We didn’t start the fire either

A couple weeks ago, Ryan Healy wrote a blog post about how Baby Boomers screwed up the world and how GenY is going to “fix” it. After turning it over in my 40+ brain a bit (Boomers like to think things through before yapping off; part of our charm) here are some observations about the article and the point of view GenY has of us.

The world we inherited was screwed up too
The country was scared of the Godless communists who were going to ravage the countryside, stealing our resources, forcing Americans to bend to the will of Stalin and Khrushchev. If you grew up Catholic, the world was even worse because you had the US Government scaring you as well as the Vatican. We had fall-out shelter drills, we were shown films of nuclear holocaust and crazy Khrushchev beating his shoe on the desk at the UN. It was scary.

And, it was REAL because a greater percentage of our parents fought in WWII and Korea. They saw evil up close and were determined not to let us see that much evil that close up. But, many of the Boomers did see evil in Vietnam that was more savage than WWI and revolted in the only way they knew how; protest and civil disobedience.

Most GenYers don’t have parents who did active duty in any war. Most GenYers did not know rationing or very high unemployment or home mortgages that were 20% or higher. While you may know high debt, the debt as a ratio of income and assets is about the same as the Boomers cause we didn’t have as much “stuff” (iPods, laptops, DVD collections…..)

Technology did not exist
I find it ironic that GenYers are complaining about the mess that Boomers left for them to clean up using WiFi networks, laptop computers and open source software that was carved out of nothing by a Boomer generation. Interesting.

To find out how Boomers used to learn, rent The Paper Chase. It’s ok. You can Google it and then rent it on NetFlix.com. We Boomers won’t care that much that you don’t have it on VHS.

I don’t want this post to spiral into a “we used to walk three miles uphill in the snow” article, but for GenY to say they are inheriting a mess they need to clean up to to admit to not having a sense of history and perspective. Most things that GenY complains about are consequences of the human condition, not a product of what Boomers did to them.

Boomers were crapped on just as badly back in the day. Just different crap.

They grow up so fast

Cameron Schaefer with BrazenCareerist writes a post about personal responsibility. You can read it here, but here is just a snippet.

This is what’s wrong with our society. We’ve become a people that hold everyone responsible, but ourselves.

Never before have I seen so much blame being placed on everyone but the person in the mirror. People waving angry fingers at big oil companies for high gas prices rather than blaming themselves for owning two S.U.V.’s and a boat. They completely ignore the law of supply and demand expecting that somehow prices will remain stagnant as consumption drastically increases.

This is like writing an angry letter to Hostess snack foods complaining about your recent weight gain while shoving 30 Twinkies in your gullet. Life’s about choices.

GenY is growing up and getting it. All it took was time. Thanks, Cameron.

Be patient with GenY; winter is coming

Ryan Healy with Brazen Careerist posted an article up on the blog a few days ago, asking GenY to tell companies what they want. A flood of comments have come in since and will probably get a few more as the “old folks” wander into the office on Monday morning and peek at what the “crazy kids” are doing with their time.

A lot of the comments were GenY-ers, asserting themselves. Then the old farts would try to slap them back, then they would get riled again…. it goes on. Here is a short story to shed some light on all this.

When I was a young pup, we owned a laundromat in the Crocus Hill area of St. Paul. One year, around July or so, a large contingent of folks wearing robes, no shoes or anything leather descended on the area, preaching love, animal rights, tree-hugging, etc. They berated us locals for wearing shoes, belts and killing animals for clothing. After about a month of this, the local business owners had just about enough of them wandering into the shops, begging for money, preaching, etc. The subject of what to do with them came up at a local chamber meeting.

One of the older business owners stood up and said, “Don’t worry, winter is coming.”

Sure enough, when October hit and the ground got too cold to walk on, they left the area for warmer climes. And things got back down to normal. But, they left us with an experience and a short parable to write on this blog to a new generation a couple decades later.

So, don’t worry about GenY. Let them rattle a few cages, bellow out their rants and bend the older folks to change. Watch and listen for stories you can use to educate a new generation.

Winter is coming soon for GenY, too.