Memo to Gen Y:

16 Dec

Yesterday, a good friend and I were talking about the characteristics of “Generation Y,” our generation. If you could have listened in on the conversation, you would have probably thought we were from our grandparents generation, complaining about “kids today.”

To give you the context that my friend and I are coming from, I thought I would share a few details from our backgrounds that probably affect why we think the way we think. We tend to share the same fundamental views, although you wouldn’t know it because all we ever do is debate 90% of the time! More importantly, we are both west Africans who had parents who came from nothing to be where they are today. With that in mind, we look at our generation and especially the society that we live in, with a little concern. So, here is my memo to my generation, Generation Y:

1. Dream and DO. I don’t want to confuse the message I had in my previous post. I believe it is very important to have goals but I believe it is just as  important, if not more so, to realize that in order to achieve those goals, you have to work hard. In my eyes, our generation has become too good for some jobs. It’s one thing if you can’t see yourself doing something and that’s fine but if on the path to your great dream, you have to be little for a time, that’s what you have to do. People admire celebrities-actors, singers, etc  for their looks or their wealth and to each his or her own. However, what I have always admired about many celebrities is their work ethic and their stories to get to where they wanted to be. So if you’re sitting around waiting for your dreams to chase you, I suggest you  wake up, because that is a pipe dream. Get up and get to work.

2. Entitled much? It’s been said over and over again and it seems that it just can’t get through to many Gen Y brains that we are an entitled group, and we need to change that. Everything from thinking we “deserve” straight A’s for merely completing work to “deserving” a job because we have a degree, Gen Y is unbelievably entitled and to be quite frank, a little full of it. And we take this attitude from the classroom out to the real world. Let me be clear: IT DOESN’T WORK LIKE THAT. “A” work reflects going above and beyond what is needed in an excellent fashion. If you were one of those students who took the “easy” professors and classes and didn’t learn anything-how’s the real world working out for you? Moreover, the reality for most of us is that a lot of what we have right now, has been given to us. It is NOT from our own sweat. My point? Show some gratitude.

3. Let’s Learn From Our Parents Mistakes. (Especially, their financial ones.) It goes without saying that all the blame cannot be placed on Gen Y. Remember who raised us, right? Now, my friend and I tend to be outliers of this next point because we come from a very cash-based society and for the most part, if you can’t buy it, you can’t buy it. I think a lot of people in Gen Y grew up with very financially irresponsible examples. Too much “keeping up with the Joneses (or Kardashians)” goes on. They were taught that if you can’t afford it, “put it on the credit card.” Look where our economy is and finances are as a society; we are in shambles and have the wrong mind-set about money. The best thing that I think that can happen to Gen Y from these tough economic times, is that we’ll learn the same lessons that the generation before our parents practiced: “if you can’t afford it, you probably don’t need it.” (For the record, this obviously doesn’t apply to all groups in society but we all know too well who it does apply to.)

Now, it may come off like I’m being too hard on my generation. After all, we have so much to offer. We are still an inspiring group of people who believe in making change,  we’re good at multitasking, we are tech-savvy, we are team-oriented and we want to have a life of balance. Additionally, each Gen Y is an individual and in that respect, has to be taken on that basis. In the end, however, I love people and myself way too much to see what is going on and remain silent. What do you think about Gen Y? What are we doing right and where do we need help? Because to be honest, I do think while this generation has come great potential, we need some good guidance.




2 Responses to “Memo to Gen Y:”

  1. esseai December 16, 2011 at 2:38 pm #

    You should probably get your own column in the…erm…Chicago Tribune!! 😀

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