When I was a teenager, many households had to add a phone line because my fellow teens and I spent so much time talking to each other in the evenings.

Housewives stereotypically (we are talking about stereotypes) spent hours during the day gossiping with friends over the phone.

Now that we’re old enough that geezing is becoming a hobby, we know deep in our bones that the ETG (embedded technology generation, aka Generation Z, Digital Natives, or iGeneration) are unhealthily glued to their smartphone screens, which is leading to the deep and distressing decay of our society.

Because nothing encourages self-righteous indignation so much as guilty equivalence.

Meanwhile, in another part of Equivalencytown, back in the ’60s the youth of America expressed their distrust of the government by dressing funny and participating in protest marches. That’s in contrast to the Tea Party of the late ‘2000s, whose members (the same generation only older) expressed their distrust of the government by dressing funny and participating in protest marches.

And before you go there, don’t: The January 6th insurrectionists had no equivalency other than the dressing funny part. And anyway they have nothing to do with this week’s topic, which is about recruiting, hiring, leading, and promoting members of the ETG.

From what I’ve been reading, this is hard to do, because [insert negative ETG stereotype here].

Maybe I’m missing something. It’s entirely possible, because I’m not hiring anyone any more. On the other hand …

A favorite ETG stereotype is that its members are “entitled.” What do they feel they’re entitled to? Stuff they want but haven’t earned.

For example?

Here’s something. From what I’ve seen, heard of, read, and imagined your typical ETGers think they’re entitled to pleasant working conditions, supportive leadership, compensation for 100% of the time they’re on the clock, and the sense that what they do for a living contributes to something important.

Maybe this is unreasonable and entitled. On the other hand, the stats say about half of working adults have left at least one job because they figure getting away from their manager will improve their lives. It appears there’s a lot of entitlement going around.

Jumping to the punchline, you can expect lots of ETGers to prefer the gig economy and remote work to traditional employment, because it puts them in better control of their financial situation and working environment. Gig work is also, in their eyes, a more honest account of their relationship with their clients – arm’s length, transactional, and with loyalty limited to pay they receive.

Think of it as the level of patriotism you’d find in a mercenary army.

So if your workforce is underpopulated and you’re having trouble finding people, look to contractors whose responsibilities can be handled remotely as an alternative to traditional recruiting.

Meanwhile, to the extent a contractor/client relationship with your workforce isn’t a satisfactory solution, the supply side of the equation isn’t likely to improve very much, at least not in the short term. The math of it says f = c + r – d, where f, your future workforce population, is equal to c, the current population, plus r, the number of new workforce recruits, minus d, the number of defections.

Yes, I know, and I’m sorry (no, I’m not). I’ve asked you to wade through what really is the day-before-yesterday’s news: reducing undesired employee attrition by making sure you provide a great place to work is as good an investment in your organization as you’re likely to find.

It looks like, in this respect at least, the future is going to look a lot like the present only more so.

Bob’s last word: I was tempted to provide a bulleted list of concrete steps you can take to reduce undesired attrition. I decided against it, on the grounds that the KJR community doesn’t need one.

If you do need help getting to the starting gate, try this: start by removing everything that makes employees’ working environments unpleasant.

Bob’s sales pitch: It’s summer! Time for some light reading. And what could be lighter than the novel Dave Kaiser and I wrote … inspired by a true story! … about a woman who was killed by an elephant in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin.

It’s titled The Moral Hazard of Lime Daquiris, and, no, it isn’t one of those business theories that’s packaged into a novel so as to slip the author’s ideas into a digestible form.

It’s just light reading. I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy it.

Now playing on CIO.com: The Edison Ratio: What business and IT leaders get wrong about innovation.

They get (and brag about) their responsibility for the 1% inspiration but often miss the remaining 99% of what’s needed.

Running IT is hard enough when all the CIO has to contend with are changing business demands. But these are far from the only “condition fluxes” IT has to deal with.

Take an example: Imagine some aspects of the business you support depend on a reliable, predictable, and immutable definition of the second.

No, not the second what, as in what comes immediately after the first.

The second. The unit of time representing 1/60th of a minute. The unit of time defined by the frequency of cesium atoms oscillating between their two stable quantum states.

The unit of measure on which, the meter, lumen, gram, ampere, degree (Kelvin), and mole depend.

The unit of time that’s in the process of being redefined by the world’s metrologists, a job title I just know most KJR community members aspire to. And before I mosey on to the next point, a thank you to my now-retired business partner, Steve Nazian, for pointing out the coming temporal redefinition to me.

Okay, maybe I’m overstating its potential impact, given that the change in a second’s length will be, at most, about one part in nine billion. Or maybe not, depending on the future of quantum computing.

Anyway, the question to be answered this week isn’t about the second itself. It’s about the coming challenge of tracking down all of the change’s ripple effects. Physicists and engineers around the world might, that is, have a whole new Y2K-like challenge in front of them.

Which (at last!) almost brings us to the point of this week’s rhetorical random walk: How well-documented is your technical architecture?

One more step and we’re there. The point isn’t about your architecture. It’s about you technical architecture management practices, not about how complete and up to date the documentation of your technical infrastructure, platforms, information repositories, applications, interfaces and integration, is not to mention the many-to-many mappings connecting your applications and business capabilities.

Here’s the point

Technical architecture management includes the concept of what’s usually but erroneously called technical debt, to correct which error I’ve suggested the term “chronodebt.”

I’ve defined chronodebt as the accumulated cost of remediating all IT assets that aren’t what engineering standards say they should be. chronodebt is what your IT organization owes the god of time.

Which leads to the question of what we should call the accumulated cost of remediating incomplete and inaccurate documentation of your technical architecture.

It’s chronodebt applied to IT management. It’s a debt that doesn’t come due until it suddenly approaches knee-capping-level urgency.

It matters because there will come a time … there always comes a time … when you need this information Right Now, because you need to track down the ripple effects of a redefined second, a modified business process, the integration requirements of new or updated software, integration of a newly acquired business, the need to provide documentation for a divestiture … really any change imposed on IT by changing circumstances beyond its control or ability to influence.

It’s management chronodebt – the entirely predictable result of striking the wrong balance between those management practices that are most urgent and which are most important.

Bob’s last word: The first law of preventive maintenance is that while you always have a choice between paying now And paying later, paying later almost always costs more.

But in order to implement any program of preventive maintenance, whether it’s managing IT architecture’s chronodebt or a factory’s mechanical and electrical systems, company leadership first has to recognize the existence of what we might call “management chronodebt” – the cost of having failed to invest in the management practices needed to manage technical chronodebt.

New on CIO.com’s CIO Survival Guide: The Edison Ratio: What business and IT leaders get wrong about innovation. Because when it comes to innovation, great ideas matter, But in the end, understanding the need to act on fewer great ideas matters more.

Completely inappropriate for KJR, but who can resist? I hereby nominate the distinguished judge J. Michael Luttig for membership in Bob and Ray’s “Slow Talkers of America.”