Generation Y

There has been a lot of articles in the press recently about the latest generation who are coming of age and entering the workforce at this point in time.  Most of the comments being made are negative in nature and are composed of stereotyped statements such as:

They are entitled to it all
They expect to have their cake and eat it
They want less hours and more pay
Lots of leisure time (or at least a balance)
They reject overtime
They are clock watchers
Work is just a way to get money to pay the bills with
They believe high salary and status is important
They don’t wish to dress smartly
They lack discipline in all aspects of their life
The desire to do meaningful work is not important

These things I have picked out from an article from the UK’s notorious Daily Mail:

It’s an interesting list to review.  As someone who works in education I am one of the many who have experienced the change in attitudes first hand.  When I started teaching I found that students would bring a folder, paper, pens and everything they might need.  Some still do.  But the majority do not.  Even in classes where most things are learnt digitally, expecting a student to bring their USB drive is a high expectation.  Expecting students to take handouts away with them or even take their own notes with them is a simple expectation that has fallen by the wayside.  Yet the students want the highest grades for the smallest amount of work done in the poorest quality.  Tardiness is standard too.  

My personal concern is that if you mix just a few of these suggested traits together and think about this generation financially then storm clouds appear on the horizon. What happens when someone who has a poor work ethic gets a job where they feel they can afford a mortgage – a house is a strong status symbol in many countries. They are likely to be high users of credit because they will feel entitled to use it because they have a job.  They are likely to rack up their debts quickly as they enjoy a comfortable lifestyle that they knew all along they should have.  Unfortunately their employer sees them as expendable Human Resources rather than people, isn’t this true of all generations now, and at some point they will lose their job.  They might be able to quickly gain new employment.  They may not.  But fret they won’t! Bankruptcy is there to save them.  Mum and Dad are there to save them.

I know that these are very sweeping statements that won’t apply to everyone, hopefully very few.  But isn’t this a time bomb waiting to go off?  The economy is already struggling under the weight of the mismanagement of debt by the banking system.  Maybe this generation has witnessed this and realised that integrity and personal responsibility mean nothing as there is always someone there to bail them out?

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