There she goes again


You’ll recall that I have a bit of an attachment to Gen Y.  A self-proclaimed avid member of the group itself, I find articles like this one featured today in the WSJ intriguing.  It was adapted from a book written by Ron Alsop, who is apparently important enough to be featured on Purdue’s faculty list.  I would like to offer a few tidbits from the article along with a few polite and respectful rebuttals.

Although members of other generations were considered somewhat spoiled in their youth, millennials feel an unusually strong sense of entitlement. Older adults criticize the high-maintenance rookies for demanding too much too soon.

I wonder what an “unusually strong sense of entitlement” really means.  I have to assume the author simply refers to a desire to find a job where I won’t be living to work, perhaps doing something I may even find personally fulfilling.  Maybe it refers to that pesky Gen Y tendency to shoot high and look for collaboration.  Or perhaps these “older adults” Alsop references are simply cryogenically frozen and resent the “younger adult” knack for mobility.

“They are finding that they have to adjust work around our lives instead of us adjusting our lives around work,” a teenage blogger named Olivia writes on the Web site “What other option do they have?”

I just paid a visit to Xanga, a blog aggregator which sports such culturally relevant blog titles as “What kind of crap offends you?” and “Are you Emo?  Take the quiz!”  Please, Mr. Alsop: if you purport to be an expert on the up and coming uppity generation, at least have the decency to find a reasonable voice that represents our views.  Entitlement may be the name of the game when it comes to stereotyping my cohort, but we’re entitled to be fairly represented in a world-renowned professional journal of esteem (WSJ, why do you forsake me…).

This is really just to break up the text. Thanks for bearing with me.

This is really just to break up the text. Thanks for bearing with me.

Millennials, of course, will have to temper their expectations as they seek employment during this deep economic slump.

Touche, Mr. Alsop.  I don’t have a single college friend who isn’t at this moment a) mildly nervous about a job after graduation b) being absurdly proactive to avoid future unemployment or c) having a crisis of conscience at the lack of jobs currently available.

Millennials also want things spelled out clearly. Many flounder without precise guidelines but thrive in structured situations that provide clearly defined rules and the order that they crave.

Yeah, well, what with the endless stream of social media at our fingertips, the opinions and datebooks of millions of our peers only a mouse click away, a disillusion with hierarchical work structures, and a general distaste for traditional education methods, I can totally see where it could be surmised that we want to be stuck in a box.

Companies have a vested interest in trying to slow the millennial mobility rate. They not only will need millennials to fill positions left vacant by retiring baby boomers but also will benefit from this generation’s best and brightest, who possess significant strengths in teamwork, technology skills, social networking and multitasking.

Here’s where my eyebrows shot up because I have to admit: Mr. Alsop is right.  The prospect of a business environment where free thought and creative mobility are stifled in favor of feeding the corporate machine is scarier to the core of me than even a lack of reproduction.

But don’t you worry Mr. Alsop – my entitled friends and I will be sure to wait on changing the dynamics of corporate America until you’ve made plenty of royalties on your book.


One Response to “There she goes again”

  1. I came into this not really giving a shit (as usual) about generation relations, but by the end of it I was sort of feeling offense at what this guy was saying and applauding you as a cunning linguist.

    You win this round. But one more mention of Sex and the City and you’re right back in the disapproval slot.

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