I came across an article titled “Economy Hands Generation Y a Rude Awakening.” In it the author profiles various 20-something working professionals and how they have coped with the declining economy.
However, the premise of the article irritated me.
Gigi Douban, the author of the piece wrote: “We've all met them, 20-somethings who've been coddled by their parents and seem to expect everything to be handed to them. But the economy might just be changing Gen Y's outlook.”
Who are these spoiled 20-somethings and why haven’t I met many of them?
I tried to decide whether this flawed generalization pointed to different perspectives based on race, class, or both.
I’ve settled on class, because when she writes about a generation full of children who have been told the world will be handed to them on a silver platter, I’m assuming she means the upper middle class suburban kids she’s dealt with in her lifetime.
I, however, have never had anything simply given to me. I believe the same can be said for many other average Americans.
There are plenty men and women in their 20s both black and white who work very hard – and they outnumber the lazy ones.
Just this week I posted a letter from a 20-something college graduate who started her own business, in addition to working as a motivational speaker and financial advisor who provides investment advice and tax tips to those residing in low-income communities.
And since the start of this blog a number of those in their 20s and early 30s have written me and while they certainly have expressed their frustrations about their job losses, each of them noted that they were hard workers.
But for argument’s sake, let’s say Generation Y is an entitlement generation. Where exactly did they get it from?
From the generation that’s leaving them a huge national debt, an economy in peril, and will no doubt need Generation X and Y to support them and pay for their mistakes both literally and figuratively.
Yes, it’s been reported that some of the college graduations fortunate to land job offers have turned them down. That doesn’t necessarily suggest arrogance and naïveté. Rather, it says some young people have learned the mistakes of their parents and are hoping to avoid choosing the wrong job that will force them to be stuck with the wrong career path and level of compensation.
Other reports confirm that Gen Y is more apt than any other generation to keep their options open and explore outside opportunities. What’s that about 20 somethings expecting everything to be handed to them?
That said, the next time I read about the big bad Generation Y, I’d love to see writers spend less time trying to set a generation in its place and instead focus on how people of every age bracket are trying to do better in one of the least prosperous times in American history.
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Michael Arceneaux hails from Houston, lives in Harlem and praises Beyoncé’s name wherever he goes. Follow him on Twitter.