Millennials and members of Generation Z are in the process of discovering how the world really works.
That's both difficult and fascinating to absorb. So, no surprise, they want to sort all that out by talking.
We told parents and universities the times they are a-changin'.
We let employers know we wanted "cafeteria" kinds of benefits versus the traditional set package.
Thanks to The Pill we spread the good news of sexuality as open-ended pleasure.
That was then.
The current reality is that in youth-obsessed America, rarely do we control the conversation. Not in professional life. Not at social events. Not on social networks. Millennials and GenZers do.
So, it's simple wisdom to stop talking, at least so much.
Encounters with younger generations usually begin with a question.
"So, what are your thinking about studying if you go back to school?"
That's how I got the attention of a 20-something before a meditation session at the Buddhist temple. He was eager to share. As we all know, sharing is a form of sorting out.
Eventually, I was on a cushion where he and his circle of friends sit. By listening I picked up so much data about their mindsets.
That's key to professional survival since so many of them are becoming our clients and superiors. For example, many rule out ever retiring. They have only known financial hard times and don't expect any breaks. They assume they will work until they drop.
So, no, I don't introduce the subject of retirement. That includes not explaining why I am still out there hustling for communications assignments.
On the other hand, many of my Baby Boomer colleagues who are still pontificating come across as cartoonish. They may also be on short time in the workforce.
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