RCM Robinson Capital Management LLC

"Younger Folks’ Narcissism May Enliven the Workplace" --title from Wall Street Journal

Generational divides are nothing new to Americans.  As parents or grandparents, we often have a hard time relating to our children.  But as children ourselves, we faced the same issues with our own parents and grandparents.  Older people don’t “get” young people, and if history is any guide, they never will.  

“…anyone born after 1970 [is] a member of the Entitlement Generation, marked by self-absorption, arrogance, a low regard for formal dress codes and a high regard for its own opinions,” write the Wall Street Journal.  “Psychological surveys also show it has more narcissists than previous generations.” 

Though annoying, this is not altogether a bad thing.  After all, it was a core group of similarly narcissistic Baby Boomers that created the PC, internet, and multimedia revolutions.  Bill Gates and Steve Jobs are notoriously self-absorbed and arrogant, and both created highly informal corporate cultures in their respective business empires.  Today, we enjoy much higher productivity and standards of living for their efforts, and their more recent entertainment products like the iPod and Zune have become pop culture phenomena.  It’s hard to imagine a world without Microsoft and Apple, yet in the late 1970s Bill Gates was a college dropout and Steve Jobs a bearded hippy – not exactly two people that would have been marked for success.

Similarly, the next Gates or Jobs might emerge from the legions of moody teenagers and tattooed twenty-somethings that seem to care more about MySpace than their careers.  In fact, this is highly likely.  Innovations tend to come in bursts from large, young, and independent-minded generations.  The Baby Boomers gave us the Information Revolution, just as the Henry Ford generation gave us the mass-market, standardized consumer economy.  The Henry Ford generation has long since passed from the economic scene.  And now that they have settled into their middle-aged years, the Baby Boomers have largely already left their mark.  It is now the turn of their children, the Echo Boomers or Millennial Generation, to take the torch of innovation.

The good news is, the largest wave of the Echo Boomers will be entering college and the workforce from 2008-2012.  This means that in the following years we should see a burst of creativity and innovation.  The bad news is, you may have to share office space with someone from the most narcissistic generation in history!

--Douglas C. Robinson



RCM Robinson Capital Management LLC, Securities America, Inc, 27 Reed Boulevard, Mill Valley, CA 94941

(phone) 415-771-9421       (fax) 415-762-1980