Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Generation Behind

I am moving into my new apartment. I am writing proposals for work. I am building websites. I am drawing floor plans. I am traveling to the most beautiful places in the world. I am consuming mind-expanding media. I am creating. I am commenting on the state of the world. I am figuring out the problems of my modern time.

But none of it is making its way to my blog. And for that I'm sorry. And I'm not.

We are the generation that will fill in for the baby boomers. The self-centered eternally optimistic children of the nineties. And we will go further than our angry nihilistic gen-xers that came before us.

That is, if the media is to be believed. And that's probably not true.

What is true is that Gen-y is the only generation with a population large enough to fill in the gaps in the professional industries in which the Boomers are rapidly retiring from. Sure X will have its day but they will need the filler of the Y.

In the next 5-10 years the majority of the Boomers will retire from work. Because of the thin population of X, there will be a vacuum of skill. And most of Y is a bunch of young lost childults that couldn't possibly fill the gap.

That leaves the US with a drastic moment of impending change. Forget the Great Recession. Economic recovery will never happen if we don't do something to address Y and get them ready to work with a fraction of the leaders that X had.

Are we ready to become a country of entry level workers submissive to a plutocracy that refuses to share a larger and larger portion of the pie?

The next five years will be a time of enormous change. Don't be surprised if well-established businesses go under because they couldn't shift gears. And don't be surprised when highly mobile businesses spring up overnight; businesses that are little more than work farms. People who are happier doing the things that maximize their iPad time and minimize their brain expenditure—thinking.

And this doesn't mean it will be everyone, but as the Boomers exit the mainstream of power politics they will leave not just a vacuum, but evidence too that they never used it. The problems that loom in organizations as well as in a macro-economic context are generations away from being solved. And in this transitional period, many aging Boomers will choose to simply wait until retirement and pass the buck.

It happens.

So now, more than ever, is the opportunity to start building the world in which I will spend the majority of my adult life. As generations clumsily hand off the baton we are given the rare chance to get ahead. How will organizations react as the landscape shifts?

Who knows.

I see the chance to create a world of change. A chance to really try to make it all a bit better. And I just need to find that moment of hesitation in the switch. Everyone else better as well. Because this is the next leg of the journey—it's going to be bumpy.