Sunday, May 06, 2007

Millenials In The New Millenium

Can We Be A Special Member Of The Team?
By Hillary Trautmann

After watching CBS’s 60 Minutes piece on Echo Boomers (i.e. my generation) I was slightly confused. Yes, we love to shop, yes, we expect things when we want them, which is usually right away, but that is because since the time we entered kindergarten that is what we have gotten. Also, most of the Echo Boomers don’t know what they are good at. Most other things they said though seemed off to me. Maybe I am just not acquainted with that part of my generation.

The part of the 60 Minutes piece that seemed most off was historian Neil Howe’s quote. "When you ask kids, 'What do you most hope to achieve there?' Where they used to say, 'I wanna be No. 1. I wanna be the best,' increasingly they're saying, 'I wanna be an effective member of the team. I wanna do everything that's required of me,'" says Howe.

What I have observed about my generation is that, as like the Baby Boomers, we too want to be number one. Most of us are self-absorbed, even if we are accepting of diversity, and even if we do want to fit in. Just because some people may buy a hat or a T-shirt because Paris Hilton has it, I find that people buy those things not just to fit in, but because they want to be like Paris Hilton, which means having the world at your finger tips, and which most defiantly means being self-absorbed, and believing you are number one.

It seems that 60 Minutes may have contradicted themselves. If they think our generation is so full of team players, then why do they later ask, “Why do they consider themselves special?” If we consider ourselves special then how are we team players? Then we wouldn’t be any more special then anyone else. And if we didn’t think we were special why when Levine was asked, “when a young person shows up for work at his or her first job, what do they expect and what are they finding?” would he answer with a statement about us expecting to be heroes?

"They expect to be immediate heroes and heroines. They expect a lot of feedback on a daily basis. They expect grade inflation, they expect to be told what a wonderful job they're doing," says Levine. "[They expect] that they're gonna be allowed to rise to the top quickly. That they're gonna get all the credit they need for everything they do. And boy, are they naive. Totally naive, in terms of what's really gonna happen."

It could have to do with the fact that the Echo Boomers truly have been too spoiled. We have been used to instant gratification, so that’s what we want, and because that is what we have gotten, we are lost when in a situation that it is impossible to get it, because we are no longer working primarily with technology, but with real live human beings. Even when we deal with ourselves we are confused because we aren’t computers and we can’t spit out answers even to ourselves.

That is why when many of the Echo Boomers go outside, "They'll look around stunned. You know, 'What are we supposed to do now?'"

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