The "Millennials" Are Coming

Morley Safer On The New Generation Of American Workers

"I remember my dad getting laid off and all these things growing up. And that's 'cause they sacrificed for the company. Well, the first knee jerk reaction from me is I sure don't want to do that. I'm going to be in it for me and I'm going to make it work," Dorsey says.

"Where does this fantasy about 'I'm going to find the dream job' -- there's no such thing as a dream job. I mean, a few of us like me happen to have it. But where does this fantasy come from?" Safer asks Dorsey.

"I think we were told when we were little, 'You can be anything you want.' And then they went on and on and told us this," he replies.

"Big lie, right?" Safer asks.

"Big goals are great. Selling a fantasy that everything's going to be perfect and peachy is not," Dorsey says.

"I also think from, when you're in your early 20s and you're really not responsible to a family of kids, this is the time to find the best job, the best career. You know, what you really want to do," Healy adds.

And more and more businesses are responding, offering free food, fun and flexibility to keep their employees happy.

Online shoe retailer Zappos.com has found that the best way of keeping employees is giving them what they want. Actual work actually happens, despite goofy parades, snoozing in the nap room, and plenty of happy hours.

Motivational consultant Bob Nelson says companies like Zappos will avoid a looming demographic crisis. "It's harder to get people. There's gonna be fewer of them to get. And if you want to keep them and get the best out of them, you sure better know what presses their buttons," he explains.

Nelson, known in the trade as the "guru of thank you," believes that the teeniest rewards pay big dividends, regardless of age. And boss-abuse gets even bigger dividends.

"I've worked with managers that have, if we make this goal, they'll shave their head type thing," Nelson says, laughing. "Or they'll be in the dunk tank at the summer picnic. When a senior manager's willing to do that is, it says we're all in it together."

All that togetherness comes together every year at the Motivation Show in Chicago -- with acre upon acre of coaches, consultants, knickknacks and fancy stuff -- rewards for a job well done, and reminders to work harder.

"You think this would help motivate people to work harder?" Safer asks a masseuse.

"Oh it does," the masseuse says.

But for sure, there is an almost evangelical fervor about this work philosophy -- no stick, all carrots. And believe it or not, all this prodding, praising, peddling, cajoling and psychobabble is worth $50 billion a year in business. Ain't America great?

Where else you find free back rubs for the deserving worker bee. What's wrong with a happy workplace and taking your time to grow up?

"Could this be that everything is being delayed so that adolescence ends at 30 say and middle age starts at 60 say?" Safer asks Jeffrey Zaslow.

"You can hope that's the case. But, while we're having this delayed adolescence, are we getting behind as an economy and as a workforce, because we're just all playing computer games at work while we wait to grow up?" he replies.

For all the complaining, Dorsey and Healy believe their generation will transform the office into a much more efficient, flexible and yes, nicer place to be. But until then, a message to bosses everywhere: just don't forget the praise.

"We want to hear it and truly we'd love for our parents to know. There's nothing better than Mom getting that letter saying, 'You know, Ryan did a great job. Yeah, I just wanted to let you know you raised a fantastic son,'" Dorsey says.

"Send it to grandma, too," Healy adds, laughing.

Produced By Katy Textor
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