Generation Y – Are they really as bad as we say they are?

gen y

In my blog A TIME OF PONDERING – A TIME OF RECKONING I comment on the level of resentment towards baby boomers that I’ve found in the blogosphere. In that post I mentioned that I had no clue that generation X’ers as well as Generation Y’ers resented us so. I am fairly intrigued by this and as I dig deeper into these attitudes, I’m finding that the resentment seems to go in both directions. In the blog Generation Y, the author (kfulljames) lays out fairly clearly some of the reasons for the attitudes and beliefs of the “Gen Y’s” and Steve Olson in his article A Message to Baby Boomers and Generation X puts the responsibility of the attitudes of Generation Y squarely in the shoulders of the Baby Boomers and the Generation X.

As I read the ‘Generation Y’ article, I can’t help but think that these kids have a point! First, the “loyalty” that we are talking about is very much present in Generation Y – the difference is that they invest their loyalty in those things and people that will be in their lives for the long run. From what I could gather in the articles, it looks like for Generation Y loyalty is given first and foremost to the family. That loyalty extends itself to a very old saying, “to thy own self be true.” In their minds, being true to themselves encompasses the workplace and the value they bring to the business.

Generation Y rightly states that they grew up seeing how the loyalty given to the business institution was rewarded by lay-offs, by sending the jobs over to another country, by raiding the retirement funds and depleting them. In other words, the business institutions expect the individual to be loyal to them but they do not give any loyalty in return beyond the paycheck of the latest pay period. We are the ones that need to understand that Generation Y is the spearhead generation of the information age and the information economy. They are doing what our great-great-grandparents did when the industrial revolution got into full swing – they are creating! Generation Y talks in terms of being a contractor rather than an employee, having multiple income streams rather than one company paycheck; forgive me for pointing out the obvious but, isn’t this what we usually call entrepreneurial spirit?

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4 thoughts on “Generation Y – Are they really as bad as we say they are?

  1. I just wanted to say thank you! Sometimes you wonder if anyone reads what you put online at all 🙂 I appreciate how hard it can be to see things from the other side of the coin and I greatly appreciate your article. From my standpoint, I completely understand why we’re to be loyal to companies, and I’ve worked at 2 companies, each one for 5 years (which in IT is a very long time). I understand that you can’t just leave others hanging and that to do the right thing means that if you must leave, then you must leave on the best terms possible. You must make sure that the PEOPLE at the company you care about are taken care of. I prefer the term ‘company’ be used to refer to people, not the business (ie. my company of friends, my company of coworkers).

  2. Hi,

    Thank you for commenting on this blog. As a former IT guy, I can completely relate to the issues of loyalty that you discussed.


  3. Pingback: Generation Y - Do they really hate authority? « The Baby Boomer Experience

  4. As a generation Y myself I greatly appreciate this article. It has help me to clear some of my thoughts concerning the generation before me and why they put emphasis on things I (and others like me) see as a waste of time..

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