A Proposal for Generation whYZ

Dear Millennial and Gen Z people everywhere,

You don’t know me, but I’m likely what many of you might fondly refer to as an “old fart”.

At 64, I am a middle Boomer, child of the Sixties, MBA of the Eighties, and (former) unabashed proponent of free market capitalism. Born and raised in Canada, I vigorously supported the original free trade agreement, NAFTA, chased after the materialistic lifestyle that economists assured us was the only sustainable economic system, and beneficial to everyone.

But now I’m back in Canada after living in the U.S. during the Clinton and Bush II years, witnessing the 2008 financial meltdown, decline of the American middle class, destruction of the planet, obscene income inequality, and widespread international corruption, I have a confession to make:

They lied. I fell for it.

That’s the not so good news.

But there is still hope. And so, I have a proposal to make to each and all of you. I’d like to refer to you in future as Generation whYZ, because you are the two age groups that are about to inherit the power and responsibility for running the world, and because I think you are wise beyond your years. A very good thing!

While never the worst capitalist offender, I do take my responsibility for the mindset and behaviour that led us to this place in time. And taking responsibility always involves asking two key questions: 1) What needs to be done? And 2) What can and should I do about it?

After much reflection, I decided that my love of reading and learning about world affairs could help make amends.

So, what needs to be done?

In my view, there is a lot of important info that’s likely not currently on your radar.

Well aware that you’re far too busy and (understandably at your ages) interested in other issues and pursuits, I’m concerned that you may not be necessarily aware of just how precarious are these times. And they are.

And the threats we face will impact you far more than older folks like me. That means YOU have a deep, vested interest in ensuring politicians are persuaded (forced if necessary) into taking aggressive action NOW to ensure your future is safe and prosperous.

So I concluded that if I know a lot of this stuff already, and enjoy keeping up with it, and you have an important and urgent need to know, why not post short, factual, crucial information in the social media places you usually hang out?

What you decide to do or not do with the info is completely up to you, but I’m pretty certain that once you learn about some of what has been going on, you’ll agree that some remedial action is required, and fast. I will benefit from knowing I at least tried to be proactive in spreading what I believe is an urgent, yet hopeful message.

Like Dumbledor passing timely and relevant information along to Harry Potter and the young wizards, I’ll do the same for you, hopefully giving you the knowledge you need and the motivation to start.

 Michael Darmody is a leadership consultant and executive coach. More detail on the challenges we currently face can be found in his new book The Boiling Frog: How Complacency and Ignorance Created Our Leadership Crisis and What We Can Do About It. 

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