This is a big, fat, bald-faced, suck-up appeal to NAEM members under age of 30, aka, the Millennial Generation. You old farts, a.k.a, Boomers, stop reading, put down your bifocals, and go watch M*A*S*H reruns.
My millennial generation-aged son likes to remind me that I am from the Bronze Age. Yes, I was alive when Kennedy was President, and can remember when telephones had dials and the four local TV channels went off the air at midnight. But hear me out — because NAEM wants to hear from you.
The EHS profession emerged as the Boomers began entering the work force. So for the past 30 years, Boomers have dominated the profession to an even greater extent than they’ve dominated every other aspect of our society. All this is about to dramatically change. The Boomers will be retiring in large numbers over the next decade and your generation will need to fill the void and take on EHS challenges more complex, more global, and more long-term in nature than ever before.
I’ve visited college towns like Ann Arbor, Mich. and given presentations on EHS management at the University of Denver and University of Colorado. I’ve concluded that your generation brings a unique set of skills, healthy perceptions and realistic expectations to these issues. I think my son and his friends are representative.
My son works for Apple Computer in Denver’s Apple Store. He’s passionate about his work and believes in the product, but he’s not a workaholic like I tend to be. He understands that our current way of living isn’t sustainable, but he’s not a zealot about the environment like many Boomers were when they were his age.
He and his friends want to live comfortably, but they are not motivated by materialism. The 1980’s bumper sticker “He Who Dies with the Most Toys Wins” makes no sense to them. I’ve observed that he and his friends seek balance in their lives and tend to value relationships above stuff. These are encouraging signs. After all, achieving balance in one’s own life is the first, important step to achieving balance in the world around us.
NAEM understands this and is ready to change. Over the coming months, we will begin making changes to the NAEM Website, the Green Tie blog and our event offerings to better connect to the needs and values of the future leaders in our profession.
But we need your help to make our efforts a success. So, if you are younger than the band members of Green Day and Coldplay, tell us: What do you like about the EHS profession? How can NAEM help you advance in your career? What kind of tools would you like to see us use to help you do a better job?
And to you Boomers, if you’re not already into your afternoon nap, tell us: What skills do you think our younger members should develop to be successful EHS managers?