The Learning Spotlight
Leading the Lazy
By John Grubbs
First of all, lazy is a strong term that creates an emotional response. It is the term Baby Boomers (1946-1963) use first when asked to describe Generation Y, a.k.a. Millennials (1981-2000). While I don’t think it is fair to use one word to describe an entire generation, there are certainly reasons for the vast difference between these two significant groups of American workers. In case you are wondering, there is a generation of Americans in the middle known as
Generation X (1964-1980) but this group is not large enough to be significant. And sadly, it just so happens to be my generation.
A short review of the generational reality reveals three distinct groups of American workers. Baby Boomers were born between 1946 and 1963. They were influenced mostly by what their parents lived through called the Great Depression. Consequently, they were taught to be loyal to a job and remain steadfast no matter how bad their current supervisor. Most of us know very loyal Boomers that have remained in the same company or organization for thirty or more
years. This generation would simply outlast bad management. It is estimated that we have as many as 90 million baby boomers in the United States.
Generation Xers were born between 1964 and 1980. They are known as the skeptical generation because the saw parents lose what were promised as “life time” jobs in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. Consequently, their average tenure with an organization is around five years. Xers have a simple philosophy that they were looking for a job when they found the one they currently occupy and their resume is always ready. Unfortunately, Generation
Xersare not significant since they only number a mere 40 million Americans
Generation Y (Millennials) were born between 1981 and 2000. We call this generation the information generation since most of them cannot remember the world before the internet. Consider the remarkable period in human history that is represented by this generation. Not since the 1400s, when Gutenberg invented the printing press, have human’s access to information been so remarkably changed. This generation has access to more information on their smart phone
thanall of historical humanity combined. The average tenure of Generation Yer is as short as sixteen (16) months on the job and with upwards of 70 million in this generation, organizations are certainly going to take notice.
By the year 2020, as much as 50% of all American workers will be Generation Y. Since January 1, 2011, we are losing 12,000 Baby Boomers to retirement each day. Since there is not enough Generation Xers to fill the void, guess who is the future of every employer? That is correct, Generation Y. And while some may call them lazy, we are learning and adapting to their influence already.
Watch for my new book later this year!
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