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Workforce Woes 4: More Cultural Change
(July 25, 2007) The tension between generations is higher than ever before. Several things keep the stress from spilling into the streets.
Both sides, it seems, agree on the war. The all-volunteer Army makes forced conscription a non-issue. Hence, no public strife.
The Internet has the net effect of minimizing the degree to which a popular movement can gain traction. Lots of people in lots of niches means no assembled unruly mobs. In the absence of street politics, we attack each other in our blogs.
Family size makes it harder for families to split over political issues. When there are many children and hierarchical parenting is the norm, arguments tend to last longer (even through generations). Smaller family size (the cause of labor shortages and population flattening) make for cozier relationships between parents and kids. We see this in the fundamental values that underlie the politics.
Nevertheless, the distance between aging hippies and their tatooed, multiply pierced offspring is surprisingly large. It's not unusual to hear harsh judgments about the younger generation's work ethic or sense of responsibility spew from the mouths of otherwise polite and conservative adults. Technology and other structural influences get conflated in the minds of critics. What are pure consequences of the acts of one generation (small family size, overfocus on technology, rampant consumerism) are mislabled as the flaws of their offspring.
It's a large bit of weirdness.
Further, the teamwork ethos embraced by the Millennials is no less than stealing to their grandparents.
Meanwhile, the GenX crowd seems to fall further and further between the cracks.
The challenge is in managing these different views in a single workplace. With retirement dates edging out and a full force assult on the workplace by the younger set, it's not an easy tome to be a manager.
Workforce Woes So Far:
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