The Establishment Speaks
From the February 8th Maclean’s:
“I am a retired teacher. During my 36-year career I heard a lot about encouraging kids, building their self-esteem and not hurting their psyches. Building integrity was not mentioned. Now an alarmingly growing number of teens have an inflated sense of entitlement but no work ethic. They know all about their “rights” but nothing about their responsibilities. Plagiarism has become a big problem. With them it’s me, me, me. Which brings me to the article… We now have a serious world economic crisis. Your article says that the incentives these Millenials crave “involve self-determination, being recognized for good work, and regular feedback.” My experience with them is that they will want promotions for merely existing, recognition as if their work were gold, and only positive feedback.”
-- Ghi Dean, Burlington, Ontario
“I read this article twice to make sure I got it right. If ever there was a case for mandatory military training for our youth, this is it. It is horrible to contemplate that people of this ilk will some day run this country. God help us all.”
-- Linda Smith, Owen Sound, Ontario
The Kids Respond
From the February 2nd Maclean’s:
“As a so-called “Net Gener,” I took offense to the ridiculous article… It is offensive to people my age. The issue is much deeper than having grown up with pats on the back. No one I know was recruited out of college into management positions. Most of the university graduates I know could not get a job after graduation without heading back to school for even more education. There is no option of “paying your dues in the mailroom” and moving up to a management position. According to Jean Twenge, a professor of psychology quoted in the article, we “expect to go to college, to make lots of money, and perhaps even be famous.” Make that: we are expected to go to college, pay lots of money, put ourselves into debt to get an entry-level job that is likely just a contract and doesn’t actually pay benefits, which will leave us in debt and force us to live with our parents until the age of 30. Perhaps we feel entitled because unlike previous generations we have paid many dues before we even get a shot at a decent job.”
-- Karen Mayo, Toronto, Ontario
“I could not have been more disgusted at the advice that the self-proclaimed Gen Y expert, Jason Ryan Dorsey, is farming out to the boomer generation about how to keep their employees happy. Birthday parties? Please. You’re looking for ways to retain employees? The answer is simple: respect. Today’s up-and-coming generations do have a lot to offer in the workplace, and it doesn’t come in the form of looking for quick freebies and handouts. Since when is positive reinforcement seen as a negative? I don’t have to run the ship, but at the very least I like to know that my opinion is heard and valued in the workplace. Contrary to popular opinion, skilled members of society do exist within Gen Y. And we couldn’t care less if you knew the date of our birthday.”
-- Jenna Webb, Regina, Saskatchewan
I’m going to have to side with my peers on this one. Perhaps I am not as disciplined as my forefathers, but I don’t see boot camp as the answer. Perhaps I appear to be a lazy and shiftless wannabe writer who avoids employment, but that’s because the opportunities to which I am eligible are dead-end, pointless, and would barely be worth taking up – I’ve got my hard-earned savings, and I’m going to use them… on more school.
I’d actually be surprised if my generation ever gets to become the establishment, because the baby boomers are still going strong, and while they have an iron grip on our institutions and politics, combined with a downturn in the economy, they’re less inclined to retire than ever. Heck, I’ll be surprised if retirement as we know it today even exists when I’m 60… or 80.
Well, I’ve never paid taxes. So what do I know? But we’ll all be paying up soon, and when the baby boomers start to leave the workplace in greater numbers (and for the most part the positions will go with them), the Gen Y entitlement party will be over, if it ever began.