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The Entitled Generation

I recently read an interesting article at the New York Times online site titled: “American Dream Is Elusive for New Generation“.  In that article it details the story of a college graduate.  This story is different because the story is about a man who opted to turn down a well-paying entry-level place within an insurance company because he feels that it is beneath his education.  I took a moment to let that sink in a bit.  Working for almost 20 years in restaurant management,  I have worked with four different generations of workers.  The article above focuses in on the recent college grads, often called millenials.

I have worked with these kids since they were first able to enter our work force, at the age of 14 or 15 years of age.  They all seem to share a major characteristic that other generations in the workforce have not.  They have a very strong sense of entitlement.  What I mean by that, is that these people feel that they shouldn’t have to start at the bottom, they feel that their education,skills, and connections should make up for any lack of experience they may have.  It’s almost like they feel they are given whatever they want because they ask for it.

As these former teenage employees are now finishing college and attempting to enter the workforce, they are finding the road tough going.  Of course this is not all their doing by being millenials.  The economy is in the biggest implosion since the 30’s, and no respite from that appears in sight.  However, rather than hunkering down and taking whatever they can get, many are choosing to wait it out and not search for a job at all.  This generation seems to want to hit the home-run on their very first job out of college.  I have to wonder what kind of impact this will have on the economy as the unemployment rate for recent college grads has already doubled since the beginning of this troubled economic period.

I don’t want anyone to think that this generation is a bunch of lazy freeloaders.  I think this generation is perhaps one of the most intelligent, savvy, and dedicated I have worked with.  I simply think that too many times they shoot themselves in the foot because they are constantly on the move trying to land that “perfect” job.  Working your way up, and doing the proverbial paying your dues, helps a great deal as the career progresses.  I think this has been lost on a generation that feels the need to question everything in their effort to understand the meaning behind every directive.

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About Mike Lemons
I'm a guy in his 40's who has been bumming around the net for years. I am married to a wonderful woman, and have 3 gorgeous kids.

5 Responses to The Entitled Generation

  1. dgreatblog says:

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  3. Shuli says:

    I know this is an older post but I feel compelled to comment anyway! First of all, I completely agree, so thank you. I am in my late 20’s and graduated college several years ago, so not sure if I fall into Generation Entitlement (I’m kinda hoping the answer is no… Ha).I do want to point out that I see a major difference between myself and my brother, who is still in his early 20’s and has at least 2 more years of school ahead, if not more.
    I strongly understood the concept of “paying my dues”. I was also fiercely independent and started babysitting in H.S. so I could have some of my own money. All throughout university, I worked part-time so that I wouldn’t have to depend on my parents for everything (I didn’t go away for school so still lived with them). Did I love working retail or menial restaurant jobs? No, of course not! But I *knew* it was par for the course while I was in school. I did work at some part-time jobs that I enjoyed more, but for the most part I realized that they were only temporary and that I’d just have to deal with it for the time being.I never quit a job without something else lined up. When it came time for me to find a “real” job after graduation, I accepted something that was not completely ideal, but hey, the pay and benefits were decent and I needed experience (and rent money so I could finally move out!!).
    Now, onto my brother: he has quit various part-time jobs because he’s “bored” of them and consequently, has spent summers lazing around because he thinks a “boring job at a bakery” or whatever, is beneath him. He now has a pretty decent job at a small restaurant but says he wants to leave soon because he’s not “learning anything”. Unbelievable! He thinks he will get accepted for an unpaid internship (which means at 22-23 he would be begging Mom and Pop for cash) with almost no valid course experience under his belt. I told him he has the rest of his life to work and “learn” and that now he has to pay his dues so to speak and “suffer” like so many of his did when we were younger, but all that falls on deaf ears. Very frustrating.I also recognized him in your blog post; he is absolutely the kid who thinks he will make it big right after college. I think he and others like him are in for a real surprise…
    We had a temp at the office last year who was the same age as my bro and had much the same attitude. She worked at a cosmetics counter part time but after just one year of schooling, she complained that she wanted a part-time job that was more “interesting” and “useful”. I think that’s such a priveleged and bratty attitude! I guess I’ll never understand.

    • Mike Lemons says:

      Thanks for the response. Your analysis through your own situation and experiences definitely underscores the situation with the current generation entering the workforce.

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