Sometimes I hate to admit it but I’m like most people. I like to read writings that reinforce my opinion. I don’t do it all the time and I hope because I’m aware of it I do it less. But I can’t fight coincidence. The NY Times ran a piece in their Shifting Careers blog about Patricia Martin. She wrote a book last year called Rengen: The Rise of the Cultural Consumer – and What it Means to your Business.
Ms. Martin shares many of the same opinions as I do about the group that some call Generation Y. She only fuels my optimism in a workplace renaissance. Here is an excerpt from the interview in Shifting Careers:
Q. So what does this Renden person look like?
RenGen is a psychographic more than a demographic, but when you look at
census figures alone you have this large group of boomers who in their
youth idealistically wanted to change the world, got frustrated and
cashed out. You also have this even larger, rising segment of young
people every bit as idealistic as boomers once were. If you look at a
census table, it looks like a book-ended generation with these two
groups on either end.
As for their characteristics — they are
eco-conscious; they take their cues from nature so they are willing to
accept products that are flawed but authentic rather than slickly
produced and inauthentic. Dove figured this out with the real-women
campaign. They want to make a difference. They want to live many lives.
They don’t want to be told, “You can’t be an architect and a poet.”
They are sensualists. Because they are both idealistic and cynical at
the same time, they have learned to trust what they experience rather
than what experts tell them. That is why design and aesthetics are so
elevated right now.
Q. How will the rise of what you call RenGen affect the way we build our careers?
First of all, I predict that what we will see out of the younger RenGen
is the largest class of entrepreneurs the United States has seen in a
long time. Not only are they driven to do original work, but they are
going to want to live that out in originally designed careers.
order to do that, they’ll work hard to create their own enterprises
because that is where they can realize their dreams. Boomers are noted
workaholics and appreciate the pluck of the young RenGen. But Gen X,
often characterized as Dilbert-style middle managers, will struggle to
lead these spirited young workers.
To find more Patricia Martin check out these resources:
http://blog.patricia-martin.com/ – Her blog
http://patricia-martin.com/about_patricia_martin.htm – Her Overview page