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Kids Today! On Generation Z: #TChat Preview

Meghan M. Biro
  • On October 20, 2011
  • http://www.forbes.com/sites/meghanbiro/
Meghan M. Biro
by
October 20, 2011

Originally posted on MonsterThinking.com

One really can’t talk about the impact of future generations without sounding, well, a little bit like a curmudgeon. 

So, in honor of his recent final broadcast, this week we’re channeling Andy Rooney as #TChat explores Generation Z and the impact of digital natives in the workplace.

And now, a few minutes with Andy Rooney:

Whatever happened to Generation Y?  Used to be a time when every employer out there couldn’t talk about anything else.  They were going to invade our workplaces with their newfangled tools and fancy technologies, and we were rolling out the red carpet, helicopter parents and all.

But all that talk turned out to be just that.  Those who actually got jobs got lucky, and those who didn’t, well, there sure seem to be a lot of them.

They say unemployment among young people these days is at a record high, and I for one think it has nothing to do with the fact that our good old fashioned Puritanical work ethic sees, well, old fashioned.

They didn’t change the world of work, the world of work changed for them.

Our investment in their future ended up being bundled in our credit card bills and mortgages so complex the entire Manhattan Project team couldn’t crack them.  Somehow, our personal finances became harder to understand than splitting the atom.
But we’ve seen this before, and the Great Recession seems like kid’s play compared to the Depression, which took a New Deal to turn things around.

Of course, not even our government has the budget for that kind of thing anymore.  And unlike the Greatest Generation, whose fortunes were resurrected with war, we’ve already rolled those dice and came up craps.

That’s a lot of history, but that’s what you need to look at the future, and one thing I’ve learned since my days in the service is that generations may come and go, but the human condition remains constant.  So what’s going to be different about Generation Z?

I’m not a betting man, but if I had to place a wager, I’d say the odds are pretty good that they’re going to be the same as the four generations already in the workplace by the time the first of them enter the workforce in 2019.

Sure, technology might come easier to them (one can assume, but then again, they’ll never have to program a VCR), and they’ll have a world of information and connections at their fingertips.

But as “digital natives,” the fact that they can pull up a image of anywhere in the world sent from a satellite orbiting in space on their cellular phones is something they’ll take for granted the same way we never stop and marvel electricity.

For them, technology and so-called social media isn’t a tool, or a strategy, it’s a fact of life.

But here’s another fact: when Boomers stopped listening to jazz and started listening to rock and roll, older generations thought the end was nigh.

Turned out we survived the Beatles just about as well as we did the impending Soviet showdown – not to mention hippies, yippies, yuppies and a thousand other supposed threats which, to quote Eliot, were full of sound and fury, but signifying nothing.

Which is exactly what’s going to be different about Generation Z.

Nothing.  They’ll have the same hopes, the same fears, the same desires as the rest of us, and the same collection of unique skills and talents it takes to make work work.

For their sake, let’s hope those skills include robotics – because someone’s going to have to manage the real workers of the future.  The Androids are coming, and I for one, welcome them.  After all, robots never complain or show up for work late.

Unlike those darn Millennials.

We’ll see you tonight for another edition of #TChat at 7 PM ET/4 PM PT.  We hope you can spend 60 Minutes with us as we explore this week’s topic: Generation Z and the World of Work.

Here are the questions we’ll be discussing, along with some recommended reading to help prepare and inform your participation in this week’s #TChat conversation.

1)      What effects do you think being a “digital native” will have on Gen Z career goals and expectations?

Read: Meet Generation Z

2)      Will having a lifetime of social media and online history effect Gen Z job search and personal brand?  If so, how?

Read: Branding for Generation Z

3)      What additional/different qualifications will Gen Z need in order to differentiate in the workplace in 2019?

Read: Get Ready to Hire Generation Z

4)      What can we do now to prepare Gen Z workers to compete in the global economy?

Read: Generation Z Kids and the Corporate Disconnect

5)      How do you think Gen Z careers will be different from the Boomers and Gen Xers they’re replacing?

Read: What Work Will Be Like for Generation Z

6)      What are some of the differences you see emerging between Gens Y & Z?  How will this play out in the world of work?

Read: Generations X, Y and Z: The New Workplace & The Last of the Baby Boomers

Visit www.talentculture.com for more great information on #TChat, as well as other great resources on careers and hiring.

Monster’s social media team supports #TChat’s mission of sharing “ideas to help your business and your career accelerate — the right people, the right ideas, at the right time.”

We’ll be joining the conversation at our new time this Wednesday night as co-hosts with Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman from 7-8 p.m. (Eastern) via @MonsterCareers and @Monster_Works.