Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Millennials are Appealingly Conventional

Penelope Trunk held back from criticizing Gen Y, today's youth and young adults, when she was giving them career advice on Brazen Careerist. Now that she has moved on, she let fly with a few mostly just points.

The main point is that Gen Y like to fit in, be part of the team, do what is normal and conventional. Howe and Strauss, who called this generation Millennials, said they are like the '50s Silent Generation, their structural counterparts in the cycle of generations.

My students now are Millennials. I like them. Their distinctive qualities are about 90% beneficial. They are weak on critical thinking and innovation - but so are most people in most generations. They are nice and want to work together (unlike Gen X at the same age).

The mission of Gen X is to rebuild basic institutions after the Boomers' cultural revolution. The task of the Millennials will be to consolidate an appealing normal life within those renewed basic institutions.


Sister Edith said...

I appreciate your phrase about "rebuilding institutions after the Baby Boomer generation." It's refreshingly pragmatic. So many of us who are Baby Boomers have not really come to grips with the many negative outcomes of things that, as a group, we thought were so liberating at the time.

ceemac said...

Correction: I believe according to S&H the M's are a Civic generation like the GI gen not an Adaptive one like the Silents.

gruntled said...

You are right - I am misremembering a talk that Howe gave in Louisville a couple of years ago about the parallel. Still, the G.I.s came back to become Organization Men.

ceemac said...

Oh and as Boomer (late wave, 1957) I have a request:

Please remember that while the boomers embraced the cultural revolution and were it's "foot soldiers" the "officers" in at least the first waves were Silents and even GI's.

For example I don't think any of the Chicago 8 were Boomers.

ceemac said...

Something that dawned on me today.

If S&H are correct about the size of generations then I guess the last of the Millennial Gen were born about 2005.

That means the children starting kindergarten/1st grade this year are the 1st wave of a new Adaptive Gen (not sure what S&H call this one) that will grow up in the shadow of a large and dominant Civic gen. And that generation is starting school just as we are slashing the budgets. Wonder what these folks will be like when they arrive on tour campus in a dozen years.

gruntled said...

Howe call them Homeland. Not a moniker I would want.