10 February 2009

"(Turn and face the strain) Ch-ch-changes" * --David Bowie

Suck it!

You're probably going to be offended by the end of this post, anyway, so I might as well get it over with. You see, based on everything I hear about blogging, you are probably the very people about whom I am going to whinge.

So, fine: Suck it! Suck it hard!

:Rant on:
I keep hearing how the workforce has to adapt to Gen Y-ers (born roughly 1980-2002). And these conversations about Gen Y-ers are always generalizations. Stereotyping? Oh, yeah. In fact the vast majority of the Gen Y-ers I've met seem like infinitely reasonable people. But dig...

I'm told Gen Y people:

  • Want to have fun at work/don't want to be bored.
  • Want to immediately be respected and promoted, even with no experience, just for being the special people they are. This belief, I'm told, is instilled by their parents.
  • Want to be listened to and praised.

Okay, and who doesn't want these things?

No, really. If I vote for it, can I get it, too? If so, I'm all for it. But if it's just for you, mmm, not so much. And as long as we're at it, can we throw in a condo on the beach and a pitcher of lime daiquiris? You know, as long as we're going for it.

How is it that Gen Y-ers feel entitled to this stuff, right out of the gate, when the rest of us merely feel entitled to a paycheck if we suck it up and do what is in the best interest of the organization? Can somebody explain to me why--especially in a sucky economy--I should hire or promote someone that is blatantly focused on what they get rather than what they can provide?

I'll readily admit that Gen Y folks are way more savvy when it comes to technology. And, if multi-tasking really is a good thing, they've certainly had more practice at that, too. But is that enough?

I'm all for a meritocracy. If a Gen Y-er, or a Gen-anything, can show up and wow us right out of the gate, then they deserve to leap frog up the ladder--over me and everyone else--or get days off for skateboarding, or whatever it is they want. If they can't? Maybe they should suck it up like the rest of us.

But that's just crotchety old Gen X me. I guess it's a good thing I'm on the tail end of my career. This dinosaur needs to retire early because, clearly, I don't get it.
:Rant off:

(Yeah, I know: Suck it.)

* When I was checking the lyrics on the Interwebs, I found that half the sites listed the words as "Turn and face the strain" while the other half listed the words as "Turn and face the strange". Meanwhile, the CD, downstairs, had no lyrics listed.

A) How can the Interwebs be contradictory? I'm so disillusioned.

B) I went with "strain" because, all along, I was sure I was hearing "strange" and what are the odds I heard it right?


AbbotOfUnreason said...

Oh, gosh, I never thought I'd read the phrase, "crotchety old Gen-X." I feel old now. Thanks.

Is that what you meant by insulting us?

Liebchen said...

I may, in fact, be a Gen Y-er, and have heard those same stereotypes. But I've also wondered where they came from. I might *want* those things, but I sure as hell don't expect to get promoted just 'cause I'm awesome. (Though, that would be sweet.)

Kristin said...

I don't get it. I totally work my heart out, putting in extra hours, going the extra mile, to the point that they're something other than "extra" in the minds of my clients. Nevertheless, I'm scared every time my boss calls me into her office and at every review. I'm sure there's something I'm not doing right, that I'm going to get in trouble.

I never do.

Could be the Gen X in me or the fear of God, as instilled by my mother.

stealthnerd said...

As a Gen-Yer I'm still annoyed by the sense of entitlement I see all around me. It's obnoxious. Mainly b/c the people who act as though they are the absolute MOST deserving because of their absolute AWESOMENESS are, well, the least.

Jamie said...

I'm so with you. While I have no problem with wanting a great job (e.g. your first point), you have to WORK for that.

I think society went to hell once it became socially unacceptable to punish your kids when they were bad. Positive reinforcement is great, but the absence of responsibility for your actions does not prepare you for the real world.

f.B said...

Just because things can happen faster, doesn't mean they should. And kids definitely don't seem to be raised with much humility "these days."

Though, to be honest, I think a lot of expectation comes from investment. Education at a non-Ivy League school can cost each student 200k over four years. And I think that often can feel disproportionate compared to what happens when you leave school. It's probably wrong to associate price tags with expectations, but it's not surprising.

Kate said...

Entitlement will kill the United States of America. Mark my words.

rs27 said...

Listen its not easy to chew gum and pick your nose at the same time.

I deserve a raise!

Mike said...

"I'm all for a meritocracy."

Me too. Well maybe. It really doesn't matter that much.

LBluca77 said...

So am I a crotchety old Gen-X since I was born before 1980?

I'm cool with that.

Matt said...

I think I deserve all those things because Im awesome.


Katherine said...

After some informal workplace polling, my Lawyerly Place Colleagues all sing "strange" but believe the proper lyric is "strain." How's that for Lawyerly clarification?

Kate said...

Sometimes I think the Gen Y thing is blown out of proportion. I don't know any more Gen Y people than Gen X people who expect something for nothing. Unfortunately, I think there are lots of people out there of all ages who want to do as little as possible and pick up a paycheck. Maybe the Gen Y peeps are just a little more vocal about it? And more willing to jump ship for another company if they aren't getting what they think they should?

Anonymous said...

I'm a Gen Xer and nowhere near the tail end of my career. Pretty sure I'll be working forever. I'm not happy, jump around and applaud about that, but I don't expect much more and am pretty happy with my life. I work for what I get and I do fairly well. I haven't noticed the next generation (Y) as having extensive entitlement issues that my generation did not possess. I really think it is passed on.... and has existed forever....Truthfully, I've seen the "entitlement" phenomenon across the spectrum of generations and in all cases, it's kinda pathetic. I'm Gen X and I DO work with the crotchety old gen "before my times". They really feel entitled now...

Herb of DC said...

Regardless of what the Gen Y'ers may want to do, they will be workng forever to payoff all the deficits we baby boomers will leave behind.

Whoops! Sorry about that!

Malnurtured Snay said...

You're hiring? Where can I send my resume?

Reya Mellicker said...

Weird to think of Gen X as "crotchety" or old, for that matter.

It's the same old judgment of younger people by older people. We baby boomers called it "generation gap."

We also sang, over and over, "I wanna die before I get old," and said, "Never trust anyone over 30."

Same as it ever was!

lacochran said...

AbbotofUnreason: It wasn't, but what the heck, it is now.

Liebchen: See? That's one of the things that make you awesome!

Kristin: Classic Gen X Work Ethic or Disorder, depending on your perspective. (GXWE or GXWD--'cause you need a snappy acronym) or you can't get treatment.

Stealthnerd: Yup.

Jamie: "the absence of responsibility for your actions" is indeed THE problem today.

f.B: Perhaps with the economic plummet, there'll be some deflation in this arena, too.

Kate: Marked. 2/11/09.

Rs27: Or at least a tissue.

Mike: I look forward to not caring with as much passion as you do.

LBluca77: All the kewlest people are.

Matt: Practice saying "Would you like fries with that?"

Katherine: And so it is written. Thanks for the word. (Wait, that's bird.)

Kate: Maybe. They certainly don't have an exclusive lock on entitlement mentality.

Anonymous: So it's attributable to youthful innocence or it's applicable across all generations?

Herb of DC: Legacy is important.

Malnurtured Snay: Didn't actually say that. You inferred. And when you infer, you make an inf out of er and re.

Reya Mellicker: "We also sang, over and over, "I wanna die before I get old"... We're lucky all our wishes don't come true.

LiLu said...

Clearly, none of us deserve anything since we spend all day blogging on the innerwebs instead of working.

I'll still take a raise, though. I multitask like a mofo.

lacochran said...

LiLu: There has to be a way to make money out of this. Meanwhile, here we are giving our best stuff away...

Barbara said...

I can clearly remember the first one of these I interviewed in the mid-80's. She was so clearly into what she could get from the job. I ended up hiring her. She got a helluva lot more than she gave. But the applicants that followed had the same gene. Something had definitely changed in the workforce, and it wasn't me.

lacochran said...

Barbara: *shakes head*

Alex said...

Barbara, if you hired someone in the mid-80s, they were Gen X, not Gen Y, unless you were employing child labor.

And Lacochran, remember all the media stereotyping that was done on us Xers back when we were the Next Big Thing. Generational stereotyping needs to be taken with a huge grain of salt -- a boulder of salt, I'd say.

lacochran said...

Alex: Usually I like salt but the boulders that have been flinging my way are big enough to take down an elephant.

repliderium.com said...

I don't think anyone should get immediately respected and promoted- you have to earn it you whiners! If you don't work for it, YOU DON"T DESERVE IT!!

Judith HeartSong said...

I thought it was "strange".........


lacochran said...

Repliderium.com: Yeah! What you said!

Judith HeartSong: Me, too! Maybe it is...