BA560 Business Ethics
The Entitlement Generation
The entitlement generation has been described by many as being a generation of narcissist who believe that everything should be handed to them on a silver platter. Their views are a sharp contrast to the baby boomer generation. No longer is hard work esteemed instead it has been replaced with instant gratification and the need to have everything right now at this very moment. Some even describe the entitlement generation, or Gen Y, as the age where parents no longer parent but instead choose a more laid back approach to parenting where time out is the norm. Parents choose to be their child’s friend more so than a disciplinarian figure. The entitlement generation has ushered in a new wave of thinking which has caused some to devalue their contributions to today’s society.
The “entitlement generation” is a term used to describe those individuals that were born between 1979 and 1994. However some studies have even included those born as early as the year 1978 or as late as the year 1980. I personally know many people who are born within those years. Truthfully, my circle of friends mostly includes those born during these years. From my own personal assessment that there is a vast difference in the way Generation Y thinks as supposed to the previous generations. Born only a couple of years before, I am sandwiched in between the latter years of the Generation X and the start of Generation Y. While there are some members of the Gen Y era that are quite self-centered and lazy, it is not all of their making. I have this talk all the time and I strongly feel that the reason that Gen Y is not viewed as hard working and family centered as other generations is because of a number of reasons. First of all, the parents of Gen Y, which were classified as Gen X and possibly the Baby Boomers, were the ones who, in so many words, created the “monsters” that we now refer to as the entitlement generation. They were the ones who dropped the ball so to speak. I think that many of the Gen Xers were so into “make love not war” and the ideals of radical feminism that they neglected to pass on the ideals of family structure and hard work. Many members of the Gen X were relishing in new found opportunities for self-expression and freedoms that they failed to remember the core values that had brought us as a people thus far. Now I am not placing all of the blame on Gen X but I do feel that in order to find the “root cause” of this generation’s mindset of entitlement there must be a sense of accountability held by the previous generations.
Labeling Gen Y as the “entitlement generation” can be viewed as a gross misrepresentation or even a biased stereotype. To label any entire group of people based on the actions of some means putting into practice the use of stereotypes. There are some in every generation that make it seem bad for all. Gen Y was raised in an age of where they witnessed the emergence of technology as an everyday entity. With that said, they can truly say that they were the first generation to see many of the modern luxuries that we now take for granted. They are the first generation to not only see the advancement of the computer system but to also go from taking traditional college courses in a classroom to now being able to complete a degree without ever stepping foot on a college campus. Also keep in mind that they are a generation that has been heavily influenced by media in all forms. Gone are the days of anonymity and privacy. This generation has the ability to interact globally with TV, computers, and even phones. Then there is the Gen Y’s greatest contribution to the history of mankind (which I say with all due respect and a slight sense of sarcasm)-Facebook. You can now connect with people everywhere at any time. Who could have imagined that you would one day be able to have a virtual class reunion? No longer is there a need to rush to the gym to get toned. You can just put up a photo shopped picture on your profile and voila everybody will admire that chiseled body that you’ve managed to keep in shape since 1995. They are also the first generation to see people become famous for absolutely no reason at all, shall I dare say reality (or better yet non reality) TV.
The entitlement generation has ushered in a new wave of thinking which has caused some to devalue their contributions to today’s society. They are indeed a unique generation that has been raised with a strong sense of confidence that can sometimes be taken as having an air of narcissism. That may not always be a bad thing. They are creative geniuses that have made a tremendous mark on society. I just feel that we have witnessed a shift in society that no longer finds value in the old school way of thinking. Current thinking is “what is best for me right now”. This is just a sign of the evolution of society so we may as well brace ourselves for what’s to come.