Gen Y Sounds Like A Bunch Of Entitled Whiners

June 17th, 2008

… yes, I’m expecting to get beat up by the Gen Y experts…

I’ve been in this career “space” for a little over two years now, and I’ve followed the talk about Gen Y since then. It’s quite fascinating, with a number of Gen Y experts who are telling Gen Y what the workplace is and how they can get the most out of their careers… and telling the workplace what Gen Y is and how they are going to change the dynamics of work.

I’ve seen a bunch of red flags, and I just don’t buy a bunch of it.

I remember reading how Gen Y doesn’t (read: won’t) do e-mail. They will text on their cell phones, and they are masters of instant messaging, but geesh, please don’t put old-and-tired e-mail in front of them, because they are much too suave and sophisticated to do e-mail.

PULEEZE! They don’t do e-mail because the people in their network don’t do e-mail! But what happens when they get that job out of school where they have to correspond via e-mail? What are they going to do – say “I’m Gen Y, let’s do this on text because it’s much more hip and cool!”

Give me a break.

Another red flag I saw was talk about Gen Y not wanting to come to work on time. Heaven forbid we actually ask them to conform to getting to work by 8am. Oh my gosh, that would just cut into their lifestyle, and work/life balance. Let’s not cramp their style… let them come and go as they please! Great idea… unless they are in a role where their customers require them to be at work by 8am. It’s no longer about some internal corporate thing… when the customer needs you there, you should be there.

This makes me gag.

What else… they demand the corner office. They demand higher salaries. They demand….

I honestly don’t understand how we are letting a bunch of kids coming out of school change the entire workplace.

Actually, that’s not it… I don’t understand how a bunch of kids are making a big fuss and talking about all of the things they are entitled to.

“Entitled” is such an ugly word (in most cases).

I’ll post to a bunch of Gen Y posts that touch on some of these things… but first, I want to share part of an interview that The Recruiting Animal did with Clifford Mintz (who blogs at Bio Job Blog) … just click the image to get to the sound byte of Cliff Mintz on Gen Y:

I love how he compares Gen Y to Baby Boomers, because this is a question that I have as I ask myself just how different is Gen Y from any other generation before them. (the entire interview is here, that was just a sound-byte)

Here are some interesting posts about Gen Y, as it relates to careers:

Navigating the quarterlife crisis – from Penelope Trunk. Quarterlife crisis??

Make life more stable with more frequent job changes – from Penelope Trunk. In her book I think it talks about how people will have 10 job changes before they turn 30 (or something like that). You know how I feel about loyalty, but seriously, why would I invest in you if I know you are going to be gone in a year?

Crystal Ball: 10 Ways Generation Y Will Change the Workplace – Ryan Healy includes things such as “We’ll Hold Only Productive Meetings” and “We’ll Shorten the Work Day” and “We’ll Promote Based on Emotional Intelligence.”

Sometimes It’s Fine to Burn Bridges – pretty cool article by Presh Talwalkar.

Standing at a Crossroad: Am I Still a Millennial? – great post by Ryan Paugh as he realizes things about being a Millenial… and what all us old stodgy people are thinking.

How Gen-Y Is Decentralizing Corporate America – and changing the world, by Ryan Healy.

Being a Gen-Y Leader – interesting post about how to be the leader.

Check out these two posts, on the Brazen Careerist career blog… mixed in with career advice helping mold young people’s thoughts on lifestyle stuff: Engaged? Why? Does Getting Married Serve Any Purpose These Days? and Fat Pregnant Wife? No, Thanks. I think these posts are part of the search engine optimization, and creating contraversy to create a following, but it’s one reason why I don’t link there much.

If you are Gen Y, or have kids who are Gen Y, and want to get them EXCELLENT (non-whiny) advice, I recommend:

Alexandra Levit – she is BRILLIANT and her posts are very constructive and insighful.

Lindsey Pollak – another brilliant Gen Y blogger who interacts and speaks with Gen Y on a regular basis.

What do you think? Are Gen Y a bunch of whiner-babies, or am I just an old boring man, or is this just sensationalized by the Gen Y experts, and Gen Y is being misrepresented?

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47 responses to “Gen Y Sounds Like A Bunch Of Entitled Whiners”

  1. Cute baby, is she yours?

    Great commentary!!! As a recruiter, I highly agree with your assessment. I do however, find that job ethics or lack there of, do appear in other generations as well, not just Gen Y. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve heard from Gen Y and other generations “I think I’ll pass. The job description you sent mentions ‘some’ overtime. I don’t do overtime.”

    AND in my searches, I have uncovered the gems in the Gen Y group that are exceptional, want to work hard and are ambitious. They are just not as prevalent.

    I’m raising my children to work hard (balanced with play hard), have loyalty, be ambitious – and above all else, don’t whine!

    Another brilliant post Jason! Thank you!

  2. Thanks for this article.

    working hours | work is now a 24/7 operation. gen-y understands this. in order to accommodate the 24/7 nature, gen-y believes employers should be more flexible to the hours. 9-5 does not exist any more.

    working hard | gen-y understands you’ve got to work hard to get forward in life. they just want to be efficient while working. information overload is far too common now and people are wasting their time on superfluous tasks. link.

    email | gen-y tries to minimise email to a void information overload as discussed in previous paragraph. the use of messenger and texting is to lower the characters allowed in a message and get across the point quicker with more clarity.

    entitlement | i havent heard a single gen-y’er say i am entitled to this. what gen-y wants is to be treated as equals in the work and be given a fair chance. it didnt look like gen-x got this chance and we can understand they’re upset by it. gen-y does not want a repeat. we’re only asking. more the fool, gen-x and baby boomer for having not asked.

    gen-y demands nothing.
    -they are simply asking – this is something no generation has dared do before.
    -we are initiating – looking for methods and practices to enhance the workplace.
    these asks and initiatives, is to make the working environment a better place. whats wrong with looking for change? i turn your points back on you and ask, why didnt you ask for these things and strrive for change when you were in your twenties? the world moves and evolves, why cant the work environment?

    Thanks

  3. In my experience (34 yr old white male, entrepreneur, retained search guy who has had 33 direct gen Y through boomers report to me and hundreds of clients with diverse teams during rapid change up down and side ways)

    One thing is consistent – talent or no talent. Talent breeds talent. Those who value being prepared accomplish amazing things in life – In all generations I have worked with. Great leaders do not have as much of this problem. Ten jobs in ten years equals no accomplishments and talent does not hire because they can’t retain talentless.

    As for today, it is amazing when you find Gen Y talent who want to make a big impact in career and community. If you get two good years out of learners and doers, great! If you inspire and reward with new opportunity – you win. If not, you loose – this has never changed.

    I don’t want to oversimplify, but go find Gen Y who want to learn and do. Yes, they are in the minority…that too has always been true. IN Denver and need a Gen Y referral? I would hire almost any one of the 20 something volunteering with http://www.da2030.com children’s foundation because of work ethic and any one of the participants in this: http://www.yourbrandplan.com/forum/leadership-brand/2406-hire-these-students-apprentice-challenge.html

  4. Lance says:

    @ Harry: Fun stuff.

    “gen-y understands you’ve got to work hard to get forward in life. they just want to be efficient while working.”

    I don’t think they understand that it takes “superfluous tasks” to get forward in life. You can’t get to work without changing the oil in your car. Superfluous tasks are part of working hard and Gen Y doesn’t get it.

    “the use of messenger and texting is to lower the characters allowed in a message and get across the point quicker with more clarity.”

    If only it resulted in more clarity, you may have a legitimate point. Often times it leads to more confusion, more “texting” and ultimately a wasteful meeting or e-mail that should have just been done in the first place. Many times an answer in business isn’t 140 characters.

    “i havent heard a single gen-y’er say i am entitled to this. what gen-y wants is to be treated as equals in the work and be given a fair chance.”

    A contradiction in and of itself that proves the entitlement. Gen Y aren’t equals! To say a Gen Y accountant coming in is an equal to a senior accountant with seven years of experience is the ultimate argument in favor of entitlement. No, you won’t be treated or paid equally as that person. You don’t deserve it.

    And I am really frustrated (as a Gen Y’er myself) of the backhanded implication that the reason Gen Y gets this rap are because other generations are jealous of us. I am not jealous at a bunch of snot nosed wannabe know it alls of my current generation and I doubt anybody else is.

  5. Ryan Paugh says:

    I was geared up to write something epic, but Harry said it all so perfectly. Great job.

    Regardless of what Gen-X says about Gen-Y, we’re really not that different. We all want to be happy. And we all sound a little whiny sometimes.

    Cliff and Animal’s podcast sounds whiny. The first half of this post sounds whiny too. Whenever change is involved in the equation, all parties involved sound a little whiny. So let’s not go overboard with this whole whining thing.

    The second part of this article is the Grand Central Station of links to non-whiny, though-provoking Gen-Yers. I’m really glad Jason threw them in there.

    Thanks for the post.

  6. @Lance:


    “i havent heard a single gen-y’er say i am entitled to this. what gen-y wants is to be treated as equals in the work and be given a fair chance.”

    A contradiction in and of itself that proves the entitlement. Gen Y aren’t equals! To say a Gen Y accountant coming in is an equal to a senior accountant with seven years of experience is the ultimate argument in favor of entitlement. No, you won’t be treated or paid equally as that person. You don’t deserve it.

    Apologies, that does sound brattish in the context you’ve read it. I did not mean gen-y is entitled to a high figure sum and did not mean gen-y is just as good as another worker who has experience.

    What I meant was gen-y are given the opportunity to shine, show their skills, and prove their worth. personally, (I.T. World) i cant compete against a senior developer and wouldnt dare; but i can and have been able to demonstrate leadership skills. Those leadership skills have managed to leverage an opportunity to enter team-lead management at an early age. That’s a fair chance – i showed some value, and the company looked to use it rather than ignore.

  7. Erika says:

    I think it depends on the person, really. I know some Gen Y people who have a great attitude and embody the best qualities of Gen Y while holding off on the annoying qualities. Then there are the quintessential gen Y people who honestly feel like the world is graced by their presence. There will be no blanket statement that reflects everyone. So, in answer to your question, yes.

  8. As a member of Gen Y, I can honestly say that I think this article and any discussion on this topic is way off base.

    Yes, you have your jerks and assholes out there, but, Gen Y is the future and we’re trying to figure this entire thing out as well.

    Look at the environment we live in. I am not trying to bitch, whine, moan or complain, but, never has housing, gas, food, etc been so expensive.

    We are out here SURVIVING like the rest of the world.

    All of my friends work hard. Do we even have a choice?

    Besides, you are working with PEOPLE, not Gen X, the Baby Boomers and even younger Gen Y.

    People suck, period.

    :-)

  9. BTW, Great points Harry!

  10. @ Demetrius, not the personal brand experience one would find from the pros I referenced in my comment above. Common!

  11. Demetrius, your points regarding Gen Y would be far more effective without the “potty” talk, especially in a public forum where everyone can view your comments.

    I believe Jason’s blog post was meant to create a good topic for discussion, not to insult an entire generation of professionals.

    I think we can all agree that there are people in EVERY generation with both good and bad work ethics. Your viewpoint would be far more affective if the inappropriate language was left out of the discussion.

    Good luck to you!

  12. @ David, huh?

    @ Heather, what?

    Seriously, are you all really getting that upset?

    Potty mouth? Because I said people are assholes and jerks and some suck?

    What?

    Boy, oh boy.

  13. Nancy B says:

    good points Harry.

    What I am seeing is that e-mail is dead… IM rules most ‘must do’ communication and e-mail is for meeting invites and document approvals.

    In my slice of the IT world the Gen-y folks have the cutting edge coding skills and the older generations have the project management skills.

    In un-regulated sections it seems to flow pretty well… in finance and pharma and health… gen-y get a bit of the rash over paperwork that they see as just paperwork.

    It takes some serious “this will cost $250k if it’s not done first” education to get them to ‘see the light.’

    Many move on and go to more of a cowboy project / product / company without understanding the risk / reward equations in regulations.

    I have seen several go through ‘quarterlife crisis’ moments…. they realize that they don’t have the hot and happening skill… and their bonus is less than the new people… it’s not as easy to get interviews with cool companies to do cutting edge work anymore.

    It will be interesting to see what happens when the next internet correction comes… ’cause it will happen… and they will be just as lost as those of us who got whacked when the first crop of bubble $$ burst.

  14. @dmx says:

    recently i had a ‘gen y’ friend say to me something similar to Demetrius’s post…

    “we’re trying to figure this entire thing out as well”

    and THERE is the nugget.

    This disconnect as if they are the first generation on the planet to have challenges makes me think that the generation that brought them in to the world must have omitted to transfer that sense of continuity, purpose and “the journey is the destination” philosophy that seems to be missing.

    this seems to promote a sense that they, as a group or individually, are the first colonizers on planet “21st century” and everything up until now is either of no use, unusable or too primitive or ‘old fashioned’ as to be of help.

    the next disconnect is in being able to see that while the issues, technology and goals of yesteryear are indeed very different from those of today, that it is the ABSTRACT principles used in tackling all of the above that are useful, enduring and of ultimate and constant value.

    No, we didn’t have to work out how to program ‘second life’ and integrate it in to REAL life, we had to eradicate lead from gasoline using platinum in catalytic converters, but the principles are the same.

    i don’t know if it’s all the ‘chrome’ that creates an illusion but at the end of the day there is NO REAL difference between a bone used by a neanderthal man to hit an antelope on the head or a cell phone used by a wall street trader. it’s just the technology of the time.

    now, as to why these principles have been dropped from the continuing cultural mind, i cannot say for sure, although i have some ideas.

    i think what i am trying to say is, we should treat Gen Y with respect, but i think Gen Y should also respect those who have gone before them and mine the wisdom to meet the challenges of the world that is always ‘coming’ toward us.

    after all, confucious said, “young men think old men fools, old men know young men fools.” which I think means “hey dude, we’re all, like, you know, trying to figure this entire thing out, you know, even my granddad who is 82.”

    DM

  15. Jessica says:

    “Gen Y not wanting to come to work on time.” I know that people like the aforementioned exist, I have worked 13 hour shifts because of them, and I personally hate them. The ones who come to work late dressed for the bar they were at the previous night and believe that they are above sweeping the floor. But, I have also worked with Gen X people like that.

    @Lance “I don’t think they understand that it takes “superfluous tasks” to get forward in life. You can’t get to work without changing the oil in your car. Superfluous tasks are part of working hard and Gen Y doesn’t get it.”

    I interned with a boy whose farther was a project engineer, when this kid graduated he was hired as a design engineer and was mad that he wasn’t immediately a project engineer. He never saw the hard work that he father put in to get to that position so he couldn’t appreciate what it took to get there. It is the same reason that most family owned companies fail in their third generation. The first generation builds it, the second sees what it takes, and the third only sees the rewards. If someone isn’t raised with good work ethics and an understanding of what it takes they have to learn it on their own, and that isn’t something one can learn overnight.

  16. I love reading all of these comments. I present quite alot on generational differences and always laugh at how frustrated we get with the Generation below us. It’s not Gen Y we are frustrated with, it’s younger workers.

    LIFE Magazine had an article on their cover in 1968. Yep, 1968. And surprise, surprise, it was called “The Generational Gap.” It refers to the younger generation of the time in many of the same ways we describe Gen Y.

    So before you get frustrated or rush to judge, think back to when you were in your teens and twenties. Were you task focused, on time and compeltely professional all the time? Maybe some of you were, but the majority of every young generation is not. And that’s because they hadn’t learned those lessons yet.

    Some of us learn lessons earlier than others, and some follow the generational curve. The needs are the same but how we fulfill them isn’t. Know that you can learn just as much from them as they can learn from you. Don’t lessen your standards or bend your rules. Let them learn the hard lessons but also let them try their own way to accomplish things. It may differ from you but if you get to the same palce, that can be okay.

  17. Pete Johnson says:

    Consider the following edit:

    “I remember reading how Gen X doesn’t (read: won’t) do memos. They will e-mail on their computers, and they are masters of the, but geesh, please don’t put old-and-tired memos in front of them, because they are much too suave and sophisticated to do memos.

    PULEEZE! They don’t do memos because the people in their network don’t do memos! But what happens when they get that job out of school where they have to correspond via memo? What are they going to do – say ‘I’m Gen X, let’s do this on email because it’s much more hip and cool!'”

    15 years ago this week I started my first job out of college and you were a freak if you had an email address on your business card. When I started, I would never have dreamed that I’d wake up at 7am Pacific time to get on a call with people in Europe and have another one at 10pm with people in India, but never leave my house during the course of a productive work day.

    While my personal experience with Gen Yers reinforces your point about a false sense of entitlement (not in all cases, but that seems to be a trend), technology changes and work habits change in an ever flattening world. They did for us Gen Xers, they are now, they will in the future.

    —Pete


    Pete Johnson
    Hewlett-Packard Company
    Portals and Marketing Solutions IT Chief Architect
    Work email: pete.johnson@hp.com
    Personal email: pete.johnson@nerdguru.net
    Personal Blog: http://nerdguru.net

  18. thom singer says:

    Jason-

    Good post, but I do not think that this generation is any different than those that have come before. Sure, the technology has changed so fast that they get to be “cutting edge” coming out of college (there is a big shift now when your better tech equipment is at home than at the office. Think about that, when we all started working the best stuff was at work!), but “cutting edge” only takes you so far.

    We all come out of school wanting to live large. We feel we have earned it, and look around at our “bubble” of our college and think we are so far ahead of everyone else. But a few years later the real world kicks in. Marriage, children, mortgages, college funds, retirement savings, aging parents, health care, the cost of random stuff, work pressures, bosses, employees, etc…. (the list is long). What the young idealist discovers is that you have to make it all work, and to do that means that you have to show up at work on time, and work hard, and build alliances, etc… The lone ranger, do what I want mentality takes a back seat to the real world of responsibilities.

    Look at the baby boomers when they were this age …”Don’t trust anyone over 30″ was their mantra. Now they are all pushing retirement in the next few years and they have a different outlook than they did as teens and young twenty somethings. Sure, they long for the idealistic days of the Summer of Love,…..but they have kids to put through college and parents to care for and busy careers, etc….

    My guess is that in 20 years there will be a new crop of idealistic kids and journalists hungry for anything to write will lump them in as Generation Z Squared and people will complain about their work ethic. Meanwhile, Generation Y will be living in the real world and wondering what hit them.

    thom

  19. Dusty Reagan says:

    Since the dawn of time, the older generation has thought the younger generation is lazy and spoiled, and the younger generation has thought the older generation is ignorant to the new ways and “doesn’t get it.” The truth is, they’re both right! 😉

  20. @Jessica: I think your point can be summed up with this quote: “From shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations.”

  21. Barry Groh says:

    Jason,

    Once again I appreciate your openness and willingness to share on a subject that may be a bit inflamatory (how’s that for an understatement!). I also think that making any broad general comments related to an age group, or any other group for that matter, really does not take into account the realities of each group.

    True, there will be people in each age group that expect the world to be given to them, and others that know, either from personal experience or good training, that to get what you want you need to work for it, and normally pretty hard. Yet, there are also advantages that come from each age group, advantages that come literally from the things they have had to live with or through.

    Any blanket statement about any group really makes me uncomfortable, simply because one can always find those who fit the mold and those who completely destroy the mold. Yet, the view that any group, as a GROUP, can take on the same attributes completely is short-sighted and normally wrong.

    I am a baby boomer (on the late end) and have worked with Gen-X and Gen-Y people for many years. I also have seen some of the most inspiring young people coming into their understanding of adult life, and look forward with them to a fulfillment of some of what they wish. For them, as for any other group, if we get all we THINK we want, at any point and time, we probably need to re-evaluate whether it was good to expect it in the first place. Or helpful to have.

    Look at one of the recent observations of those of us who are baby-boomers: We have for so long tried to amass everything we thought we needed that now there is a concern about saving enough for retirement. Some have that concern, some don’t; but the perception is that now all baby-boomers are being saddled with that as our mantra. Which is better?

  22. […] about the latest generation coming into the workforce feeling entitled, etc. Gen Y this time. Read “Gen Y Sounds Like A Bunch Of Entitled Whiners” and I encourage you to peruse the comments where truth be told. __________________ David […]

  23. Tim says:

    This is rich coming from Generation Fail. Generalizations about young people will not save you from the fact that this is the whiniest article I’ve read all week.

  24. James says:

    It’s hard to have an opinion on this post because this post lacks content. It has two examples and the first doesn’t even hold.

    Generation-Y doesn’t do email: This is a stretch at best. The idea that they prefer text to email because of character limits is a major stretch. It’d be more interesting to see you compare face-to-face contact and email because the trend I think you’re touching on is that Gen-Y’ tend to embrace passive communication over direct communication. They’re (I’m a Gen-Y btw) more likely to send an email and wait 20 minutes for a response than pick up the phone. I lump txt in with email but the difference in when they’re used appears to come from how much they have to say and what devices are available. I’d say most gen-y will use email if they’re in front of a computer and txt for things that aren’t that important.

    Generation-Y doesn’t like to go to work on time: This one seems fair but I don’t know any Gen-Y that would take a job requiring they show up at 8 am for customers and *then* refuse. They just wouldn’t take the job. Perhaps this speaks loudly about the work ethic of Gen-Y. Something that I don’t recall hearing about with older generations, was the flexible work time being mapped to jobs that don’t interact with customers often. Gen-Y understands that you want happy workers above workers that are slaves because many of the jobs Gen-Y goes for requires creativity and clear-thinking. If someone is pissed at their boss because they have to get to work at 8am when they don’t even deal with customers, they won’t do their job well.

    And, dare I say it, the lack of real examples makes this post come of like whining… Linking to other articles and saying, “read this and you’ll understand my point” shows that YOU don’t understand the points. You’d be able to explain them clearly otherwise.

  25. Scott Dickie says:

    Thanks for the catching article! I am a Gen X’er myself and work with my Gen Y’ers and they are bright, efficient and add value from day 1. Some may demand higher salaries, some demand corner offices, and flexible work schedules, we should look at the environment they are living. Expenses are high! If the person is bright, motivated and knows what the hell they are talking about then Employers need to be flexible as well. The world is changing for everyone out there and not just Gen Y’ers. Employers need to provide the flexibility to everyone.

  26. […] easy to get fired up after reading something.  Some people commenting on my post about GenY being a bunch of Whiners (actually, I titled the post “SOUNDS LIKE” instead of “ARE” for a reason) […]

  27. Jason Alba says:

    This is now one of my favorite posts. Not because of what I wrote, rather, because of the comments :)

    @Heather Gardner – the baby isn’t mine, but very cute :) I appreciate your comment from a recruiter’s perspective.

    @Harry McIntosh – thanks for the perspective.

    @David Sandusky – excellent points!

    @Lance – nice points :) :)

    @Ryan Paugh – darnit, I was waiting for your epic comments :p Agreed that we’re all whiners, and it really comes down to stereotyping between generations which is about as biased as stereotyping in general.

    @Erika – agreed, and it’s more about a person than a generation. I wrote this post because of the many conference sessions, blog posts, books, articles, podcasts, etc. which talk about the generations and not the individuals.

    @Demetrius – We’re all working hard to survive. And I agree that it’s about people, and we shouldn’t be categorized (generation, race, religion, etc.) – but there’s a lot of buzz about this, and it’s a hot topic. I have to agree with David Sandusky and Heather’s comments to your comments.

    @NancyB – Sometimes I wish e-mail were dead, simply because I have poor e-mail management skills :) Awesome point about GenY skills vs. older generations and the other stuff, very insightful.

    @dmx – totally agreed – this is not the first time this has every been talked about, and some generation was out to change the world. And, I LOVE the Confucius quote!! Classic!

    @Jessica – ouch – you had to work 13 hour days because of others who disrespected the work schedule… shows that someone will have to pay for it :( Good clarification that this is not isolated to GenY, though.

    @Susan Strayer – as usual, the comments are better than the post :p Awesome reference on the 1968 article!

    @Pete Johnson – very thought-provoking… I have thought about this since you wrote it and of course know you are right. I just can’t fathom they day when e-mail goes away :p

    @Thom Singer – great points, totally agree! One thing I thought of while I read this comment was that GenY has to worry about the flat world (and their jobs/skills being offshored) much more than any other group of workers, and that would/should be very scary!

    @DustyReagan – ROFL – and we’re all right :) :)

    @Barry Groh – excellent points. Again, stereotyping does a disservice to us all.

    @Tim – glad to make it on your list as the “est” … even if it’s the whiniest. BTW, who is “Generation Fail?” According to your blog it looks like you are calling Baby Boomers Generation Fail?

    @James – Lacks content? Maybe if I do a whitepaper, book, or homework assignment I’ll include footnotes and make it more content rich. This is a blog post, and it’s already too long, not a thesis. Good points on the rebuttals. I’m not saying I’m wrong or your wrong, but I do think time will tell, when life happens as per Thom Singer’s comment (babies, health care, mortgage, etc.). And regarding me sounding like a whiner, that’s one of the perks of being a blogger – It’s my blog and I’ll whine if I want to :)

    @Scott Dickie – I agree, but think that the perks should extend across the board regardless of what generation we are in (as you state at the end of your comment).

    So, this post is stereotyping, judgmental, not fair, whiny, and without substance. But hey, the comments have been fascinating, and I’m glad you shared them!

  28. The good news here is that opportunity is greater than ever before for any Gen Y’er who is able to see past the entitlement. Value always rules. And today, companies trend toward the same lack of loyalty that others are talking about with Gen Y employees. If there’s better opportunity for the employee, they’re going to take advantage of it. Likewise, companies seem to be recognize this as well. The good news is this: In days past, Joe may have gotten a promotion simply because he was at the company longer than Mary (thus, has shown more “loyalty”). Now, in order to remain competitive, companies tend to recognize the need to put the right person in the right position. Whether this is Joe, Mary, a new hire, or an outsourced ‘Virtual Expert’.

    The grand opportunity is this: For those who are willing to learn how to provide the greatest value, their path to the top is easier than ever before (sure, you still may have some of the ‘old entitlement’ folks hanging around; those who still think that seniority matters and call themselves leaders by suppressing the achievements of others, but soon or late, the exit finds them).

    Prosperity follows the exchange of value. It’s a self-evident principle as old as the human race and will always govern. Good news for the ambitious. Bad news for the entitlement givers and takers.

    –Dave Charbonneau

  29. Since I am not Gen Y, do I have to read all the comments before replying? Well, I won’t… because I am GEN X, and I am allowed to.. and I have deep-seated Reaganomics-created angst about it, too. :)

    All I have to say is: Every generation has felt entitled, haven’t we all? Isn’t that the POINT of classifying yourselves as a new generation?? What fun is it to throw a party that’s just like every other party on the block?

    Two major forces impacting this issue, however, is that:

    (a) GEN Y is the first generation who could literally create a major, INTERNATIONAL personal-brand on nothing more than a blogger (or twitter) account and a wifi connection.

    (b) Since Boomers are retiring in droves, leaving X-ers to take the C-level positions they always mocked, and technology and the environment are weighing SO HEAVILY on business today, we will/must see a shift in the landscape of what business looks like… right now, Millenials get the upper-hand because they’re the loudest ones talking about it.

    …And, I still wish MTV actually played music television.

  30. … and financial/energy markets. Oh, yeah… those suck right now, too.

  31. […] older I get, the more I realize that we are all just a bunch of whiners. And by we I don’t mean Generation Y. I mean we as in […]

  32. […] someone with a contrasting viewpoint to yours. There is different value in each type. Over on the jibberjobber blog, there was a fantastic debate about gen-y which sparked great points around geny really contrast […]

  33. Doug M says:

    Demetrius says:
    “Look at the environment we live in. I am not trying to bitch, whine, moan or complain, but, never has housing, gas, food, etc been so expensive.”

    Actually guys – you never had it so good, try calculating how many minutes/hours you have to work for that car or that loaf of bread, now contrast it with 20-40-60 years ago.

    The difference is that Y seems to want everything now. The people I see who have good jobs want to buy huge houses and expensive sports cars in their mid twenties. Then they complain that they can’t afford that.

    That isn’t how economics works guys. People start small build equity.

    But in the meantime Gen Y spend huge sums on disposable electronics, consumer devices, lifestyle (who wants to be like the 18 yr old kid I read about last week with a $180 a week Starbucks habit?). And hey, they can’t live without that 42″ Plasma screen.

    Gen Y is consuming so much more than the Baby-Boomers ever did. And doing it with a smug self-satisfaction because they buy rain-forest coffee.

  34. We didn’t start the fire! :)

    Every older generation complains about the younger generation.

    I’m sure we’ll complain about Gen XYZ.

    Again, we’re just trying to make it, day by day, like the rest.

    For the record, I don’t have a 42″ TV and my car is an 1998 Honda Accord.

    I was raised “old school” by Baby Boomers.

    For the kid that spends $180 a week on Starbucks, well…what did his parents teach him?

  35. Doug M. says:

    Let me expand. In the 1st century AD (or CE if you prefer) the Roman writers were complaining that the younger generation had no idea and no respect.

    What scares me is the number of younger people who have no sense of individual responsibility for their own lives because they still live at home, and get supported by parents. Because they don’t seem prepared to pay for what the Baby Boomers thought was important.

    I am not saying it’s wrong, it’s just a different priority. iPod and iPhone, car and status clothing, consumer electronics, symbols. Whereas I lived poor so I could rent my own place.

    And for the record, this Baby Boomer cusp (1964) hates having regular work hours too… but I sack people who don’t show up. And I run 30 minute meetings.

    To the guy who talks about emotional intelligence.. you only have half the story. You don’t want to be a ‘manager’ – you need to be a leader. Two different things. That’s why I still go to lunch with people who worked for me 8 years ago, at their invitation. EQ is no substitute for leadership. It’s a (very) small part.

    D.

  36. In the 1st century AD (or CE if you prefer) the Roman writers were complaining that the younger generation had no idea and no respect

    Pretty sure this has been going on since the Garden of Eden set saw Adam and Eve moving into town (with their son Cain) and thought “there goes the neighborhood…”

    By now, seems like the world should have degenerated into a cesspool of immorality, political and financial turmoil, and freakish global weather patterns.

    Oh, wait… : -)

  37. Robert, best comment by far! :)

  38. […] 18 12 2008 I must admit. When I started reading “horror stories” about how Gen-Y just doesn’t get it, I was offended and appalled. After all, my own work ethic (and that of my similarly aged friends) […]

  39. […] must admit. When I started reading “horror stories” about how Gen-Y just doesn’t get it, I was offended and appalled. After all, my own work ethic (and that of my similarly aged friends) […]

  40. […] we? Janna White and Stacey Thornberry—two Gen Yers who have joined IABC’s workforce. Call us entitled if you will (we’ll get to that later), but we think we’re entitled to our opinions, too. […]

  41. Jason Alba says:

    Eve Tahmincioglu just wrote a great (although somewhat sad) article on MSNBC about how hard the job search and recession is hitting Gen Y.

    The article is one thing, but the comments are another… amazing… there is the usual generational banter but I saw some comments from Gen Y who said “we were duped – it’s not all about getting a good education, which leads to a good job” and some from older hiring managers who won’t hire Gen Y based on their poor work ethic.

    I know there is a lot of stereotyping going on but it was refreshing to read an article with more fact than spite, and the comments coming from regular people facing the issues from various seats at the table…

  42. gen x'er says:

    Gen Y don’t deserve the (unlimitless) things they are demanding. Having been insulted, verbally abused, and pushed around by some of these kids in a multi-generational training environment last year, as a Gen X’er I have gained zero respect for Gen Y, having initially being enthralled with their motivated energy, great ideas, and endless talking and incredible confidence. As I am peaceful, kind, and experienced, I oppose any attempts made by a child – yes I now see Gen Y as children and not potential adults – to treat me without respect, after I’ve paid my dues for years. This treatment cannot be reconciled and why should it.

  43. gen y'er says:

    Can’t believe this topic still lives! Gen x’er…..why are you taking all that abuse? Just stand up for yourself.

    It has NOTHING to do with Generations. I work with young, middle aged and older people all the time…and I’m a part of Gen Y.

    Honestly, it’s starting to sound like a bunch of older folks just complaining.

  44. gen x’er,
    We don’t know anything about you since you hide behind a generation title rather than your own. Please don’t do that because you don’t represent all of us. The only facts I can gather from your anger is I have a different experience watching young people doing remarkable things including those who I’ve personally hired, taught, led and been led by. True pros/cons across all generations. The only other fact I can gather is I remember older generations complaining about GenX entitlement when we came into a workforce. You claimed a statement of entitlement not often said out loud when you said “to treat me without respect, after I’ve paid my dues for years.” We should all treat you with respect but not for why you think.
    It is time to change your attitude and become a leader.

  45. […] I called phooey on the whole thing with this blog post: Gen Y Sounds Like A Bunch Of Entitled Whiners […]



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