“I can attest to the fact that not every 80s and early-90s kid is a precocious arsehole at work.”
A little while ago, in a piece for Sunday Life, columnist, author and ex-Vogue editor Kirstie Clements penned an oft-repeated argument: that Gen-Yers are an overly-confident, entitled, I-want-everything-yesterday bunch of upstarts.
If you buy into the common rhetoric about Gen Y, you’ll be believe us to be politically apathetic, self-entitled little shits who have no sense of our real place in the word. It’s a view held by many of the Gen Xers I know and work with, nothing in Clements’ piece was news to me: 40-something women want 20-something women to stop demanding pay rises after 37 seconds in a job, they want us to have better manners, to cool it on the attitude and be grateful for what we’re dealt.
And you know what? As a hard-working 28-year-old, I’m up to here (*dramatically waves hand way above her head*) with the women above me, who I respect and aspire to be like, telling me I think “hard work and respect for seniority are optional” – Clements’ words, not mine.
LISTEN: The Mamamia Out Loud team debate the ongoing generational dilemma. Post continues after audio.
I don’t actually… I think that hard work is mandatory if you want to be successful and I have a deep respect for my superiors, I use every chance to soak up knowledge from them.
Being smack bang in the middle of the Gen Y generation (1980-1995), and also having managed a bunch of millennials peers, I can categorically attest to the fact that not every 80s and early-90s kid is a precocious arsehole at work. Nope, not even close.
Many of these women are the hardest-working, most-determined, and most-respectful I’ve ever come into contact with. And for those of us who consider ourselves in this good bunch, being continually painted with the “bloody Gen Y” brush is tiresome and demoralising.
As a generation we are not without our problems, I know that. We do expect a lot, from ourselves and others because we have been raised by parents who told us that we could be anything that we want to be and that we shouldn’t let ANYTHING stand in our way. “Shoot for the stars because the worst case scenario is that you’ll land on the moon” – how many of my fellow Gen Yers were fed this line by their parents?
Some of us are crappy workers who expect to be CEO four years into our career. We constantly need to know where we are going and how long it will take to get there. And for managers this is bloody tiresome, particularly if the wannabe Managing Director is a junior who is, er, lacking in talent.