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Exploring Connectedness: Millennials and Gen Z

About This Book Series

Our aspiration is that this #Connectedness Series published by TheDocCheck.Com will facilitate readers, and particularly students of third level Human Resources courses, to understand the complexity of the generations that are Gen Z and Millennials.

Karl Mannheim published “Das Problem der Generationen” in 1923 (translated to English in 1952) and noted a generation was defined as a group of people that had collectively experienced a “tempo of change” at a young age. This tends to derive from very significant historical events that, in some ways, altered the very status quo concerning external environments or method of ‘doing’ things (Mannheim, 1952).

The current generations of the past nine decades or so include some exciting titles; the Silent Generation (people in their-upper 70s through early-90s), the Boomers (people in their upper-50s through mid-70s), Generation X (people in their early-40s through mid-50s), the Millennials or Generation Y (people in their mid-20s to upper-30s), and Generation Z (people aged about 8 to 23) (Dimock, 2019).

I was born into Generation X (those of us born between 1965-1980) and, along with my peers, have witnessed many globally notable events, including examples such as the momentous fall of the Berlin Wall and communism. I remember clearly the beginnings of the HIV/AIDS epidemic when I was a university student. Such phenomena have greatly influenced my thinking around the power of the individual and collective thought and action. Connections and connecting.

I bought my first house (as a home, not as an investment property) in my mid-twenties. I was fortunate to secure tenured employment in my mid-twenties. At the time, these were considered not only to be hugely influential in life but somehow the natural order of things. But is this the case now? Can it be the case? Will it ever be the case again for youthful workers?

Millennials (those born between 1981-1994) have also experienced and been directly affected by seismic events such as the global recession of 2007-2009 and now again with another global occurrence; COVID-19. They have been very significantly and I believe disproportionately affected by the massive layoffs and furloughs, as have their younger peers.

Generation Z is referred to as the iGeneration, iGenners, GenZ, and Generation Now and consists of those born in the mid-1990s through the late 2010s. This is the college/university- aged generation (Seemiller & Grace, 2016) who grew up with access to more and more complex and disruptive technology (Looper, 2011). Ironically, this generation is the safest (in the western world) compared to previous generations when one considers a range of health and safety statistics, but are more likely to be anxious and depressed and to die through suicide due to their ’emotional fragility’ as identified by Twenge (2017). This is both perplexing and deeply shocking.

This series is designed to be valid for 1) the individual looking to enhance knowledge about Millennials and Gen Z and 2) the interested Human Resources student and professional who do not want to read purely theoretical material but are interested in acquiring valuable references to scholarly material. Make no mistake; lives are complex for Millennials and Gen Z (Eisenberger, Lieberman & Williams, 2003). The age of the Internet and ‘wearable technologies’ presents very many challenges. In all of this, Millennials and Gen Z are trying to make sense of themselves and their place in the world.

It’s been a pleasure editing the diverse chapters from my colleagues. Therefore, the series itself is intended not just to be ‘books to read’ but also as reference guides. We do not demand you read this book in a narrative arc; feel free to dip in and out of whatever chapter takes your fancy. We’re not precious about individual chapter ownership, and each chapter can be read individually and out of order without losing the integrity of the book’s theme of connectedness. Enjoy.

– Dr. Niall MacGiolla Bhuí, Editor.


References

Dimock, M. (2019, January 17). Defining generations: Where Millennials end and Generation Z begins. Retrieved May 15th, 2021,

from https://www.pewresearch.org/fact- tank/2019/01/17/where-millennials-end-and-generation-z-begins/

Eisenberger, N. I., Lieberman, M. D., & Williams, K. D. (2003). Does rejection hurt? An fMRI study of social exclusion. Science, 302, 290–292. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1089134

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Harris, K. “A New Generation of Workers: Preparing for Generation Z in the Workplace” (2020). Senior Theses. 335.https://scholarcommons.sc.edu/senior_theses/335

Looper, L. (2011). How Generation Z Works. How Stuff Works. Retrieved from https://people.howstuffworks.com/culture traditions/generation-gaps/generation-z.htm Accessed April 12th 2021.

Mannheim, K. (1952). The problem of generations. In P. Kecskemeti (Vol. Ed.), Essays on the sociology of knowledge: Collected works: Volume 5, (pp. 276-322). New York: Routledge.

Miller, J. (2018, November). 10 Things You Need to Know About Gen Z. HR Magazine.
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Seemiller, C., & Grace, M. (2016). Generation Z goes to college. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Twenge, J. M. (2017). iGen : Why today’s super-connected kids are growing up less rebellious, more tolerant, less happy and completely unprepared for adulthood and what that means for the rest of us. New York, NY, US: Atria Books.

Williams, A. (2015). Move over, Millennials, here comes Generation Z. Sept 18, (New York Times), 1–7. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/20/fashion/move-over- millennials-here-comes-generation-z.html?_r=0 Accessed April 10th 2021.

Zapier Editorial Team. (2020). Misunderstood generations: what Millennials and Gen Z actually think about work. Zapier. Retrieved from https://zapier.com/blog/digital-natives-r