take a good look at your own.

    Remember that Ad Council commercial in the 80’s where the dad comes in shaking a burnt out marijuana joint at his son forcefully asking his kid where he learned to do this, the classic Gen X response is – “I learned it by watching you, alright! I learned it by watching you…”

    Generations that live for greed, have kids who are greedy –

    I don’t know about other Gen X parents, but I am teaching my Gen Z that people and relationships are what matter in life.

    • Joanne
      Joanne says:

      Shaun – I respect your points but must stress that although I am a “boomer” I do navigate the internet with ease. Please permit me to question your logic that “boomers have been the purveyors of bad polices based on the greed of the BIG MONEY remarkably similar to the type you mentioned plaguing Generations X and Y.” While complacency of boomers not to actively petition legislators for regulatory control of the gangster-like barons of Wall Street, what is Generation X and some of Y’s excuse for not holding mass demonstrations demanding affordable health care, jobs that offer a “living wage” not a “minimum wage”
      and pick up on financial regulatory control so that when we boomers are dead and buried, the financial mobsters won’t crash the economy yet again?
      I agree that boomers are great for “talking smack” but the desire to take action left them after Viet Nam, but may I assure you I am NOT one of them. I petition legislators weekly and stay informed. The reality is that the future belongs to Generation XY&Z and all of you MUST demonstrate a united front against legislators with self-serving agendas who have the power to rob you of future opportunities.
      It’s up to you (collectively)to show boomers we created involved and informed offspring.
      Good luck and God speed

  24. Matt Secor
    Matt Secor says:

    I know you think you are being trendy and topical by endorsing neuro-enhancement through Adderall, but using drugs like this to increase intelligence is risky because they don’t affect everyone the same way.

  25. Josh Bersin
    Josh Bersin says:

    It seems very popular to try to generalize “generation Z” vs. x, y, boomers but I find this very unconvincing. I have two children and I see zero evidence that AP classes or the internet has made them “smarter” than I was at their age (or any of my peers). This article really generalizes and provides little or no real evidence. Just because kids now take more AP classes they are “smarter?” I think we have to seperate the “styles” of GenX and GenY from their native intelligence and judgement. Lots of good research shows that the “multi-tasking brain” is far less effective and efficient than the brain that can focus and specialize (and we have research that proves this in the corporate world). I think this whole article is just very superficial.

  26. Lara
    Lara says:

    Are there any articles on people who are on the edge of two generations? I was born about 2 months into Gen Y and ended up graduating college a year ahead, with all Gen Xers – so who am I? Part of me says who really cares about these generalizations… but it would be an interesting article if there were one.

  27. Paloma Pentarian
    Paloma Pentarian says:

    Penelope, I agree with you that each generation gets fixed on certain life ideas and continues forward in time with these ideas. One example is the hippie generation, who are now in their mid-60’s. I find they are still thinking the same ways they thought in their 20’s, and carrying the same values. I’m a few years younger than that, and am part of a group that has a metaphysical outlook, which I later was quite common in those my age, and up to 20 years older. Many of those people, who are now between 55-75 still have the same metaphysical outlook. But going five to ten years younger than myself, say down to 45, I find the metaphysical outlook rare, and more people believing in traditional religion. So, the examples you have given here of Generations X, Y, and Z (don’t we sound a bit like the Cat in the Hat here now??) are good generalizations, and I find I do have to agree with your premise that each will continue in life with their given outlooks. I think each of us fixates on values that we pick up in our late childhood-to-mid-teen years, and carry those values with us throughout life.
    Paloma

  28. Lisa
    Lisa says:

    PT, I love your blog, and you’re crazy on this one.

    The inability to focus is not a drug issue, but a personal and professional development issue. (Yeah, lots of us were diagnosed w/ADD and study after study shows over-prescription and diagnosis as replacement for quality parenting, i.e. ATTENTION deficit.)

    We have a gazillion things competing for our attention and the degree to which we’re focused rests with our ability to choose. To choose effectively, we have to know what we value. Deep, real, non-negotiable, values. So it’s not about getting things done, but accomplishing things that make you truly, madly fulfilled. Happy.

    An unfortunate number of us in every generation don’t know a value from a doorknob. Even if we have some self knowledge, we’re cynical and can’t believe it could be true that if we make choices based on what we value we’d be more focused. Then we wake up when our lives are in ruin and say, “What happened to my life”?

    Yeah, it is that simple. Anything else is just an excuse … victim/perpetrator/rescuer bs.

    More than 2 cents.

  29. Dan
    Dan says:

    My daughter is two months old, it would be nice if you didn’t label her, cute as it is to call someone “x” or “z”, children are children and they are what their parents make of them.

    I barely related to some of the spoiled brats in my generation, so making these kind of blanket characterization is akin to saying “blacks are lazy,” or something to that effect. But you would never dream of making such generalizations on race, would you?

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      Historians have done this since Herodotus wrote his first tome. Broad generalizations are how we understand the shifts in the human condition. Now the world changes faster because we are more connected through information, so we can talk about history in real time, in some cases. Generational trends are one of those cases.

      Newsflash: Historical trends are not about one person’s baby. Just like the fall of the Roman Empire is not about one mom’s birth experience.

      Penelope

    • Roe
      Roe says:

      Dan, while it is absurd to try and label people, it is not only reasonable but statistically proven that generations, defined by advents of social and technological change show similar characteristics. And these characteristics are not subtle in any way; just think about the sixties, and how different the nineties were. It is only logical that this next generation will also be like every generation for the last century, in that it will by distinctive from the ones preceding and following it. Like you said, children are what their parents make of them. But parents, in pressing their values on their children will inevitably drive them in the opposite direction. The only thing thats ‘cute’ is your denial.

    • Roe
      Roe says:

      Dan, while it is absurd to try and label people, it is not only reasonable but statistically proven that generations, defined by advents of social and technological change show similar characteristics. And these characteristics are not subtle in any way; just think about the sixties, and how different the nineties were. It is only logical that this next generation will also be like every generation for the last century, in that it will by distinctive from the ones preceding and following it. Like you said, children are what their parents make of them. But parents, in pressing their values on their children will inevitably drive them in the opposite direction. The only thing thats ‘cute’ is your denial.

  30. Jim Taggart
    Jim Taggart says:

    The notion of an ‘individualist’ generation succeeding a team-oriented one is intriguing. Three of my ‘kids’ (19-26) are Gen Y, while my oldest is on the borderline with Gen X. It’ll be interesting to see how their offspring turn out. And yes, my two middle kids are big-time teamplayers at work.

    What interests me especially, given my long-time work in leadership, is what the relationship between Gens X and Y will look like in organizations (public and private) as the former assumes more senior managerial positions. Could be some serious tensions. And as an ageing Baby Boomer (a mere 54), my colleagues and I already feel ancient at work since Gen Ys look at us like we’re deadwood, and Gen X hates our guts. But then, no one said that having four generations in organizations would be easy.

    • Dan
      Dan says:

      Jim, you work with disrespectful brats if they look at you like deadwood. Either that, or you have that pre conceived notion in your mind to them and it comes out in your attitude. I am 33 and most successful people I know don’t care how old someone else is and the really smart people learn as much as they can from those “old goats.”

      “you can’t teach a new dog old tricks.”
      -Warren Buffett, world’s wealthiest person, depending on the year.

  31. Terri1978
    Terri1978 says:

    You know, it’s going to be fascinating to see what happens with the relationship between Generation Z and the generation which follows them. Think about it, many of the defining factors of Gen Z and Gen Y are technology related. Well, technology is evolving faster and faster, so it stands to reason that in the future dramatic social change could occur within just a few years. In such circumstances each generation would be exposed to the same changes within just a few short years. Meaning they would both remember and experience the same things. Intriguing stuff!

  32. personal statement law school
    personal statement law school says:

    “We know from Strauss and Howe that as generations cycle, the team generations (such as gen y) are usually followed by individualist generations. So it is not surprising to see trends that the same thing will happen over the next decade.”

    How can you say this when the rise of social networking sites implies that people are heading toward a more group-oriented activities?

    • Roe
      Roe says:

      As generation Y emphasizes the family and the value of the group, trying to teach their kids to conform to their values, the effect will actually be the opposite. It’s the tendency of the next generation to spot the flaws in the one preceding it, and thats where the cycle stems from. So generation Z will focus less on traditionally conformist  values, instead choosing to live more individually. Although they share their interests on social networking sites, they are sharing their individual interests, not trying to create a massive group. On a side note, I foresee the effects of this individuality being the rise of the artistic side of society, and the suppression of corporations that value the bottom line over society.

  33. William
    William says:

    I believe generation Z are going to be a bunch of people that have major issues, and have no stop gaps. With the constant shocking stimulation of the internet that wasn’t provided to earlier generations, I believe they will be spoiled at an early age with sex and violence. They will enjoy seeing people get killed at an early age, and generation W, X, and Y will stand in astonishment at their hatred for authority. When Z speaks, they will offortlessly speak things injurious to others in a highly untactful and glazed over manner. They will treat people older than them that expect them to conform to rules with great derision. I am expecting atheism to become really big among them in their rebellion against family values, authority, and many forms of morality (much more than it is now, they will have meetings in every city that counter church). As a result, certain types of politicians and churches will be pushed right into the ocean (think GOP conservatives). They will be highly intelligent, and their brains will adapt to their environment. They will be much better at processing what is right in front of them, but very incapable of understanding abstract concepts and “the big picture.” You will tell them some deep philosophical thing, and they will point out a bunch of intellectual flaws with it, but fail to receive your message. As a result, W, X, and Y will bang their heads against brick walls trying to communicate with them at times. A good majority of them will find their girlfriends and wives (if they are still doing it the old fashioned way like that) online. Mom and pop stores will go out of business, and products that don’t have to have a walk in store to be sold will all be sold on the internet. Companies like fedex will be overrun with orders and will have to constantly be expanding and changing how they do things, as gen z may be likely to buy almost everything off the internet.

    If the internet goes down even for a short period of time, there will be great riots.

    • Lola Marie
      Lola Marie says:

      I was born in 1993 – I’m Generation Z. To be perfectly honest I think I contradict many of the things you’ve stated. In my opinion, with the rise of individualism, it will be conservatism and freedom of the individual that will reign. As for religion, it is becoming increasingly viewed as a personal choice, and many are finding faith all on their own.

      In a way, I think my generation is somewhat disadvantaged – we are the end of the Yers, and are still being taught and treated as if we were born 5 years before. We weren’t. Having had our innocence spoiled by mass media, we tend to hide in social media, seeking solace. It’s a lonely world we live in. We’ve known how cruel it is since our infancy. I have vivid memories of 9/11 and the way it shattered me. We woke up that day, not knowing the world was an infinitely different place than when we went to sleep. So the world has changed. We hide because we are, in a sense, facing it alone. We join groups on Facebook, but it means nothing. We create virtual lives to escape the horror of our realities. We post our 140 character messages of solidarity with the victims of the each tragedy and move on, not knowing what’s next.

      The man who created the ability to live two lives in one has given us a blessing, but also a curse. We will pay the price for this curse. Some revolutions are quieter than you think.

    • Roe
      Roe says:

      Up until reading your comment, I was waiting for the entire mail system to bite the dust. But you’re right, Fedex, UPS, etc. are set for the next generation, as it becomes easier to take thirty seconds to buy something online rather than search for it in a store.

    • William V
      William V says:

      After working at a popular dept store that starts with a W for almost 6 months now… my views of Gen Z have changed dramatically. I am cringing reading my post from 2009… It’s embarrassing!

      There is so much positive I see in this generation, I could take up paragraphs. I really feel a tremendous amount of joy for the good this generation is capable of.

      I know it is a bit of a generalization… But you know, they seem friendlier than other generations.

  34. William
    William says:

    I almost forgot, book sales will plummet dramatically as people turn to the internet for all of their book needs, and many bookstores will shut down as well as music stores still selling music on physical mediums. Massive all-encompassing internet libraries will digitize every book in existence, so people can basically do away with books. (This will also be popular because it will save trees, and wil be heavily pushed). And night will be the new day time. Of the normal non-online stores and businesses, they will all be forced to stay open 24/7. And some variation of Linux will probably be the leading operating sytem. Toy sales will go down dramatically, and leading toy companies will have to completely change their tactics to making highly intelligent, digital, computerized toys that hold children’s attention – for about 5 minutes, or ones that connect to their computers. Weird, sadistic internet porgnography profits will go through the roof. America will become more and more like Europe, perhaps even more like Europe than Europe is like itself.

    • Roe
      Roe says:

      Just my two cents (I’m on the older edge of gen z). I use a Kindle, only listen to music on my iPod and PC, use Ubuntu as an operating system, and won’t reflect on the rest. :P

  35. Mneiae
    Mneiae says:

    @ST Addie won't overcome the ills of poverty and bad parenting, but it can make up for some of the socioeconomic gap. Kids who grow up in the ghetto (sorry, I should be PC and say "an urban environment") don't have grad students tutoring them every week. I went to public school then switched to private school. I speak from experience when I say that money can make a significant difference, even when the parents are largely absent.

    However, you're correct in asking that we respect psychoactive drugs for treatment of true disorders. In an ideal world, that would happen. In the real world, getting Addie is too easy and using it is too widely accepted to try and make kids study without it.

    @Matt Secor Penelope definitely acknowledged that Addie doesn't work for everyone.

    @William Basically you paint a frightening view of the future. As a Gen Yer, I've babysat Gen Z. Some of the things you say are true: they shift towards using the Internet to buy everything, they like having digital as opposed to physical copies of things like books and music, and they will riot if the Internet goes down.

    I disagree with some of the other things you said, though. When will rudeness become the norm? I hope that it won't in my lifetime! Mom and pop stores won't have to go to business if they set up a streamlined system to get revenue off the Internet. I don't see why toy sales will go down dramatically, because they, like many other generations, still see toys as status symbols. The girl with the newest, shiniest Barbie is still the coolest in preschool. (At some point, Barbie may have to plug into a computer, but we still haven't hit that stage yet.) And what Gen Yers have learned about the pretty computerized toys that promised to make them smarter was that they don't. They're boring to play with, basically. They will probably evolve, but not enough to make them the only toys of the future. I won't comment on your strange comment on porn, but I don't see why America will become more like Europe than Europe itself.

  36. William V
    William V says:

    Perhaps I should emphasize what types of mom and pop businesses are in trouble. We have to understand, generation Z’ers are going to be more global consumers than ever. A few mom and pop businesses might make it because they figure out to utilize the internet before others and change their vision, but many will be steamrolled by bigger businesses with bigger more widely encompassing visions. I particularly speak for America. Smart big businesses will launch attacks on small businesses, even in small towns to get extra profits by allowing their stores to have a certain degree of adaptability to their particular environment (perhaps a little mom & pop touch in a small cow town to keep people from completely despising big business). People are shifting more towards having their goods all together in locations that are convenient, and are not nearly as likely to go to a mom and pop shop that specializes in something and makes them wait longer. With all of the instant information, either businesses have to adapt to this impatient need for instant service, or sink.

    This is a time for international entrepreneurs to conquer, especially since the advent of the internet. This requires big visions, lots of information, the ability to adapt to constant change, and maybe chance. Cultural barriers are being melted as our youth are quickly being taught to think more globally, and I believe our government and lives will be permanently impacted by this radical shift. Our kids are questioning “accepted” rules and morals more and more because the internet provides many alternative viewpoints to everything that are far less restrictive to a culture, religion, or government. I expect to see, for the first time, international businesses threaten the sovereignty of once independent countries with their own culture as people veer towards products that have a “have-to-have-it” factor to them that many cultures and peoples love across the board.

    Perhaps I should say that America will and is becoming more “world” minded, than European. Europe is only a bit of the change going on. America, because it is far more connected with other countries through things like the internet, will naturally be more influenced by them. Things that were once accepted are being melted away for a global point of view, and unlike some of us, our kids are probably enjoying the ride. Kids are being brought up in an environment and are more likely to be able to adapt to change (and be quicker and better at it) rather than to settle into something that is accepted. That can be good and bad.

  37. WIlliam V
    WIlliam V says:

    And I can also see major pressure to go green from this generation. Whereas generation x and y are slow and behind the curve on these things many times, generation z will be right on top of it. As a result, generation z and their offspring will probably start hating things that generation x’ers loved, like muscle cars, etc. I can see them really going towards hybrid vehicles, and really shying away from petrol-only cars. THey will have a general eye for environmentally unfriendly things, and if you are wasteful in some way or another that can be obviously seen, even with a gas guzzling car, your property may be vandalized when you’re not looking. The internet will become a chief place where crime can be reported. Recycling will be taken to the next level, and will no longer just be available as an option for many. Laws will be written that really start to clamp down on environmental hazards large and small. It will be hard to go anywhere without there being some sort of intelligent cameras all over the place. If you go through a red light, or even a stop sign, a camera will probably take a picture. But a lot of this stuff won’t really take effect until the days of the children of generation z likely.

    No, I’m not smokingp pot… which will probably be legalized by the time gen. z have children.

    • Nate
      Nate says:

      To William:

      Its clear you haven’t studied history. Religion and secular forces cycle throughout history and generations. Same with politics and global warming.

      A lot will depend on the economy of the next 10 or so years. Things like inflation vs. deflation. Those will shape a lot impressions. If deflation continues to happen and tank the economy Green “movement” will die and quickly classical conservation ala. the Greatest Generation will become the norm.

      I recall Global Cooling was all the rage in the 70s. Now that the Earth is cooling and not warming as well as several key “researchers” have been nailed for falsifying data, I wouldn’t bank on and increasing Green movement.

      Point is things happen in cycles and some generations react to their parents ala. X and some are virtual clones of their parents Yers that are children of boomers. Are their exceptions? Of course many.

      BTW Zers are approx 8 and under. So its a total crapshoot at this point.

      There are many things that neither of us have possibly predicted. Who would have thought the Conservatives would be the largest ideological group (Gallup Poll) less than a year after Democrats swept into power.

      Sounds to me like you can’t see what you want vs. what is likely to happen.

      • WIlliam V
        WIlliam V says:

        I simply presented a few theories that I came up with while I had a wild coffee buzz. I’m no expert, that’s for sure, but I enjoy sharing my ideas.

        As far as generation z’ers age right now, I was under the impression that they were starting to be born in the mid 90’s from the definition on wikipedia (wikipedia isn’t always correct). So that would make the oldest gen. z’er around 15 according to that information.

        You might be onto something there. This is all food for thought. Maybe I can learn something. But yes, nobody can predict what exactly will happen in the future for sure pertaining to these kinds of things.

  38. Brianna Gentry
    Brianna Gentry says:

    I am doing a BPA project over the differences of baby boomers, generation x, y and z.I would like it if you could give me more information on the histories, lifestyle changes, psychologies,impact on the employment sector, and retirement options of the generations.this would be very helpful and we would appreciate it. thank you.

  39. him
    him says:

    Generation Z will be Darkages because extreme economic collaspe. Because boomers ruined everything. They promote eugencis, hippies, rise of AIDS, etc. Genertion-X tried to fix everything they could.

    Boomers were known as greed, fascists, selfish, scrooge generation like Madoff, Worldcom, enron, lehman brothers, etc.

  40. amy
    amy says:

    You know, it struck me (born 1968) just yesterday that Gen Y will soon have to deal with spawn of Gen X at work.

    I cannot tell you what kind of Roald-Dahl delight this thought inspires. This might be good enough to keep me happy for the next decade. I had no idea what kind of public service I was committing by having a child. And the marvelous thing is that for once in our lives, my generation will be able to just sit back and enjoy the show.

    The only thing that could dent it, I think, is if those Boomer parents who let their kids come home run into serious money trouble, and entire Gen Y/Boomer families run up a steep learning curve to accepting economic realities and making a go of it on their own, without being told what to do or rewarded each step of the way or promised the moon. Which would, of course, be a better thing all around. But, failing that, I am anticipating all kinds of social deliciousness in the Gen Y/Z workplace.

  41. amy
    amy says:

    Incidentally, Penelope, I think you’ve got it wrong on the team-player business for Gen Z. Don’t forget, Gen Z is growing up in schools taught by Gen Y. Those young teachers are team- and group-obsessed, and between that and school-district terror of lawsuits, the result is that kids seldom do things on their own.

    However, they’re independent operators within groups, fluidly moving from one group to another, keeping themselves covered with a few key friendships, impatient with the lovey-doviness, and getting the job done, then disbanding. My guess is that within the workplace they’ll be quite good in teams, but covertly, efficiently, and somewhat ruthlessly manage their Gen Y bosses, who won’t understand why their groups have lost that lovin’ feeling. They’d be well-advised against going sadly to their Gen Z employees and saying how sad they are about it. I mean unless they want withering ridicule behind their backs.

    (I’ve just interrupted this post to take a phone call, on a Sunday, from my kid’s Gen Y teacher, who wanted to touch base after the first two days of school and make sure everything was wonderful and see if I had concerns and shower compliments etc and tell me how I could get in touch with her 24/7 and how fast she’d respond and…oh my. Seriously, it’s very nice, the woman’s a sweetheart, my kid feels well-taken-care-of in school, and this is very characteristic of the teachers there, but my kid’s going to elementary school, not living on a cancer ward needing critical care. Somewhere in the back of my head I’m thinking, “This is totally not necessary. How much of the teacher’s workweek is being consumed by breathless communication and making sure there’s Total Comfort? And what are my property taxes, again?”)

    Gen Z, I think, will actually be much tougher than Gen X, and more family-directed. Their lives are materially much tougher than ours were, on the whole. For most of them, a good chunk of their lives has already been economic crisis, parental stress, and war. Family lives have lost any semblance of permanence; even here in nicey-niceville, two of my kids’ friends never see their fathers, and others have parents embroiled in permanent custodial combat; parents move often. The kids are realists on the scale of Henry K. But what I see is that they’re also very serious about their families and genuinely appreciate what their families and teachers do for them, and look for ways to contribute, give back. They’re better, in other words, than we deserve.

    If they acquire wisdom along the way, I think they’ll be tremendous and save the country. If they don’t, I think they’re going to be…a little scary. Because tactically, they’re Grade-A.

  42. William V
    William V says:

    Well, I certainly think gen. z are going to be much more effective in the workplace, but we have to look at why. I’d like to quote from the movie released in the late 70’s called Network that hits the nail in the coffin:

    “…because at the bottom of all our terrified souls we know that democracy is a dying giant, a sick, sick dying, decaying political concept writhing in its final pain.

    I don’t mean that the United States is finished as a world power. The United States is the richest, the most powerful, the most advanced country in the world — light years ahead of any other country.

    And I don’t mean the communists are going to take over the world, because the communists are deader than we are.

    What is finished is the idea that this great country is dedicated to the freedom and flourishing of every individual in it.

    It’s the individual that’s finished.

    It’s the single, solitary human being that’s finished.

    It’s every single one of you out there that’s finished.”

    The patriarchal paradigm as we know it is being turned upside down in place of a matriarchal paradigm. Patriarchal is fatherly, or male type of leadership. Matriarchal is obviously female, maternal leadership, like that of a mother.

    How this translates into the workplace is that the individual is no longer as important as the group. Businesses and educational institutions have figured out how to get far more done by forsaking the patriarchal paradigm which values individuals, and which places emphasis on absolute truth and a stricter interpretation of rules in general. They are quickly replacing this with a far more inclusive, creative, feminine, intelligent way of conducting themselves that rates people more in terms of groups. You remember how teachers used to get on you for looking at someone elses test? They used to call that cheating. Now, they WANT that, and they encourage that kind of peer-to-peer cooperation. In fact, school administrators have gone as far to say that any other way would be “going against nature”. What it comes down to is this, nobody wants to follow poopy rules anymore. Religion is dying in the hearts of the American people, and we can no longer hope for the same types of attitudes in grueling, laborious workplaces. A lot of our dirty work is now being outsourced. Our kids are growing up wanting more for less, and many people are unwilling to stay in a working class job for long, if at all. Everyone wants to manage one another. But, as I was saying earlier, when religion dies, morality dies with it. As a result, leaders everywhere crap their pants trying to figure out how to deal with the lawless, rebellious attitude that is slowly creeping up on them. Think about it. Corporations who want to make it have to utilize bleeding edge techniques. And unfortunately, that means selling their souls so that, in the end they produce a better product, more of it, and ultimately get more capital gain. So, not only in school, but in the workplace, many are being forced to treat people as groups and not individuals anymore. What tends to happen is a sort of social justice. This will be a time in which we will develop culture, and there will be lots of creativity. Lots of work will be done to civilize us, and make us even appear more decent than ever. There will be many unconvential solutions to problems, that oppose the patriarchal, old-hat way of doing things.

    Patriarchal leadership is exclusive. Patriarchal leaders are more concerned about the bottom line, and they are far more likely to fire someone for breaking some rule. Matriarchal leadership is more creative, nurturing, considering of peoples feelings and emotions, and can come off as quite a bit smarter too in many cases. Also, matriarchal leadership is far more inclusive. They care far more about making and keeping relationships, so groups are naturally far more important than the individual. They light up the workplace, and seem to get a lot more done. But often, in favor of all of these social perks, morals slowly creep out the back door.

    A good example of patriarchal leadership to watch, which is slowly turning matriarchal, is the American cop. American cops used to be some of the manliest, most patriarchal images around. IN fact, so much so that they were hated by many. Today, in a culture where objective truth, religion, and morals are dying, and we are intellectualizing everything more and more, the role of the cop will be less and less concerned with upholding rules, and more and more concerned with keeping relationships in a community (likely being deathly afraid of lawsuits). Patriarchal, male types of cops will be ditched in favor of far more intelligent, easygoing, nicer cops who have a much looser interpration of law. Sure, they will show up at the scene of a major crime, like a shooting. But there will be far less speeding tickets being given out, etc. The result will be social justice, which can keep the Americans quenched temporarily. It’s a false tranquility that the fathers of this country would have immediately rejected. But today, we have no other choice than to embrace it, or lose money. President Lincoln saw these days coming, and was terrified.

    In time, we are being forced to reinvent ourselves to fit into a global market, rather than to simply be our own sealed off market that trades with other countries once in a while. The world is being forced to find out what it is like to work together. For a while, this will be a time for great global competition. It will be like the Reagan days, but on a global scale. But then, as big businesses become bigger and bigger with no one to stop them, and money goes into fewer and fewer hands, we will all be fed into a soulless machine that gives us all just enough to stay alive. Competition will cease, and big business will become our government. There will be no more incentive, no more rewards for hard work. People will be demoralized, and of course, the family will ultimately suffer. The very thought sends chills down my spine.

    We will be blessed and cursed. Blessed if we are only looking at the materialistic gains, and the monetary gains. Cursed if we look at the havoc we are wreaking on the individual over time.

    • The One With the Answer
      The One With the Answer says:

      Well this seems to be a little late I would assume, but as one of the eldest Gen Zs I’d like to assure you that this not working in groups business is spot-on. I’d rather die than trust someone else to complete the work on time. And believe me when I say that we don’t like advice, we don’t like to be helped, and we most certainly do not take orders, from anyone, ever. The Devils of ’96 have arrived >:)

  43. The One With the Answer
    The One With the Answer says:

    Ah I apologize I wasn’t thinking straight there. But honestly all I can say is we are a very “unique” generation. Some of us will fit in and not seem so out of the ordinary. Others are different. Not different like you would imagine. We don’t seem any different at a glance. But we are, and we know it, we characteristically have very high and very low social scores. This makes us have rather odd personalities of course, sometimes even unstable, because we really are a mixture of sociopaths, utilitarians, and care-bears. The trouble is telling the difference.

  44. David
    David says:

    I don’t like to use dates to define a generation. ANYONE can be a Millenial if he/she is tech – savvy, open – minded to ALL kinds of diversity, and likes the latest in pop culture. I was born in 1979 and am all of the above, so that makes me gen y. I feel this way because there are just some people who do not fit into the generation to which they were assigned, and that the only way to end the conflict among those who argue over the one they were given is to let everyone choose whichever they like best – a generation that best matches their CHARACTERISTICS.

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