It's official. I am now part of THAT generation that is no longer twenty-one. I shudder at the idea of staying out with friends until dawn before heading to an early morning class, fueled with espresso coffee. Don't get me wrong. There are some amazing traits associated with persons who are classified as belonging to Generation Y or Z. (According to a United Nations paper entitled "Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Generation X, Generation Y (and Generation Z) Working Together," someone born between 1981 to 1999 belongs to "Gen" Y. If someone was born in 2000 or thereafter, they are considered part of Generation Z.)
Their comfort level with technology is viewed by many experts as a big plus. This is especially true at a time when cost-effective innovations are enabling people in far-flung corners of the world to enjoy access to information and knowledge that arguably opens the door to job opportunities and the ongoing development of new skills. This development is beneficial to employers in need of skilled workers as well. Unfortunately, just as technology has its advantages, it is not perfect. One disadvantage for some of our smart phone-obsessed youth may be the fact that communications are shrinking down to short bursts of text that make no sense to older managers.
As someone who marvels at the literary artist with a flair for correct grammar and clever writing (or speaking), I don't understand the need to have the word "like" appear in a conversation over and over. According to "The Rampant Overuse of the Word "Like" is Making People Seem Stupid" (September 11, 2007), Consumer Guide editor David Bellm writes that clients and managers may interpret an excess use of the word "like" as an indication of "flightiness, poor communication skills, and an uncertainty in your own thoughts...Not exactly the stuff on which great careers are built."
The ability to communicate clearly and concisely is an important skill and one that cannot be mastered without continued work. Courtesy of my father who constantly urged me to look up words in a dictionary and to read "difficult" articles and books, I appreciate the role of practice (and outside reviewers) in mastering one's mother tongue. I am still learning. In my work as a forensic economist, being able to appropriately interpret words such as "risk" is a critical part of resolving a business dispute.
Poor communication skills cost time and money and could create confusion. Consider the following example.
"OMG - We did not do enough to like vet our vendor. We like lost money. DQMOT but this is like BAU. BLNT."
Interpretation (according to "Text Messaging Abbreviations & Shortcuts"): "Oh my gosh, We did not do enough to vet our vendor. We lost money. Don't quote me on this but this is business as usual. Better luck next time."