|Failure to recognize the awesomeness of the
Millennials results from your lack of perception,
not from the fact that this entire generation of
self-entitled, know-nothing jerks sucks out loud.
‘Puter’s been known to heap hate all over Millennials. Sometimes, late at night, amidst one of his frequent Robitussin induced fugue states, ‘Puter wonders if he’s been too harsh on the Millennials. Perhaps there’s some hidden redeeming value ‘Puter’s missing. Maybe his biases have influenced ‘Puter’s thinking.
And then a Millennial will say, write or do something so amazingly self-centered and asinine ‘Puter will realize there is not enough opprobrium in the world to heap upon the “everybody gets a trophy” generation.
Witness one Emily Matchar’s opinion piece in today’s Washington Post, in which Ms. Matchar explains to the immensely stupid rest of the world that her generation’s detachment from reality will, in reality, save the evil business world from itself. Stand back, and watch a brilliant argument take shape:
These are the kids, after all, who text their dads from meetings. They think “business casual” includes skinny jeans. And they expect the company president to listen to their “brilliant idea.”
When will they adapt?
They won’t. Ever. Instead, through their sense of entitlement and inflated self-esteem, they’ll make the modern workplace adapt to them. And we should thank them for it. Because the modern workplace frankly stinks, and the changes wrought by Gen Y will be good for everybody.
See? The Millennials are so much smarter than everyone else who has come before them, that they — and only they — are uniquely qualified to dictate the parameters of a perfectly functional work environment. Did you know that Americans work longer hours than the average European? Even more shockinger, did you know American women don’t have guaranteed maternity leave like their enlightened European sistren? Ms. Matchar knows. She offers up these nuggets as if they offer new information, shedding new light on our national sweatshop of shame, rather than as the trite observations of a played out doctrine (so-called “feminism”) or as a proximate cause of a continent’s spiralling social and economic failure (Hi, Europe!). The self-parody is evident to all but Ms. Matchar.
Ms. Matchar does, however, make the following telling observation. Again, in her completely un-self-aware manner, Ms. Matchar does not realize her statement supports a conclusion exactly the opposite of the one she intends. Read on, if you can stomach more.
The current corporate culture simply doesn’t make sense to much of middle-class Gen Y. Since the cradle, these privileged kids have been offered autonomy, control and choices (“Green pants or blue pants today, sweetie?”). They’ve been encouraged to show their creativity and to take their extracurricular interests seriously. Raised by parents who wanted to be friends with their kids, they’re used to seeing their elders as peers rather than authority figures. When they want something, they’re not afraid to say so.
Millennials are only “not afraid to say so” when “they want something” because the parents of Millennials are abject failures. Someone, sometime, somewhere failed to give this generation the beating (physical or verbal, your choice) it so obviously needs and so richly deserves. Perhaps if the Boomers weren’t so caught up in self-esteem parenting, or worse, treating their larvae as fashion accessories, ‘Puter wouldn’t have to tolerate an entire generation of individuals with an obscenely inflated sense of self-worth and entitlement.
Here’s the harsh truth for Ms. Matchar. Most of the people in positions of authority don’t give two flying figs what newly minted Millennial Fill-in-the-Blank Studies majors think about the corporate climate. These kids have no real world experience running anything, let alone a multi-million dollar enterprise. Why should anyone listen to them? Why should corporate leaders who have done their time and earned their stripes through years of hard work and high performance tolerate Millennials’ aggressive rudeness? Millennials are no better than any who cam before them, and if half of what Ms. Matchar writes about Millennials is true, Millennials are far worse than prior generations.
But wait. It gets even better.
In a March MTV survey of about 500 millennials, called “No Collar Workers,” 81 percent of respondents said they should be able to set their own hours, and 70 percent said they need “me time” on the job (compared with 39 percent of baby boomers). Ninety percent think they deserve their “dream job.” They expect to be listened to when they have an idea, even when they’re the youngest person in the room.
“Why do we have to meet in an office cross-country when we can call in remotely via Skype?” asks Megan Broussard, a 25-year-old New Yorker who worked at a large PR firm for three years before quitting to become a freelance writer and career adviser. “Why wouldn’t my opinion matter as much as someone else’s who only has a few more years of experience than I do?”
These desires are not exactly radical. Who wouldn’t want flexibility, autonomy and respect?
Many of these snowflakes are already setting their own hours, refusing to work under conditions they deem less than desirable, and burdening either their parents (deservedly so, as their parents created them) or the taxpayers. “Me time?” Really? Listen, Millennials. If your job were fun, it wouldn’t be called “work,” and your employer sure as Hell wouldn’t pay you for it.
The behavior exhibited by many Millennials is what parents used to call “throwing a tantrum.” Others refer to it as the “I’m taking my ball and going home” syndrome. If Millennials can’t win, they won’t play. There’s a fine example of the spirit that built America. American history is replete with examples of our national heroes refusing to endure hardship to build the country.
George Washington refused to cross the Delaware on Christmas morning to surprise the Hessians in Trenton, turning the tide of the American Revolution because it was too cold and dark. Besides, there weren’t any seats, so he’d have to stand. Winning the war can wait for better weather, and larger transport vessels. According to Ms. Matchar, Millennials would be completely content with such a course.
‘Puter’s not certain whether Ms. Matchar is a brilliant satirist, shrewdly couching her critique of Millennials as rather an homage, or whether she is actually as clueless as she appears on first read. ‘Puter’s also not certain why he continued to read Ms. Matchar’s piece. Perhaps it’s for the same reason people slow down to gawk at a car wreck on the interstate. We know we shouldn’t, but we just can’t help ourselves.
Here’s some more of Ms. Matchar’s defense of her generation.
What’s different, says Lindsey Pollak, the author of “Getting From College to Career: Your Essential Guide to Succeeding in the Real World,” is how Gen Y-ers are asking for those things. Pollak, a consultant who advises companies on how to deal with Gen Y, says these workers — at least, the well-educated ones who can afford to make demands — want what everyone wants out of a job, they’re just asking for it in a more aggressive way. “And they’re the first ones to leave when they don’t get it,” Pollak says.
According to surveys, 50 percent of Gen Y-ers would rather be unemployed than stay in a job they hate. Unlike their child- and mortgage-saddled elders, many can afford to be choosy about their jobs, given their notorious reliance on their parents. After all, they can always move back in with Mom and Dad (40 percent of young people will move home at least once, per Pew research), who are likely to be giving them financial help well into their 20s (41 percent of Gen Y-ers receive financial support from their parents after college, according to research from Ameritrade).
Note how it is now perfectly acceptable to both child and parent for a late 20s “child” to return home, where Mommy and Daddy will provide for his every need.
To her credit, Ms. Matchar does eventually bundle all her data and observations into a jaw-dropping and shocking conclusion.
The American workplace has been transformed during economic upswings and downturns. The weekend was a product of labor union demands during the relative boom of the early 20th century. The Great Depression led to the New Deal’s Fair Labor Standards Act, which introduced the 40-hour workweek and overtime pay to most Americans. But now, workplace change is coming from unadulterated, unorganized worker pushiness.
So we could continue to roll our eyes at Gen Y, accuse them of being spoiled and entitled and clueless little brats. We could wish that they’d get taken down a peg by the “school of hard knocks” and learn to accept that this is just the way things are.
But if we’re smart, we’ll cheer them on. Be selfish, Gen Y! Be entitled! Demand what you want. Because we want it, too.
And there’s the conclusion for all to see. Everyone should be a self-entitled spoiled brat like Millennials rather than subjugating our ids and egos to our superegos. Let your inner toddler govern your life, and our nation. What could possibly go wrong?
No, Millennials (and Ms. Matchar). Not being able to bail out early from work to walk your rescue dog or have dinner with Grandma is not akin to being chained into a firetrap factory doing piecework for a pittance to enrich greedy garment makers. Not having government mandated maternity leave is not akin to being forced to mine coal as soon as you were strong enough to wield a pick and a shovel. Your struggle for flextime and nap rooms and more napkins in the cafeteria is not the stuff of which legends are made. Heck, it’s the stuff of which jokes are made. Quit fooling yourselves.
‘Puter’s clanged on about America’s recently found aversion to self-discipline, self-reliance and personal responsibility since GorT, Volgi and he started this blog back on July 24, 2008. Yet America’s self destructive aversion to suffering consequences for our actions has only gotten worse. So here’s a refresher course for you, ‘Puter style.
You are nothing special. There is always someone better, smarter, faster, stronger and/or prettier than you. The one and only thing that will set you apart from the pack is what you do with what you have. Bankruptcy courts are littered with super-smart, ultra-talented people who weren’t willing to put in the time, or who were too willing to take what they believed they deserved.
Half of Americans are average or below average in whatever trait we are discussing. Consider the very real possibility that you are below average. And be aware there is nothing wrong with being below average. It simply means that you are going to have to work harder than those who are more naturally gifted. You can also reassess your path, choosing one more closely matched to your natural talents, thereby leveraging your gifts to your benefit.
Wisdom comes with age. Many of your elders may in fact not be as smart as you are, at least on paper. But consider this before you start barking out your demands for Slip ‘N’ Slides in the men’s room, because Slip ‘N’ Slides are so ironic it would be awesome to have them in an unexpected place like the men’s room. Your elders have decades more experience than you do. It just may be that your elders have seen this movie before, and are pretty darned sure how it’s going to end.
As Shakespeare said, there’s nothing new under the sun. It’s likely that someone in the room you’re in has thought of and tried your brilliant idea before. You’ve no way of knowing that, though, as you’re as green as Sleestak. Rather than blurt out your demand to your boss, try finding someone you trust who has been around longer than you and discuss it privately with that person first. That way, you don’t look like a tool to senior management, both for your sheer gall and for your poor manners.
And there’s about eleventy gajillion more talking points ‘Puter could pry out of his collected works, but they all run in the same vein. Here’s the bottom line for the Millennials, the Boomers and anyone stupid enough to buy into their world view.
The world, including but not limited to your employer, owes you exactly nothing. Fear God, respect others, work hard and behave yourself. You’ll do just fine.
Always right, unless he isn’t, the infallible Ghettoputer F. X. Gormogons claims to be an in-law of the Volgi, although no one really believes this.
’Puter carefully follows economic and financial trends, legal affairs, and serves as the Gormogons’ financial and legal advisor. He successfully defended us against a lawsuit from a liquor distributor worth hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid deliveries of bootleg shandies.
The Geep has an IQ so high it is untestable and attempts to measure it have resulted in dangerously unstable results as well as injuries to researchers. Coincidentally, he publishes intelligence tests as a side gig.
His sarcasm is so highly developed it borders on the psychic, and he is often able to insult a person even before meeting them. ’Puter enjoys hunting small game with 000 slugs and punt guns, correcting homilies in real time at Mass, and undermining unions. ’Puter likes to wear a hockey mask and carry an axe into public campgrounds, where he bursts into people’s tents and screams. As you might expect, he has been shot several times but remains completely undeterred.
He assures us that his obsessive fawning over news stories involving women teachers sleeping with young students is not Freudian in any way, although he admits something similar once happened to him. Uniquely, ’Puter is unable to speak, read, or write Russian, but he is able to sing it fluently.
Geep joined the order in the mid-1980s. He arrived at the Castle door with dozens of steamer trunks and an inarticulate hissing creature of astonishingly low intelligence he calls “Sleestak.” Ghettoputer appears to make his wishes known to Sleestak, although no one is sure whether this is the result of complex sign language, expert body posture reading, or simply beating Sleestak with a rubber mallet.
‘Puter suggests the Czar suck it.