For a while now, the ‘generation gap’ meant that our parents didn’t understand why ripped jeans cost twice as much as regular ones, why boys had to wear their pants down around their knees or why every other word coming out of their child’s mouth was “like.”
Now it seems that the generation gap has expanded through all aspects of life.
Instead of just punching out some random opinions I thought I’d tell you a story! So here’s how my generation story goes!
Being referred to as Gen Y was never really a part of my life until I met Andrew.
Andrew is an old school friend of my partner John’s. He is extremely funny, very quick witted and seems to be fascinated with the whole Gen X, Gen Y thing!
While there is a 12 year age difference between John and I, I never really categorised us into different generations…. until I met Andrew!
So what or who are Gen X and Gen Y? In the UK the term Generation X was first used in a 1964 study of British youth where the study revealed a generation of teenagers who “sleep together before they are married, don’t believe in God, dislike the Queen, and don’t respect parents”.
There are a few differing opinions on who actually falls into the category of Gen X ranging from 1961-1981 and 1965-1978.
Generation Y (apparently also referred to as Millennials) also has differing opinions surrounding the years of birth ranging from 1977-1995 and 1982-2003. Either way I definitely fall into Gen Y and my other half and Andrew definitely fall into Gen X.
So how has the generation gap spread across all aspects of life?
Firstly to properly understand how a Gen Y mind works you need to understand what was happening in the world when we were born/growing up.
We Gen Y’s came of age during a time when technology was rapidly growing, (faster than anyone could have imagined), and was becoming extremely popular.
I believe that more was expected of us because of this rapidly changing technology that meant we were expected to become more efficient, smarter and faster in everything that we did. This could therefore explain some of the characteristics that are associated with Gen Y: tech-savvy, achievement-oriented and attention craving! Where it has backfired is the unflattering associated characteristics of lazy and spoilt.
So while Gen X decided to rebel, according to the UK study, Gen Y developed a reputation for basically being spoilt, not wanting to work as hard and expect everything to be handed to us on a silver platter.
Enter the workplace argument. In relation to employment the generation gap now means employers don’t understand why twentysomethings straight out of Uni expect a high salary, lots of benefits and holiday time.
Employees under the age of 29, (yes Gen Y), expect their employers to provide more benefits and other perks than their older counterparts, according to a new survey from CareerBuilder.com and Harris Interactive. Gen Y workers want better pay, a flexible work schedule and company-provided BlackBerrys, mobile phones etc.
This is a regular sore point with John and Andrew as they whinge about up and coming Architects and Lawyers (John is an Architect, Andrew is a lawyer) expecting to walk into high paying jobs straight out of Uni. I can hear the conversation in my head, “When I was in my early 20’s I started on $19,000 after 5 years at Uni and I still managed to have a great life, go away on trips and still pay my rent and eat”.
So while the cost of living has increased over the last 20 years as well as Uni fees etc, are our Gen Y expectations really that unreasonable and who is to blame? This goes straight back to the time in which we Gen Y’s were born.
Yes, I can hear the comments now that these are just excuses for lazy kids. But as with any stereotype, they are all very big generalisations. For every lazy/spoilt Gen Y kid surely there would be at least 3 Gen Y kids who worked their butts off to achieve what they have today.
So for all you lazy/spoilt/ungrateful Gen Y’s out there put your iPhone down, pull your finger out, work hard and stop giving the rest of us a bad name!
Check out Mia Freedman’s blog for a great post on Gen Y chicks earning as much as the Gen Y guys: http://tinyurl.com/dx9577