Jeremy's Ramblings, Babblings, and Other Pretentious Bullshit.
Tuesday, June 28, 2005
Well, our generation finally got its nickname, if an Associated Press article printed last Sunday is to be believed. After the Greatest Generation, the Silent Generation, the Baby Boomers and Generation X, we have been dubbed...
THE ENTITLEMENT GENERATION!!!
Yes, we apparently feel that we are entitled to everything. The article states that our generation has "shockingly high expectations for salary, job flexibility and duties but little willingness to take on grunt work or remain loyal to a company."
The article further quotes Dr. Mel Levine, a pediatrics professor at the University of North Carolina Medical School, who states, "We're seeing an epidemic of people who are having a hard time making the transition to work — kids who had too much success early in life and who've become accustomed to instant gratification," and says that too many of us "are heavily committed to something we call 'fun.'"
Is this true? Are we passing on Generation X's standard of living for ourselves and updating it with a desire to own everything? Granted, it may seem that way. More and more, people my age are rising to positions that would normally take them another five years to achieve.
But isn't the desire to get everything now simply a human desire, regardless of age? Does anybody really say to themselves, "I can't wait to be unappreciated and underpaid for ten years before I really start making a living for myself"? Besides, wouldn't a sterling example of entitlement be our Baby Boomer President, who coasted his way through the Vietnam Era before using his family connections to ascend to the leader of the free world?
I would be fully willing to agree with the title of The Entitlement Generation if those young people didn't work for their rewards. However, the young successful people that I know got there through a combination of unwavering idealism and tireless effort.
For example, it took me one year to go from being a kid who worked odd jobs (newspaper sports writer, Mystery Shack tour guide) to getting a comfortable lower-middle class position. However, that one year involved commutes from Barstow to Anaheim, 12-hour days and constant slaps in the face (demotions to the mail room, "special" projects, etc.). And now that I like where I am, I've stopped putting in that extra go-getter effort and my progress in the company has come to a stand-still. And those who get promotions over me do so because they work harder than I do.
I do not think that our generation believes that we are "entitled" to everything. I do not think that we were spoiled by the previous generations. I feel that we simply do not want to put up with the crap that those previous generations went through, and that our rewards should be in direct relation to our effort. I have no qualms with those who work harder than I do to get those promotions over me. They deserve it, and I do not.
I leave you with a final question: If those older than us are really frustrated with the Entitlement Generation, and truly feel that we do not have the drive and potential to work hard, then why do they continue to give us those jobs?
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