By Manoj Kumar Singh (Market Research, Capgemini)
Change is inevitable. Considering the corporate environment, these changes are palpable between different generational cohorts. But the question arise out of this curiosity is – How our generation is different from our predecessors and successors. These differences between generations rely on Parenting and technology and those differences seep into a person without getting noticed.
Parenting – Our predecessors had received authoritarian parenting wherein rules were very clear with little negotiation possible and high expectations. This inculcated a very narrow perspective on what had to be done in later life. Personal fulfillment was not even in consideration. This caused less or no confusion within the contours of their internal feelings.
Time changed, so we were little favored by authoritative parenting with room for relaxation as our inputs were listened but still the rules were set by the parents. With little bit of freedom in thoughts we were experimenting to some extent towards life.
Eventually when it was the time for our successors they felt to be lucky because the experimenting nature given way to permissive parenting. They have been treated more as a friend by their parents, having their ways in life with minimal expectation. Such parents always try to instill the illusionary idea of being special in their children even if they are last in class. This creates a hollow feeling of self-worth.
The first two parenting style instilled discipline in children. These children accepted that in life nothing is easy and learnt to burn the midnight oil for whatever they aspired. But the permissive parenting took away the chance of learning the essence of discipline which should start from home. Syllabus in schools are shortened to make them feel less burdened, raising them with inability to tackle pressure situations later in life.
Technology – There are many merits of technology in our life. But its interference in early life is detrimental to an overall growth of a child. And mobile is playing a big role in it. In our daily life we may come across many kids, as small as 2 years, engrossed in mobile happily given by their parents. So when we or our predecessors were busy playing with other kids, our successors were or are hooked on to a screen. Because of this, they lack in building deep meaning full relation with their friends or a constructive co-operation in a team later in corporate life. The world of social media has made them prey to the feeling of instant gratification with virtual likes but in real world, for any recognition, one has to strive for it.
Now if these three people of different generations have to work in a corporate set-up. The predecessor, who might be a manager, will expect his subordinates to be well disciplined, hard working, better in co-ordination with in a team and submissive. Whereas ‘we’ can be well disciplined, hard working and a good team player but would like to have their viewpoint to be listened by the predecessor. On the contrary the successor is totally of different nature. They may be satisfying in all the skills required for the job but were dealt a bad hand of parenting leading to lower self-esteem than previous generations. So when they have to face real life challenges of working hard, their self image of being special get shattered. They lack that patience of working over something for a long time. They expect instant gratification for whatever little effort has been put-in. Having not so well equipped with people skills, they tend to give in to the office politics and quit.
Thus to work along efficiently a predecessor should listen ‘we’. But the predecessor and ‘we’ have to teach a lot to the successor. The successor needs to be helped in building confidence, make them learn the skills of co-operation, how to overcome the need to have instant gratification and teach them the joy and impact, and the fulfillment one gets from working hard over something for a long time.