Generation Y Me?


How ‘entitlement attitudes’ harm America

“Alarmingly increasing numbers of Americans, however, seem to have difficulty seeing any limits to their entitlement, and as a result of their “entitlement attitudes,” they’re behaving in ways that are harming themselves in the short run and the country in the long run. These are the 20-somethings who took six years to earn bachelors’ degrees, left college with $10,000 in credit card debt, and still feel entitled to big-screen televisions because “other people” have them, even though “other people” have worked harder, educated themselves better and saved longer… Slowly, over time, with the help of their parents, their teachers and our popular culture, entitlement attitudes blossomed, grew and ripened into full-blown, individual and societal, economic and interpersonal, disasters.

“Well-meaning parents are the foremost instillers and nurturers of entitlement attitudes. When they go beyond satisfying all of their children’s needs and start satisfying all of the children’s wants as well, these parents not only “spoil” the kids figuratively, but they also literally spoil the kids’ chances of learning how to manage resources responsibly. When kids learn to expect excess rather than to anticipate scarcity, they learn to expect needs and wants to be satisfied equally rather than to differentiate and prioritize between and among them. They also learn to expect others to make sacrifices for them rather than to be self-reliant. They lose the connection between getting what they want and doing something of value, and they learn to go about getting what they want by placing demands on others rather than by making themselves useful to others.”

More and more I think Generation Y is Generation Jaded.

We were promised the world.  I think we all expected a wonderful future.  Technology would solve all of our problems. It would be like the Jetson’s and everybody would be waited on hand-and-foot by robots. Technology would make the good life available to everybody, and everybody would live in a land of plenty.  The previous generations had all come so far, and were handing us a near utopia.

But I think more and more we’re realizing that utopias don’t exist.  This brave new world our parents handed us isn’t really a utopia at all.  It’s full of pollution and global warming.  The fears of the Cold War didn’t subside with the fall of the soviet union, but persist still due to an even more ambiguous enemy:  “terror,”  as if we could somehow fight and defeat a primal emotion.

I guess the way I see it is, it’s a matter of value.  There is no intrinsic value in anything.  Rather, we assign value to things based on how useful or pleasurable it is, and how difficult it is to obtain.

Back in the days before the printing press, people had to wait six months to receive a new book. Now, with the Internet, we can find the population of NYC in less than six seconds. This instant access to knowledge has made my generation lazy and ungrateful, addicted to instant access and fast, lightning speed social updates (i.e. Twitter, Facebook feed).

I am 25 years old and do not know how to use a card catalogue in a library. I think I spent a cumulative five hours in the library during my entire college career. All term papers and projects were done in my apartment with the help of my MAC. I, like most of my fellow peers, could coast through our classes with an ease equivalent to that of doggy-paddling, and it was all made possible by the ‘Net. 

This attitude of “I can get whatever I want without trying too hard” followed me on my tailcoats into the real world, where, I found out, one cannot simply “coast” through life. I was expected to earn my money, it would simply not just appear in my checking account. Elbow grease would be involved. 

Is Gen Y really this lazy and apathetic? Do we expect too much and do too little? When I graduated college, I expected employers to be lined up for miles offering me a job. Reality hit me like a sucker-punch to the face when I found out that this wasn’t the case. The world would not be my oyster, as I had anticipated it to be. There would be no pearls.

As my little brother so eloquently put it:

“Perhaps we’ve simply had too much handed to us.  In trying to make our lives better by giving us everything they wanted, our parents unwittingly made all of those things meaningless to us, and have left us feeling apathetic and unfulfilled, searching aimlessly for something to fill the void, for something to actually strive for.

“Or maybe that’s just progress.  Every generation hands off to the next that which they themselves wanted, devaluing it for their children, forcing them to forge forward in order to possess the next impossible dream and hand it off to their children, who will in turn take it for granted.”




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