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MEET “JENZIE”, YOUR NEWEST EMPLOYEE

Jenzie was born in 1997. Their personality and worldview are very different than the generations that came before them. In this brief sketch, I will try to portray their character, social relationships and their approach to the world of work.

While people in generations before Jenzie described themselves as what they are, (male, female, white, black, gay straight etc.), Jenzie is more interested in who they are and who you are. In fact, they don’t really think about diversity because this involves labels and, in Jenzie’s ever changing world, labels are always changing too. (It’s kind of like getting a new upgrade for your phone.) If everyone has their own uniqueness which is always changing, then labels cannot exist and everyone is uniquely diverse. Yet, Jenzie’s prominent focus on who, rather than what they are, compels the need for their viewpoints to be heard, loudly and often. Jenzie can appear quite competitive in arguments because they readily have all the facts which the internet has to offer, right on their ever-present cell phone. When you are not around to argue with Jenzie, they will compete with the clock. It is just important for them to do things quickly as it is to do them correctly, since their world is always being upgraded.

Jernzie was raised on the internet. While their parents would look out the window to check the weather, Jenzie just asks Google. The idea of “not knowing something” is completely alien to them because all knowledge is just a click away. And memory is irrelevant because information can always be “re-clicked.” Jenzie’s parents thought that their cell phone was just an appendage to their hand but really, it is their way of interacting with the whole wide world. Jenzie doesn’t care about their neighbors or local friends because cell phones allow for neighbors and friends to be anywhere and everywhere. (As long as there’s WhatsApp.) Do not think that Jenzie is being impolite because they are constantly looking down; for them, screen contact (via cell phone) is much more commonplace than eye contact. They can be much more poignant in a text than in a soliloquy. And relationships for Jenzie can change as quickly as upgrades.

So how is Jenzie at work? They certainly know the value of money (even though money might be stored in bitcoin, rather than a bank) and they know how quickly someone’s financial status can change. They learned this when they saw their Gen X parents’ fortunes quickly evaporate during the crash of 2008. In fact, Jenzie is probably more concerned with making money than with job satisfaction. This makes Jenzie more competitive than people in previous generations because they will relentlessly follow the cash. Yet because Jenzie believes they have limitless (and immediate) access to knowledge, they also know that a good idea is just a click away and they can be very creative with all the information available to them. And finally, because Jenzie sometimes has a better relationship with people on their phone than their immediate coworkers, they have no problem with working independently. This independence includes making their own work schedules, and often eschewing overtime. Jenzie needs to relax (chill)!

How can we create a work environment that will adequately accommodate Jenzie and their peers and most importantly, how can we retain them within this environment? How can we provide the right amount of workplace interaction to keep Jenzie feeling valued but not smothered? How must we design our technology so that Jenzie can thrive? And finally, what must our companies do to keep Jenzie happy, productive and competitive. AshramOnPark has been educating, treating and interacting with Jenzie and their friends for many years. We look forward to the opportunity to help you create a viable environment for this vibrant component of your company.

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