@GenZ – #sassy #savvy #self-centred
My Generation Z children utterly mystify me. How can my 11-year-old son do PowerPoint presentations but still think “verse” is a word? (As in, “Will Carlton verse the Crows today?”)
How does my nine-year-old know the difference between an infusion and a reduction – thanks to
– but still fail to make her own breakfast before school?
And why is it that my six-year-old can’t read properly but can navigate the onscreen prompts on Minecraft like a teenager?
Welcome to the world of Gen Z – the postMillennial kids and teens of today. Time is marching and it won’t be long before Baby Boomers, Gen Xers and Gen Ys hand over the reins to them.
Most people will tell you our kids are too busy taking selfies at pop concerts to have time to run the dishwasher, let alone think about running the country one day. But don’t be fooled by their big headphones, small jeans and One Direction combovers; they’re way smarter than we were at that age.
Whatever you do, don’t underestimate anyone born after 1995.
In the time it took you to read this, they’ve already hacked into your wi-fi from their iPhone and will use it to supplement their data allowance for years to come without your knowledge.
Indeed, for them the world is an open book – or more accurately, a wireless hyperlinked, usergenerated interface. (Don’t talk about books, you’ll just seem old.)
So what can we expect from a generation that reveres both education activist Malala Yousafzai and singer Nicki Minaj in equal measure?
Well, for a start, the self-possession and confidence of this generation is the stuff of legend. They know their worth and it’s much higher than yours, let me assure you.
At work they won’t shy away from asking for promotions and pay rises. And they will generally get any job they go for on sheer confidence alone – not to mention their ability to hook their workmates up with pirated Netflix.
But you’d expect nothing less from kids who think they’re geniuses because they were raised on
DVDs and given participation medals every time they stepped on a sports field.
Indeed, one study showed half of all teenagers today are so sure of their convictions that they would prefer to be unemployed rather than do a job they hate. Clearly, in the future there will be no insurance assessors, call centre workers and beauticians specializing in Brazilian bikini waxes.
Raised by working parents who providing care and guilt in equal measure, Gen Zs will want to do things differently on the work front compared to us.
This will mean that in the future we will see a rise of the “no collar” worker: professional freelancers who will spend their entire work lives leap-frogging from contract to contract – and cafe to cafe.
A piping-hot latte, some sick beats coming through their headphones, and a wi-fi connection (some one else’s, preferably) is all they’ll need to take over our world. They’ll also be willing to sacrifice cash for credibility, and will put energy into worthy social causes we abandoned long ago.
There are some other changes we’ll see in Gen Z’s adult lifetime – and they’re not all positive.
These kids are growing up measuring their worth by Facebook likes and Twitter retweets, so they will crave attention and affection. In adulthood, this means they will expect replies to emails or texts at any time of the day or night. Being able to work anywhere, anytime means they will work everywhere, all the time.
They’ll also spend more of their life alone; however, they will be connected to more people on social media than Baby Boomers knew in a lifetime.
Gen Z also know a lot about good nutrition and will surround themselves with the latest gym wear and gadgets. But 77 per cent of them will be overweight by adulthood.
Despite this, the big picture is sound. While Gen Zs may seem like self-centered prima donnas at this age, there is every reason to believe their contribution to the world will extend far beyond Justin Bieber and dodgy hairstyles.
Back in the 1980s, many people worshipped people such as entrepreneur Alan Bond. We thought the guy with the van Gogh and the America’s Cup trophy was winning in life.
Kids today are smarter than we were because they worship themselves instead. They are savvy enough to realise that in a few short years, it will be them “verse” us, and they are going to beat us hands down. Chat with Susie at susieobrien.com.au, Facebook.com/NewswithSuse and follow her on Twitter @susieob