The Entitlement Generation
CHICAGO – Evan Wayne thought he was prepared for anything during a recent interview for a job in radio sales. Then the interviewer hit the 24-year-old Chicagoan with this: “So, we call you guys the ‘Entitlement Generation,'” the baby boomer executive said, expressing an oft-heard view of today’s young work force. “You think you’re entitled to everything.”
The article goes on to say that this isn’t a new phenomenon. Everyone from the hippies to the Gen X-ers have been labeled this (or something similar) by their elders.
But that isn’t the point, really. What I got out of this article is the traditional idea of career-level success is being radically redefined, if not completely destroyed.
Now, deserved or not, this latest generation is being pegged, too â€” as one with shockingly high expectations for salary, job flexibility and duties but little willingness to take on grunt work or remain loyal to a company.
Personally, I have no problem with grunt work or loyalty as long as I have a REASON to display both. I’m not content with just a paycheck. I can get a paycheck at McDonalds. If you want this computer geek to work for your company and be happy there you better make a few efforts to make it worth my time.
While Levine also notes that today’s twentysomethings are long on idealism and altruism, “many of the individuals we see are heavily committed to something we call ‘fun.'”
I am “heavily committed” to keep the world from killing the independent spirit that so many people seem to lose as they give themselves up completely to the working world and accept a mundane existence rather than searching for something that will make them happier.
He partly faults coddling parents and colleges for doing little to prepare students for the realities of adulthood and setting the course for what many disillusioned twentysomethings are increasingly calling their “quarter-life crisis.”
My parents didn’t do the best job of preparing me for the real world, but ultimately I believe it doesn’t matter. The world that me and those my age are coming to terms with is much, much different than the world our parents dealt with in their 20’s.
I think the real issue is, even for those of us who were well prepared by our parents, we’re finding out all those staple work guides of our youth are no longer true.
“It’s true they’re not eager to bury themselves in a cubicle and take orders from bosses for the next 40 years, and why should they?” asks Jeffrey Arnett, a University of Maryland psychologist who’s written a book on “emerging adulthood,” the period between age 18 and 25. “They have a healthy skepticism of the commitment their employers have to them and the commitment they owe to their employers.”
Thank you! My thoughts EXACTLY.