Parenthood … It’s about guiding the next generation, and forgiving the last. (Peter Krause)
There’s Nothing New
The ground rules: There’s no blaming here. We’re all making our way through the human condition. We all get the challenges and opportunities afforded by trial and error. This is the very first time down this road for each of us. But let’s at least acknowledge it’s all been done before. We all have the history we choose to ignore for reference. So, let’s apply some common sense to — and derive some humility from — the reality that what’s news to us is anything but new, including this:
Younger workers are re-inventing the conventional notion of employment, according to a survey by Deloitte … Among millennials, 43% envision leaving their jobs within two years; only 28% seek to stay beyond five years. Employed Gen Z respondents … express even less loyalty, with 61% saying they would leave within two years [because] business leaders’ priorities don’t seem to align with their own … a majority … agrees … corporations “have no ambition beyond wanting to make money” … 62% regard the gig economy as a viable alternative … [70%] who are members of senior management teams or on boards would consider taking on short-term contracts or freelance work as an alternative to full-time employment.
I share this because maybe, just maybe, paying attention might be preferable to being surprised. At the very least, we might be able to make some recollective progress, rather than thinking every revolution of the generational wheel is a singular and unprecedented novelty.
Turn, Turn, Turn
The fact that millennials and Gen Zers reject the work-first, company-animal psychology of their progenitors is no less predictable and no more surprising than my parents bursting into the bedroom of my teenage years screaming, “What the hell is that noise?” as I listened to “Blood of the Sun” on my Zenith portable stereo with the detachable speakers. It’s no less predictable and no more surprising than my bursting into the bedroom of my teenage sons screaming, “What the hell is that noise?” as they listened to “Hail Mary” on their boomboxes with the kidney-stone-dissolving mega-bass loosening the floor joists and rattling the china, my teeth, and my nerves. This is what we do, kids.
We resist. We rebel. We think we know better and more. We think we’re the first to [fill in the blank with whatever quixotic crusade with which you or your generation were infatuated]. We think we’ll re-create the world and its madness in our own images. We’ll experience the same disillusionment when we find out we can’t. Some of us will call the disillusionment disappointment. Some of us will call it maturity. Some of us will call it wisdom. Some of us will simply call it life.
None of us should be surprised by any of it.
Buy the ticket, take the ride. (Hunter S. Thompson)