New Survey “Proves” There’s a Generation Gap Between Workers

The Globe and Mail covers a new survey of Canadian workers of different ages:

The millennial generation, workers in their 20s, are most likely to want a job that offers quick advancement, congenial co-workers and fun.

Generation X workers, in their 30s and early 40s, put the most value on balance between hours at work and their personal lives.

Baby boomers, between 45 and 60, are most likely to say they want to continue to grow and use their skills on the job and get clear information from management on what’s expected from them.

Mature workers, over 60, are actually more concerned with advancement than boomers or generation X.

Globe and Mail: Study of workplace priorities highlights generation gap

Does this show a generation gap? I suppose it depends on what you mean by “generation gap.” It could just show that people at different stages of their careers value different things. People just starting their careers want to find a job they like that has room for advancement. People further along in their careers, who are more likely to have families, are concerned with work/life balance. Workers older still start to be interested in developing skills and advancement again, as they look towards paying their kids’ way through college and saving for retirement. Maybe that’s a “generation gap.” Maybe it’s just a normal, natural cycle.

The article also mentions that older workers are more likely to value challenging work than millennials, while millennials value a “fun” workplace. That could indicate a shift in maturity as workers get older, but it’s probably worth noting that part of what makes work “fun” is challenge. It could be that older workers just have a better idea of what makes work rewarding. Though it is possible that there’s a generational difference between the prioritization of work and fun (there’s been some interesting research about which one is more motivating).

See also:

Debunking The Millennials’ Work Ethic “Problem”

Genreational differences

Generation Catalano: Between Generation X and the Millennials


Doree Shafrir writes for Slate:

I was born during Jimmy Carter’s presidency, a one-term administration remembered mostly for the Iran hostage crisis, the New York City blackout, and stagflation. The Carter babies—anyone born between his inauguration in January 1977 and Reagan’s in January 1981—are now 30 to 34, and, like Carter himself, the weirdly brilliant yet deeply weird born-again Christian peanut farmer, this micro-generation is hard to pin down. We identify with some of Gen X’s cynicism and suspicion of authority—watching Pee-Wee Herman proclaim, “I’m a loner, Dottie. A rebel,” will do that to a kid—but we were too young to claim Singles and Reality Bites and Slacker as our own (though that didn’t stop me from buying the soundtracks). And, while the proud alienation of the Gen X worldview doesn’t totally sit right, we certainly don’t yearn for the Organization Man-like conformity that the Millennials seem to crave. […]

But maybe we’re not the only ones who feel unmoored. After explaining the gist of the piece to a 29-year-old friend over email, she responded: “I feel like I’m especially without generation because I’m not quite a Carter baby but not really a Millennial either. … I feel like Noreen, who is only two years younger than me, is of a slightly different generation, which seems crazy! But it feels true.” Her email was a classic Generation Catalano move: dancing near the spotlight, and then dancing with herself.

Slate: Generation Catalano

(via Amanda Sledz)

I hate the name, but I can identify with this, although I missed the Carter administration by about 10 months. Some measures of when Generation X place its end as late as 1981, while the Millennial generation starts as early as the late 70s. There’s a lot of overlap.

I’ve previously generations aren’t really that different from each other, but I get really annoyed at articles like this that refer to young people’s desire for a better life as a “sense of entitlement” (especially since the author of that article clearly didn’t even read the article he was replying to). I was lucky enough to graduate college in 2003 as the economy was recovering from the dotcom bust, so I was able to establish a career and avoid many of the long-term effects of the current recession on young people. But those effects are real, they’re worse for the millennials than most and they have every right to be upset about it.

So-Called “Digital Natives” Not So Net Savvy After All

“In Google we trust.” That may very well be the motto of today’s young online users, a demographic group often dubbed the “digital natives” due their apparent tech-savvy. Having been born into a world where personal computers were not a revolution, but merely existed alongside air conditioning, microwaves and other appliances, there has been (a perhaps misguided) perception that the young are more digitally in-tune with the ways of the Web than others.

That may not be true, as it turns out. A new study coming out of Northwestern University, discovered that college students have a decided lack of Web savvy, especially when it comes to search engines and the ability to determine the credibility of search results. Apparently, the students favor search engine rankings above all other factors. The only thing that matters is that something is the top search result, not that it’s legit.

On the other hand, they do seem to be quite savvy when it comes to Facebook privacy settings.

Previously: Why “digital natives” don’t exist

Does the Internet Make us Better Informed?

Why “digital natives” don’t exist

Digital natives

There are no digital natives.

There, I said it. I feel better. Not that I haven’t said it before. In fact, it’s been a battle I’ve been having for nearly a decade since the term first appeared in Marc Prensky’s 1991 piece Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants, which makes an interesting theoretical argument about modern students.

(One that has been dis-proven to be an accurate portrayal of college students and their studying/learning habits. The reasons are great, but the “dis-proven” nature of the argument doesn’t mean that the general theory of modern education is wrong. In fact, both can – and in this case, do – exist. I have built much of my teaching scholarship on this.)

Unfortunately, this idea – and make no mistake, this is simply a theoretical construct – was taken as reality by those in the consulting world, those who believe a 6-page paper could be translated into sellable activities.

King goes on to explain that he’s been teaching a college class on “social media” that covers setting up a WordPress blog, using Flickr, RSS, etc. He ran into static at first because, supposedly, college kids are already supposed to know these things. But of course once the class was up and running it was apparent that they didn’t already know how to do these things. “Like the rest of us, they struggle.”

My generation – the first of the so-called Digital Natives – had computers that did nothing. We hacked and kludged our way through the devices, learning to code using the tools the Digital Pioneers (like the metaphors!) created for us. This machine is simply a tool, a digital hammer, that I will use how I want.

Not for the modern student. Today’s children see this box and the software as the masters. The tools that are created dictate how and what they do.

Brad King: Shut Your Digital Native Piehole

See also my essay on generational differences.

(Photo credit: Cristóbal Cobo Romaní / CC)

There’s only one generation

Thinking about generational issues made me dig up this old Grant Morrison quote from the online Filth letters pages. In response to someone talking about “the next generation” of magicians, Morrison says “THERE’S ONLY ONE GENERATION. I’M GLAD TO SEE THAT IT NEVER DIES.”

Crack! Comics letter page

© 2024 Technoccult

Theme by Anders NorénUp ↑