Sunday, November 02, 2008

Day 2 - Trophy kids?

I saw a link yesterday from Shannon and it made me think.

The article is from the Wall Street Journal and it is about the "millenial kids" who are joining the workforce. These are the kids from the generation AFTER GenX, or those born after 1980. The point of the article is that apparently this generation of new workers has a vast sense of entitlement, and they want their new employers to accommodate them. So, only 40 hours a week; time with families; wearing comfortable clothes; and listening to iPods while working are becoming requirements that the newbie employees are putting on their employers.

Oh, and they want the big salaries, too.

Why would an employer bow to such hubris? Well, they are needing to replace the boomers who are rapidly aging into retirement. And, also according to the article, the employers realize that the Millenials are well educated and good workers, so they do want to capture them. The article points out that the sense of entitlement of these newbies isn't really their fault, after all, they were raised with lavish praise for every good little thing they did, and with enough money that they didn't really feel the need to work hard. Additionally, the employers who are now having to deal with the Millenials needn't look much farther than their own homes, as they are often the ones raising the kids with these types of expectations.

I was kindof amazed at the article. I am smack in the middle of GenX and had to hear about how my generation was full of slackers. But somehow I managed to realize that if I wanted to "get ahead" in life, I was going to have to become educated, and work hard. I didn't want to go to school indefinitely, so I took a few years off after college and worked for a youth ministry and then worked for a couple political campaigns, just to get a feel for things.

It became glaringly obvious to me that I was going to need more education if I were going to "get" anywhere. So I went back to law school, full time, while working part-time. Now THAT was anything but slacker-like. Phew.

And then, after three rather grueling years, I got a job in a small law firm. Making less than the secretary who did not even have a college degree. It was a bit of a wake-up call. Not only was I paying for law school loans, and working at an entry-level position at age 30, but I was going to have to "prove myself" over several/many more years in order to get to where I assumed I "should" be.

I grumbled to myself over the next few years, when the staff went home at 5:30 and I was stuck at the office until 8:00 preparing for a trial. But I understood that one has to "build" a life. Brick by brick. And that I had, theoretically, unlimited earning potential. It was a small comfort, especially after I got married and actually wanted to spend time with my husband. (What? Leave work before 8:00 at night?? Not work on Sundays? Really?)

But that is nothing compared to what these Millenials apparently feel. I mean, I cannot find a babysitter for less than ten dollars an hour these days. Seriously. I have a really hard time finding high school kids even to babysit for THAT kindof money. Apparently they have better things to do with their time. Apparently they don't need to make money. And they shop at places where t-shirts are more than $25.00.

Hmm. Entitlement.

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