The Dory Generation – How Gen Z simply thinks different
Updated: Mar 26
In a world where Gen Zers are believed to have a short attention span and a really short term memory, are we all just Dory from Finding Nemo?
If you have not seen the movie, here is a short description of who Dory is: A perseverant cute little blue fish who has a bubbly personality and short-term memory loss problem. Contrary to common beliefs, Gen Zers can actually pay attention for more than 30 seconds AND retain information for long periods of time! They don’t necessarily have a “Dory” brain, Gen Z simply thinks different.
Technology is what most believe has made us an incompetent and lazy generation, but the problem might not be technology. Instead, I believe it is the misconception of the use of technology. Games, videos, gifs and stickers, all these are just one side of what technology provides. Fast typing, information at one’s fingertips, and more knowledge than one has ever been exposed to, however, learn how to master that side, and become a master yourself.
Let’s think back to some previous generations. Reading this article are Gen Z, some Millennials, with Generation X or Baby Boomer parents, and most of us here have some understanding of what each of the other generations have lived through. I think we all understand just how different our generations are; even still, I doubt many of us have actually taken the time to sit down and think about why we are so different or, more importantly, how we think so different: Gen Z simply thinks different.
Now that we are all on the same page (quite literally in fact) I would like you to think of what you picture a successful business person looks like. For many of us, this image is very different. It could be a man, or a woman, wearing anything from a suit and tie to jeans and flip flops. For Gen Xers and Baby Boomers there was no variety in their leaders. Take a look at almost any Gen X CEO or successful business person against a younger business person, Jeff Immelt and Mark Zuckerberg for example. Jeff Immelt was considered to be one of the most successful people in the world for the same amount of time and was almost never seen without a full suit and tie. He believed that dressing for success was one of the keys of business and I’m sure you’ve heard an older person say “dress for the job you want, not the job you have” before.
If you Google Jeff Immelt and Mark Zuckerberg – I guarantee you that the one will be in a full suit and tie in every photo and the latter will more than likely not even have on long sleeves. Does this mean that Mark Zuckerberg is not successful, or that he is not dressing for the job he wants? Does it mean that Jeff Immelt is much more successful than Zuckerberg because he wears a suit? Well, considering that GE’s stock price rose when Immelt left and Mark Zuckerberg has more money than some countries, I doubt it. However, if you asked these questions to someone in the Boomer or X Generations I would almost guarantee that between Jeff Immelt and Mark Zuckerberg, most of them would say that the guy in the suit, Immelt, is more successful.
The clothes you wear has absolutely and completely no correlation with your drive or your successfulness. So why does that matter to Gen Zers? Because, when Millennials entered the workplace and started the idea of “smart casual” work attire, most older generations scoffed, laughed, and said “these people will never be successful dressing like that” or “how lazy of them to come in to the office looking like that, they won’t be going anywhere.” The issue for Millennials wasn’t what clothes they were wearing, they were just embracing comfort, it was the misconceptions of other generations and not knowing how they thought different.
Every generation grows up in a different world, literally. For Boomers, they didn’t have phones for the most part as children, and would have to go to people’s houses to speak to them. Gen Xers would have to call the house phone of a friend to hang out. Millennials got cell phones and could call a friend directly. Gen Zers now have the power of emoji’s to express their feelings to friends from a young age. It doesn’t mean that one method of communication is better than the others, it just means that that is what each generation grew up with, and what is considered normal to them. As we go along, each generation that comes of working age introduces something new to the working world. Despite some push back, nearly every workplace uses email, has casual Fridays, or gives employees cell phones. We all think different from each other; Gen Z simply thinks different.
So what does this mean for us, the Dory Generation? Has technology really gone too far and fried our brains to the point of no return? Nope, not even a little. What all the gifs, games, and videos mean is that we like to communicate differently. Just because we prefer to hear the news from a quick video rather than a newspaper doesn’t mean we have attention span, just like wearing jeans to the office rather than a suit doesn’t make Millennials lazy. When we watch videos for news, we can ingest more information quicker. When you wear jeans to the office, you spend less time getting ready for work. Each generation brings something new to the table, most of the time it isn’t liked by the older generations, but with time, these innovative ways of thinking will become accepted.
So go forth, watch videos, laugh at memes, and communicate effectively in many different ways. We are not all a bunch of Dory’s, we are all just different. Gen Z simply thinks different.
Thank you for reading and no matter which generation you belong to, please share this through whatever platform you communicate through!
Author: Ms. Carolina Pow-Sang, Hospitality Bachelor Student at Hotel Institute Montreux, from Peru and USA