Life in the 21st century is a little grim
One of the pleasures of living in the UK is long commutes on overfull trains. I am not talking overcrowding Mumbai-style (aka Bombay) to be sure. But there is a more than 50-50 chance in the UK that I will find myself standing for an hour, or finding a free wall and sitting on the carpet – damn the higher dry cleaning bills.
Two trips back, I plonked my teaching file down on the aisle carpet and sat on it, embarrassing the 50-something who had a seat next to me. When I declined his kind offer to change places, he retorted, so you can tell your friends about how things used to be better!
But I think it has got better
Actually, I don’t think things have got worse. I’ve been away from UK and because I pop in and out, I see change intermittently and I think have a less distorted view. UK is cleaner and quicker than it was 10 years ago and much cleaner and quicker than it was 20 years ago.
And more optimistic
I also don’t think things have got worse for another reason. I teach (college). And teaching brings me into contact with Gen Y twice a week.
Gen Y may be many things. What you can count on is that they want to do a good job. They ask questions. They are knowledgeable about what they have been in contact with. They want to run fair and decent businesses. They are intensely interested in any curriculum to do with being a good manager or a good leader. I can hear a pin drop when I get onto topics like charismatic leadership. It may be narcissism on their part (and mine), but I like to think differently.
So why have we done so well?
So lets pose a question. We see so much shocking leadership and management in today’s world. Steve Roesler pointed to the obvious today. Many of our workplaces seem to reward bad leadership. The collapse of the financial system seems to be a case in point. The post mortems will tell us eventually.
How is it that
We cannot provide decent commuting trains in the 6th richest country in the world, or fair mortgages in the 1st richest country,
We have raised our children to be intensely interested in being decent, fair and engaging?
Why did we do so well? I am asking sincerely. What did we do to bring up such a pleasant, decent, energetic, and fair generation of youngsters?