VFA Virginia Forests Winter 2023

WINTER 2023 9 Talkin’ ’bout My (New) Generations It’s Time for a New Paradigm about the Workforce By TomDavidson People try to put us d-down (talkin’ ‘bout my generation) Just because we get around (talkin’ ‘bout my generation) Things they do look awful c-c-cold (talkin’ ‘bout my generation) I hope I die before I get old (talkin’ ‘bout my generation) (Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend, and John Entwistle, the Who, 1965) More than a Boomer anthem mocking their older generations, this song is a timeless example of how every generation looks and acts differently than their predecessors, eventually leading to workplace discord and questions about how to manage the next generation. My WWII-generation Dad thought my long hair “looked prettier” than the girls’ in my high school and warned that they’d be “too jealous” to date me! As a Boomer manager, I grinded my teeth about the next generation’s work ethic, and today, my Gen-X niece rolls her eyes at what her Millennial employees expect in terms of benefits and time off. And the beat goes on (Sony & Cher, 1967). Making matters truly worse, while the forestry and forest products sector might have been considered essential during the pandemic, we were not immune from any of the other sweeping changes before, during and after the pandemic such as these: an accelerated grey tsunami (i.e., boomer retirement), stay-at-home unemployment subsidies, historically low labor participation rates, the great resignation,