Gen Y The Greatest Generation – Seriously?

According to some psychologists who have analyzed results of the most recent American Freshman Survey, which has been asking students to rate themselves compared to their peers since 1966, the survey shows that present U.S. college students feel more entitled than ever and that there is a disconnect between students self-assessed value and their actual abilities. The issues of Gen Y thinking they are the greatest generation were discussed among a news commentator and panel that included noted “Gen Y Guy” Jason Ryan Dorsey. Listen to the discussion for yourself.

What’s your opinion / experience?


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19 responses to “Gen Y The Greatest Generation – Seriously?

  1. I am a non traditional student and being a junior baby boomer I always have had a great respect for my grandparents generation which is for now still the greatest generation with the challenges of WWII and the changes of the industrial revolution. I will say that being back in school has shown me that my classmates now will be the next greatest generation in that the digital age is changing things too fast and Gen Y will have a tough time keeping up as Moore’s Law is definitely in place. We have to remember that young men and women today are volunteering for military service and fighting different types of wars. Gen Y also is seeing the effects of the recent recession one that was created by their parents the ME generation so they will be battle tested, tough skinned, more social involved in helping each other and will eventually find their way. The world is in a major transition and the older generations have left Gen Y with an assortment of issues to deal with so they will need all the propping up and opportunities to make the necessary changes that are needed. I think they are great !

  2. Kay Dee

    As a manager/administrator who deals with Gen Y daily, I find this video clip accurately describes the attitudes of the Gen Y’ers. Specifically the quote “Immature people ask life to meet their demands; while mature people meet the demands in life” and that this generation has not connected Effort to Outcome.
    For the most part (yes there are always exceptions), Gen Y believes they are “all that and a bag of chips and HOW DARE you not realize it!”

    Unfortunately, as was also pointed out, this is a monster that society has created. Reality Check- unlike what your parents told you:
    1) The world (and your boss) DOES keep score! There ARE winners and losers. Second place is NOT winning.
    2) Everything is NOT about you. People do not always care how something makes YOU feel. Everything you have to say and offer is actually NOT of value.
    3) You cannot be ANYTHING you want to be. MAYBE POSSIBLY…if you work really hard…put in the time…and get really REALLY lucky you MIGHT get the things in life you want.

    And in the meantime…SHUT UP cuz frankly…you’re really annoying those of us who actually have put in the time and effort and STILL are humble enough to know that anything good that happens is a blessing NOT a right!

    Oh and –
    Any generation will be hard pressed to steal the title of “greatest generation” let alone Gen Y. As soon as the Gen Y’ers survive the Great Depression, 16 million of them serve in the United States military, with 290,000 killed in action and 670,000 wounded fighting a World War, then return home without complaint to rebuild a country to greater heights than before the war… THEN maybe they can be considered for the title.
    Until then maybe they could just try to show up to work on time?

    • I could not have stated it more succinctly, or eloquently, and you obviously speak from experience.
      Thanks for sharing.

      • hpadvocacy

        Having owned my own business then selling it because of the lazy Me generation mentality, going back to school just to fulfill my bucket list shows yes hard work will provide you with a life, a retirement, and a chance to continually learn. I have learned there are lazy people in every generation but that is no excuse for us to mentor younger people by leaving them with a problematic future as we have failed to make their future as promising as the greed that has been sucked up and wasted by the Me generation. The banking industry and Wall Street to the Real Estate and retirement investments that were lost into thin air all sent sick messages to these young people that even if you work hard and save for the future it can be pulled right out from under you from some Me generation crook. Not a good message to forward the youth of our country. I don’t blame them a bit for not trusting anybody older.

        • Maybe I’m confused, but your comment “that is no excuse for us to mentor younger people by leaving them with a problematic future” doesn’t make sense to me. Did you mean to say that we should mentor young people because the older generations created the problem? Which generation are you labeling the “Me” generation? It appears that you disagree with the consensus of comments on the video, that parents of the Gen Y’ers created a generation of young people who have a serious disconnect between reality and self-perception. How would you mentor someone like that?

          • hpadvocacy

            My apologies for the confusion let me clarify as I was not commenting on the video only just trying to make the point that while we have failed as mentors to give Gen Y’ers a future that will be better than the Me generation (their parents) had it is difficult for them to believe in what prior generations have done. Gen Y’ers have seen their parents lose their homes and their property values and the retirement incomes overnight, then watch their parents come home to say they are both now out of job. Yet we have older people who have been fortunate to have kept a job that was not eliminated and they go around thinking nothing tragic has happened.
            Unless you have lost your job, closed your small business, lost your 401k’s and retirement incomes to the Me generation crooks you went to school with you have no idea what kids are thinking these days. The homeless family camps outside the big cities have kids thinking maybe I start reading the Karan instead of US history. If you catch my drift.

            • So, what do you think of the issues raised in the video?

              • hpadvocacy

                It is all pointless to talk about until we give them a brighter future to believe in us. Like I said they have no role models to look up to so we are better off sending the Wall Street crooks to jail as an example and try to get a fresh start with them. A video of the homeless family camps for the 1% would be a more interesting topic and a more sensible one, why pick on the Gen Y’ers. We haven’t sent the right message to the banking industry and Wall Street until you do nobody will get what the Gen Y’ers are saying. A lot of wealthy parents are living in a fog these days.

              • Unfortunately, I disagree. Regardless of the world situation in which they find themselves (I’m sure the Great Generation wasn’t happy about the Depression and WWII that wasn’t their fault.), until Gen Y’ers realize that success comes from hard work not entitlement (and yes, it’s a hard lesson to learn that one’s parents were very wrong), regardless of whose fault it is, the whole country has a big problem – an entire generation without an adequate work ethic. Sounds like a recipe for a generation who says “more entitlements please, because life isn’t what I was lead to believe.”

                • hpadvocacy

                  Well I’m glad you brought up work ethic why reward the too big to fail crooks for their poor work ethic and let them get away with it, then start preaching to the kids you need a work ethic, show them doing the right thing will win over wrong always then say OK we resolved the poor ethics problem know lets get to work on collaborating on what is right for your future. WWII gave everyone a common goal to tear down and prove right will defeat wrong that is what gave them the motivation to be the greatest generation after the war. Send the crooks to jail in big numbers prove right will prevail over wrong, admit the crooks were wrong, then look at your kid, hug them and tell them we both need to get back on the right path and do it.

  3. Tess

    LOL, hpadvocacy…………… you are on the wrong blog! DUDE really? We don’t have to give the Gen Y’s anything, they have to earn it like everyone that came before them. Stop blaming everyone for a bunch of spoiled brats who can’t think beyond their on “ID”. And, If you don’t know what ID is then you need indeed to be back in school. WHINE WHINE WHINE!

    • hpadvocacy

      I not talking about material things money, cars, whatever. I am talking about leadership that does the right thing, get in the kids head about what is right and what is wrong and punish those who are wrong and then their heads will say I can start to believe the old geezers have values and ethics. Otherwise as mentors we are all a bunch of cowards for not fixing it.

    • hpadvocacy

      WHINE WHINE WHINE about the Gen Y’ers , I went back to school because I retired from the business I owned without an education, I wanted to see the fine line between brillance and stupidity in education these days to complete my bucket list and write about the challenges students have these days. Thanks for adding one side of the fence too my book.

      • Tess

        I see no reason to continue this discussion with you since you are not at all clear on exactly what tangent you are off on. You seem to feel people over 40 owe the Gen Y generation some restitution for their life, for them being raised by parents and schools that were experimenting with a generation to see if them thinking they won the race, even if they come in dead last, would make them feel that life is their oyster. They have also been raised with no one telling them NO, or what is proper and improper behavior. I fear most of this “lost generation” will remain lost, and I fear for how they will raise their children, if they can get past their “me” attitude and have any children. The Gen Y’s feel entitled to whatever, if and when they want it, live with their parents until the parents die, then take their home as their own. They grew up without rules and constraints and see no need to change that behavior even to the extent of showing up at work when they are supposed to. You seem unable to coherently make your points, so good luck with your book. Might I suggest a writing class.

        • hpadvocacy

          “They have also been raised with no one telling them NO, or what is proper and improper behavior. “They grew up without rules and constraints and see no need to change that behavior even to the extent of showing up at work when they are supposed to.”

          You make these statements but fail to realize young people watch how adults and parents treat each other. They see crooks get away with stealing peoples life savings and then see adults create schemes , do steroids and get away with it. If you are concerned about entitlements what are doing to curb them. It is the adults who set the rules about them and put the crooks in jail when they steal, if you people who made the mess don’t like it, then change it, do something don’t create a video about them, whine about and then don’t correct it, it’s the parents fault from the start just as you have pointed out. Thank you for confirming my point with your statement above.

  4. A fair amount of vitriol splashing about! As the parent of generation Y members and the employer of several others it is decidedly a mixed bag. One son joined the army and served in Afghanistan. His unit’s experiences are chronicled in Sebastian Junger’s book WAR and the documentary RESTREPO. I don’t find much of the stereotypical “GEN Y” behavior among these young men. Second son is pursuing a career in law and wants to serve in Legal Aid. My point here is not to celebrate my parenting skills-believe me! There are many other examples of dedicated young men and women working in my library, in social services and other agencies that don’t allow much room for self absorption and narcissism. There IS something painfully hubristic about anointing a generation as great or bound for glory when they have yet to test themselves against challenges like the Great Depression, Second World War…or Vietnam, or Civil Rights. The title is earned retrospectively, and the accolades are yet to be earned.

    • hpadvocacy

      Finally a reasonable assessment and approach to their potential which yes cannot be judged just yet but can be seen as a way to get them to be the best. The video was not an accurate assessment, yours is and all Gen Y’ers will be better for it. Thank you for your sensible post.

    • People do get passionate about some subjects, but thanks Bob. As always, highly relevant comments that cut to the heart of the issues. Please, thank your son for me for his service. I am in awe of today’s volunteer military forces. As KayDee stated, there are always exceptions to the rule, but her personal experience seems to be the rule, which means the “experts” must have evidence of their claims about Gen Y – in preponderance. I hope history will have accolades for Gen Y – for their sake as well as our country’s.

  5. Kay Dee

    Mr. Farwell,

    Congratulations to you and to your sons on the HARD work and achievements.
    Your post proves there are exceptions to every rule.


    I agree with another who said you seem to be on the wrong blog-or at the very least, absorbed with a personal agenda that you have allowed to overide your discussion of the actual topic at hand.
    oh and btw- don’t know how much you have tried to mentor these young people. But I have found the responses generally include blank stares or “You just don’t understand” type statements. Which goes right back to the video’s discussion of their sense of entitlement.

    As for my comment, I can only say that each new day bring yet another affirmation of my opinion. Today’s affirmation came in the form of a voicemail left on my organizations machine from one of my Gen Y employees: “I won’t be able to work today. I just really feel like I’m dealing with alot personally right now and wouldn’t be able to focus on a thing. I hope I can make it tomorrow. I’ll keep ya posted” ….
    uh huh…yeah

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