What Are You Reading…On Differences Between Generations?

Yesterday morning I read an interesting op-ed in The Washington Post which made the argument that more leaking is done by millennials because employers have ceased investing in their employees. The article points to Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning, and now Reality Winner as evidence of this trend. Each came to their employer with significant skills (rather than being trained by their employer in those skills), and during an era in our country during which job security and benefits were being cut back significantly. Because they couldn’t, or perhaps didn’t need to, depend on their employer for a happy life, they felt less loyalty to their employer. This, the author proposes, is why millennials are being conditioned to go to the media rather than their bosses.

As a millennial myself, I think the author has a point. While I am happy to work with institutions that I believe are doing important work, I’ve never felt that I could rely on them to work for my best interests. However, I would argue—contra the author’s implication—that millennials aren’t replacing institutional loyalty with personal loyalty. I, as well as most of the millennials I know, still feel dedicated to ideals like equality, to personal relationships, and to the valued presence of community or family. It’s just that the extant political and social institutions don’t serve these (at least not as well as they used to).

Curious as to other differences scholars have found between generations, I found the following articles that address the topic:

*

Have a suggestion for the What Are You Reading column? Contact us here.

Leave a Comment