Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Bitchin' 'bout my generation

This article has been published on Homepage Daily, please view it there.

If there is one good thing coming out of the Global Financial Crisis, the media agrees, it is that those cocky Gen Y bastards are getting the reality shock they deserve. The wheel has turned, and the first thing to get crushed beneath it will be their delusions of grandeur.

Incoming Gen Z, born in the late 90’s, are already being touted as society’s saviors with more fiscal responsibility and a better work ethic - despite that fact that none of them have hit their teens.

By contrast, Gen Y are “impatient, disloyal and demanding“ and have recently been exhorted to not be picky ”job snobs” in the new recession world order. Follow the minimum wage pay packet, not your overblown dreams, is the stern message.

But what have Gen Y done other than be young and optimistic in a time of optimism? Being a snarky cocky know-it-all with little respect for authority and a desire to make your mark on the world is not new. An Assyrian clay tablet, dated about 2,800BC, bemoans society in a timeless and timely quote - “Our earth is degenerate in these latter days; bribery and corruption are common; children no longer obey their parents; and the end of the world is evidently approaching.”

But the world still hasn’t ended and Gen Y are now living through their first recession. Yes, many of them have unrealistic expectations of adulthood and what they will achieve. Most young people do. Dreaming big is part of being young. Older generations know that. They have lived through their own cocky years, as well as the recession cycle. They've been here before, and should be able to empathise.

But the sheer delight with which they are watching the Gen Y dream being crushed says far more about the small and selfish nature of the older generations, rather than those they ridicule. Gen Y may be overconfident and loud about it, but their only real crime as they have committed was to naively swallow the optimistic hype delivered to them by older heads who, having seen the cycle before, knew the wheel would turn again.

Sadhbh Warren was born in Cork, Ireland, but is living in Australia as they have nicer weather, fabulous beaches and the pubs open late. Demographically she’s either an immature brat of a Gen X, or an early adopter Gen Y, but she has decided to reject both and declare herself Generation Snark.
Not being a job snob, she has worked as a promotions girl, professional mover, travelling carnie and one of Santa's elves. All of these were more fun than office work.


  1. They make such wonderful skapegoats...just as GenX did a few years ago and the Baby Boomers did before them.

  2. This concept of 'gen x' vs 'gen y' is just bloody stupid: the birthrate is a continuum; there is no discrete break between 'generations' that allows for such labeling.

    Such generalisation, much like the nonsensical 'four colours + Native' that I see here in Canada a lot, overgeneralise to the point of absurdity.

    They're not even *slightly* useful...

    Anyone who complains about 'gen x' this or 'gen y' that is automatically put in the 'unthinking twit' box, as far as I'm concerned...

  3. I am one of those 'unthinking twits' who do complain about Generation Y. I do speak to a lot of people who fall into that age bracket who want the title without the responsibility or the hard work that goes with it and have a sense of entitlement. At the same time, I don't think it's right to try and crush Gen Y's dreams and that they should stop being picky and just settle. I just think they need to work harder to achieve those dreams and not stop at the first hurdle or sign of rejection. No one should do that at any age.