Wake up, smell the coffee: Time to pay your dues
Published: Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, January 22, 2013 18:01
It’s clear that attitudes between generations are becoming drastically different as a whole. Grandparents and even parents are often left flabbergasted by the millennials’ (those born between the year 1980 and 2000) attitudes and actions. These children and young adults are often labeled as lazy and unappreciative.
There are outcries from the modern workforce that incoming new hires from high school and college have no work ethic. Some blame modern technology. Others blame the education system. However, neither of these are the core reason why the generation known as “the future” are failing to impress. It really all comes down to a simple concept — entitlement.
Today’s children and young adults feel entitled to a good life. The reasons for this are threefold. First, parents are giving their children everything, often not making them put any effort into earning what they have. Second, nearly every example of successful parents’ children are essentially, at least in the observer’s eyes, handed their riches and fame. Lastly, parents focus on raising their children’s self-esteem, making them all believe they’re something special.
No parent wants their child to suffer. We cherish children, and seeing them in tears is often one of the hardest things to observe. As such, many parents give them everything they can to assure the least amount of suffering. Unfortunately, this is often quite volatile, as children are handed everything, and are trained that this is normal.
According to the Washington Times, only 16 percent of high school students are holding jobs. For reference, in 1990, 32 percent held jobs. Children still need to eat and clothe themselves, so this means 84 percent of parents are paying for everything.
The Fiscal Times reports 62 percent of college students are receiving help from their parents. That seems better, but you also have to factor in the number of parents that can’t even afford to pay (high school is much cheaper than college).
Besides being handed everything, children no longer view success as something they need to work for. It used to be that the successful people put in blood, sweat and tears to get to their position of prestige.
Now we have people like Snooki, being paid millions of dollars to essentially make a fool of herself. Everywhere you look, people are recognized for a “talent”, and in response, are paid truckloads of money to use that talent. In response, instead of trying to work for money, people are putting all their emphasis in trying to find their talent and being recognized. Don’t believe me? Check out YouTube.
Of course, there are still people who work hard for their money, namely the CEOs of major companies. But these people don’t get the spotlight unless they do something wrong, and the amount of work they do is rarely talked about unless they write a book. Instead, the rich idols are people in Hollywood, sports stars and lottery winners. The media erupts with information of their lavish lives, making them seem like gods, and causing millions of children to idolize them.
The finishing blow is a nationwide focus on self-esteem. With depression rates at record highs (one in 10 Americans), every parent wants to make sure their child is happy, and as such focuses on making them feel unique and special. The problem with this is the child gets such an inflated ego that they think they’re too good to do basic tasks.
According to an MTV study of 2,000 young adults ages 14–24, 71 percent agree they are “too talented to punch a clock or sit in a cubicle.” Fifty years ago, the majority of jobs were manual labor, and workers were happy to put in a hard day’s work to earn money for themselves and their family. Now, teens think they’re too good to even mop a floor.
This sense of entitlement has to stop. Young adults need to wake up and realize the world doesn’t just magically function with zero effort. Parents need to embrace and encourage their children to work for their earnings, and help them develop a sense of pride for accomplishments through labor. If we’re going to prevent China from basically owning Americans in the coming years, everyone needs to do their part in providing constructive output for our country.
It starts with an attitude adjustment.
Quit fantasizing about bathing in money after winning the lottery, and go out and do something meaningful. Your parents are the only ones that believe you’re a beautiful snowflake who deserves the world; wake up, smell the coffee and put in an honest day’s work.
Alexander Vervloet is a senior in communications. The opinions expressed in his columns do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Barometer staff. Vervloet can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Rantsweekly.