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Personal Choice the God of Gen Y

I have always had a characteristic pride in the fact that I am a Baby Boomer. I get a feeling of satisfaction when I read that we are the generation with the legendary work ethic and the laser-like focus on all things work-related.

A few years ago, I found out that I was a 'Zoomer,' which is an older Boomer. I accepted this with a knowing chuckle. I can't say that I was paying much attention to all those other generations coming up behind the Boomer tidal wave. That started to change when I listened to an interview on CBC. The topic was 'Gen Y'- that is to say, generation Y. The contracted form is typical of the generation it describes.

One of the interviewees was describing the characteristics of what she referred to as the Gen-Me population. One of her main points was that the Y generation has dynamic communication skills when using a technical device such as a computer, a cell phone or an iPad but there is a huge gap when it comes to social skills.


This makes sense to me. Face time is a lost art in our current high-tech environment. About a year ago someone told me a story about how her child and his cousin were seated side-by-side at a family visit and they were texting each other rather than speaking. My reaction was shock.

Now, sad to say, I have heard the same story in multiple variations more times than I can count. I find this very disconcerting on a human level and I have wondered what this will mean for society in the future. The radio program piqued my interest, so I did a little research on my own.

The Gen-Y population in Canada reached 12.7 million in 2010. At the time, this was 37% of our total population. Obviously this kind of volume has the potential to make a big impact. Some of it is negative and some things can be described as positive.

For example, Gen-Ys are super multi-taskers and they tend to have a positive attitude. They are altruistic and want to help others. They are confident they seem to know what they want out of life.

Unfortunately, these same traits can bring them down. They get bored easily, they are selfabsorbed (hence the ME aspect), their honesty translates to rudeness, and they lack a respect for elders that has been the mainstay of our Canadian society. Personal choice is the god of the Gen Y.

All of this can add up to conflict in the workplace when the Boomers are in charge. Paying your dues is not a mantra of this new generation. Some experts think that the pre-occupation with building self-esteem has taken its toll on the Gen Ys who have been sheltered from the stigma of 'making a mistake' or failing at a task.

Yes, things are changing as they always have and always will. Change is growth and maybe some of that open-mindedness of the Gen Ys will push back the judgemental attitude of the Boomers/Zoomers.