This is not a NASA Website. You might learn something. It's YOUR space agency. Get involved. Take it back. Make it work - for YOU.

NASA Gen Y Update – and Debate

By Keith Cowing
NASA Watch
June 5, 2008

Generation Y Characterizations Presentation (June 2008, 196k),

Editor’s note: This presentation was made at ISDC. There is nothing really new in here when you consider the previous presentations this group of younger, so-called “Gen Y” NASA employees has been making.

The tone of this briefing is often annoying. Its almost as if this generation (assuming that this presentation is the definitive description thereof) thinks they are the first ones to be different than their parents, and that they see the world in a different way than their parents, and that they need to be treated differently.

Indeed, I can see many of the traits the authors of these presentations ascribe to themselves in my generation. By the way, many members of Gen Y object to “Gen Y” label yet they routinely call my generation “baby boomers” (in this presentation) or just “boomers”, a phrase I and others are not particularly fond of.

This generation also apparently seems to think that people should alter the way they do things so as to accommodate them. Rarely do you see any suggestion that they need to adapt to the rest of the world.

Lastly, these presentations are either written by – or heavily influenced by Gen Y authors to the point of being biased and one-sided. I see no real description of Gen Y as seen by the rest of the societal groups with whom this group lives and interacts. Without that, you can’t have an open discussion about the things this group is concerned with.

The “take home message” (gotta slip a NASAese phrase in) is this: your elders are more like you than you think. Recall the old phrase “As you are, I once was. As I am you will soon be”.

You need to get beyond the differences and look for the similarities. Otherwise you’ve just engaged in yet another NASA Powerpoint exercise.

NASA Watch founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.