The Washington Post published a list of books for women from Millennials who are entering the workforce. It’s a little late for that, because this year is the first college graduation for Generation Z.
It’s time to make a mental shift. Every time you imagine what your kid will be doing when they grow up, play this game: If Millennials would like it then Generation Z won’t.
Your kid won’t build their own brand. Generation Z thinks social media is ridiculous and they don’t even use their real names in email. Though really, how could they? All the real names in gmail were taken by the time Gen Z got there. Millennials built their social capital by looking perfect on Instagram. But Generation Z has no interest in looking pristine.
Your kid won’t climb ladders. Generation Z is unimpressed with the idea of disruption. The Internet has been disrupting everything since the 90s. Generation Z wants to put things back together in a way that creates justice for all. MBA applications will continue to decrease because Gen Z wants to elevate institutions rather than elevate themselves. And you don’t need an MBA if you want to stick with everyone else.
Your kid won’t drive. Expensive cars will give way to cheap green cars and cars that are shared. Public transportation will get less expensive because Generation Z is very, very price sensitive. And while getting a driver’s license used to be a trope of teenage years, 30 percent of Generation Z says they don’t plan on getting a driver’s license. Ever.
Your kid won’t go to law school. Most practicing lawyers struggle to pay back their school loans, which means the law schools are overpriced. The unemployment rate among law school grads is so high that some people think it’s fraudulent. And law schools (more than other graduate schools) are set up so that kids with wealthy parents get higher grades. Generation Z is repelled by this sort of structural unfairness, and being part of the problem will be unacceptable. This is much different from how Millennials leveraged inequality to solidify their status.
Your kid will push for diversity. Everywhere. But it won’t be what you’re expecting. We won’t talk about minorities because most members of this generation will be non-white. Instead we’ll talk about people who are economically disadvantaged or mentally different. Generational heroes will be people like Cody McLain who grew up in foster care with autism and built a successful business as an adult.
Your kid will work locally. When Generation Z is too conscious of their global footprint to jet across the globe. Generation Z is practical and concerned with building physical communities before they disintegrate under the weight of the Internet. So a millenniel might work at Qualcomm in San Diego racking up frequent flier miles, and extend business travel into an exotic adventure long enough to post on Facebook. But the corollary person in Generation Z will work locally at a San Diego lawn care service offering new, earth friendly services, and rather than taking pictures of themselves, this person will take pictures of community improvements.
Did you see the speech Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez gave to Congress about her Green New Deal? She said previous generations have refused to spend serious money on saving the climate. So the coming generation will have to take responsibility for climate. This is how Generation Z will feel about everything. They will tell us older generations that we were irresponsible. They will not be a generation known for selfies. Generation Z has too much to fix.