Danae Matthews doesn’t think Generation Y is equipped to handle the realities of the present-day workplace.
If you have been following Occupy Wall-Street and the general backlash that it has received, you will be familiar with the argument that GenY’s biggest problem is bad parenting and coddling. Several articles and interviews that I have read from CEO’s, comedians, and certain employed members of the 99% offer the opinion that as a generation our problem is believing in ourselves, and our parent’s perception of ourselves, to a fault.
Our parents rode around with, “My Kid is an Honor Student” bumper stickers crowding their rearview until the day we went to college. They did so despite the fact that the minimum requirement to receive “honor” status was basically good attendance and not getting detention. We were given trophies, ribbons, and special gold cords wrapped around our necks at our High School graduations to let our peers know we were smart, or at least smarter than them.
It’s been said that as a generation we believed that when we headed into college, and the subsequent workforce, we expected to find the same level of success we knew as youth. Work placement would be easy, people would be awestruck by our interview skills, and we would get gold trophies in the form of gold watches like gangbusters. When some of us found out that wasn’t the case, critics say we got mad. As if we stomped off the field with our panties in a wad, wet mud still in our cleats, and demanded our trophies! And when we didn’t get them we decided to do the only thing we knew how: tweeted about it till our fingers bled! And then we threw a fit.
I’ve never hired or fired anyone and so couldn’t speak as to why it is my generation is having a tough go of it. One thing I do know is that the effects of these beliefs marred not only the way GenY approaches our feelings toward work placement, but also how we conduct ourselves in relationships. When it comes to social decency and behavior, we are at a loss. Half of the people that I know don’t know how to have a proper conversation, let alone carry on a meaningful connection with a partner.
If I can say nothing else about my generation it is that we may be a group of privileged over-achievers promised unattained success, but we certainly are a group of people who don’t know how to operate in the real world.
Half of the friends that I have believe in all seriousness that they are so funny/original that if only an MTV producer saw them in their natural habitat, surely they would get their own show. They’ve cultivated their own secret ninja code language, talk in only nicknames, and post their text conversations via Twitter and Facebook because they are just that damn funny. With all of that self-confidence, why would they ever settle to sit behind a desk and work?
They don’t care that at one time in the real world people used to get to know each other using spoken word. That you had to start as an unpaid intern and slowly but surely claw your way up the ranks. That back in the day even if you got to the top to become CEO, you were 65 and too old enjoy any of the results your success brought you. Ah, the American dream!
Our self-confidence has impeded our progress in endeavors far beyond the work place. We have conditioned ourselves to believe that as individuals we are incredible, special, majestic flowers that deserve THE BEST when it comes to mates. When I go out with my friends, men might as well be holding up judging cards the way that they stand by the bar and not talk to women.
The idea that we should have to come off of our pedestals and settle for anyone is unthinkable! We want the best, because you see: we are the best. Don’t you know that when I was in the 10th grade I played volleyball for two months and got a “player of the month” certificate? Does that fact mean nothing to you? As if you thought you could really approach me at the bar when I am working with this much swagger and potential.
The fact of the matter is that this is the culture and belief that is pushed on us every day. Turn on the television and you see shows like Millionaire Matchmaker where redheaded girls are admonished for simply … having red hair. No one wants a redhead! How dare you allow yourself to keep that heinous color!
Due to the fact that we can’t work in the professional workplace, we have turned all of our collegiate genius onto other undertakings. We have become experts on judging one another. We have made following and documenting each other’s lives our main employment. If you aren’t that busy, at least you can make everyone on your Facebook page believe you are. And at the end of the day, no one is really impressed by one another anymore because we are all doing the same thing. Everyone knows the same tricks. What was once fun has made us blind with the inability to function outside of a social media vacuum.
Thrown together in real social context we become philandering imbeciles who no longer have the ability to come up with banter on the fly. I once carried on a two-month relationship with a guy who lived in a different state all via text. I swear we never talked on the phone except for a few times. When we finally got together in person we both realized how completely boring we found the other one to be. In real time conversation there was no 30-second delay that allowed us time to come up with the perfect response. I would think of my flawless, witty answer to all his questions mere seconds after I said something like, “Uh-huh, me toos!” Ugh, gross.
I think it’s time to take our heads out of the sand and realize just how much we are shooting ourselves in the foot. Everything takes longer when you write it out or do it electronically. Take, for example, this article: if I were to come to your house and explain to you what I am trying to say, it would take me three minutes. It’s taken me 1200 words thus far to simply say: if you’re 32-years-old and a girl is coming over to your house, call her to confirm plans and you better take that damn MVP Hockey Trophy from 1999 off the shelf above your bed.