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:
- Terri Rodriguez and Heidi Hallman, “Millennial Teacher: A Storied Landscape of Diversity in ‘New Times’,” Multicultural Perspectives, May 2013.
- Judith Marston, “Meaning in Life: A Spiritual Matter-Projected Changes Post-Retirement for Baby Boomers,” Journal of Religion, Spirituality & Aging, October-December 2010.
- Hongping Lian, “The post-1980s generation in China: exploring its theoretical underpinning,” Journal of Youth Studies, August 2014.
- Seneca Vaught, “Leading From Behind the Gap: Post-Racial Politics and the Pedagogy of Black Studies,” Afro-Americans in New York Life & History, January 2013.
- Eric Gass and Maureen Bezold, “Generation Y, Shifting Funding Structures, and Health Care Reform: Reconceiving the Public Health Paradigm through Social Work,” Social Work in Public Health, November 2013.
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