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Thursday, January 8, 2009

Generation E...

Ok, so we all know what Generation X and Y are... but Generation E?

That's the name that's been slapped onto those who fall into the under 30 demo portion of the population. And what does the E stand for?

Well, before I answer that, here are some hints...

"Why don't I have an office?"

"What do you mean I have to work through lunch and stay late?"

"Why can't I get a new computer... why do I get a used one?"

These and many like them are exactly the kinds of questions I hear, almost on a daily basis from "kids" who are so wet behind their collective ears they should wear waterproof clothes. (Note: Analogies have never been one of my strong points.)

So what does the E stand for?

ENTITLEMENT!

Geez, there's even a definition of it on Dictionary.com!

Main Entry: Entitlement Generation
Part of Speech: n
Definition: the group born between 1979 and 1994 who believe they are owed certain rights and benefits without further justification
Example: The entitlement generation expects higher salaries, flexible work hours, and ample time off.

Be it kids right out of college or a few years removed, nearly every one I come across comes fully equipped with a undeniable and irrefutable sense of Entitlement.

Asking is not an option. No, these kids demand AND expect to be given many of the same "luxuries" and "entitlements" that come with having put in years and years of blood, sweat and tears.

Working hard, paying their dues... sorry, not this group.

So the question is where does this sense of Entitlement come from?

College?

Perhaps. Maybe they've seen their friends land high-paying jobs right out of school and they too, think they will find similar green pastures.

Maybe it's their professors who are filling their heads with these delusions of grandeur?

Parents?

Have their parents done a poor job in preparing their kids for the "real world?" Have their parents not instilled in them, as mine did in me, the value of hard work, paying your dues, working your way up and all that good stuff?

I don't know for sure where, when and how this all started, but it is reality. Maybe not in your world, but I'm pretty sure it's in most.

Please share your thoughts..

Til next time.

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5 comments:

Kate Richardson said...

Oh Steve. I didn't want to be the one to say it publicly, so I'm glad you have. And don't tell anyone I'm commenting on this. Especially not my under 30 colleagues and friends but..

I HEAR YOU

I'll leave you with this little story:

Me: what are you doing
Gen E: um well person x asked me to help him with updating a spreadsheet but like I'm going to learn anything from that so I said no sorry I can't help you
Me: speechless

I think there are lots of reasons for this - like for example unprecedented access to information.

I also think there are brilliant things about the confident, ambitious, hyper informed nature of this generation.

It's not all bad but geez it can be annoying.

Anonymous said...

Our grandparents struggled through the Great Depression. Our parents flourished as baby boomers.

Our grandparents were frugal and taught our parents the value of a dollar. Our parents spoiled us, giving us the advantages they never had going up because their parents were frugal.

Because we were given these advantages growing up, we think we deserve them now.

Yeah, we're spoiled.

I'm sitting next to a bookcase filled with well over $1500 of video games and DVDs, typing this on my $1000 Macbook, sitting at a desk covered with nearly $3000 worth of computers and other electronics. My parents paid for 1/3rd of my car, and my great-grandpa (who died shortly before I was born) built a business, saved up, and is paying my way through college. I just got back from a month long winter break where I didn't work AT ALL.

You want to straighten out my generation? Put us to work -- real work. Teach us the value of a dollar, and the personal satisfaction of a job well done. Teach us the meaning of self-sacrifice. Challenge us beyond our wildest expectations, then encourage and drive us to succeed. Teach us what true and honest character is. And don't just tell us! Model these traits, so that we can imitate you. Whatever you do, don't give up on us. Don't write us off as spoiled brats that will never amount to anything.

The first time you tell a child to do something he doesn't want to do, he throws a temper tantrum. Tolerate, humor, or reward this tantrum and it will repeat in the future when you give him a command. But ignore him, watch him pout for a bit, and then watch his behavior change as he realizes that you aren't going to bend and he has to do this task anyway.

We're not lost. We just haven't grown up yet. Show us how.

(Today's culture doesn't help much. Seeing celebrities and politicians getting away with whatever they want makes us think we can too.)

Kate Richardson said...

Wow passionate inspired post anon!

But don't you think it reeks a tiny little bit of Gen E to ask the other generations to fix yours?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, pretty typical of us, I guess, but the blind can't lead the blind.

We can't be inactive, and I guess I missed that in my first post. To break out of Gen E, my generation has to make a move.

I recently started meeting weekly with a mentor to go over a book on leadership. I'm in college so I can get my Bachelors (Computer Science), and eventually my Masters degree (CS or MBA) and get a job that will support me and my future family sufficiently. I'm beginning to realize that to someday lead a wife and family, I need to start studying and practicing habits now that will help prepare me to be a good husband and father. When I'm at work, I do the best I can. I'm practicing entrepreneurship, looking to launch my first website (and start my first LLC) in the near future.

In my opinion, I'm on my way out of Gen E. Yeah, I'm selfish. Yeah, I'm self-centered. I have a long way to go, but I'll get out and hopefully, along the way, I can pull a couple of friends alongside to join me on the way out.

Steve Olenski... said...

Hey guys! Thanks for bringing something to the table and love that fire in the belly! That's what I'm talking bout..