Thursday, May 29, 2008

Are You Ready? The Next Frontier?

Via Instapundit, I found this article on "The Next American Frontier" fascinating. It focuses on Gen Y but I also think it applies to my generation.

Being a member of the so called Generation X, I fall into this weird in between culture. Generalizations are useful sometimes because they are "generally" true, but of course they can't apply to everyone in a group.

The generalization of Generation X includes:
  • Disaffectation with governance, a lack of trust in leadership, particularly institutional leadership
  • Rampant political apathy
  • Increase in divorce
  • Increase in mothers in the workplace
  • The zero population growth movement
  • Availability of birth control pills
  • Increase in educational variance
  • Decrease in educational funding and loan availability
  • Changed career options require more academic requirements and intellectual skill
  • Concerns on environmental destruction and ecological issues
  • Inception of the Internet
  • The end of the Cold War
I don't meet all of these definitions but I think many of them apply to my generation and those that follow. One thing that also defines "my" group is the ability to adjust and evolve to changing situations. Including a volatile economy.
"The economy will be much more volatile and much more competitive. In the continuous fervor to create new institutions, it will become increasingly difficult to sustain old ones. New political parties, new social groupings, thousands of new manias and movements and millions of new companies will pop up over the next few decades. Large corporations that don't figure out how to combine permanence with perpetual change will be swept away."
Most folks my age have had several different careers, many have worked for themselves or started their own business.
"An upcoming wave of new workers in our society will never work for an established company if they can help it. To them, having a traditional job is one of the biggest career failures they can imagine."
I don't know many who think that Social Security is a good thing, or that it will ever be around when they want to retire. And I think that most have many different skill sets. We are not bound to one company or one type of career. Flexibility is apparently the key for the future.
"Entire industries will die almost overnight, laying off thousands, while others will just as suddenly appear, hungry for employees. Continuity and predictability will become the rarest of commodities. And if the entrepreneurial personality honors smart failures, by the same token it has little pity for weakness."
Are you ready for the future? I believe we've been seeing this painful growing process occur throughout the last 10-15 years. I don't think that major unions and their political influence will continue. Manufacturing jobs have shrunk and continue to shrink. Many claim this is a "bad" thing but I think it is simply part of a changing economic environment.

Growth can be difficult and scary for those who refuse to adapt. I admit, I don't really love change. But change is a necessity of life. Those who fail to adjust will fail in life.

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