Talkin’ ‘bout my generation

I don’t believe the 60s were the golden age of pop

You glorify the past

When the future dries up

U2 Love (part3)


A year or so ago I sat in a tutorial at the deanery autumn seminar taken by Vijay Najjar talking about the different generational groupings and their different attitudes to life, work, the universe and everything.

Generally, Vijay was talking to a group of Baby Boomers and Gen X-ers, but describing our VTS trainees mainly as Generation Y, Generation Z and Millennials. For those completely baffled by the last sentence I list the differences below.

  • Baby boomers – born 1946-64
  • Generation X – born 1965-79
  • Generation Y – born 1980-94
  • Generation Z – born 1995-2010
  • Millennials – born 1981-1999


Does this matter?

There are considerable differences in workstyles between the groups.

  • Baby boomers – organisational / careers defined by employees
  • Generation X – portfolio careers / loyal to profession not employer
  • Generation Y – entrepreneurial / work with organisations
  • Generation Z/Millennials – multitasking / will move easily between organisations

That will not come as news to those of us currently recruiting. Generally, we are looking to recruit Millennials (born 1981-1999).


How does this help?

An important hurdle to get over is that our new colleagues entering into the profession want something different. We need to provide jobs in a career structure that addresses this.

The temptation to label the next generation as more flippant and less hard working than our own needs to be resisted. I remember Vijay had a great quote from Socrates (not the footballer) from 400 BC:

“The children now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority. They show contempt for elders and love chatter in place of exercise.”

This sounds like my dad – and now me!

As a profession, we need to recognise that these work preferences relate to all members coming into our now extended primary healthcare teams – nurse colleagues, ECPs, physician associates and admin staff.

We need to provide flexibility – portfolio working, lack of fixed commitment, tech savvy mutual respect and the possibility of progression.

To address these, general practice needs to work differently. What may have suited many of us – the traditional partner model – is not an aspirational model for our new colleagues.

I’ve been impressed by the amount of collaborative working across the patch in all groupings, more than I have ever seen, and I think this sends a strong message to young colleagues that general practice can adapt to the current climate and address these aspirations.

No more U2 quotes. I promise!