Friday, May 30, 2008

Talkin' about your generation

Lots of stuff in the media lately about the Millennials (aka Generation Y), the latest age group entering the workforce. Workplace Productions has been doing programs on generational diversity for a while now, so I'm always interested in new theory about differences in learning styles, ethics, working patterns, and so on. Having a daughter in this age cohort adds to the fascination. But so far, I'm not impressed with the analysis.

Last Sunday, 60 Minutes reran a pretty unflattering story about young people in the workforce. Oh, they mentioned in passing that many of this generation are hardworking, skilled and smart. But then the story went on to depict Millennials as "narcissistic praise hounds" who expect trophies just for showing up. (See? Didn't you just know those soccer banquets would ruin your kid's future?)

They don't like to be bossed around. They put family and friends above loyalty to employers. And they intend to keep looking until they find a job they can really love.

Shocking! Where do they think they are -- America?

Okay, I may be a little biased. But most of the young people I know are passionate, kind, idealistic, and very willing to work hard -- for causes that mean something to them. What's wrong with that?

There's an odor of sour Boomer over all this. We seem to be chastising the younger folks for the very ideals and priorities that we had at their age. If we gave them up for Hummers and summer homes, it isn't the Millennials' fault.

The workplace has been moving away from the factory model and toward more humane and creative culture for years now. (We training folks have been helping it get there.) "I suffered, so you should suffer too" is a pretty destructive attitude.

So instead of yelling "Get off my lawn," maybe business should invite the kids over to play. After all, it's not really our lawn. It's the village green, and it belongs to all of us.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Good words

I write down everything I want to remember. That way, instead of spending a lot of time trying to remember what it is I wrote down, I spend the time looking for the paper I wrote it down on. – Beryl Pfizer

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Memorial Day

Wonderful piece from the upcoming season of This American Life on the malleability and failures of memory. Thanks to Jonah Lehrer at The Frontal Cortex.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Good words

When I am working on a problem I never think about beauty. I only think about how to solve the problem. But when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong. – R. Buckminster Fuller

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Learning watch

There's a feast of a story in the New York Times about creating new habits. Dr. Dawna Markova and Mary Jane Ryan, of Professional Thinking Partners, also talk about learning styles, comfort zones, innovation, and the neurology of the new. I especially liked their discussion of what they call the three zones of existence: comfort zone, stretch zone and stress zone. Great stuff!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Good words for the first of May

A personal note...

The Middle
by Ogden Nash

When I remember bygone days
I think how evening follows morn;
So many I loved were not yet dead,
So many I love were not yet born.