We all have heard the negative stories about 'the future generations' about lack of respect, lack of work ethic, feeling of entitlement and so forth. It probably describes someone we all know or know of.
Like all stereotypes and statements - they don't talk to all the future generation members. In fact sometimes I wonder if these statements are generalized so much that we do more damage then good in making them.
As a PhD holder I was taught early in my educational career that taking my research findings and generalizing them to a larger group of people is absolutely not acceptable. With this as my background I am very aware of every day statements made about one or two people that are generalized to a larger group.
It doesn't matter what group you belong too; Asian, Gay, Athletic, Single, Black, Technology Suave, young, old, grey hair or no hair you are generalized with others of the same group.
I usually don't use the word hate, but I am close to hating stereotypes made to put people in a group. So, what does this have to do with the next generation?
Well, the statements are out there about the kids in their 20's and 30's. They are lazy, they would rather play video games then work, they expect to be paid very high salaries right out of college, they don't want to learn about the past...the list goes on and on.
Part of my best practice at work is to get to know the people who are hired within my department. Since I am their leader I feel it is respectful as well as appropriate to get to know the people who follow my directions, purpose, and vision.
The past two weeks I have met with 5 new employees. All 5 are between 22-26 so they fall within that group so many like to stereotype as lazy, entitled, or disrespectful. I am here to say that I wish these 5 wonderful young people were what other base their statements on as they were smart, caring, passionate, and respectful.
They came from all sorts of background in education, degrees, family heritages, town size, family size, and areas. All of them came with a commitment to grow, learn, care, and serve. Five people with more passion about the job and their lives than I see in most middle age folks. More service and caring qualities than I see in myself.
The next generation is our future. Maybe instead of labeling and stereotyping them we should sit down for 15 minutes and listen to them. I was amazed and it confirms that me spending 15-30 minutes with someone really is a great thing.
Living positive and purposeful isn't always about what you can get and achieve, it also includes what you can learn from others.
Today was a very positive and purposeful day because of these people!