March 8, 2018
As the 2010’s decade begins its descent into the past, a new generation will begin its rise into the spotlight: Generation Z. For the past 11 years, the Millennial generation has been put under a magnify glass. They’ve been the prime target for scrutinization as everyone looks at them to see what they will do in the workforce. Throughout their time, they have been called lazy, whiny, ungrateful; but they have also been called innovative, resourceful, and adaptive. The Millenial’s time under the magnify glass will soon come to an end. The first few batches of Generation Z have just entered college, leaving people to wonder how they will act once they reach full adulthood.
The current negative ideals being bestowed upon Generation Z are that they are scattered-brained, and attention seeking. Nathan Jorgensen, a teacher at Waukee High School (WHS), commented on how he sees in his students the need for instant gratification, and their shortened attention spans. This is due to Generation Z growing up in a time where a cell phone has always been a distraction. The new Generation’s constant need to multitask also plays a factor as they have never been able to fully focus on one thing at a time. “If you take away the phone and you really sit down and have a conversation, they are no different from the other generation I believe; but getting past that initial stereotype is hard for some people,” explained Jorgensen.
Generation Z has grown up in an era of technology, resulting in there never being a time where they have lived without the internet. Junior Tyler Schutt commented on how technology can be both a good thing and a bad thing for his generation. He stated, “I can see that technology is one of the greatest tools we have, but also one of the most dangerous tools we have.” Social media is a main reason people point to technology as having a negative impact on the youth. The benefit consists of people being able to have quick communication with their friends via Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, ect. On the other hand, social media can negatively effect students due to it leaving students vulnerable to cyber bullying. Social media is a big change for the upcoming generation since the Millennials only had Myspace, MSN instant messenger, and Facebook when they were in school. How Generation Z interacts with others within the workforce will be different than any other generation before them due to their access to technology.
In addition, how Generation Z will respond in the workforce has been another topic of conversation. History teacher Tatum Starcevich commented on the type of work ethic she sees in her students, stating that her students are not always focused on turning work in on time. “For me that works out ok because I run my class relatively laid back,” she said, “but I don’t know how that will transfer to the real world.” Schutt believes that his generation will excel in the workforce. He points to WHS programs like School-To-Work and APEX that will prepare them for the future. “I think compared to past generations, we are going to be a lot more prepared to handle those challenges in the workforce,” he said, “but at the same time I think the workforce is going to be a lot more competitive for us.”
When a new generation enters the workforce, all eyes are on them to see if they will succeed. Schutt is hopeful that they will be successful. “There’s so many new problems everyday, and they keep getting worse. It’s up to our generation to take care of those problems,” he stated. Only time will tell whether or not Generation Z will be victorious.