A week ago, I asked my mom to read over something I had written. It was typed on my laptop in a simple Word document. Five minutes in, I hear her say, “I can’t scroll down! It’s not letting me!” She didn’t know how to work the touch pad. In her defense, she never uses laptops. However, she uses her smartphone everyday to complete various tasks. It’s not that using technology is too difficult for her, she just doesn’t have a need for all of it.
Google “Working with Generation Y.” Articles upon articles (mostly about Tim Elmore’s book of the same title) will appear, advising baby boomers on ways to deal with millennials. Most of this advice is about generalizations; young kids all want work to be fun, to be paid a lot immediately, have flexible hours, etc. All of these articles mentioned that Generation Y was raised with parents who provided everything and will continue to hand over money in the the blink of an eye. I found it all to be a bit ridiculous. Who wouldn’t want to have a job with meaningful duties, decent pay, and flexible hours?
After reading quite a few of these blogs and online papers, I found a similar theme: Generation Y and technology. Many of the baby boomers reported feeling scared about losing their jobs to younger employees who have more experience with technology. Generation Y consists of those who were born between the early 80s and middle 90s. They’re often referred to as “Digital Natives.” Companies are hiring fresh new faces who can work with social media and new forms of technology. Everyday we see new software and hardware being developed, and it can be difficult to keep up. This may seem threatening to Generation X and the Baby Boomers, but according to a study done by the Georgia Institute of Technology and the International Telecommunication Union, there is hardly a generational gap at all concerning technology in developed countries. People who can afford to have smartphones and computers will have them, and learn to use them. Many of those in Generation X were involved with developing computers and cell phones and still have the knowledge and wisdom to be relevant today.
Sure, us “Digital Natives” can upload a picture to Instagram or Tweet about our trip to Starbucks, but how many of us are going to be creating the next iPhone?