Are we 20-somethings just lazy?

I wanted to write a response to an article I read entitled “Generation Y are you ready to become Generation Yes?” by Christine Hassler, who is apparently an expert on us 20-somethings. This article talks about how our generation is dealing with the bad job market. It’s not necessarily flattering and it really rubbed me the wrong way. I wanted to write a little response to some of the more offensive sections.

“The Gen Yes’ers are those of you who are saying “yes” to your current situation. You are working, proactively looking for a job or embarking on an entrepreneurial path. You understand the opportunity your generation has to make an impact on the world. You are responding and taking responsibility. The Gen whY me’ers are those of you who are upset over your current situation. You hate your job, feel underemployed, are unemployed or resigned to living at home. You feel wronged by the government, educational system, corporations or your parents. You are angry that your generation is going to have to clean up the mess previous generations have made.”

I would like to say that I am indeed a Gen Yes’er as I have looked proactively for work and am still looking. However, I am also upset over my current situation and if I’m underemployed, unemployed or resigned to living at home of course I am going to be upset. I wouldn’t call our feeling “bitter” so much as “frustrated.”

 “I apologize that a college degree does not come with a job guarantee. But is that the only reason you went to college? Think about the self-discoveries you made, the opportunities you had and the friends you have now. College is an incredible investment in your life experience, not just your work experience. Stop devaluing your education just because you don’t feel like you’re getting paid back for it now.”

The issue is that we’re not getting paid at all and most of us sacrificed a lot of money for this “investment.” I would venture to say that although it’s a great life experience and all, the main reason we went to college was to get a job. College is a financial investment into our future and it’s supposed to be a fairly safe investment. Many of us had to take out loans or work long hours to pay for college because it was the best way to secure our professional future. We paid that money so that we could get a higher paying job and have better opportunities for our future. Now we are stuck in debt with no way out and few opportunities. It is hard to try to support yourself and pay off that debt when you’re underemployed.

“Become part of “Generation Yes.” You are not victims of this economy. Your life is truly just beginning. Say yes to this challenge instead of attending the pity-party. Say yes to accepting the reality of what is rather than wishing it was easier. Say yes to opportunities that come your way instead of thinking that they are beneath you. Say yes to all that creativity and inspiration that is within you, and say no to the fear.”

I’m sorry but it’s hard to say “no” to the fear that you may not be able to afford a place of your own to live or, in the worst case scenario, afford your next meal. Am I supposed to say “yes” to the opportunity of being a manager at McDonalds? How will that help my career? I have no problem working part time jobs (I have worked at Dairy Queen) but when I am looking to start an actual career I honestly feel that manager at McDonalds may hurt my resume. Instead we are forced to fight for internships that pay absolutely nothing and are still competitive just so that our resume will show that we are actively working on our professional career. However, that doesn’t really solve the “where will my next meal come from?” problem.

You can read the full article here. Do you guys agree or disagree?


14 responses to “Are we 20-somethings just lazy?

  • Yvonne

    Most definitely agree with you.
    That article really rubbed me the wrong way as well. I’m always amazed when one person can speak for a whole group of people. Ugh.

  • Leah

    Great retort, Rebekah! I completely agree! In my opinion, the real education the recent graduates need is on how to stay debt-free.

  • Jessica

    This article completely doesn’t get it at all!

    BusinessWeek calls us a “generation in waithood” and I honestly think that is a MUCH better way to describe it!

  • westonhicksWeston

    We were the first generation raised with the liberal parenting experiment of “affirmation”. We all grew up being told how special and brilliant we were. As a result, we have nothing to prove. To us, actual accomplishment is nice, but it would only prove what we already know. This is exactly how bums think. We’re unproductive, but more because liberalism liberated us from shame, to the injury of society and ourselves. Older generations only got credit for accomplishment, and operated under the fear of being a loser. That attitude much more conducive to achievement.

  • westonhicksWeston

    I think I ultimately come down somewhere in the middle. College is way overrated, and not worth the money in many cases. We have reason to be disappointed, more with the often silly, outdated, already-proven-wrong stuff we’re taught than because we feel entitled to a job. The economy dictates how many jobs there are. if there were more jobs, people with degrees would still be getting jobs first. And I do agree that our generation is pretty lazy on balance, though there are lots of exceptions.

  • sarammck

    I definitely agree you with, I’ve read some other articles similar to this one (although, I can’t remember where I found them now). It’s really frustrating to read because, like you, I have been looking for jobs, both in my chosen field as well as part time jobs. I interviewed for one part time job where they interrogated me as to why I would be willing to take a job that I was over-qualified for, but there really aren’t many other options (btw I didn’t get the job for the reason that I was over-qualified), so I don’t really know why we 20-somethings shouldn’t be feeling frustrated? There’s only so much we can do!

    • rebekahmeinecke

      You put it so well! We are either over-qualified or under-qualified. We’re stuck in the middle and it’s a terrible place to be 😦

      • Katie

        Exxxactly. This is precisely what irks me. Recent college graduates don’t have the experience required for some jobs, and then the fight for entry-level positions is hardcore! With so many people out of jobs, the more experienced are willing to take lower pay and a lower job (aka the entry level ones) just to be employed. And…guess what? They get the job, not the newly graduated college students…because they have more experience. So…how are we supposed to gain those years of experience for the mid-level jobs if we can’t even get in at the entry level? We’re stuck.

        Meanwhile, I’ve applied to jobs that I’m overqualified for in the hopes of getting some form of employment, only to be turned away because of that fact. It’s frustrating….incredibly so.

  • Cary

    I don’t think all 20-somethings are lazy.

    Most, if not all, of my friends are working in some capacity this summer. I have both an internship and a part-time job (35.5 hours a week between the two), and it’s challenging, but I love it.

  • Triann

    Hey Rebekah, I think I know you from Flagler and I just wanted to give you kudos for using your “unemployed” time to make connections and contribute to the online world in a positive way!

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