The consequences of GenX's sweet talk.
The way work has been discussed lately has changed a lot from what it used to be before GenY entered the labour market. It seems like GenY, my generation, questions many of the things that were utterly normal to GenX; not necessarily to GenY's liking.
Many have raised their voices against our generation's idealistic belief that we can have it all: a great career, money, a family, amazing friends and a fulfilled party-life. GenX sees these ambitions as unrealistic. They think we're dreamers.
A couple of days ago a very angry email reached my mailbox. This is part of the email I received:
"We are sick of a younger generation saying "woe" is me I can't find a job that does not pay me enough money to pay off my college loans, afford a car and a house etc. immediately, yet alone gives me "fulfillment".
Guess what? Many of us (that are not on welfare) got out of college during a recession. We worked as waiters or waitresses while we also answered phones during the day. Nobody saw anything wrong with this and nobody complained. We do not expect fulfillment to come from anywhere but from where we can make it on our own. Real life pays the bills. The rest is just gravy.”
I completely get it. I understand what bothers them (especially this woman). Still, I believe there are reasons why we got to this point and I think it’s about time to look at the situation from another perspective.
This is part of my response:
"Every generation has its own struggles, aims & aspirations. Being part of GenY myself, I’ve watched how my parents went to work without necessarily enjoying themselves. To make matters worse, they worked so much there wasn’t much time left to spend with us, their kids. To keep us busy, they sent us to piano classes, drawing classes and whatever classes you can possibly think of. We grew up with the idea of self-optimisation, with the idea that we must get better at everything we do.
Our parents also told us something that might have led to what you’re so critical about: They told us that we could become anything we wanted. Now, my generation is taking advantage of what we’ve been told for so long.
If you blame GenY for being idealistic, think about where we got the idea, that we could allow ourselves to think the way we do.”
Dear GenX, you had great intentions and we love you for that. Now deal with the consequences.