Thursday, September 25, 2008

Talkin' 'bout my Generation : Pick Yourself Up?!

Well, I have been scouring the Internet to learn more about the perceptions, hopes and fears of "My Generation". These perceptions are essential in understanding where Freemasonry is going and what we, as Lodges, should expect now and in the future. I hope to examine these perceptions over the coming weeks. And yes I know, The Who are not "My Generation" but what can ya do, the song rocks.

GRRR! Picking Yourself Up; Millennial Madness

As cliche as what I am about to say is, the next generation is the future; how and what we do in the next decade will shape the way workplaces, political institutions, civic organizations, as well as every other organization that exists now or will exist in the future is run. Unfortunately, there is more fear than truth being expressed to the world about the coming death of "Work Ethic." One article seems to be more direct in its attack on Generation Y than any other.

The GRRR! Block is a recurring series at Fox News written by Mike Straka that rants about Pop Culture, and things that seem to get stuck in his craw. In late November, he whined about how Millennials are lazy and refuse to grow up after watching a 60 Minutes special about Generation Y entering the workforce.

Straka writes:

From negotiating time off during job interviews to having to be told that they "should wear underwear under their clothes," it's tough for me to comprehend when, where and why the future workforce of our nation has became so complacent.

Was it because mommy and daddy worked too hard and didn't pay enough attention? Is it the free-wheeling universe known as cyberspace, where anything and everything is practically available at the click of a button?

Enron? WorldCom? Tyco? Divorce?

No, I give too much credit. Whatever the excuse for such lackadaisical behavior, it all comes down to just that — an excuse. Call me cold or insensitive, but I won't apologize for living in a tough world.

Of course, I will not apologize for certain things that he has brought up, including the fact that some applicants are bringing their parents to job interviews. (I have not seen this and probably never will but I am not surprised that it is out there.) Yet, he seems to blame all the problems of the world on one particular generation: the Millennials.

Why you might ask?

The final paragraph of his article says it all:

Call me a sucker, but I like doing a good job.

I like when my boss pats me on the back or sends an e-mail that says "nice job." I live for that. The Millennials, it seems, would scoff at such nonsense.

Of course they're doing a good job. They showed up, didn't they?

And people wonder why large corporations are outsourcing jobs.

We're in for a rude awakening if this is where we're headed.

Maybe he doesn't like the idea of some snot-nosed kid demanding more from his company. Maybe he doesn't see his family very often and wants everybody to experience that feeling. What I think bothers Straka the most is the idea that the youngest generation will not define themselves by their job. "What, what, what what?! You mean to tell me that a human being is a human being first and not a doctor, a lawyer, or a ditch digger." Of course, this is where Freemasonry can flourish.

Freemasonry, for all its lofty ideals and altruistic goals, is a volunteer organization first. This concept plays perfectly to the man who chooses a career so as not to interrupt him having a social life. For Lodges to succeed, the officers must realize that young Masons seek to use their time in many, many different ways, not merely for their vocation. This is exactly what a volunteer organization wants to hear. I devote many hours to the Craft and in some instances, I will call myself a Freemason before I ever think to call myself a law school graduate.

The most time consuming part of my day (after being with my family) comes from my Masonic affiliation. I spend days going to Lodge meetings, preparing for meetings (I am the Junior Warden of my Lodge), working on ritual, writing blog posts or meeting at the Grand Lodge for Membership ideas. To say that I am somehow complacent or lazy is a joke. I choose to use my time for a more noble purpose, to think of the civic and social institutions around me, not merely to further myself and feed some sick narcissistic concern about wealth and power. Masonry's goal is to build the temple of understanding and tolerance and to give brothers many ways to work on that hope.

Masonry is also built for the brother with divergent interests. Whether a young Mason wants the playfulness and philanthropy of the Shrine, the thoughtfulness of the Rites, the ability to work with kids in Rainbow Girls or Demolay or just to participate in family gatherings with the Lodge, the ability to find something to do is endless.

In the end, I think that Mike Straka is wrong or at the very least, has his priorities skewed. Living a life that is about more than just my car, my job or my house is important to me. Volunteering is important to me. And I believe that I am not alone in these beliefs. As long as these considerations are in the minds of the Lodges, the future of the Fraternity will still shine brightly.

1 comment:

BallenD said...

Saw this article, you have probably seen it, but thought it was interesting.