It dawned on me that most people that started cohousing in the US are at least in their late 40s. Most started in the late 90s and early 2000s. Not that new ones aren’t breaking ground every day, in general, cohousers tend to be at least over 50 due to the costs (and some are meant for over 55 anyways). Young people with families are desired. It becomes more affordable once others put up the gamble and got the houses built and then, millenials can buy a house with a mortgage in the bank – the second generation.
So, now that it’s been about 20 years, there is this second generation in some cohousing communities. I wanted to know more about them (as I realized I was old now). I read a book called The Trophy Kids Grow up: how the millennial generation is shaking up the workplace by Ron Alsop. It is about work but I it can be translated to communities also. This is what he wrote:
What generation is what –
Millennials Gen Xers Baby Boomers Traditionists
Born 1980-2001 1965-1979 1946-1964 1925-1945
Some had helicopter parents who harassed teachers and coaches and tried to go to college admission interviews with their kids. (pg 53) One recruiter gets calls from parents trying to set up job interviews. “When she tells them, the child must set it up themselves, some parents get testy, accusing her of not working with them and threatening to call her supervisor. She says she tells parents, “you have to realize that your child will be on their own and will have to do things for themselves.” (pg 83-4)
Studies of college students show that student have been told how great they are and seem more narcissistic than other students in the past. “I think we have been catering a softer generation, not a greater generation,” says the Karen Boroff, Dean of the Sullivan School of Business at Seton Hall University.” The2Rs that we haven’t been teaching enough are resourcefulness and resilience. Young people have been told they’re so great, but now they don’t have the antibodies for dealing with criticisms and failure.” (pg105)
“The need for explicit direction is a common characteristic of the millennial generation. Many millennials struggle with independent thinking, decision making, and risk taking. They are especially flummoxed by unexpected, ambiguous challenges, the kind that business is all about. This tendency worries some educators and employers, who foresee a generation that can’t cope well with the sudden twists and turns of their jobs and of life in general. In contrast to generation X which had a ‘just do it’ mentality and a bias toward action even without sufficient information, this generation seems to favor consensus and getting as much information as possible before making a decision.” (pg116)
“Creativity scares me” a member of the millennial generation told me. “I think we are a scared generation, sacred to take risks, scared to think independently for fear it may produce ridiculous ideas. We are a generation that seeks approval.” (pg124)
Lastly, the book shows howand why this generation would love cohousing – they are used to groups and consensus:
“Millennials work well together – maybe too well. Companies will find that millennials are team players extraordinaire. They have spent much of their lives working in groups at school and in extracurricular activities, all of which makes them a good fit for universities and companies that value teamwork.
But teamwork partly accounts for their weakness in taking risks and thinking creatively and independently. They like the collegiality of teamwork and feel comfortable relying on the entire team to provide directions and keep everyone on track. They also prefer to reach a group consensus rather than make difficult decisions on their own. Team decisions are safer, less risky to the individual.
But where are the leaders? With their groupthink mentality, millennials may not make outstanding leaders. The team player mindset and team style of working are fine for many business projects, but companies are looking for other traits in the future leaders. They want employees who are poised to take risks and think creatively on their own to solve thorny problems. More then ever, business managers and executives must be adaptable and prepared to manage change in today’s fast moving global economy. With millennials so averse to ambiguity and risk, companies worry whether this generation will be up to the challenge.”