Why The Baby Boomers Are Responsible For Gen-Y's Problems

by Paul Hudson

Everyone is complaining about Generation-Y. We have been the hot topic of discussion for the past few years and will continue to be the topic of discussion for at least another decade or so. According to the word on the streets we are the most awesome, horrible, intelligent, lazy generation the world has ever seen. We are riddled with faults, yet are still praised in many areas.

In all honesty, it can be difficult to pinpoint the status quo’s opinion of our generation because it varies depending on whom you ask, what you ask, and what mood those persons happen to be in. The truth of it all is that as amazing as we are, we have a lengthy list of faults that all too often counteract our amazingness. But is that really a fair way to gauge a generation’s usefulness? Would it not make more sense to compare a generation with their preceding generation in order to track whether there has been an overall improvement or movement in the right direction?

In my opinion, this is the only way that Generation-Y should be judged. In fact, this is the only way that any generation should be judged seeing as how the preceding generation is always the one doing the judging. It only seems fair that since the generation of baby boomers is so opinionated on and displeased with our generation that we be compared to them in order to decide whether our generation is a step in the right direction or in the wrong direction. A generation can only be judged by the differences between it and the previous generation.

Of course, one could decide to critique a generation on the actions alone, but seeing as how human beings have a ways off to perfection, we can assume that all generations will have flaws — the question that we should be asking is not what is wrong with Generation-Y, but is Generation-Y making progress in relation to their predecessors, the baby boomers. Then, once we see some of the biggest differences between our generation and the on before us, we can look at whether our ‘flaws’ are a result of our own doing or whether the problems with our generation that so many claim to exist stem from some other cause outside our control.

A Christmas Story 

There are a few complaints that you hear most often from our baby booming elders. The first is how incredibly lazy we apparently are. It’s easy to understand why such a claim is being made; the majority of Gen-Yers are either unemployed or employed at dead end jobs. So the argument is that we’re either too lazy to get a job or too lazy to get a ‘real’ job. I can understand the frustration.

When they were our age, the baby boomers were doing their best to get what job they could in order to work their way up to financial stability. They were taught that with enough hard work, you could push yourself ahead in life. To be fair, the baby boomer generation does have a superior work ethic to that of our generation.

They will work their hardest no matter how much they dislike the job or how much they despise the idea of getting stuck doing it for the rest of their lives. No matter whether they enjoy what they are doing or not, they will get the job done and get it done properly. Few Gen-Yers have this ability to work because they feel that is what they have to do.

That’s where the problems all stem from. While our parents (most of them) had to almost entirely make it on their own with little support from their parents, we have it easier. Because our parents worked their asses off, we no longer have the fear of going hungry or homeless; we have a safety net. One would think that this would be a good thing, but the baby boomers — although it was their purpose to make it easier for us — are now regretting not teaching us their work ethic. It’s one thing to work when you enjoy your job and another entirely to work and do a good job when you hate your job.

That’s the kind of work ethic our parents had that we do not have. However, at the same time something can be said for the fact that we acre unwilling to settle and that we have much higher aspirations than our previous generation. Unfortunately, because of the poor state of the economy — which if we are going to be pointing fingers, we’d have to point them at the boomers — the opportunities we believed we would have when we came of age we do not currently have.

It’s safe to say if the economy weren’t in such a poor condition that Generation-Y would be much more productive. But can anyone blame a Gen-Yer for not working a minimum wage job just for the sake of working when in reality he or she doesn’t need to support themselves? We often get told that we have this unwarranted feeling of entitlement. Maybe.

Or maybe we just know our worth and don’t see a reason for settling when circumstances don’t require us to settle and suffer for it. After all, most of us went to college — which is again thanks to the baby boomers — and since we were told that going to college would open wide the doors of opportunity for us — again, thanks to the baby boomers — we are now waiting for those doors to open.

We were told a whole lot growing up. We were told that we are special. That we are different and that we will do great things. We were told this all our lives and now when reality is kicking in, it turns out that doing great things is just as difficult as it always has been — maybe even more difficult now because thanks to being told about the wonders that a proper education will do to our futures, we are now all well educated; we are the best educated generation ever…but because we are all more educated, it’s a lot more difficult to stand out.

The baby boomers meant well, but the truth is that a whole lot of the negative remarks they have on our generation were, in fact, their own doing. We are a result of their guidance and teachings. We live in a world that they created. We play by the rules that they have set up. The only positive thing that can be said is that the baby boomers did do something right; they created a generation that outshines them in most ways. We are more tolerant, better educated, hungrier for success and more open-minded.

However, we are also lazy, unrealistic and overly hopeful. While our parents spent their lives digging in the ground, we spend our lives floating in the clouds. The point is that baby boomers shouldn’t be complaining about the generation that they themselves brought life to, the generation they molded and essentially created. On a brighter note, there is a good chance that our generation finally gets it right and we raise a far better next generation.

Top photo courtesy Wiki Commons