Monday, November 9, 2009

The New Generation and The Ranting Glenn Beck

Here is a perfect example of why you should turn Beck off. He's an idiot. He gives no more thought to what he's saying about the new generation (or anything) than a pig does. In fact, that's my opinion of him; he's a pig, grunting around the barnyard to get your attention.

Brother Dan made a comment recently that intrigued me that went something like this: “The new generation is interesting. Joni and Ryan (Dan's daughter and her new husband) have more close friends than I've ever thought of. When they go to Las Vegas, they go in a group of twenty friends, not one or two. When they go to a football game (from Chicago to New York) they go with twenty friends.” That's an interesting observation. What's more, it's my observation that “they” don't really care what we, the older generation, think about it, not that we think it's bad. At the same time they seem to respect the older generation, Dan and I, more than we respected our elders. They have a plurality view of the world; one of resigned to the condition of the world handed to them but at the same time “unafraid” of the mess they're getting. Joni and Ryan are the “Millennial” generation and it appears that they have other ideas that we might find interesting and that Beck is ranting (and opposed to) about.

According to historian Dr. David Kaiser's latest blog entry , the Millennials are coming into the workforce and political scene feeling “entitled.” That means to me that they're self-confident and they “ expect” to be treated with respect by their employers and politicians. They feel that they “deserve” better. The more I think about it, the more I agree with them. They are entitled to a better world and they do deserve respect.

I think the days when employers can do anything they want, such as discriminate, create unsafe work environments, mistreat employees and generally ignore employee needs are over. This new generation won't put up with it. But, instead of the court being the primary battle ground, they will simply leave for a new job making the employer irrelevant.

It's the same with politicians. This new generation is not going to put up with the old mud-slinging, corrupted and greedy politicians and their lies and half-truths. They will simply vote for someone else, making the politician irrelevant. It's also the same with Glenn Beck; they will tune him out.

Beck doesn't abide by this new generations' values. In fact, he's adamantly opposed. His rant is, “Get over yourself. Go out and get a fricken' job... what a bunch of pansy...get the hell out of my office... [these] people just go to work and they sit in their office and they do nothing!” Beck implies that the Millennials are lazy, pansies. He says, The Millennials that are coming in now, employers are beginning to realize that that is the future workforce and they want to shape the job towards their life rather than have their life adapt to the workplace. I mean, that's all well and good, but... get the hell out of my office.” Well, he's right. The Millennials insist that the job be shaped to their lives. It's about time. But Beck is wrong about them being lazy. The new generation is really saying, “we'll work for you and we'll do a good job and we'll make this company (or endeavor) profitable, but you are going to pay attention to us and our needs or else we'll make you irrelevant. If you don't like it, we'll find a place that does.” Dr. Kaiser quotes Beck's entire statement on his blog, if you can read the whole thing without making yourself sick.

I'm excited about this new generation. I know a few more who are part of it; Damon, Adam and Marcus, my wife's sons are like Joni and Ryan in many ways. Beck criticized them for “bringing their parents to their job.” It just so happens that Damon invited me to his job Sunday, a “parents day,” in Beck's words. I was impressed. Damon, who eats, sleeps and lives baseball, is making a living at what he loves. He, and a few entrepreneurs, have built a year-round sports training pavilion for kids, Cabernet Indoor Sports, out of a Costco Warehouse. On one side of the building is a 40,000 square foot area containing three huge soccer fields and the place was packed with Lacrosse girl teams playing indoors on the day I visited it. On the other side is over 30,000 square feet of space for baseball, including five batting cages, a pitching area and an entire regulation sized infield. Wow! It's just beginning and Damon would probably work for nothing, but last month he brought home $2,200. He helped build the pavilion.

Adam is in the middle of a transition. He's spent the past 2 ¾ years in Arcata, California, the home of Humbolt University where he earned his degree and graduated last Spring. He relocated back home to Castro Valley Sunday hoping for better employment. Like Joni and Ryan, he has many friends and he left many of them in Arcata, a somewhat painful experience. I get the impression, however, that he didn't really “leave” his friends since he will keep in contact; something I can't say I or my generation did when we left friends. Marcus works for the State Probation Department supervising juvenile delinquents at a “ranch.” He owns his own house, bought during the sub-prime boom so he's somewhat underwater, but he's keeping up payments and intends to keep the house. In other words, he's not slouching on his responsibilities.

I attended the wedding this weekend of Kelly and Jeremy, two more of this new generation. Jeremy is a farmer working with his father and grandfather on a 5,000 acre farm in southern Indiana. After rains in the spring and fall that delayed crop planting and harvest, he and his family have worked night and day to finish the harvesting Friday, the day before his wedding. Kelly graduated from Southern Indiana University with a Finance and Marketing degree and is now working for an insurance company. They start their married life with a house of their own and excellent careers and I haven't seen two people better matched for life together.

And not only these few impress me. As I watch Micheal Sandel's class at Harvard University, I can't imagine sitting in a class like that when I was young or saying something intelligent or even having the where-with-all to speak at all. But, those young people do. And, they speak intelligently. I'm impressed. They are motivated and energetic.

I can't imagine anyone calling these young people lazy or self-centered and saying, “get out of my office.” I think the “entitlement” they see as “owed” to them is the better world that we, the previous generations, should have created, but didn't. Now that they are entering the workplace and politics, they will do it themselves. I'd say that Beck is all wet and can yell (or grunt) all he wants, but he'll find his office empty while these young people will be moving on without him. I couldn't be happier about that. He's irrelevant.


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