Understanding Generational Differences with Meagan Johnson

EPISODE 23

Welcome back to another episode! This one is as interesting and educational as it is fun. Have you ever wondered why your mentality is so different from other generations? We’ll try to find out how we can manage to understand and communicate within the relationships that we have in our lives, with our children, our parents, coworkers, employers and so on.

Generational expert Meagan Johnson is joining us in this episode to share her analysis and insights regarding each generation’s sign posts - basically what defines their thinking. You’ll learn more about the behavior of Baby Boomers, Gen X’s, Millennials and even our beloved children, Gen Z’s.

Meagan is a “Generational Humorist” and challenges her audiences to think differently and act decisively when dealing with multiple generations. She is also a talented public speaker and each one of her presentations is packed full of amazing information and the funniest jokes.


EPISODE TRANSCRIPT


Doryn Wallach:

Welcome to It's Not A Crisis. I am your host, Doryn Wallach. I'm an entrepreneur, a mother of two, a wife and a 40 something, trying to figure out what is happening in this decade. Why is no one talking about it? I created this podcast to help women in their late thirties and forties to figure out what is going on in our mind, body, soul and life. We may laugh, we may cry, we may get frustrated, but most importantly, my goal is to make this next chapter of life positive. I'm also full of my own questions and I'm here to go on this journey with you. So let's do it together.

Hey everyone, I think I forgot to wish you a happy new year in my last episode. So happy new year. I don't know, what is this year going to hold? It's got to be better than last year. It has to be, right? I mean, it can only go up from here, we hope. Anyway, I have a really interesting podcast today. I have always been fascinated with generations and it kind of started with a couple of books that I read, one of which I have on one of my other podcasts with Lindsay Gibson. But I recently found that in having a child who is ... two children of one generation and having parents of another generation and now being gen X and doing this podcast, I feel like it's really fascinating to me to start to understand everybody and not be so close minded. I think it's important that we all understand different generations because a lot of times it helps you in work.

It helps you in relationships. It helps you in all aspects of your life and it's really important. So today, I am bringing you a guest who is a generational expert. I bet you didn't even know that existed. Meagan is known as a generational humorist and challenges our audience to think differently and act decisively when dealing with multiple generations. Educating through entertainment since 1998, Meagan has worked with a variety of organizations and associations to build multi-generational effective relationships.

Meagan's strategy for success is not thinking about how people are different, but thinking about how people are the same. She helps her audience find common ground and build on generational strengths. Meagan and her baby boomer father Larry Johnson are the authors of Generations, Inc: From Boomers to Linksters—Managing the Friction Between Generations at Work. And Meagan is so funny. She does kind of these standup acts when she speaks in public. I'm very excited. You will definitely laugh and you're going to learn a lot. Meagan Johnson, welcome to the show.


Meagan Johnson:

Thank you Doryn. I am so glad to be here. This is exciting.


Doryn Wallach:

Yeah. There's so much I want to unwrap with you. First, I think the biggest question for the audience is what exactly is a generational expert and humorist and what made you get into this? Before you say that, you're a gen X too, right?


Meagan Johnson:

Yes. I am gen X and the big question I get from many of my audiences, which generation is the best? And I say, "Well, you know, we're all equal, but if we had to be honest, gen Xers are just, we're just a little bit better. We're the best generation."


Doryn Wallach:

Agreed.


Meagan Johnson:

So yeah, I got interested in the generational topic and the generational divide back in the early nineties after I graduated from Arizona State University. I got my first corporate job and I was really excited and it was with a big well-known company. You might see their oatmeal when you walk down the grocery store aisle. But it was thrilled. I mean, because we were in the middle of a recession in the early nineties, and many of my friends couldn't find a job and I found a job and I wanted to do well. I wanted to be successful. I wanted my parents to be proud that they had sent me to college and that I had a job and I was going to move out of their house and it was hard. It was harder than I expected.

And the skills that seemed to serve me when in the part-time jobs, I had worked through college, that skillset didn't seem to serve me as well. My bosses who were two baby boomers, an older baby boomer and a little bit of a younger baby boomer, but they were still a different generation than myself, they seemed to have a completely different attitude about why I chose to work for the company, what I hoped to get out of the job and what motivated me and we just seem to have this disconnect. Now on the flip side as an older person, older than I was then, I can look back and see it was not entirely their fault.

I didn't understand a lot of office politics. I didn't really understand how important appearances played in the corporate world. So it was a disconnect on both sides. And that's how I became interested in talking about the different generations, because at the same time, the media was complaining about generation X and how difficult generation X was to work with. And I thought, well, I'm generation X. I don't think we're that bad. And so that's when I began researching and writing and talking about the multiple generations and how every generation comes to either work or the marketplace, or even the dinner table with a different set of expectations from the people around them.


Doryn Wallach:

I love that and I'm so happy that you're doing this because I think each generation almost thinks very black and white about their own generation. And I am fascinated about this, and I found you because as a mother, I'm trying to understand my kids' generation. As a entrepreneur and having people work for me, having had a lot of millennials working for me, I had a lot of issues in the past that I couldn't quite understand the disconnect. And as well as understanding now, as my parents are getting older and trying to do my own personal therapy and work to try to understand where they were coming from. And I think it's so important for everybody to really understand these generations, because I think that we have to adapt and we have to understand as stubborn as us generation Xers are, we do think we're the best and we feel like ... but everyone else hates us.


Meagan Johnson:

I always say to audiences, I said, "If this were the Brady bunch generation X, we are Jan. We are the middle child. We are squeezed in between the two mammoth generations, baby boomers and the millennials. The millennials are like Cindy and the baby boomers are everyone's favorite sister, Marcia, Marcia, Marcia.


Doryn Wallach:

That's so funny. I've actually heard something similar to that before. It's funny, one of the most popular memes that I had posted, it got 800 likes, I posted generation ... And I feel terrible because I don't even know what the source was. It could be you. Generation X women who as children lacked cell phones and helicopter parents came up relying on our own wits to keep ourselves safe. We took control. The comments on this were pretty amazing and I think a lot of my audience said both positive and negative things about being like, I had heard you talk about being a latchkey kid and a lot of women saying that we literally can survive anything, we're so resilient, yet still recovering from therapy. I'm trying to look through some of the comments. This is why I'm so equipped at being single. I'm managing COVID successfully. I learned to fend for myself, provide my own entertainment, handle my own emotions.

Anyway, so I had a few people actually reach out to me after this and say, "Can you post more memes like that?" And I'm like, "Well, it's not that easy to find." Maybe you can help me with that and you can create some funny ones since you're funny. But the conversation was amazing. So I think that I have heard myself and I'm sure we all have, I've heard myself go, "These millennials are .... My kids and they don't get anything and they're so spoiled and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah." But I think before any of understanding any of that, I think it's important for us to understand the boomers who raised us. So I'd love for you to start first with that generation and just a little bit more about it.


Meagan Johnson:

My framework is that each generation is defined by generational signposts and generational signposts are events that are specific to one generation and what generational signposts do. Because when you start talking about generations, a lot of times people say, "Well, you're stereotyping." And obviously I never intend to stereotype people, but what generational signposts do, they explain how events, technology and the economy shape various groups of people. Clusters of people born during a certain timeframe have experienced similar situations and can be differentiated from other generations.

Here are the baby boomers. Here come the baby boomers and their parents, the baby boomer's parents are the traditional generation. Those are people born before 1945. I always say that for me, that's my grandma. And they grew up with the attitude of children should be seen and not heard. Then this generation, the traditional generation, they come home from world war II. They begin to have children and Dr. Spock releases this completely generation changing book about raising your children, completely changing the attitude that especially people in America had about raising their kids, that kids should be heard, that we should talk to our kids, we should include them in decisions.


Doryn Wallach:

I have to interrupt you because I got a text from my mother today and because I'm telling her what I was doing. And she said, oh, if I could find it. She said, "In 1960, when boomers suddenly revolted over anything, the older generation professed war, hate, punishment, racism, ways to dress, overly conservative, blah, blah, blah. The sexual social revolution started and sexual freedom. The older generation blamed it all on Dr. Spock and his books about freedom raring and children. They proclaimed it Spock's fault."


Meagan Johnson:

Yes, they did. When you saw the baby boomers protest the Vietnam war and try to avoid going to war, you had a lot of people blaming Dr. Spock's for that.


Doryn Wallach:

What was his primary focus?


Meagan Johnson:

His primary focus was baby and childhood, raising your children with more of an empathetic approach, a little bit different than that approach of that my grandmother, the environment my grandmother was raised in which I think it's interesting because that really has progressed throughout. As you look at the way children have been raised, it's sort of, it's progressed more and more that we see our children as people and that they have opinions and that we want to involve them in decisions and they're part of the family unit. Even though the shape or look of a family unit has changed over the years, that idea of that we involve our children in our daily lives is still there. So yeah, that was Dr. Spock just kind of really turned the idea that children be seen and not heard, kind of turned that on its ear. Is that a phrase, turning something on its ear? I don't know.


Doryn Wallach:

I don't know. My mother also wanted me to know that Dr. Spock smoked a bit of dope.


Meagan Johnson:

That's so funny. I thought she was going to tell me like Dr. Spock like smoked a pack a day. That's so funny. I don't know about Dr. Spock's smoking or drug habits. I don't know, but that was funny.


Doryn Wallach:

Well, apparently she does. Apparently she does.


Meagan Johnson:

That's something I'm going to have to probably add to my program. Thank you.


Doryn Wallach:

Well, yeah, let me ask you something because I think that's so interesting. So they were fighting against this notion and yet our parents, at least for me, our parents were pretty hands-off compared to our crazy generation who I think goes over the top and gave us more freedom. I mean, obviously [inaudible 00:12:56] times and safety and everything else, but I wouldn't say I was a latchkey kid, but well, I came home alone a lot of days after school and I pretty much watched TV from, I don't know, 3:30 until 6:00 when my mom got home and I had a snack for every hour and I would go through the TV guide and pick which show I was going to watch. I mean, that's what I did after school. And I was happy by the way. I was happy. I didn't have to talk about my day. I didn't have to [crosstalk 00:13:29].


Meagan Johnson:

I was a latchkey kid and I loved it. I tell audiences, "Here's the unvarnished truth about being latchkey kid. It was awesome. It was awesome." I mean, who thought this up? I want to meet them. I want to shake their hand. I want to thank them for giving me the best childhood ever. Yeah, it was great. You came home, this was even before beepers. There was no electronic tether. So 3:00, school was over. They opened the doors and you sauntered on home when you felt like it. You let yourself in the front door, there might be a list of things you had to get done that your mom or dad had left on the counter, but yeah, you planned your snacks. I knew what show came on when, and from 3:30 to about 6:00, you watched TV. It was terrific.


Doryn Wallach:

I for many years went to this family camp in Vermont called the Tyler Place, best vacation ever, because basically what happens is your kids go to camp during the day and you kind of get to go to camp as an adult, but they're in group from 8:00 till 1:00. You pick them up at 1:00, you don't have any meals with them. You have to go for a week straight. They eat with their friends in their group. And after you drop them off at nighttime, you go to the happy hour, you have dinner with adults and then you pick them up and put them to bed or get a babysitter, whatever. And then they have adult activities. And it's a wonderful trip because you get a few hours in the afternoon with your family. But as parents of little kids, you really get a vacation and it's not all about the kids.

And when I had asked the Tyler family who still runs it, I said, "How did this concept come up?" And they said, "Well, we owned this property and we used to rent out the cabins and our grandparents, it was martini time at like 4:00 and they needed the kids to be occupied. So they didn't want the kids anywhere around them. This was not about them. This was about their vacation and their time and it was just so interesting. And just going back to just starting, I only want to touch a little bit on the generation before the boomers, which I don't even know what that was called.


Meagan Johnson:

The traditional generation, talking about the parents of the baby boomers. I call them the traditional generation. Sometimes you hear silent generation, world war II generation. Tom Brokaw's coined the name, the greatest generation, which I absolutely love that name. That's the generation of I say my grandparents, but yeah, the people that they're born before 1945.


Doryn Wallach:

And what were their beliefs? Because according to my mother, another text she just sent me is that she had surgery as a little girl, a kidney surgery and horrible, thick needles all the time. She was nine years old and she can remember the nurses and doctors telling her to stop crying and stop being a baby and to not ... that it isn't okay. And that is very typical of her parents, of that wonderful generation. So I'd like to know a little bit about that.


Meagan Johnson:

Well, that generation, I mean, they experienced the great depression. Even if they were a small child during the great depression, their generational signposts are cumulating during that time, world war II. And you're right, there was a certain kind of exterior toughness. We came out of world war II when the United States experienced a level of prosperity. And the idea that traditional generation had was that you worked hard and you provided for your family. And I always say, if you think of Maslov's hierarchy of needs, the traditional generation satisfied that bottom of the pyramid for every generation that followed, food, shelter, clothing. And with the help of the GI bill, the traditional generation could buy a home. This was the first generation of large numbers to be able to afford a home.

But the idea was that I'm going to work very hard and make sacrifices so my family will be safe. My family will be secure or fed and watered. Prior to the baby boom generation, education was unusual. My grandfather from the traditional generation, he did go to college, but the generational difference being is he went to college following world war II with help of the GI bill. College was nothing. He said, "We never talked about college growing up. It was out of the question." But for baby boomers, education became an expectation and baby boomers were expected to go to school, complete high school. Something like 50% of our public education buildings today were built in the fifties just to accommodate all these baby boomers. We had this ... I mean, we talk about large classroom sizes now, but I mean, baby boomers had 30, 40, 50 kids to a class. I actually had an audience member tell me earlier in the year that he had 70, that's seven zero, 70 kids in his first grade class with one teacher.


Doryn Wallach:

Wow. My mother had 1200 in her graduating senior class.


Meagan Johnson:

Oh my gosh. So you say that your mother said that her mother told or the nurses said that you need to toughen up. Yeah. It was kind of a much different attitude. My mother talks about crying and that her grandmother at the time stuffed a dish cloth to make her stop crying.


Doryn Wallach:

But what exactly is that about? Was it just that they had hardships and they had a tough go through them and they felt that their kids should be tough too, or?


Meagan Johnson:

I think it's a different version when we hear employers say, "When I started my job, I would have never asked for when I was going to get a corner office or when I was that age, I would have never asked how much vacation time do I get?" So it's just a different reflection of what often we say about the younger generation, because we expect the younger generation to behave the same way we behaved when we were at that age. And that's just impossible because generational signposts change and generations change. So you had the traditional generation who, yeah, there was a certain level of certain events like I described, the great depression, world war II, kind of that bottom of the pyramid wasn't being satisfied.

And so they worked to satisfy that bottom of the pyramid of Maslov's hierarchy of needs and it's sort of like, well, gosh, I had to work so hard to get to this point, but a new generation doesn't appreciate that. Often, sometimes baby boomer women will say to me, "These young women who are entering the workforce now, they have no idea of what it was like working professionally in the late sixties and the early seventies. It was completely different." As the younger generation enters be it the workplace or the dinner table, they're coming to the place with a completely different set of generational signposts and expectations.


Doryn Wallach:

I think my mom, her boomer generation, my mom is 73. I've often heard her say, she was a stay-at-home mom and she said, "Women worked, but if they did, they were nurses, they were teachers. They had jobs where they could still kind of be there for the kids." There were obviously women that worked, but she said, "It wasn't really like expected of us. It wasn't something that we felt we needed to do." Whereas our generation was told that we can do everything and we all have anxiety and depression because we feel like we're failing all the time. I mean, she's empathized with that. She's like, "I feel badly for you guys because we didn't actually, we didn't have that same pressure." And that could just be her social demographic and where she grew up. I'm sure that varies across different economic backgrounds. Yeah.


Meagan Johnson:

Yeah. It does vary. And also, I mean, there were careers that were considered careers for women and you mentioned it, nurse or teacher that was the big one. I point out to audiences, in the fifties, if you looked at a classified ad and I bring it up on the screen, I said, "They would actually have jobs for women and jobs for men. There was different categories and you could list the same job in both column with two different salaries. That was perfectly legal." You're right. It was a completely different attitude about women working for the baby boom generation. But then you come into the late sixties and the early seventies and baby boomers really started to question society norms and really push against the boundaries. And so we began to see the desegregation of schools. The job market began to open up for women. And so you had a more generational shift right there.


Doryn Wallach:

Feminism as well. Yes.


Meagan Johnson:

Yeah. The whole idea of equality. You can't list the same job with two different salaries.


Doryn Wallach:

Okay. So we've covered a little bit of those two generations and now our parents are raising us-


Meagan Johnson:

Generation X. Yeah.


Doryn Wallach:

Gen X. I've been told I fall in the middle. I'm a Xennial I guess, I don't know. I'm 77, but I have always considered myself X.


Meagan Johnson:

After 1980, the millennial generation begins. But when you start talking about generations, there are of course going to be some generalizations and not every generational signpost that we talk about applies to every single person in the generation because you're born at a different time during those years. As you get closer to the demarcation line, you're what I call a cusper. You're on the cusp of two generations.


Doryn Wallach:

Right. So what were the expectations of our generation from our parents?


Meagan Johnson:

You touched upon it. The expectation is that we were latchkey kids or even if you weren't a latchkey child, it was okay that according to society, it was okay that you came home and you let yourself in or you made your own snacks. You planned your own time. Even if your mom or your dad was a stay-at-home parent, they might come and go a little bit more than you would see a stay-at-home parent today do. That idea that you were on your own, that that was okay. I know that when I was a kid, I took the city bus. I live in Phoenix, Arizona. So it's not like I live in a tiny town. I live in Phoenix, Arizona, and I took the city bus everywhere because both of my parents worked.

And so the expectation from my parents was like, if you want to go anywhere after school, you want to go to the mall or you want to go to your friend's house, you're going to have to figure out a way to get there because mom and dad are at work till 6:00. And it was okay that I was 10 years old and I was taking a city bus somewhere. That was not a weird thing. But I know I mentioned that to a friend of mine. She's a millennial parent. Her little boy is three. I mentioned that, her jaw just dropped. She was like, "What?" Because she didn't have that experience growing up. Her parents who were also baby boomers, because baby boomers had two waves of kids. They had a wave of gen X kids, then they jumped on the bandwagon again and had a wave of millennial kids.

She didn't have that experience. And the whole idea of letting her child go off and do things on his own at nine or 10 years old, that was just foreign to her. So for gen Xers, there was this expectation that we manage our own time and that if there was a problem, we kind of got to figure, we got to figure it out. I always say that when we gen Xers we came home, mom and dad had left a list of tasks. We had to figure out how to get it done. And if something went wrong, we had to fix that problem so we could get the task done and move on.


Doryn Wallach:

Right. And the reason that they allowed us to sort of have that freedom, is that based on anything specifically or just like we're working, times are safer.


Meagan Johnson:

Many families had both parents working outside the home, so it became so acceptable. We called it latchkey kids. It was an acceptable way to behave. It wasn't frowned upon. So as I said, even if your mom was a stay-at-home mom or your dad was a stay-at-home dad, the fact you were on your own for a certain amount of time, that was okay. It wasn't anything that anybody got real freaked out about. And I know we talk a lot about safety and obviously safety of our children is paramount, but it's interesting if you take out the whole school shootings, if you take that out of the equation, violent acts against children, that hasn't been increased.

I mean, we just are more aware of it as a society because we have more access to information. So I mean, one violent act against a child is too much, but that percentage hasn't changed over the decades through the generations. But our perception has changed because we have so much more information. We hear about these things that happen to children, which it's horrific, but we hear about it. It's all over the news. We have access to that more information than we did when back in the seventies, when I was a little kid.


Doryn Wallach:


We used to just have the milk box, the milk carton. I did a post about that recently just saying, I remember eating my cereal and just staring at the back of the milk carton just thinking about who was this kid, how did they go missing? It was kind of a scary thing to sit there as a kid and stare at it.


Meagan Johnson:

Yes. Yes. It's so interesting you brought that up because some time over the summer, I was watching a show about that first child that was put on the milk box and that whole case behind the kid on the very first milk box picture. Yeah.


Doryn Wallach:

Where did it come from for generation Xers that especially women that we had these expectations put on us to kind of be and do everything? Because from what I've experienced as a gen Xer, I feel that, and I think the worst enemy is women at each other. I just feel that we can do no right, no matter if we're working, if we're staying at home, if we're doing a little bit of both, if we're over-parenting, under parenting, if we're giving our kids freedom. And I think that it's caused a lot of anxiety and this constant feeling of failure. So where did we even get that from? How did that begin?


Meagan Johnson:

That's a very interesting question because I agree, I always say we are always our own worst critic. I mean, we're more critical of ourselves than anybody. When gen Xers started to enter the professional world, the baby boomers before us really had done a lot of heavy lifting for women. As I mentioned, fighting for equality in the workforce. I hate to use a phrase we hear often, but the glass ceiling, trying to break that glass ceiling, that really began in earnest with the baby boom generation before us. So many of us had mothers or female figures in our lives that said, "Hey, we did a lot of this heavy lifting. And so it's important that you get out there and make something of yourself."

And yeah, it's such an interesting question. And then we have children and then a girlfriend of mine who she went back to work after her child was born and she said, "Do you think he's going to be mad at me because I went back to work?" And I said, "No." I said, "You have to remember that by going back to work, you are providing him with things that he wouldn't have if you didn't go to work." I mean, there's a give and take on either side and what I think is really interesting is that I know I've interviewed some gen X women that feel guilty because they don't want to be a stay-at-home mom.


Doryn Wallach:

Yeah, they just want to work. I was just about to say that. I actually have a podcast coming out this weekend about how to get back into the workforce after staying home with kids. But there are moms, me included, I did stay at home with my kids and I'm so happy I had that time with them, but I'm a lot happier working and using my brain every day. But financially, do I have to work? No, but I choose to. So there's that guilt. I'm sure there are other women in that position too, or-


Meagan Johnson:

Yeah. I agree with you that I don't really have an answer to that, but I'm intrigued to hear the next podcast that you mentioned. Yeah. I don't know why for many women it's either or like I have to be a stay-at-home parent and feel guilty about not working or vice versa. I think sometimes we can be ... I always say guilt is a wasted feeling. It's like-


Doryn Wallach:

I love that saying but I wish I could learn how to implement that saying. I will say as you get older, it gets better. As I go into my forties, I feel a little bit more independence from guilt and I care a little bit less about things that I used to feel guilty about. So I'm looking forward to aging and for that matter and feeling less guilty about things.


Meagan Johnson:

Oh, no, I was going to say right along with worrying. Someone said to me once, it was one of those statements that I still use. They said worrying is using your imagination to think about the worst case scenario. So it's like when you worry, and I kind of feel the same way about guilt, it's like we're using our thought processes, our imaginations to visualize the worst thing that could happen.


Doryn Wallach:

Exactly. Well, let's talk about millennials. So I no longer have anybody working for me full-time, but I did a few years ago. And at the time she was in her early twenties and I all of a sudden found myself saying, and she was wonderful. She really was. But there were disagreements and differences in our ages, but that's when I started hearing myself say, "Oh my God, these millennials ..." Now it's like all of a sudden, you're this old person. However, there were a lot of things she taught me that I found really interesting also. And I think that, I think it's important for us to instead of blame the generation as being lazy, and by the way people said that about us too or that they just want instant success, I think we have to understand why they are the way they are.

I went to a summit and they had a bunch of millennial entrepreneurs get up and speak and say, "We want to talk to you about our generation because we're sick of hearing that we're lazy and we're this and that or quite the opposite, we actually, we're developing things. We're trying things. We're not sitting around doing nothing. We're not expecting things to just fall in our lap." And it was actually a very valid point, but still I still hear my friends, I hear my colleagues and it's like those damn millennials. They just ... [crosstalk 00:32:15]. Yeah. Why are they given that label from us?


Meagan Johnson:

Well, I think you hit the nail on the head when you said they said the same thing about us. So yeah, and I make that point to audiences is that the same thing that baby boomers said about gen Xers back in the early nineties, now gen Xers and baby boomers are saying the same things about millennials. And really what we're describing is a youthful generation. And when I say youthful, I mean, they just have a ... they're younger, so they have a different set of experiences than you do. And I call those experiences, generational signposts, which we talked about. But yeah, so they just have a different set of experiences, but you brought up this whole thing about being lazy because I hear that a lot. They're lazy. Many millennials came into adulthood in the middle of the great recession and worked their asses off and I think that's so interesting.

I'm like, "So we're calling this generation lazy when they were graduating college or graduating getting their masters or PhDs, and they entered a job market in 2008, 2009, when everything was just crashing. And so they jumped right in both feet in figuring out a way to make it work. So they are not a lazy generation, but they do work differently." And I think that's where you see some of the older people say, "Well, they're lazy because they want, and this was pre-COVID, they want to work from home." Everybody knows what that means. That means you're not really working. Or they want to work at a Starbucks or fill in the blank, whatever your favorite espresso place is.


Doryn Wallach:

Become an influencer.


Meagan Johnson:

Yes. And they just want to be online all day. Well, no, they don't want to be online all day. They're online all day because that's where the information is. We don't go to the encyclopedia anymore. We don't go to the library and look up things. We're online because that's where the information is so that we can gather that information and do our jobs. And millennials we're just ... millennials have been doing that since they were in college, since they were in school. It's a different way of working and so that's where you see the older generation calling them lazy when they're not lazy at all.


Doryn Wallach:

That's interesting and that's a good thing to note because I do think I hear it a lot and I've learned over the years to try not be so black and white about my opinions. And this is exactly why I want you here, because I think it's important for us to understand why everybody is the way that they are. So most of our generation now, our children are gen Z.


Meagan Johnson:

Yeah. So gen Z are born between 1997 and 2012. Are your kids gen Z?


Doryn Wallach:

Yes. They are 2007 and 2010.


Meagan Johnson:

Okay. All right. So don't make me do math. How old are they?


Doryn Wallach:

10 and 13.


Meagan Johnson:

10 and 13. Oh my gosh. And are they both ... you have a boy and a girl, right?


Doryn Wallach:

I have a 10 year-old boy and a 13 year old girl.


Meagan Johnson:

13 is the beginning when I became the nastiest person on the earth to my mother.


Doryn Wallach:

I know. Everybody keeps ... I mean, we talked about this yesterday on the podcast. I know, I know. She's not that bad. She really isn't. But there are days where I go in my head and I go remember 13, remember 13, remember 13? You have to try to remember what it was like to be that age and say, "Okay, I'm going to bite my tongue." But so far she's been okay. Tell me what you know. I know they're not that old yet, but what do you see of generation Z?


Meagan Johnson:

So it's interesting gen Z comes on board. And I think a lot of times people, if someone's young, they call them a millennial like, "Oh, that millennial." And it's like, well, how old is the person? 21. Well, they're not a millennial. So you've got gen Z. So here comes gen Z. Right now there's about 74 million of them. They're 25% of the US population. What I think is interesting is they watch about 68 videos a day.


Doryn Wallach:

Oh my God. Four more.


Meagan Johnson:

So when we say that gen Z is truly a true digital generation, and the difference between them and millennials is that you can have a millennial who could remember that when they grew up, their house had a landline, maybe when they grew up, they actually had to have dial up. Remember dial up to get on the internet?


Doryn Wallach:

Yup.


Meagan Johnson:

They might even remember dial up. In school, they might've held textbooks. But now you have gen Z. So you can have a gen Z person truly live in a home that never had a landline, live in a home where their parents do all their banking online. So never write a check. And also when they go to school, they're doing the work on tablets. And especially now with COVID, now they're online. They're doing their education completely online right now with COVID. So they really are the first group of children who are growing up totally digital. And the interesting, interesting thing is that the internet has become the expert. So whereas in the past, even with millennials, there was the idea that hey, maybe the parent or the teacher was the expert. But now with this gen Z, since that the internet and all that information has been there since moment one, the internet is the expert.


Doryn Wallach:

Oh, I know nothing [crosstalk 00:37:47]. It's all online and the internet knows, and I know nothing.


Meagan Johnson: