06 October 2009

Gen-Y: Work Hard and Appreciate Every Penny.

There have been so many discussions about Gen-Y and comparing them to previous generations.  And this article by Sasha Halima about Generation Recession (her blog is great I would recommend reading more than just this article).  She quotes an article from the Times that compares Gen-Y or Generation Recession to The Silent Generation cultivated by the great depression.  And while I understand the point she is bringing up about how similar circumstances in the economy could bring out similar characteristics in the affected generations the characteristics listed frustrate me.

I am not a hard-worker because the economy is hard, I work hard because I was raised that way.  While I do feel that many Gen-Yers are working twice as hard right now because of the need from the economic downturn (check out last post about Gen-Y and ZZZZs) a part of me is a little offended that people believe that there have to be poor economic times for people to work hard.  And I'm definately not saying that Sasha Halima thinks we're lazy and only work because of the hard times, she's a Gen-Y-er looking for work too.  But why is a hard economic climate a "challenge to the American Dream?"  I thought the 'American Dream' was that people who work harder get what they want in life: great jobs, raises, recognition, etc.  Not people who work hard...but people who work HARDER.  At least, that's how I was raised.  And the idea that one could feel "not good enough" is not always a negative feeling.  I was raised hearing "that was great" and then I was encouraged to do better.  Not because I was inadequate but because not reaching your full potential is inadequate.  I believe its healthy for people to feel "not good enough" every once in awhile, it keeps you from getting stagnant and encourages forward-motion

Our society is built on work-a-holism.  That's right, if you want to be successful you need to be a workaholic.  And when times are hard those people who expect to soak up the American Dream without that work ethic are not going to get very far and I think that's where the frustration lies.  Those Gen-Y-ers who never learned to work hard are going to be frustrated because they don't know how.  Am I frustrated that I am unemployed...yes, absolutely.  But its natural that a college graduate is frustrated that they just spent thousands of dollars on a diploma and now have no way to pay back their student loans.  And I also think that when you have a goal and its taken you over 6 months to fulfill it (I started job searching in plenty of time to find a position before graduation in June) you're going to be frustrated.  But I think more importantly the frustration that people are feeling is not that people are not getting their American Dream but because the economy is so tough it is becoming difficult to WORK on your American Dream (because job searching is NOT part of it).  My dream is not to be handed a job where I make millions of dollars without doing any work.  I want to work hard, feel fulfilled in my work, and eventually make a good salary because I deserve it; because if you don't deserve your salary you won't appreciate it...and you should appreciate every penny.     

It's just inconceivable that someone would not have some insecurities about life in the long-run or how they're going to pay off their student loans, no matter how difficult the economy is.  I guess my Gen-Y frustration is not any of these listed (although I am frustrated with my job search simply because 6 months is a long time) but that people insist on making Gen-Y out to be a generation without a work-ethic of their own who work only for their own gain.  I work hard because I don't feel good about myself when I don't, because my parents (who did NOT grow up in the Depression) taught me that working hard is how you move forward in life and working hard is the best way to help the most amount of people.  Maybe I don't think like the rest of Gen-Y but you should be working hard all the time, not just when you need to.  You should take time periodically to realize what you're doing could be "not good enough" and figure out what you need to do to make yourself better, and as for counting pennies...my sister is a waitress...every penny counts and if you've only got one...take it to Meijer and ride the plastic pony (I usually take my niece, I'm a little too big, LOL) because even a penny can get you something. 

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