“We and our kids together need to be ‘The Regeneration’– the generation that renews, refreshes, re-energizes and rebuilds America for the 21st century.” ~Thomas L. Friedman

The extent to which the modern economic recession has disproportionately impacted the rising American generation–“Generation Y” or the “Millennial” generation–by way of disproportionately high unemployment and underemployment threatens to widely distend the ordinary window of time through which members of any rising generation can socially and professionally develop into formative positions of influence and leadership.

During such desperate times of foreign and domestic struggle, the dangerous and plausible consequence is that next generation of American leaders in the Millennial demographic–upon whose shoulders the conceivable survival or demise of the country ultimately rests–will be all the more disadvantaged in their rise to ever-important ranks of leadership in the United States, and to the plausible detriment of the entire free world.

What may result is a “Generation Y leadership gap,” or a distended period of time during which there is a noticeable deficit of influential leaders from Generation Y that would have ordinary and more immediately followed those of the Baby Boomer generation and Generation X, in subsequent order.

To avoid what could become a destructive deficit of leadership during some of the most significant and determinative decades in America’s history, young members of Generation Y will today be all the more compelled to press themselves to rise to positions of respectable influence among their generation and quickly achieve the respect of the aging American generations. As a nation, we will be obligated to forge relationships of respect and teamwork, for neither Generation Y nor the Baby Boomers will be able to minimize the impact and consequences of modern economic and foreign struggles alone.

The Forthcoming Gen-Y Leadership Gap

The effects of the modern economic recession on an entire generation of rising Americans could last upwards of an entire decade. The plausible consequence is that Generation Y–the next group of American leaders–will be starting that much further behind in their rise to positions of influence in America, which are going to be so important to the direction of the country during difficult times of trial, struggle and desperation.

Because the depth and magnitude of the modern recession is so disproportionately impacting members of Generation Y, and on the brink of their rise into full adulthood, those who consider themselves to be leading members of the generation must work all the harder to rise from the depths of these troubling times in order to forge working relationships with the parent generation, the Baby Boomers, to begin a new and cooperative union or what New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman calls, a “Re-Generation.”

Although unemployment and underemployment have so drastically and disproportionately disadvantaged recent college graduates and members of Generation Y, Millennials have at their disposal a wide array of unique tools, including the power and potency of instantaneous communication to a wide audience through social media, to overcome the deficit of upward social and professional mobility and in order to attain a status similar to that of conventional career influence.

The question, of course, is to what extent the Great Recession will impact and distend the ordinary window of time that would allow this generation of young American adults to progress at a “normal” pace to positions of influence and leadership in the workplace and realms of public service. Undoubtedly, the next generation of American leaders will have a significant impact on the direction of the United States and the entirety of the free world. It depends on Generation Y to rise to the occasion–in spite of the turmoil and tumult that will disproportionately disadvantaged them for years to come.