Hello there everyone! Sir Post-A-Lot once again! I hope you are all doing well this lovely Thursday afternoon! The haze is gone and blue skies are abound once again! Today, we bring you a piece from our Director and Clinical Psychologist, Joel Low. He writes down his thoughts about the latest crop of young hopefuls who are entering the workforce, and the different things that they bring to the table. Oftentimes we find members of this generation getting the short end of the stick, labelling them, amongst many things, the "Strawberry Generation" and other not-so-nice and not-child-friendly titles. But perhaps there's a little more that meets the eye. So have a read below and have a good week!
It’s about that time of the year again when University students are finishing up their time as students, and off they go, bright-eyed and hopeful out into the real world. Having had their heads filled with bright dreams and a passionate zeal for life, the students venture out into the world which they may not be quite ready for, and that the world may not be quite ready for them either.
We often hear the younger generation complaining that they can’t find a job and its difficult to make ends meet. Your heart goes out to them, as you see the bright fire behind their eyes slowly extinguish as the harsh realities hits them. You nod your head in agreement when they say that they job market is hard to break into, that their employees have impossibly high demands and they pay you peanuts for it. So you ask them, “What are they offering you nowadays?”, and they answer, “They expect me to work from 8am to 6pm everyday, Monday through Saturday, with no good job perks like flexitime or a company car, for just RM2500!”. And you blanch.
Hang on a second. I’ve been working how long now and I’m not getting paid that much more. Company car? I would be lucky to get a company Touch n’ Go for the train every morning. Now you get an idea of what the problem is. Welcome to the new entitled generation. From high paying jobs, to being your own boss, company cars and the like, these are just some of the demands that we hear from individuals joining the workforce nowadays.
But as always, there are two sides to every story. On the one hand, we have a generation of people who thinks that the world owes them a favour and their success is a given right. On the other, the same people could also know very well for themselves what is it they want and are hell bent on getting to their goals.
People often wonder why this comes to be. And as unpopular as this may be, one reason for this is the parenting styles that parents employ. It’s generally accepted that the generation before were by and large hard workers who had to work and hustle to find their achievements. I think many of us would have had parents who came from humble origins and worked their way up to the top. Now fast forward to the now, and when they become parents themselves, you find a shift in their parenting styles.
Think about it for yourself. If we’ve gone through a hard time, we would try to ensure that our kids don’t have to go through the same things we did. And what happens we would try and give our kids everything we never have. Easy access to the different things that they themselves found so hard to come by. That new generation, well, you’ve got a whole bunch of people who are brought up on the concept of having things made easier than what it actually is.
Don’t get me wrong though, I’m not saying that these parenting styles are right or wrong, just that it becomes a significant contributing factor towards the general shift in mentalities that we see today. We have a generation of people who does not know or understand the meaning of working hard for goals to achieve, or losing for that matter because they’ve rarely had to experience that. A generation who was taught that feeling poorly, bad, or losing was a bad thing and should never happen.
This reminds me of a story that was making its rounds on the internet a while ago. A junior high school basketball team in America was suspended from al further matches for the season, all because they beat their opponents by 60 points. The reason for their suspension? Unsportsmanlike behaviour for winning by such a large margin. Can you imagine the kinds of lessons these kids will be learning? That losing is such a bad thing that you need to get punished for it? That its wrong to lose, almost akin to bullying? This is a fantastic way to highlight the kinds of entitled-ness that we’re encouraging in the new generation, where its almost a given that there are no losers and everyone must be a winner. But real life isn’t like that. Real life doesn’t hold your hand and say, here’s a participation trophy for you. And if you think about it, it’s kind of sad when we’re handicapping and ill equipping the kids for life in general,
Another big contributor towards the entitlement of youth is the every popular and notorious social media. Ah, FaceBook, Twitter, Instagram. Underlying all the entertainment one gets from these various platforms, comes a darker side that is blatantly obvious, but we just do not see. Think about the last time you were on these platforms, and take a moment to think about how success laden these networks are. It’s almost like there’s nothing on there but success stories, well most of the time anyways. But what happens is that it suddenly becomes very easy for us to start reflecting on our own lives and compare with those stories that we see. And suddenly you think, hang on, with all these people succeeding in life, does it mean that i myself am a failure? You start to think then, if these people can be so successful doing what they do, why can’t I? and you start making decisions based on the fact that you expect to be successful regardless of what you do, instead of deciding that you need to try and work towards what you want to do. If they can do it, why not me?
But what we don’t see behind those fantastic posts on successes and victories, is all the hard work and effort that goes into it. Probably not a whole lot, but thats not going to stop many of us from looking on in envy, and the fact that we believe that our lives should be a non-stop success train as well.
At the end of the day, it all boils down to the nature of why you want to achieve what you want to. There’s a big difference between wanting to work towards a goal, versus demanding or expecting it to be plopped on your lap. And when things don’t work out they way you want it too, do you dust yourself off and get back on the horse, or do you whine and complain and say that no one has given you a chance? Over the years and across generations, there’s been quite a paradigm shift. From a generation of grafters and hard workers who would be willing to put in a shift regardless of their jobs so that they can put food to the table, we now have a new generation who expects more, but doesn’t think its worth the trouble to work hard for. Either way, welcome to the new generation.