Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Generation Y

I don't put a whole lot of stock in articles like Nadira A. Hira's on Fortune Online ("Attracting the Twentysomething Worker", May 15, 2007). In it, she tries to explain how the twentysomething Generation Y job candidate needs a kind of wooing unlike that his predecessors warmed to and in so doing to explain how Gen Y-ers are fundamentally different from Gex X-ers and Boomers and the other media-generated generational labels. The problem is that this article and most like it don't even make a nod to the scientific method. The authors' methodology seems to consist of calling a few "experts" and a few of their friends for comment, then using their quotes to offer support to their preconceived notions of reality. Either that, or the entire thing is just a self-serving apologia, as it is here: the author ends the article by explaining how similar she is to the Gen Y-ers that she describes in the article.

So I'm not going to comment on most of the substance, such as it is, of the article. But there was something in it that I can't resist.
"It was Merrill Lynch. Now it's sell, sell, sell." The company holds a parents' day for interns' families to tour the trading floor. But it's involving parents in recruiting that's been a real shift. Subha Barry, global head of diversity, recalls running into a colleague having lunch with a potential summer recruit and someone she didn't know. It turned out to be the boy's mother.
First of all, unless he's exceptionally unusual, a student in college is not a boy. It would never have occurred to me to bring my mother to such an appointment in college. Heck, it wouldn't have occurred to me to bring my mother to such an appointment in high school. I find it shocking and dismaying because of the infantilism and the lack of professionalism that it bespeaks; and if Nadira Hira is right that such behavior is more and more common among today's twentysomethings, then God help us all.

1 comment:

Sara said...

I say if he's bringing his mother, he's still a boy.

Psychology Today (I know, I know) had a fascinating article a year back or so about how kids in college are actually less mature then they were 10 or 15 years ago -- for instance going through love relationship angst in college when many of us went through this sort of thing in highschool. (Most of it is attributable to cell phones -- you never learn to think for yourself if Mom or Dad is always a phone call away.)