I want to express my appreciation to my fellow Salon bloggers last week and everyone who has commented—you’ve given me a lot to think about. Before I go, though, I want to make what seems to me like an essential point. We’ve spent a lot of time in this salon so far talking about problems, but solutions have been somewhat elusive. I think part of the reason is contained within a comment I wrote earlier last week on my Generation Y and the Problem of “Entitlement” post but didn’t realize the true significance of until later:
I think the generational shifts are a related, but separate phenomenon from the concentration of power in our field at the top and the frustration that many feel as a result of it, regardless of generation.
There are really two separate issues we’re talking about here, and that’s why our wires keep getting crossed. On the one hand, we have genuine ways in which Generation Y is different from all the generations that came before, particularly with regard to how technology has impacted our communications habits, our work ethic, our social norms, and most importantly, our expectations for ourselves and others. However, this is NOT the same thing as the second issue: the concentration of power in a few individuals that pushes out other voices, both at an organization level and in the wider field. THAT is not new at all, and in fact is probably in a better place now than it ever has been.