Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Gen-Y: It Just...Sucks? Really?
To keep pulse on Gen Y, Josh and I frequently peruse Google News and sign up for Google alerts for anything related to Echo Boomers, Gen Y, and Millennials. As I looked for some relevant blog topics this evening, I stumbled across an op-ed on statehornet.com titled, "Gen Y: It Just Sucks".
The surprising thing about the article is the author, Jordan Quinn, ultimately states that Gen Y is a bunch of whiners and losers who are refusing to realize the amazing opportunities they have. He goes on to call Gen Y females "sperm banks" and seems to have a serious problem with Ecko-wearing, flat-billed hat sporting gentlemen who didn't hear their professor. Although he acknowledges that Gen Y does have an elite group of diligent students, they are far outnumbered by lazy sperm banks that like people with Ecko shirts and have problems paying attention to their professors.
When I hear such negative talk about Gen Y and how we're all lazy, self-absorbed, or generally useless in society and in the workplace, I'm reminded of the Pareto rule I learned in college. The rule generally states that 80% of your problems/productivity/anything comes from 20% of your processes/people/anything.
With that in mind, I think it's worth going out on a limb and saying that yeah...Gen Y is generally lazy, self-absorbed, and useless. However, that's the way most of society has worked for most of modern history. Heck, what made "The Greatest Generation" the greatest generation was that they probably actually all were affected (and effected) one of the greatest causes and wars in history. It's not just Gen Y who's caught up in the rat race and doesn't have a clue about global issues and squanders the opportunities they have to help their neighbor, fight global hunger, eradicate preventible disease in the third world, or generally benefit society.
The truth is that it is the power of very few that make the biggest differences in society. Mother Teresa, Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., and many others were one person in their generation, race, and/or culture that profoundly affected an entire planet. It is no different with Gen Y; for the 100 Gen Y that do nothing or will squander their opportunities, you will see a talented and very driven few in Gen Y taking advantage of every opportunity and galvanizing the world (and their generation) to action. Over the next few years, we will see the elite Gen Y rise up and make a difference in their world.
Take heart, Jordan Quinn; Gen Y is generally lazy, self-absorbed, and useless. Then again, it's debatable that most of this world would fall into that category as well. Let's try to look at the glass half-full.