Gen Y’s bad press unfair
It is a rite of passage that every older generation never tires of telling the younger generation that: ‘it wasn’t like that in my day’ and ‘you don’t know you’re born.”
As much as Gen X, the punk rock, video game playing generation would never admit it, that is exactly what it is thinking and saying about the emerging Gen Y. Prejudicial comment is invariably generalized and, in every generation since the dawn of time, there is ample example of the good and bad, the driven and lazy, and the sharp and dim witted. But unquestionably, Gen Y, for all its education, media savvy and technological advantages, it is emerging into ‘the real world’ with a severe image problem that is contributing to a noticeable and unhelpful ‘generation gap’ in the workplace.
Such a profile is not helped by the media which, of course, thrives on generalisation to add emphasis and weight to a point, and it is almost certain that stories of young candidates turning up to interviews with unrealistic expectations fuelled by media, television and internet are true, there are also plenty of well rounded, well balanced and realistic youngsters that are great assets to organisations.
Only two decades divide X and Y, but despite being close in terms of years, what has widened the generation in the past 20 years is largely due to the all-invasive, 24/7 media and the internet, all fuelling a set of expectations and understanding that is often ridiculous. But it is the older generation that must shoulder the blame and accept the consequences. For it was, and continues to be, Gen X that created the platforms, the environments, the technology and the resulting attitudes and expectations.
In truth, the weight of unrealistic expectation is on Gen Y’s shoulders. As Gen X is exposed as the creator of false gods and fools gold, it is the emerging generation that is left with the unenviable task of redefining the world, and only time will tell if it is armed with the necessary tools and skills.
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