Mary Scianna, editor, Shop Metalworking Technology MagazineClick image to enlargeBlanket statements can get you into trouble sometimes because there are always exceptions to the rule, but I'll go ahead and make one now: we live in an increasingly narcissistic society.

When there's a breaking news story (i.e. sexual allegations against former CBC radio personality Jian Ghomeshi or the Parliament Hill shooting) people quickly turn to social media to voice their comments and their opinions. And once you're on social media, take a look at the information many people share. It never ceases to amaze me how much personal information people are willing to share with the general public, such as detailed information about their surgery procedures or even mundane details about their daily activities. And then there are the memoirs from celebrities, pseudo celebrities, politicians and anyone who has had his or her 15 minutes of fame. "Selfies" are perhaps the epitome of our narcissism. On a trip to Europe recently, I noticed many people seemed more intent on creating their "selfie" than they were on actually seeing the attraction at hand and appreciating where they were.

And there is the anecdotal story everyone has heard about; the 20-something-year-old who begins a job at a junior level and expects to be promoted to a senior management position within one year because he or she feels that's where he or she belongs.

Narcissists come in all ages, of course, but it is most prevalent in today's youth, those in their late teens and in their 20s, who use social media as their public platform to express their views and share information about their daily lives. Of course, teenagers have always been generally self-focused and narcissistic, but according to several recent studies, today's youth are a lot more narcissistic than past generations. We seem to be raising a generation who has a high sense of self-entitlement and a grandiose sense of self. It's about instant gratification and a life of no failures, with schools no longer able to hold students back, even if they're not achieving the academic requirements and hovering parents who do just about everything for their children.

The question the manufacturing industry must ask itself is this: how do you tap into this generation of narcissists? How do you attract a generation of tech-savvy youth who have the potential to introduce innovation and creativity into manufacturing?

These are not easy questions to answer but we must find a way to bring more young people into the manufacturing industry because it is this future generation who will develop creative ideas to manufacture innovative products and it is this generation who will create companies and the jobs to sustain and grow Canada's economy in the future.

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