Oh, dear, I certainly opened a can of worms yesterday with my comments about 80s babies, didn’t I? Honestly, it didn’t occur to me that my comments would be seen as so terribly offensive. I didn’t really say anything that hasn’t been discussed in lots more places than DW. I understand feeling sensitive, but this idea that I’m wrong for stereotyping an entire generation of people is a little … well, silly. Entire generations of people have been generalized for decades — it’s why there are names for so many generations: Generation Y or the Millennials (or, as I call them “80s babies”), Generation X, the Baby Boomers, the Silent Generation, and the Greatest Generation. You also have “depression era kids,” “flappers,” and the “beat generation” as well as many other sub-cultures within a specific generation. Say any of these names and people not only know whom you’re talking about, they have an instant idea of prevalent characteristics among that generation.
Is it a gross generalization to associate specific characteristics to an entire generation of people? Of course. But there’s a reason we all do it: because there are trends among each generation that hold true. Because the generalized characteristics often fit enough people to be considered a trend. Because they help us understand behavior of people we work with, associate with and call family. It’s easy to point to a certain behavioral trait that co-workers of a certain age exhibit, for example, and say, “Oh, that must be a generational thing.” Because, pretty often, it is a generational thing.
Yesterday I mentioned one generational trend — well, two, really — that I have noticed among people born in the 80s and early 90s: a kind of arrested development (a slowness to move into adulthood compared to generations before/ a bit of over-dependence on their parents) and some sense of entitlement. Does this describe everyone born in the 80s and early 90s? Absolutely not! Maybe it doesn’t even describe most, but based on my personal observation (of people I’ve worked with, people who write letters to me on a daily basis, people in my family, friends, people I meet out and about, people whose conversations I overhear on the subway, blogs I read, etc. etc.), these behavioral traits fit enough people from a certain age group to be considered a trend. It’s not the only trend I’ve noticed among 80s babies. I’ve also observed some wonderful things — traits I admire, like an unwillingness to settle for the status quo, an eagerness to create careers that fit them rather than trying to squeeze into already existing careers, and a desire to achieve a strong work-life balance.
We are all products of the environment in which we were raised, from the culture of our own homes to the culture of society as a whole. It’s healthy to look at your peers and ask yourself if you see common traits and if so, which traits you like and which ones you don’t. It’s healthy to analyze the culture of your childhood and try to determine what common experiences may have influenced and led to common behavioral traits among your peers. It helps us to understand each other — and ourselves — a lot more. I hope it helps us to be more empathetic, too.
I’m sorry if I came across more accusatory and finger-pointing than I meant to. The truth is I have a lot of empathy for you 80s babies. You are coming of age in a turbulent time. It’s not the first turbulent time society has experienced, though, and you have a lot of benefits that generations before didn’t have. But you also have a lot of challenges to contend with that generations before could never have imagined. Not to get all mushy and sentimental, but I feel privileged to be in a position to watch how you handle these challenges. Maybe I can even help you past some of them, through my own words and by creating a place where you can share your words and experiences with each other. That’s one of my goals, anyway. And in pursuing that goal, I learn some things I hope will make me a better parent, and a better person.
Anyway, this is me apologizing for offending you — you 80s babies — and opening the dialogue further in a way I hope is a little less hostile than yesterday’s dialogue. Many of you have already weighed in on whether you agree or disagree with some of my generational observations (You disagree, you disagree! You have been heard!), but are there observations you’ve made — of either your own generation or others? How do you think the culture you were raised in influenced the person you are today? Discuss.
Budj February 8, 2012, 10:17 am
I wasn’t really offended per say – I get why it’s a generalization. I just really am resentful that my peers have cast a color on ME when dealing with current and future coworkers just because of my age…I feel like I am scrutinized through a different lens and this stereotype gets brought up often at work / anywhere. I think that might be more of why it was like kicking a hornets nest yesterday because a lot of us trying to do things responsibly are going to be fighting this uphill battle for a while.
On the flip side…the amount of new hires my age that are completely lack luster doesn’t help the stereotype that much – but at the same time I think it helps my employer realize what they have with me. So while it is a challenge in some cases I think it can be a really great way to be more easily noticed among my superiors and executive management.
Lindsay February 8, 2012, 10:49 am
Yeah, that’s the thing. I’ve seen a lot of co-workers my age or slightly younger who barely do any work, but then get super defensive and whiny when they get scolded for something that was, indeed, their fault. I’ve had to train people like that, and it wasn’t fun. I think the fact that this “news” is everywhere is partially why everyone got so upset. Because I can be as good as employee or responsible person as I want and will still hear this “your generation is entitled” thing playing on repeat.
The other thing is that even though there are studies these days that supposedly back this up, similar things have been said about each generation by the previous ones. Every generation thinks that the one(s) after is are just useless and not good enough. I could start on my tangent about how entitled the baby boomers must be to seemingly don’t care that they’ve been ruining the environment (as well as social security, etc.) for decades, but will be long gone by the time we really start to suffer from it.
KBobK February 9, 2012, 5:03 pm
Lindsay I have a feeling we have the exact same tangent towards Boomers… I think the decisions Boomers have chosen (and passed the blame off on) has made me very sensitivity to the topic/criticism of gen 80s.
I’m proud of how hard I work, and man do I work hard for every penny I earn. It gives me a solid leg to stand on when I get into debates about my generation.
MELH February 8, 2012, 1:11 pm
I’m concerned for the people that are a few years younger than me, in undergrad right now. My friend teaches a class at the local university. So far she has dealt with someone copying straight from wikipedia (like leaving it in a different font than everything else copy and pasting), someone who told her he didn’t understand why he needed to “go through the motions” to get a good grade on the assignment, and a girl who asked if there was going to be a quiz on the reading, because if not, she wasn’t going to do it. Now most her students are very late 80’s/early 90’s babies, but her stories have opened my eyes to why people think our generation is so entitled.
iseeshiny February 8, 2012, 10:20 am
One of the lines that stood out to me was the “Quit charging things you don’t have the cash to pay for.” That’s not really confined to the 80s babies.
Wendy February 8, 2012, 10:40 am
That line was specific to the LW, as was that entire second paragraph. But, yes, charging stuff you can’t afford is not confined to one generation by any means.
iseeshiny February 8, 2012, 11:07 am
I’ll buy that (see what I did there?) but I think a lot of people took their disdain for the LW and matched it up with the generation thing, and got the feeling they personally were being painted with the same brush. No one likes to feel like they are being unjustly slapped with an unpleasant personal characteristic, so while they agreed with what you said about the LW they really didn’t want to be identified with her. Hence the defensiveness.
Jess of CGW February 8, 2012, 10:32 am
ok, I feel like the short kid jumping up and down trying to get the attention of the tall kids at recess. So, at risk of repeating myself again, I am excited that we stumbled on this topic because its one that interests me and that I have read a lot about. Here’s a cut and paste on what I wrote earlier (I also started a Forum Topic but no one joined!!! haha)
I was born in the 70s like Wendy and I remember very well when we were being called the “Me Generation” so I get the criticism.
That said, there is FASCINATING literature out there about generational patterns. I will share what is said here about both of these generations. Does this resonate with you? What do you think about the traits of these generations? Or do you think its all bunk?
Gen X: (Born in the 70s). A “reactive and nomadic” generation. Born as the “latch key” kids and somewhat “neglected” by parents (baby boomers) who were consumed in their own personal affairs. Born during a period of very low birth rates –at the time of the highest abortion rate the country as ever seen. “Nomads grow up as under-protected children, come of age as alienated adults, become pragmatic midlife leaders, and age into resilient elders. Such generations tend to be remembered for their adrift, alienated rising-adult years and their midlife years of pragmatic leadership. Their main societal contributions are in the area of liberty, survival and honor. ” Independent, under-engaged, destined to do our own thing, keep to ourselves, and get the job done. The last “nomadic” generation were those who were young adults who lived it up during the Prohibition Era.
Millenials: (Late 80s and 90s). A “civic” generation. Born to over-protective parents (helicopter parents) and raised with the notion that “everyone gets a prize.” “Millenials are born during a time of individual pragmatism, self-reliance, and laissez faire. They grow up as increasingly protected children, come of age as team-oriented young optimists, emerge as energetic, overly-confident midlifers, and age into politically powerful elders. Due to this location in history, such generations tend to be remembered for their collective military triumphs in young adulthood and their political achievements as elders. Their main societal contributions are in the area of community, affluence, and technology.” Millenials are conformists and hyper-engaged (everything from beach bonfires, pep rallies, and Twitter). The last civic generation was the so called “Greatest Generation” who were young adults during WWII.
silver_dragon_girl February 8, 2012, 10:53 am
I have read all three of these, lol 🙂 They are interesting, thank you, I just don’t have anything to add at the moment. But I will later!!!
(Except to say I love the comparison between my generation and the “Greatest Generation,” haha. AWESOME!)
Jess of CGW February 8, 2012, 11:07 am
haha, thanks! Apparently I am having an attention seeking day. Wait, maybe that’s because I’m am Xer….?
MaterialsGirl February 8, 2012, 10:59 am
Ever think about the cyclic nature of, well, pretty much everything? You can see the pattern with the ‘generational’ generalizations. One generation had it tough, worked hard to make it easier for their children, then those children couldn’t do anything for themselves, their children in turn learn to be self sufficient etc etc.
History is a good lesson! Recognize and make changes!
Jess of CGW February 8, 2012, 11:06 am
Sarah February 8, 2012, 11:27 am
This doesn’t make any sense to me, timing-wise. I’m classic Millenial (b. 1985), not Gen X, and both my parents are Boomers (young Boomers, but Boomers). So, was I a latchkey kid because of my Boomer parents, or are my parents helicopter parents because I’m a Millenial?
Jess of CGW February 8, 2012, 11:41 am
You can do a quick Wikipedia search for the dates to make it line up. Born in 85, you are likely on the cusp between X and Millenial. Also, things can be altered depending on the age people are at the time they give birth. It’s very possible to have parents who were at the tail end of the Boomer generation, had kids late, and voila, they gave birth to a Millenial.
Officially the literature puts it like this:
Baby Boomers: 1943–1960
Gen X birth range of 1961–1981 although that is somewhat debated.
You can see by a quick glance at the math, that the parental links between generations won’t always line up the same way. It’s not all about parenting, you realize. It’s much about environment, crisis, ideological movements, etc. It’s entirely possible to see 3 children raised by Boomers and have the older ones end up as Xers and the younger one end up as a Millenial. Parenting is only one of the influences.
Sarah February 8, 2012, 12:25 pm
My parents were born in 57 and 59 and started having kids in 82 (got married young). So by the dates, they are both Boomers and all three of us are Millenials. Old Millenials, but definitely not Gen X. (Reality Bites was not our movie, Empire Records was; my older brother’s first rock album was not Nirvana, but Green Day; etc.)
Moneypenny February 8, 2012, 2:02 pm
This is really interesting, thank you for sharing! My parents are older boomers (’47), and my sister is a gen x (’77). I have always thought I was gen y/millenial (’84), but sometimes I don’t really feel like I relate as much to the younger millenials. I think I was highly influenced by my older sister!
KKZ February 15, 2012, 3:28 pm
Very interesting to consider this in the context of my parents’ personalities and parenting styles. My mom was born in ’59, my dad in ’61. But my mom was also born and raised in Switzerland. So while she may be a Boomer by birth year, I think her growing up in an entirely different country – Westernized for sure, but with a very specific value system that is pretty different from ours in many ways – she doesn’t share the typical Boomer traits. My dad was born in England and was still a kid when his family moved to the States, but I’m sure English parenting had an influence on him too. That’s probably a very solid reason why my brother (’90) and I (’87) fall a little bit outside the typical definitions of Millennials.
jaybro February 8, 2012, 11:46 am
Yeah, I’m in the same boat. I was an ’89, but my parents were born in ’52. Part of me can see myself as a Gen X, but I can also see the Millenial. My parents are quite the opposite of helicopter parents. So maybe it has more to do with the parenting generation than the year(s) the current one was born?
Jess of CGW February 8, 2012, 12:04 pm
Jaybro and Sarah,
Hard to put into words but it has more to do with parenting STYLES than your actual parents. For example, in an era of “helicopter-parenting” –it doesn’t matter as much if your parents were Boomers or Xers or whether YOUR particular parents hovered. You grew up at a time when helmets were mandatory when riding a bike. When child safety laws developed at a frenzied pace. When “everyone gets a prize” during competitions. When colleges developed information release forms to allow parents access to their children’s grades. Etc. It’s also the events that happen around you and shape you (9/11 for example). So –more about environment than the rules in your particular home.
Check out the books by Strauss and Howe who are the leading writers on this topic.
They say that “people in a particular age group tend to share a distinct set of attitudes and behaviors because they all grow up and come of age during a particular period in history.”
Budj February 8, 2012, 12:23 pm
I vividly remember being pissed while under 14 that the nanny state was going to force me to wear a helmet on my bike….they were so uncool.
ele4phant February 8, 2012, 12:35 pm
“I was born in the 70s like Wendy and I remember very well when we were being called the “Me Generation” so I get the criticism.”
This made me think of Portlandia and “Dream of the 90s”. While my generation may be sitting around, working a few hours at a coffee shop NOW, who was living this dream in the 1990s, hmmm? We 80s babies were still running around at recess so it wasn’t us.
I really think that a lot of the criticism, while valid, has more to do with the point in our lives we are then it does with our generation. All generations have passed through a weird, awkward, adults but still figuring it out phase. Thankfully, it ends and then we get to harp about the generation below us. Its not that Generation Y is lazy and entitled, its that 20 somethings are lazy and entitled. We’ll grow out of it, just like you did.
Jess of CGW February 8, 2012, 12:59 pm
I’ll have to look up your references because I don’t know Portlandia and Dreamf of the 90s. So I’m afraid I don’t follow your first paragraph.
That said, I think you are right about older people generally criticizing younger ones and that trend is as old as time (i.e. “what’s the matter with kids these days?!”)
My point, and I hope its clear from what I’ve written, is not to disparage ANY generation. I am interesting only at the trends. I never said that Millenials are entitled and if you read the literature, you won’t find it in there either. Millenials are known as a HIGHLY cooperative generation. Inclusive, social, and civic-minded. They ARE also known to be over-parented (again I mean on a societal level with bicycle helmets, etc). I’m not sure if that’s a factor in APPEARING entitled or what.
Again, I’m here making observations not pitching one over the other. But if you want my personal, honest, opinion –I’d pick Millenial if I were given the choice of which generation to be born into.
ele4phant February 8, 2012, 1:16 pm
I LOVE Portlandia!
Anyways, I think we’re pretty much on the same page, its not about the generation, its more about older generations criticizing the ones that come after.
And I do agree to an extent we are shaped by the conditions in which we come of age, but I think a lot of the flack we are getting has more to do with our age RIGHT NOW, then the actual character of our generation.
theattack February 8, 2012, 10:36 am
This is not to further berate you, Wendy, for what you said, but to explain further. There is a big difference between labelling a generation “Baby Boomers” and saying we feel entitled to things we didn’t earn. One is observing birthing patterns, which really has nothing to do with the Baby Boomers. It has to do with their parents. The other label is criticizing a generation on their personal characteristics. Biiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiig difference.
Wendy February 8, 2012, 10:53 am
This makes zero sense. Zero. A “Baby Boomer” is much, much, MUCH more than a “birthing pattern” and over the past 65 years, there have been so many observations made about this particular generation, it might just blow your mind.
Jess of CGW February 8, 2012, 11:04 am
To back you up a little…
Generational Literature refers to the Boomers as a “Prophet/Idealist” generation –actually considered the most selfish of all the generational types. Boomers were born after the crisis of WWII, during a time of rejuvenated community life and consensus around a new societal order. “They grew up as the increasingly indulged children of this post-crisis era, came of age as self-absorbed young crusaders. In mid-life their focus is on morals and principles. Due to this location in history, such generations tend to be remembered for their coming-of-age fervor and their values-oriented elder leadership. Their main societal contributions are in the area of vision, values, and religion. “
cmary February 8, 2012, 10:56 am
I respectfully disagree. It’s like saying redheads have quick tempers, saying the 70s were a relaxed and groovy time, or that the French are difficult. English food is terrible, Californians like to surf, Hawaiians looove a luau, New Yorkers are rude, Canadians all say “eh.” These could be considered personal characteristics, but I think there’s enough basis in reality for these generalizations to grab hold. I mean, I’m from New York, and while my default mode isn’t Turbo Bitch, I can be abrupt and direct, which I’m told comes off as rude sometimes.
JK February 8, 2012, 11:09 am
Exactly, there´s a reason there are so many jokes about different nationalities or blondes/redheads/whatever!
rangerchic February 8, 2012, 3:18 pm
Yes! I haven’t read through all the comments yet but I agree with this. Their are generalizations for everything from race and age to hair color! Think about surveys you fill out – there are different categories for a reason.
ktfran February 8, 2012, 10:37 am
I was wondering when something would be posted this morning and had a feeling it would adress yesterday’s thread. I was right.
Well said Wendy. And you’re absolutely right. There’s a reason groups of people are generalized. Of course, it doesn’t always hold true. But a lot of times, there is some spark of truth.
I’m actually glad I was born in the early 80s. I feel I’ve been able to see pretty amazing things happen, such as the internect, but I can also remember when things were a little simpler. For instance, I was allowed to ride my bike and wander around the neigborhood. I had lemonade stands without an adult present. I had to knock on a door to ask a friend to play. I didn’t call or text or e-mail. I was free to grow and learn and experience.
I feel like I was brought up in a time between when things were strict and regimented, such as my parents were, and now, when a lot of children are coddled. Because of this, I think I understand I have to do things for myself, but can ask for help if needed.
bethany February 8, 2012, 10:55 am
I loved growing up in the 80s too- I was looking at pictures with my mom over the weekend and in once picture there were 15 kids in our front yard playing. We didn’t have cell phones or ipads. We were playing with bikes and sidewalk chalk, and interacting with eachother… Those were the good old days, for sure!
Ktfran February 8, 2012, 11:01 am
There was a place called Modern Dairy about five blocks from where I grew up. In the summer, my mom would occasionally give my sister and I each a dollar and we would walk to the Dairy with the neigborhood kids and buy either ice cream or some candy. Back then, a dollar would buy quite a bit of candy. Oh, the good old days.
honeybeenicki February 8, 2012, 1:00 pm
Ugh I miss those days. We tell my stepkids to go outside and play a lot and there is one time I specifically remember. We sent them out (after lots of huffin’ and whining) and when we looked out the window not 10 minutes later, each was perched on a rock. One was reading a book and the other was playing with an action figure. There were about 5 or 6 other kids out there and they were all pretty much sedentary too. When I was a kid, it was hard to keep me inside. I grew up in the middle of nowhere, but still always had tons of things to do and kids to play with.
Annette February 8, 2012, 10:38 am
Wether you want to call it a sterotype or mold or whatever, people form opinions about people based on snap judgements. Example: I was in the Navy and a female. It surprised people that I would get down and dirty and get my work done. Why? Because I was a female. Not every female in the Navy or any of the services is lazy or entitled or too good. Most of them aren’t. But for whatever reason, that is a sterotype that has been made.
You or I can’t control what snap judgements people make or any other sterotypical thoughts, you can just control yourself prove YOUR worth. If you fit a sterotype and don’t like it, well, change then. If you wear the sterotype like a badge, then good for you. The thing is snap judgements are just that, and then real ones are allowed (or not) to form from there. Just be happy with yourself and to hell with anyone that doesn’t!! 🙂
Renee February 8, 2012, 10:38 am
Wendy (and everyone)
Not sure if you ever heard the term ‘free-range parenting’. Basically children have been losing their freedoms to be independent and responsible, so naturally they can become more dependent on their parents.
What is interesting is that she gets letters from adults in their 20s, who talk about how their parents do everything for them and now to no fault of their own they can’t do anything for themselves.
NPR just covered this issue
cporoski February 8, 2012, 11:16 am
I think this is a big thing. We live in such a fearful culture that kids aren’t allowed to run outside on thier own for fear of the boogeyman. Also, because of abortion, it was the first generation where more kids were welcomed by older, more prepared parents. That also created overbearing parents. Is this everyone? no. Did things change, yes.
Renee February 8, 2012, 11:55 am
True the general trend that the older the parents are, the more likely the child was also a planned pregnant vs. a surprise.
I know from personal experience ‘trying for a baby’ can make you neurotic. For many women it’s out first non-birth-control experience and we’re in a total panic that we’re ‘using nothing’. We’re use to having complete control over our body, so basically leaving up to nature and waiting two weeks month after month wreaks havoc. Just like having no control when labor comes and how long (or short) it may be.
In general we’re control freaks. Because we do have freedoms, we have a lot of say how things go. So we try to control our children, even if it is for their safety and the intention is out of love, in the long run we aren’t doing them any favors. Our job is not only to keep them safe, but to teach them how to be safe and care for themselves. We shouldn’t wait until they’re 25, but more along age appropriate skills starting at five.
cporoski February 8, 2012, 12:39 pm
You are right about the control thing. I went off the pill like two months ago and I had been on it since I was 11. totally crazy. Honestly, I read something that you should start chores at 18 months like push this laundry basket to your room and matching socks shows similar things. But I think before, independence was an accident because “surprised” parents were not ready to fit babies in thier lives.
misslisa February 8, 2012, 12:51 pm
Yep, I commented on this issue in the thread yesterday. Basically I put a lot of blame on my peers, aged 40s-50s (boomers/”me” generation) for the problems young folks are having growing up and being responsible. No one’s bothered teaching young adults to fish, so to speak, they’re strictly being given the fish.
Meadowphoenix February 8, 2012, 6:38 pm
I think it depends on what type of kid you have and how parents effect that over-protectiveness. I feel like a lot of parents effect that over-protectiveness by crippling their kids’ sense of ability. The parents make the kids feel like they can’t do anything, and that fear prevents them from learning to try to do anything. It also depends on the kids. Some kids react to over-protectiveness by relying on it; some react with rebellion.
My mother is the epitome of helicopter parenting, but since I was fairly independent, I never wanted her to do anything for me (I acted with rebellion in any way I could that wasn’t stupid). In addition, the emphasis was never “I have to do this for you” with an implied “You can’t do this for yourself” but “Occasionally you have to ask for help, like everyone.” I was never made to feel like I wasn’t capable, although my mother was ridiculously over-protective/controlling and still is. So now, I feel comfortable trying to do things on my own, even though I don’t know how (like cooking), even though my mother will insist on cooking for me at times. I simply haven’t relied on her help, even though I know she will.
cmary February 8, 2012, 10:43 am
I really don’t see any difference in Wendy’s calling-out of the 80s babies, and the general tone of the site when we collectively wonder if a letter writer is young due to the tone of the letter. Broad generalizations are made all the time. And I think that of course we realize that they don’t apply to everyone. It’s like me teasing my boyfriend for being an only child when he needs to have his own way. He’s not a “typical only child,” and I’m not the “typical youngest child,” but I can see why those generalizations exist. How many of you know a weird middle child? C’mon, sometimes they’re just weird.
Maybe 80s babies are super-sensitive delicate little flowers, in addition to being entitled. Of course, that could just be a broad generalization as well.
JK February 8, 2012, 10:56 am
On behalf of middle children everywhere, thanks! 😀
I feel really offended by this comment, I think you owe me and all middle children an apology. OK, all other middle kids are weird, but I´m totally different than the rest of them, I´m not like that at all!!!!
Budj February 8, 2012, 10:57 am
I was always the quiet one growing up – if that makes me weird then whatever…just gets easy to take a back seat when your parents are focused on the older and younger ones and you are just kind of doing alright and skating by.
JK February 8, 2012, 11:06 am
I was definitely the quiet one also ( I would go so far as to say the “good” one), always reading, doing really well at school, my friends were all similar to me. Whereas my older sister and younger brother got in a lot more trouble (and had more questionable friends).
Budj February 8, 2012, 11:11 am
Being in the middle lets you watch your older siblings and yet not get the same treatment as the youngest. When I stopped being able to watch my brothers faulter growing up / vicariously learning through their mistakes which is around when our life path’s all changed (going off to college) I was paving my own way and I fucked up a lot…but you learn and things work out. Everyone has to put their fuck-up time in to grow.
JK February 8, 2012, 11:26 am
I mustn´t have grown too much then, I´ve always done things pretty much according to the book.
Budj February 8, 2012, 12:24 pm
Then I guess you didn’t need to fuck up 😉
Addie Pray February 8, 2012, 11:03 am
I am the youngest of 5. And from a very young age I: was loud and sassy; juggled knives; would leave the house whenever I wanted to go out and play and come back only for meals; watched R-rated movies; would get the ladder out of athe garage and climb up to the roof for shits and giggles, etc.
That sounds a lot like the youngest, eh?
MaterialsGirl February 8, 2012, 11:13 am
Oh addiepray we will have a lot to talk about TOMORROW. I’m the oldest of five: yup all the stereotypes fit me too
Addie Pray February 8, 2012, 11:16 am
T minus 1 day!!!!!!!!! I can’t wait to see you and all the Chicago dearwendiers tomorrow! I’m making pretty signs for the table.
Fuck, I have got to go work now.
MaterialsGirl February 8, 2012, 11:20 am
I should buy party hats… mmm or fake mustaches
Addie Pray February 8, 2012, 11:31 am
Fake mustaches, please.
bethany February 8, 2012, 11:26 am
You had better post pictures!!
Addie Pray February 8, 2012, 11:32 am
I dunno; what happens at the First Ever Official DW Meetup stays at the First Ever Official DW Meetup. 🙂
MaterialsGirl February 8, 2012, 11:36 am
i thought that was the ‘day that will be deleted from the internet?’
bethany February 8, 2012, 11:45 am
landygirl07 February 8, 2012, 11:46 am
I’m the youngest of 5 as well and I’m not like that at all!! I was extremely shy and reserved as a child.
AKchic_ February 8, 2012, 12:41 pm
Hey now! I’m weird, AND I’m a middle child (sort of). It depends on how you look at it. I’m the “middle child” for my father, but the oldest for my mother.
My second son (a “middle” child) is also a bit “weird”. Granted, genetics plays a big hand in this. Me being weird, and his father (an oldest child, coming from a long line of weird males).
Nothing wrong with weird. Regardless of birth order.
landygirl07 February 8, 2012, 10:44 am
I remember back in the 70s (OMG!) when I was 11 or 12 and I started babysitting for a couple who lived around the corner from us. Nowadays most parents wouldn’t leave their 11 or 12 year olds alone in the house, let alone let them babysit an infant.
Things changed in the 80s and it is reflected in the people who were born in that decade and after. People born before in the 60s and early 70s didn’t have the same kind of technology the kids have these days. If we wanted information, we looked in a dictionary or an encyclopedia or went to the library. If we wanted to communicate with someone, we called them on the phone (and we couldn’t leave a message because answering machines weren’t invented yet) or we wrote them a letter and sent it through the mail. In other words, we had more interface with other people.
Nowdays, cell phones, texting, and emails are the norm. It’s easy not to have to deal with a person because there are so many other means of communication that don’t require physical contact. I was well into my 40s before I ever had a text conversation with someone.
Of course, go back further when there were no cars, planes, or trains and you’ll see that the people who grew up in those times are far different than the generations after them. One day the 80s babies will be the ones who will generalize about the generations after them, you can bet money on that.
It isn’t a judgment so much as a fact of life. People change over generations.
Ktfran February 8, 2012, 10:55 am
“I remember back in the 70s (OMG!) when I was 11 or 12 and I started babysitting for a couple who lived around the corner from us. Nowadays most parents wouldn’t leave their 11 or 12 year olds alone in the house, let alone let them babysit an infant.”
YES! I posted somehting similar, but it didn’t stick for some reason.
I was born in 80, but this still applies. I was babysitting 4 year olds by age 11 and babies by age 13 or 14.
A few years ago, I worked with a woman who had a 12 and 14 year old. She wouldn’t leave them home alone for more than an hour. I met these kids. They were good kids who I sincerely doubt would go crazy once left alone. I was shell shocked and always wondered to myself how these are kids going to fare once they finally left home for college or a job. I think a little independance goes a long way. I mean, an hour? Ok, sorry. End of rant.
landygirl07 February 8, 2012, 11:42 am
Nowdays, parents would probably have CPS called on them if they left their 11 year old home. Times have changed.
Ktfran February 8, 2012, 11:57 am
Good call. You’re probably right.
AKchic_ February 8, 2012, 12:54 pm
I occasionally leave my 11 year old home by himself, but I’ll be very honest – he’s a sneaky little shit. I’ve come home with an entire 2lb bag of brown sugar having been eaten within an hour. Why? Because he could.
My oldest isn’t exactly trustworthy. My 2nd son is more trustworthy, but panics easily. Seriously, if he sees a moose across the street, he calls crying that the moose is going to try to break through the window. My 11 year old cannot be left in charge of any of my kids because he bullies them to the point of physical violence when they don’t listen to his every demand/whim (i.e., if they don’t sneak into my room to climb to the top of the closet to get whatever toy/magazine I’ve taken from him as punishment, then he chokes them in a wrestling move until they submit).
I love my kids, don’t get me wrong. I just know that they have faults. My oldest was spoiled from the day he was born. Not by me. By my mother and my grandfather. As the first grandchild and great-grandchild, he was given everything he wanted. I was overridden at every turn. I didn’t live with my mother or my grandfather, but they were constantly THERE and spoiling. My grandma couldn’t get my grandpa to stop. My son had a damned drivable jeep at 6 months old, that’s how much my grandpa spoiled.
When I started my 2nd divorce and moved in with my mom, she saw firsthand just how bad the spoiling made my oldest, and relented. My grandpa died a few months later (my son was 7). That was almost 5 years ago, but the damage is done and my son STILL has this entitlement complex. That if he bullies enough, turns on the waterworks, or guilt trips just right, that someone will “save” him from whatever he doesn’t want to do and will give him what he “wants” right then. When he isn’t being a manipulative little jerk, he is honestly a sweet kid. He’s funny, he’s smart, but it’s his manipulations that turns people off.
Erica February 8, 2012, 10:44 am
I wasn’t offended at all by what was said yesterday, even though I am an 80s baby.
Unlike most of the angry commenters, I understand that generalizations (stereotypes, labels) are based in some truth, as we all should know by now. Whether a certain individual fits that generalization is a different matter. It truly drives me crazy when people get all up in arms about generalizations. If it doesn’t apply to you, just ignore it.
My parents are helping me pay for school (read: not paying for it, helping me pay for it a little bit), but other than that I’ve worked for everything I have, and I’ve worked hard to put myself in the position I’m in.
I’m not at all offended by what Wendy said yesterday. Because it really seems to be true for a lot of people. My 3 closest friends from high school went to 2 years of college or less, and either still live with their parents or just moved out in the past few months, and we’re all 23-24. One friend’s husband didn’t even have his driver’s license until they got married. My boyfriend still lets his mother pay for things whenever he can.
It’s not a bad thing, it’s just how everyone was raised. Our parents had more than their parents did, so they gave us more, so we expect more because it’s what we’re used to. If anyone our parents age were to not move out or get their license until they were 25… well let’s just say it’s rare. There is absolutely a huge difference between generations, and it’s ridiculous that people got so worked up about a little generalization that, honestly, is based in fact.
rainbow February 8, 2012, 11:10 am
I don’t know what happened yesterday because I was busy being fired, but this comment makes more sense than the offended ones, in my opinion.
I’m not even from the US, and I believe that’s what you’re people are talking about here, but I was born in Dec 1984 and I believe my generation is indeed used to taking for granted their parents’ support. And for what I see online it happens just about everywhere.
I don’t know why it happened over there. Over here our parents had (most of them) been born in poverty or not too far from it, and they had seed a paternalistic government welcome them to middle class by giving their parents free stuff (Peronismo). So they sort of jumped on the social climbing choo choo train and decided to do the same for us.
Also, democracy had just made it’s comeback. Sky was the limit. We were all going to be astronauts if our life was easy enough.
I know I have taken advantage of it. I don’t do it anymore, but I have gotten horribly frustrated if my parents’ checks came a day late, when they were paying for me to live on my own very comfortably while I pretended I was going to finish my degree in computer science sometime (after I did the same in film school for 3 years).
None of this offends me.
MaterialsGirl February 8, 2012, 11:15 am
Sorry to hear about your job 🙁
rainbow February 8, 2012, 11:20 am
Oh thank you so much! =)
That’s ok, I got it back (junkie boss). I’m on probation for the rest of the week I think.
FancyPants February 8, 2012, 10:48 am
Okay cool. I agree to a truce. I’ll accept that despite working 60 hour weeks sometimes and paying my own way through college while never expecting a handout from anyone, I’m lazy and entitled because of the year I was born in, something I can do nothing about. In return, I have decided to start viewing everyone in broad strokes from the Boomer and Gen X crowds as greedy jerks who ruined the economy buying shit they don’t need and houses they couldn’t afford on bad mortgages and credit cards.
Ageism isn’t cool, even if you claim to feel bad for the people who you’re judging. I’m a huge fan of this site and visit frequently throughout my day, but when you make gigantic sweeping unflattering assessments of large groups of people, you’re possibly swatting some of them in the face. You wouldn’t make those statements about ethnic groups or religions would you?
Anyway, my break is almost over. I should go back to work. I won’t stop reading Dear Wendy for now, since everyone has a tough week sometimes and this is the first time since I discovered Wendy on the Frisky that I’ve ever been upset by something she’s said. But I’m still a bit bothered.
bethany February 8, 2012, 11:04 am
I’m shocked that you can’t accept that there’s such a thing as a “generalization” and they don’t always have to apply to you!
You really can’t read what she wrote and think to yourself “that does describe a lot of people in my generation- Luckily I’m not one of them”??
Sarah February 8, 2012, 11:39 am
Okay, now do the translation exercise: “Gee, I guess a lot of women are bad at math! Guess as an astrophysics professor I should just be happy I’m not one of them and not care about people who make that generalization! Because that generalization certainly doesn’t affect how people initially view me or whether they view me as a ‘token’ female scientist or what they think of my teaching or how much they pay me or anything else in my life!”
No, right? At least PERHAPS no.
bethany February 8, 2012, 11:51 am
I think you need to learn how to LET IT GO. People are going to make judgements about you all the time, based on gender, age, ethnicity, or anything else. You’re never going to be able to stop someone from having a gut reaction to you (for whatever reason)- why let it bother you so much?
FancyPants February 8, 2012, 12:15 pm
You’re right. I’ll start today. I have a sweeping gut perception that all people named Bethany are kind of dumb.
landygirl07 February 8, 2012, 4:36 pm
lets_be_honest February 8, 2012, 7:38 pm
It’s people like you bringing this site down. Way to be a total a hole.
Sarah February 8, 2012, 1:09 pm
Okay, sure, but again, let’s do the translation exercise: ‘I think [racial/ethnic group] [I can’t even bring myself to type this!] need to learn how to LET IT GO. People are going to think your race is stupid and lazy all the time. You’re never going to be able to stop some people from having that gut reaction that you are also stupid and lazy because of your race–why let it bother you so much?”
Still kind of a “No,” don’t you think? Are you seriously arguing as a general proposition that negative stereotyping is not a problem and people are being oversensitive when they are negatively stereotyped because of their race/ethnicity/gender/etc? I’m honestly interested. I just haven’t heard that argument made lately.
FancyPants February 8, 2012, 1:26 pm
I like you.
Sarah February 8, 2012, 2:07 pm
Thanks! It’s the doubling-down that fascinates me, you know?
Iwannatalktosampson February 8, 2012, 2:06 pm
I got yo back bethany. Stereotypes are funny because they’re true. No, not for every single person in that group, but as a generalization, they’re true. I assume my parents will bail me out if shit really gets rough (’80’s baby), black people really do talk during movies, white people really do like yoga and northface (go to stuffwhitepeoplelike.com….it is hilarious – hilarious because most of them are true), old people really are bad at learning new technology, teenagers really do think they are the most important people on the planet, etc. I mean you can get mad about it or laugh and get over it.
People are so sensitive these days. Like i’m white and sometimes I panic about what the correct term for black people is. Like even now writing it i’m nervous. Is it African American? Well shit what if they were born in the U.S., then clearly they are not from Africa. But is black insulting? I mean probably not because I say i’m “white”. Or wait am I supposed to be called caucasian? Crap did I just insult myself? And what about gay people? Do we call them gay? Or is it homosexual? That sounds bad and has gotten a bad name from the “homo” thing. Listen there really are bigots and homophobic people and stuff, but it seems like sometimes it goes overboard where people that aren’t prejudice are constantly tip toeing around the P.C. line.
This world has gotten so politically correct about everything it is stressful sometimes. Like I don’t know how to act or what to say without SOMEBODY getting offended. If anything I think the generalizations/stereotypes are a lot less offensive than someone specifically saying I am a certain way because of whatever stereotype it is. Like someone could tell me I am self obsessed with no work ethic, all based on the fact that I was an ’87 baby. Well that’s rude because I actually work really hard. I’ve had a job consistently since I was 15, I get good grades, I’m like the Martha Steward of keeping a clean house, etc. But for whatever thing you are stereotyped for just prove people wrong if you are so offended by it.
Now purple thumb me away.
Sarah February 8, 2012, 2:15 pm
Honey, this isn’t hard. You make the effort necessary not to offend people. If you nevertheless manage to do it anyway (using Af-Am, e.g., for someone who prefers “black,” as s/he is entitled to do), you apologize, file it away, and do better in the future (“Ann prefers ‘black’ to ‘Af-Am’! Unexpected but totally fine and duly noted!”). If someone gets mad at you, anyway, okay! That’s a person who probably is sort of unpleasant generally or maybe they’re going through personal shit or maybe they have just fucking HAD it with explaining themselves to white people that day! Lots of possibilities, none of which mean you shouldn’t make the effort to be continue to be polite to that person or others in the future. What I would argue you don’t do is get all self-righteous about your god-given right to run around not giving a shit whether or not you offend people because omg! So oversensitive! Anyway, generalizations are true! Too hard to be polite to people! Whatever! And do you think the onus is really on individual people to “disprove” stereotypes? Should African-American people have to “disprove” the stereotype that they’re lazy by being EXTRA industrious? Seriously?
Being polite CAN be stressful. That doesn’t mean it’s a reason not to do it. I mean, your comment can be summed up as, “I don’t care enough to make the effort not to be rude.”
Iwannatalktosampson February 8, 2012, 2:21 pm
Actually I do care not to be rude. Hence why I said, I am nervous just writing the world “black”. The problem is I don’t even know what people are going to get offended about these days. I am always polite to people. Why isn’t the golden rule all that is necessary? Treat others the way you want to be treated. And like you said every person has a different thing that offends them. Some people would prefer to be called african american, some people are fine with black. Some people took offense at being lumped into the ’80’s generation, some people think we’re just a product of our parents.
I’m not quite sure where you got that I don’t care enough not to make the effort not to be rude. But I knew my comment would piss people off, i’m just surprised that was how you read that.
Sarah February 8, 2012, 2:37 pm
If they get offended, apologize for offending them, and remember it for next time. My recommendation, again, is to decide NOT to take it personally and start flouncing around about how “people are too PC these days,” “I shouldn’t have to tiptoe around,” and use that as an excuse to do whatever you want and not care about offending people, instead putting the onus on them to disprove stereotypes or make you feel better by not expressing that you’ve (even inadvertently) offended them.
That is the golden rule. Treat people how you want to be treated: if someone offends me, I would like to be able to tell them that they did so, and have them apologize and do better the next time, without them throwing a fit about how I’m being oversensitive and I need to get over it.
Iwannatalktosampson February 8, 2012, 2:41 pm
You’re missing the point AGAIN. I never said I think that I should be able to offend people and they just have to calm down about it. I never try to offend anyone, and frankly I would never have this discussion in real life because I know people would get offended. I just don’t understand why people choose to get their panties in a bunch about everything. I am fine tip toeing around everything, it makes me look like less of a jackass to the 1% of people that would get offended. It’s just that we’ve come so far as a country about treating everyone equally (booyah on prop 8 yesterday) that it seems like the PC police are sitting around waiting to punch anyone who means NO HARM and says the wrong thing. The way I always apologize if I offend anyone, I wish everyone would first assume people mean no harm.
Sarah February 8, 2012, 3:00 pm
In my experience, people who talk about other people being “oversensitive” and “getting their panties in a bunch” and “the PC Police” are usually the people who most want to safeguard their right to say whatever they want without having to apologize for offending people. I don’t understand why you get to judge people for being “oversensitive.” What’s it to you? You’re just as responsible for the harm you cause or the offense you give, whether you meant to or not. If you meant to, obviously you’re a bigger dick, but you’re still responsible for the offense either way. So why be upset when someone gets offended by something you say? You’re the one who said something that offended them–why do YOU get to be upset?
It’s just not mutually exclusive. I DO assume people mean no harm. But I also would like, if they do end up harming me or offending me, to nevertheless apologize (once it’s pointed out) and do better in the future without putting it back on me for being “oversensitive.”
Let me put it this way: if someone has brittle bone disease and you bump into them and break their arm, are you a better person if you just profusely apologize, or if you profusely apologize but also think or say, “But what are you doing out of the house with those ridiculous brittle bones of yours?”
Iwannatalktosampson February 8, 2012, 3:04 pm
Ugh you are totally just an ’80’s baby that thinks you’re entitled to live in a P.C. world. So annoying.
Live and Let Live. As I mentioned like 14 times now, I do apologize. And when someone says something to me that is offensive, I let it slide.
Sarah February 8, 2012, 3:15 pm
It’s very weird how I keep saying “polite” and you keep reading it as “P.C.,” don’t you think?
Iwannatalktosampson February 8, 2012, 3:18 pm
It’s funny how I keep saying that I am always polite, always apologize, and you keep mind twisting that into whatever you can to CHOOSE to get offended. So point proven. Some people (by some people I mean you) just love getting offended about anything and everything.
Sarah February 8, 2012, 3:46 pm
You are literally responding to something I am not saying. I’m not offended. Why would I be offended? I don’t think it’s a great thing for the world if everyone had your attitude, but you haven’t offended me. This is so weird, honest to God.
landygirl07 February 8, 2012, 11:49 am
I guarantee that someday you too will make sweeping generalizations about the generation behind you.
Sarah February 8, 2012, 2:16 pm
But…but…will that be normatively good? Or sort of shitty, all things considered?
landygirl07 February 8, 2012, 4:52 pm
I think it’s just a fact of life. I do find it rather interesting that people are getting so defensive about the subject. I am not an 80s baby so I don’t have a dog in this fight. I do know things that I’ve observed in my life and do tend to agree with Wendy though I know that that attitude does not apply to everyone born in that generation.
Sarah February 8, 2012, 6:47 pm
But isn’t stereotyping large groups of people bad? Like, I know we all do it as a psychological and cognitive heuristic, but isn’t the ideal to, you know, NOT do it? So even if we one day will do it, or do it now in other contexts, is that a reason to excuse other people from doing it? I’m not upset about the particulars, I just find doubling down on the validity or inherent inoffensiveness of stereotyping a whole swathe of people sort of gross.
landygirl February 8, 2012, 9:28 pm
I’m having a difficult time responding to this because I find your posts off putting. I’m not sure I could compose a response that would satisfy you so I won’t. Have a good night.
The_Yellow_Dart February 8, 2012, 12:10 pm
I agree with this. I’ve always admired Wendy’s perceptive and thoughtfully-written advice, but I have to say that I too was disappointed by her statement yesterday (and her continued affirmation of that statement today). As you said, FancyPants, there’s no way in hell that she – or really anyone else on this site – would be making the same kinds of sweeping (negative) generalizations about ethnic groups, religions, genders, or sexual orientations. So why do it for age groups? Just because generalizations exist, it doesn’t mean that we have to unthinkingly perpetuate them.
The_Yellow_Dart February 8, 2012, 1:15 pm
As an addendum, I’d like to mention that it is especially important for someone who has a public and advisory role (and is hence a type of role model) to avoid such generalizations altogether. I face a similar issue in my work – I teach college students, and I have a large leeway regarding what I can and cannot say in class. But there are certain things that are implicitly unacceptable (i.e. (extremely) vulgar language, sweeping generalizations).
Meadowphoenix February 8, 2012, 8:34 pm
Honestly, the tone you used in your first paragraph, did not serve your point well. It frankly sounded as if you were too hurt by the generalization to look at it objectively. And if there is data to suggest that people of a certain age were by and large the super-majority of people involved in buying houses they personally couldn’t afford, I have no problem saying the age group should take some responsibility for the state of the housing market. I place so much more blame on the banks who had the resources and knowledge of what their risks would cost the market on the whole, but responsibility is equal opportunity.
First of all, this isn’t ageism, and I would appreciate if you didn’t imply that it was. As someone said below, having a employer tell you, you would have gotten a job had it not been for their view of your generation is ageism. Telling some acting entitled, that they’re acting like their entitled generation is just a generalization. Maybe I’m wrong and you’re saying that the gist of Wendy’s post (stop acting entitled) would have been different for another generation or that she would have had more sympathy or something. I didn’t see it that way, but if so, that would be ageism. I also find it interesting that you mentioned religious groups since people make sweeping generalizations against them all the time (Christians are intolerant, Muslims are anti-feminist, Mormons are weird and/or crazy, catholic priests are suspicious characters, nuns are mean) that people frequently agree with and think are completely justified. Religions are probably the most consistently generalized, likely because they all have fairly obvious common characteristics that are easily codified. Racial generalizations are also made and I just don’t see how saying them publicly, is ethically much different than agreeing with them privately (I include joking generalizations since they are usually at least half-serious). Nor do I think that all of them are harmful or false. Basically, your statement that people wouldn’t make them about races or religions doesn’t bear out in reality.
Lastly, generalizations are pretty necessary to humans. We label, that’s what we do (according to some data I read, I can’t find the study right now, the first thing we note about a person is gender, age, then race). They aren’t necessarily bad either. It’s easier to communicate when you have an idea of where someone is coming from. It only gets bad when you treat people differently because of them, or are unable to see people without a generalization cover, or don’t believe when a generalization you make is wrong/not backed up by any data, which I don’t think is at issue here. Also it’s a little silly to pretend there aren’t sweeping cultural changes that happen on a generational basis. Sometimes this is good (as younger generations tend to be more tolerant from what I can see); sometimes it’s bad (perhaps the entitlement at issue here). If it is backed up by data, as is the case here, I can understand why you would be hurt at hearing it made, but I’m afraid I don’t at all understand your level of offense.
summerkitten26 February 8, 2012, 10:51 am
and this is why I love this site and admire and respect you, Wendy. thank you 🙂
I think that the culture/community I was raised in has shaped me because of the lessons I learned through observation more so than being told. I have a very “it takes a village to raise a child” neighborhood, and we all saw growing up who had to make what sacrifices to get ahead and we all helped each other out when we needed to for the good of the whole. it’s made me aware and grateful for what I have and the people who have helped me succeed. I think that coming of age and graduating in 2010 into all of this economic mess has shocked me in a good way (always find the silver lining!) it made me realize that nothing is guaranteed, so I have learned to cover my bases, so to speak. I try to always keep enough in the bank so I have a cushion if something should happen to my job. I’ve learned to adjust my path more easily should plan A not work out, but I’m still working towards my dreams. and I think that because of what we’ve experienced, there are many people my age who have grown into a flexibility that enables us to find our way to where we want to be in different or unexpected ways. in other generations, I’ve observed traits that it would behoove someone my age to have, and those traits are definitely experienced based. depression-era adults tend to have an incredible appreciation for what they have and boomers tend to have an inspiring joie de vivre. I’ve that each generation has one or two events that define them and the tone that generation brings to the world when they come of age, but that you don’t really know until you look back. the experience is a scope through which you can understand a little more as you get to know someone. it’s an interesting.
bethany February 8, 2012, 10:52 am
As someone who was born in 1981- I totally see Wendy’s point. A ton of people in my generation don’t know the value of hard work and stading on your own two feet. It seems like a lot of people move back home after college and keep mooching off mom and dad, or they rely on their parents to pay their bills and cook their food. I know a girl whose mother drove to her house once a week (over an hour each way) to do her laundry for her! I think a lot of the blame here falls to the parents though. They coddle their kids and tell them that they are the best and they deserve the best of everything, when in reality, no matter how awesome you think your kid is, they are NOT the best/smartest/kindest kids out there.
Unfortunately, from my obervations I think the situation is getting worse from generation to generation. Kids are more coddled and spoiled than ever before (in my opinion). Luckily, I know there are a lot of people out there who see the same things I do and are fed up with it, and are raising their children to know the value of a dollar and appreciate hard work.
Budj February 8, 2012, 11:05 am
Theory – if more parents were strict to be a pain in the ass, rather than trying to be their kid’s friend then the kid would get sick of living at home and move out…who would want to give up a deal where you can do whatever the heck you want and not pay for it or do anything with yourself?
Ktfran February 8, 2012, 11:21 am
OMG, so true! I always thought my parents were super strict with me. I had a lot of battles, but I was also the oldest. I just didn’t understand why they were so strict because I was a good kid and never wanted to disappoint them. Anyway, I couldn’t wait to start my own life and I pretty much did once I left for college. I think I only went back home two summers.
I’m also very independent and always had been. That might have had something to do with me wanting to be on my own.
mertlej February 8, 2012, 12:09 pm
AGREED. My parents were super strict with me, and i moved clear across the country for undergrad (west coast –> georgia) and then to chicago for law school. Totally self-sufficient, figured my own shit out, and have been supporting myself for years. My parents majorly relaxed with my two younger sisters, and one of them (20) is still living and home and the other (23) is constantly getting handouts (shopping trips, dinners, etc) from my parents.
At the time, I hated the pressure and the fact that I had to live by these standards that my sisters didn’t, but now i am SO GRATEFUL.
FireStar February 8, 2012, 11:48 am
I remember when Oprah did a show on mothers and their daughters being best friends, and dressing alike etc. and my mother turned to me and said in the most threatening voice ever “I am not your friend, I am your mother”. The lines definitely were not blurred in my house.
Moneypenny February 8, 2012, 1:24 pm
Same for me! My mom would tell me this too, especially after seeing the “friendly mom” thing with some of my friends. She would tell me that she didn’t really become friends with her own mother til she was an adult and on her own, and I think the same is happening to me now.
Iwannatalktosampson February 8, 2012, 12:11 pm
Or if you’re my parents you just move to another country. No that really happened. They moved to Canada when I was 17 and I had to live with a friend until I started college. Sneaky little pricks. Well that didn’t stop me from calling them for help about everything anyways, suckas. They could run but they couldn’t hide.
honeybeenicki February 8, 2012, 1:08 pm
My mom wasn’t strict, but she had clear boundaries and I heard more than once growing up “I’m not your friend, I’m your mother. When you’re an adult living on your own, then I can be your friend.” She let me make my own mistakes, but provided clear guidance. There were certain things she was strict about (having to pay my own way as far as “extras” like having a car, getting good grades, having a job and good work ethic, etc), but she also focused on independence.
On the other hand, my ex (who I dated through much of high school and my first year of college) was never taught to take care of himself. Bad grades? Eh, who cares. Its the schools fault. Can’t get or hold down a job? Its not his fault, its the economy (mind you, this is almost 10 years ago, not the current economy). Can’t pay bills or rent because he doesn’t have a job and spends any money he does get on alcohol, drugs and parts for his car? Well, here – just stay home with mommy instead. I don’t know what generation he technically fits in (He was born at the end of 81) but he does fix the millenial/Gen Y mold of generalizations very well. In his case, I firmly believe it was a parenting difference.
sarolabelle February 8, 2012, 10:55 am
I’m wondering why all these “80’s babies” (which I am one of btw), are really so passionate about the opinion of one woman. If Wendy has her opinion then so be it. Should Wendy keep her mouth shut to avoid conflict?
I just don’t really understand why everyone is getting so defensive. Is it because we all feel entitled to have Wendy make us feel good everyday? 😉
FireStar February 8, 2012, 11:50 am
mf February 8, 2012, 1:17 pm
Wendy has every right to her opinion, and if we weren’t interested in it, we wouldn’t visit this site everyday. If all she ever did was say nice things to people, this site would extremely boring.
We keep coming back here because Wendy’s advice is usually fair and balanced. She hands out tough love when need be, but she’s usually also compassionate to the people who need. But what made her “80’s babies” comment different (for me at least) was the tone and the fact that she said it directly, pointedly, to her readers. It seemed sort of harsh for her to call out all her readers who were born in the 80’s as entitled and bratty, especially when she doesn’t personally know most or all of us.
Of course, I know she didn’t mean for it to sound like that, but apparently a lot of readers took it that way. I think this is one of those cases where the problem was how she said it – not necessarily that she was repeating a generalization.
(Though, for the record, I’m not a fan of negative generalizations. There may be a grain of truth in every generalization but it’s still a bad idea to perpetuate ideas that are insulting to entire groups of people.)
Addie Pray February 8, 2012, 10:55 am
I for one really enjoyed watching the 80s babies get all whiney and entitled-like over the generalization that their generation is… a little whiney and entitled-like. … Geez, relax, I kid, I kid. Simmer down. In short: yesterday was a fun day. Today I MUST get work done. So, Wendy, try not to start a riot today; I won’t want to miss out but I really can’t afford to not get work done today.
MaterialsGirl February 8, 2012, 11:10 am
I know.. how are WE STILL TALKING ABOUT THIS…
Budj February 8, 2012, 11:12 am
There is not a new letter to divert our attention!
Fabelle February 8, 2012, 11:15 am
yeah, I was kind of looking for a new letter today…
Addie Pray February 8, 2012, 11:14 am
That Wendy felt compelled to follow up with this piece – a little “there, there” coddling of these kiddos – is telling! Oh you 80s babies – I love you to pieces, I do!
p.s. Liv Tyler!!
MaterialsGirl February 8, 2012, 11:19 am
Hey there, Dr. Melfi!
We need to take a super cute instagram photo of all of us tomorrow night for posting as the “FIRST DW meetup ever!” We can even super impose Wendy’s head on there.. or just bring her up on skype
LadyinPurpleNotRed February 8, 2012, 11:23 am
yay I’m so excited for tomorrow!
Addie Pray February 8, 2012, 11:28 am
Oh we will do all of that! Well, minus the skyping. As a non-80s baby, I don’t understand how to do those things.
P.S. I am hoping to have Wendy’s head there with us. (In a cute and not-at-all creepy sort of way!)
Addie Pray February 8, 2012, 11:34 am
Also, note how when I generalized non-80s babies as not knowing how to do simple internet-related things like Skype, the non-80s babies in the world did NOT flip out and shit their pants? Just making an observation.
MaterialsGirl February 8, 2012, 11:42 am
yeah this thread is getting a bit ridiculous. I like our sub-thread, though!
lets_be_honest February 8, 2012, 7:56 pm
Couldnt have said it better. This is very annoying to me.
Ps WAY jealous you’re going out with Anne Hathaway. Wish I could go to a dw meetup 🙁
honeybeenicki February 8, 2012, 1:13 pm
As an 80s baby… I agree with you completely (as I agreed with Wendy yesterday) 🙂
mainer February 8, 2012, 10:57 am
I think one of the most universal patterns in this world today is the desire to associate with a group of people, and as such to criticize or scrutinize groups of people with either different or hold opposing views. It’s why most people vote on party lines, it’s why most people feel their religion is the right one, it’s why sport-fan rivalries are so strong, and it’s why the phrase “kids these days” will always be popular. I think it’s perfectly normal to celebrate the flaws of another generation, not only in order to feel better about one’s own, but to also bring attention to it. Within a particular group, those members often highlight the positives and ignore the negatives. To be reminded of the negatives every now and then is constructive criticism. Defiance is inherit, so to tell someone they are one thing – i.e. entitled – will upset them, but it will also push them to prove you wrong, to defy you. They’ll go to battle over that claim in the hopes of defeating you, much as any other team does. It’s a constant strive to be better than “the other.” We’ve muted this desire in many ways with labels like “racism” and “sexism” or other words of bigotry, but they are still very much present in more benign areas of our life, like politics, religion, and generational divides. I think that Wendy’s comment, in any other environment, would be met with nodding heads of agreement or slight shrugs of the shoulders. But unfortunately, I think a majority of her demographic on this site belongs to that Millennia generation and, lest we forget, it’s the internet. General overviews or sweeping generalizations that are made are not the equivalent of discussing something with friends over coffee, it is the equivalent of standing up in a crowded park with a loud speaker. It’s the equivalent of standing up in temple and saying “hey guys, I think you all are wrong. This Allah character seems like he’s got it figured out.” While in reality a majority of people on this planet would agree with that statement, the overall residing population in which that statement was made will likely be met with pitchforks and fire.
Mwalt February 8, 2012, 11:13 am
“You 80’s Babies”???? What? Just how old are you miss Wendy? I really doubt the 3 years difference between us saved you from our “sense of entitlement”.
You made a nasty generalization to your entire following based on one little woman-child’s (oh yes I did!) poutiness. You made a bad call and you alienated A LOT of people who actually WORKED for what they have. Your half-apology is just that – half an apology. What you basically said was “I’m sorry I was called out on my words, but I’m not that sorry because people make this generalization all the time and really, I was picking on her, but so what?” Shame on you.
You need to chose your words, and your generalizational fallacies, a lot more wisely if you want to keep your readers.
Wendy February 8, 2012, 11:18 am
You are one reader I do no want to keep. Good-bye!!!
Iwannatalktosampson February 8, 2012, 12:07 pm
I knew her time was up a while ago with the comment on the DV article. Good riddance!
evanscr05 February 8, 2012, 2:23 pm
Which article is that? I may have missed it and now I’m intrigued!
Iwannatalktosampson February 8, 2012, 2:47 pm
Hmmm I’m not sure. I want to say it was a week or two ago? And it was written by a guest contributor so you might be able to find it that way.
evanscr05 February 8, 2012, 3:13 pm
Thanks! Found it. And um, wow. What a disgusting excuse for a human being.
iseeshiny February 8, 2012, 2:44 pm
Oooh, the one where she said, “You’re only saying that because you’re hormonal?” Yeah, I was surprised she didn’t get banned then and there. Huge difference between disagreeing and being rude.
evanscr05 February 8, 2012, 3:14 pm
Worse is the comment posted about Domestic Violence. There’s rude, and then there’s just plain uninformed and shitty.
iseeshiny February 8, 2012, 3:31 pm
Missed that one – Imma go find it.
iseeshiny February 8, 2012, 3:34 pm
Oh. Oh, how did I miss that?
For anyone else:
MissDre February 8, 2012, 1:07 pm
Right on Wendy!
Erica February 8, 2012, 11:32 am
Since when do people need to apologize for stating their opinion… especially an opinion that’s a general opinion of our society that was based in fact (as all generalizations are)? Regardless of whether or not you were offended by it, it’s not your place to demand an apology from someone who doesn’t believe they’ve done anything wrong. People are way too oversensitive about generalizations, and that’s not Wendy’s fault. Instead of being so angry, try getting over it. People say things that sometimes aren’t true. Oops.
Addie Pray February 8, 2012, 11:36 am
Mwalt, are you a real person? Like, you live and breathe and socialize with others on the same planet as the rest of us? Just wondering.
bethany February 9, 2012, 9:41 am
I think it’s funny that you call Wendy out for making a “Nasty Generalization” when you’re the same one who called her out for being “Highly Emotional” or whatever a few weeks ago just because she had a baby recenly. Generalize much?
Don’t dish it out if you can’t take it.
Fabelle February 8, 2012, 11:14 am
Although I did jump in on the other thread to say I don’t have entitlement issues, I wasn’t really offended– I’ve read articles before that talk about my generation’s general attitude problems, mostly in the workforce. It is a THING, not just something Wendy made up.
I don’t witness it in my close friends or anyone else I know, but my mom works with a bunch of kids a little younger than me & she definitely gets baffled by things they do (i.e. calling out last minute, talking back to/dismissing their superiors, etc.) One thing I have noticed, though, is that everyone still LIVES AT HOME. Myself included! I don’t like it at all, but the job I’m working at currently doesn’t pay enough for me to move out. And all of the post-grads I know are in the same situation. (Maybe my friends & I are just losers…?)
Anyway– I just think this generation is so confused. We’ve been told the possibilities are endless!!! so many times that a lot of us become stagnant, wondering which path to take.
cporoski February 8, 2012, 11:25 am
The living at home thing is a big generational thing but so is the extreme amount of debt most people are in. No generation has been in staggering amounts of debt so young. My grandfather wrote the definitive paper about loaning out education and its ramifications in the 1950s. He never saw this coming. Here we are 60 years later, and society has totally changed because it is considered a right to be college eduated. You are educated as long as you are smart enough, and not because you are only wealthy enough. This forces people to be 100k in debt before ever taking a full time pay check. I don’t think it is fair to judge when someone makes $400 a week take home pay and is paying $600 a month in student loan debt. I think we have sold a bad bag of goods to Generation Y then are judging them for it.
Fabelle February 8, 2012, 12:51 pm
No yeah, I definitely agree with you– this generation was basically expected to go to college, but now that we’re a few years out, we feel sort of like failures for still living at home even though we can’t afford to move out.
summerkitten26 February 8, 2012, 12:36 pm
the reason I got so hurt yesterday is that this generalization is a stereotype that is actively hurting us. I have been turned down for a job because, as the hiring manager said, i was “from a generation that didn’t have a good work ethic, so I would be a waste of time.” and when I filed a complaint, all I got was a shrug and a bunch of people going “well, you’re young so you don’t have a good work ethic.” there was no chance to prove myself. I think what makes this generalization is looked at as fact. no one would say out loud that a woman shouldn’t be hired because she’s useless and will just get hormonal and pregnant or that you shouldn’t trust a minority around your stuff because they’re not good for anything but stealing and crime. yes, there are entitled brats, in my and every generation. but why is it okay to paint us all with a negative brush? as to the people who say “get over it,” it’s not like someone calling me fat or insulting my outfit. all I want is a fair shake to prove myself, and if that makes me entitled, I’m fine with that.
cporoski February 8, 2012, 12:46 pm
I am a recruiter, and I have a very hard time believing that your generation was the only reason you didn’t get the job. If you got an interview, it was something you personally did in the interview.
summerkitten26 February 8, 2012, 1:28 pm
if I did something that would disqualify me for a job, yes, that’s my fault. but I didn’t go in there raving about my qualifications and how I deserved the job. I thought I had a great interview, and when I got the decline, I asked for advice on how to do better or what I needed to work on, for my own edification. and the recruiter’s words were along the lines of “oh, we loved you, we just didn’t think people your age would have the work ethic to not flake out on us.” even though my resume and experience and references vouched that I didn’t flake. I was not entitled to the job, but why should I just be okay with the fact that ignored all of what proof they had just because of a stereotype? it seems to me that that is age based discrimination. and whereas most people would be appalled at a 45 year old being passed over for the assumption that she “wouldn’t be able to learn the technology,” it’s quite alright to pass up a 20-something on the assumption that they’re useless wastes of space. are some? yes. are all? no. you only find out based on experience with the individual. but the millennial bashing is discrimination. doesn’t make it okay just because the majority of the rest of society seems to agree.
cporoski February 8, 2012, 2:23 pm
See, you are looking at this that they passed on you then they picked someone else. They person they picked expressed in a more concrete way that they wouldn’t leave a job. You realize there are 11 applicants for every one job. So you weren’t the best of the 11.
meaghan February 8, 2012, 11:20 am
I feel entitled to my grandmother’s money, and mainly because I feel like she owes me for her enabling my mother abusing me. Also, she offered the money in exchange for me having proper grades as well as having a part-time job while being a full-time student. I kept up my end of the deal, but for my last year she’s been trying to back out because I’m getting married at the end of the year.
For those that don’t know, I eloped a while ago (without her knowledge ) because of her reaction when I got engaged. She was livid and refused to help with the wedding (and I haven’t asked for her help with it) since I would no longer be coming home after I graduate in the spring. She’s Japanese so she thinks I should take care of her despite the fact thar A: my aunt is there every other day to take care of her, B: she still favors my mother and constantly berated me for not having her plan the wedding (that she has not helped with) and C: continuously stating how bad of. a grandchild I am despite the fact that I’m the only one who calls her, visits her, has no addictions, , and is going to college. So I eloped so in case she did cut me off I would use the GI Bill or get some sort of low-interest loan from the military to pay for school.
I feel entitled to the money to pay for college. She is very well off with money from my Papa’s. estate coming in every month, and spends thousands on St John outfits that she never wears. Lately she offered to help with the wedding yet a day later says she can’t afford it. Everytime she says this I say I’m grateful for all she’s done for me, and only want to finish college. (I finish classes in December. So if she decides not to pay after the wedding I’m hoping my internship will pay me enough for the final semester) She will then reply that
FireStar February 8, 2012, 12:00 pm
Sweetie – the point of the articles the last two days is that entitlement is WRONG and ultimately does the biggest disservice to YOU. Unless you are a minor, you are owed only what you can achieve for yourself. You want money to pay for college? By all means – go earn it.
ChemE February 8, 2012, 12:27 pm
I don’t think anyone ever owes anything to anyone, for any reason.
That’s another thing that bothers me, everyone always feels like they should be compensated financially for things not going right, or being treated badly.
Ok, they abused you, treated you like shit, but does that mean someone owes you money? No it doesn’t. A sincere apology and working to gain your trust/relationship back, sure. But money is out of the question.
And paying for a wedding, that’s just crazy to expect that. Sure if it was offered, great, but if they have a history of being an asshole, or not fulfilling their promises, then you set yourself up to be disappointed. And you already got married, so stop with this idea that they owe another wedding.
In fact, just get the hell away from them if they treat you so badly. Just as they don’t owe you money, you don’t owe them any relationship with you.
JK February 8, 2012, 12:32 pm
Thank you, you put into words what I would´ve said if this comment hadn´t left me speechless!!!!
Meadowphoenix February 8, 2012, 6:53 pm
Well, I mean if abuse is illegal, and you can sue for it, then yes, the entire point of tort law is to make whole, with money usually, people who have been treated unreasonably by other people.
ChemE February 8, 2012, 11:24 am
I’ve always thought that generalizations and even stereo-types, while not describing every person in it, always have some sort of truth to it. Whether it’s fair or true or not, someone somewhere acts/acted that way that branded the rest of the group.
While I, myself am a product of 1985, I don’t feel like that generalization describes me at all. The assumption about the parents of this generation of kids certainly didn’t apply to mine, and the idea of the kids definitely doesn’t apply to me. I have a job, have a house, cars, and am working to pay off my student loans – something my parents flat out refused to help even a penny with. Not to mention that I paid rent, paid for my car, gas, insurance, food, etc, and did the majority of chores in the house. I didn’t have a childhood with everything provided to me, nor did I expect it to. I will say that I was/am somewhat jealous of people whose parents paid for everything. But, having to provide for myself and handle money at a young age prepared me for doing it big time, in the big wide adult world. I handle our money, my husband can’t handle money to save his life – he was one of those provided everything.
I guess I can see where this might be truthful, but obviously not for everyone.
MaterialsGirl February 8, 2012, 11:33 am
I’m an 85’er as well. My parents had children pretty late in life (for their generation.. and that’s statistical, people! STATS!), so their style of parenting was different than other kids my age. Also, they both grew up in large families of Depression-era parents who saved, saved, saved, and were more lower to mid middle class. That was their example, and they were the same. Hopefully I picked up some of those qualities. Its definitely interesting to see the patterns. I hope I can pick up on the good ones for my future children.
meaghan February 8, 2012, 11:26 am
That I should have thought about that before I got engaged.
I feel bad, but then I also am mad that she treats me like this. Does this make me a horrible granddaughter? My husband and I are paying for the wedding ourselves, and she is of course invited. My academic standing is great so I’ll be graduating no matter what with my degree. I guess maybe I want a for sure answer so I can prepare for next semester.
Oh and I have looked into financial aid, and I’ve applied for a few to see if I can get a grant. I want to stay away from student loans since the interest rates are ridiculous!
Sarah February 8, 2012, 11:33 am
I think it just feels like piling on, honestly, to castigate 80s babies/Millenials for being lazy/entitled etc. in the middle of a job market that’s beyond horrific, and that will have the effect of lowering our lifetime earnings. It also feels especially unfair since we probably made a lot of our earlier decisions with an eye towards things-how-they-were, and now we feel like we A) got the rug yanked out from under us and B) are getting blamed for our attitude on top of it. That’s why it stings, regardless of whether or not it’s true/sometimes true/a gross and unfair generalization/etc. Shit got crazy in the last couple of years. We spent our entire youths planning to enter a world that is gone, and not coming back. A little more empathy and a little less criticism would probably not have started a shitstorm. Not that it matters, in the grand scheme, but, you know.
Chicka February 8, 2012, 12:36 pm
Thank you! This is very much what I feel about this.
cporoski February 8, 2012, 12:53 pm
I hear what you are saying but don’t you think that world issues affect everyone? When our grandparents were 18, did you think they planned on getting drafted and having thier careers halted for 6 years? Do you think the Vietnam draftees planned on it? DO you think that Computer Science majors in 1997 planned on the IT bubble bursting? What about the oil shortages in the 1970s?
And your lifetime earnings depend on you and only you.
Sarah February 8, 2012, 1:16 pm
That’s not accurate. My lifetime earnings will be lower because I’m a woman. They would be higher if everything about me were the same except for my sex. This narrative of personal choice and personal responsibility can have the effect of allowing people to ignore systemic inequality, and blame any unequal outcome on the alleged personal failings of the individual (which may or may not be there! But even if there, still exist alongside the contributing systemic factor!) and it really chaps my ass as a general matter. Sorry.
And the lower lifetime earnings thing is in comparison to people who entered the job market 5-10 years before us–they are “dealing” with this at the same time, but because it’s not going to depress their wages upon ENTRY into the job market, it’s not going to have the same lifetime effect. And again, this especially is unpleasant because we came of age in a time of unparalleled optimism: “It’s just going to keep getting better!” And we were told to, and to whatever extent did, plan accordingly. (And this is way, way bigger than the tech collapse. Come on now.)
cporoski February 8, 2012, 2:34 pm
First off, the numbers of women’s earnings is hugely affected by women leaving the workforce to be SAHMs. In fact the most well educated people in the country by demographic are SAHMs. So the numbers aren’t as bleak in that respect because some of the best and brightest are leaving to raise children. To assume that your lifetime wages are affected by the first job you take is silly. You are living in the largest, wealthiest country in the world. You have opportunities abound and they will continue.
Second, The tech bubble cut wages for people in the industry in half. It didn’t get the press because it was a specific industry of people. But just like you, computer science majors at that time expected high wages and took out loans in response. They are now working an making a living but it took a decade to recover.
Iwannatalktosampson February 8, 2012, 2:38 pm
I TOTALLY agree with you about the statistic of why women earn less. I read an article about it somewhere and it definitely made sense.
But I don’t think we’re the wealthiest largest country in the world anymore. I think we’re kinda China’s bitch. And I mean that in the most politically correct way.
cporoski February 8, 2012, 4:23 pm
China is up and coming and has huge potential. But that money is divided over 4 times the people. So 4 people’s income is equal to one here. What scares people is thier economy is growing when we are shrinking. But thiers is growing by keeping thier currency artificially low. Honestly, I think it is going to be like the USSR, much prettier on the outside then inside.
Sarah February 8, 2012, 2:48 pm
When they crunch the numbers, the SAHM thing does not account for the wage gap. Look, the federal government has given women a boost in their Social Security income to account for the wage gap. Do you think that would have happened if it weren’t a real problem that occurred for at-least-partially-invalid reasons? See (p.80: “No matter how sophisticated and complex [economists’] models, they ALWAYS find that some portion of the wage gap is unexplained . . . . Because the wage differences cannot be explained by any of the differences in workers’ traits, this unexplained portion of the wage gap is attributed to gender discrimination.”)
Your lifetime earnings are affected by the first job you take. See, e.g.: http://www.askamanager.org/2011/05/pay-increases-when-changing-jobs-or-how-i-doubled-my-salary-in-one-career-move.html (talking about how it’s very difficult, when changing jobs, to get a salary bump of more than 10%, because employers take what you were previously paid as a marker of what you are worth). See also: http://www.nber.org/digest/nov06/w12159.html, ,
cporoski February 8, 2012, 4:45 pm
I understand what you are saying but, people are arguing here that it is about the individual and not the trend. So are your numbers. However, one in four women are a stay at home mom. That is no an unsubstantial number. And, in that yale artical you cited, at the end it was arguing it was the level and responsibility of the job and not the income that is the cause of lower wages.
But most importantly, Women’s numbers are changing. Do you realize when I was born, women couldn’t have a credit card without a male cosigner? They couldn’t rent an appartment. nothing. This was the late 70s that this changed.
But honestly, these seem like excuses. If you don’t agree then just give up. You have plenty of data to back up why you did it.
Sarah February 8, 2012, 4:59 pm
It frustrates me to no end when people look at reality, true things and facts which exist in the world, and say “This is an excuse.” Women earn less than men for no reason, in 2012. This is fixable, but since it’s a systemic problem, it calls for a systemic solution. You can’t put the onus on individual women to “do better”; what, were all the past women just slackers and lazy? Why didn’t they just do better and get paid more? Oh right, because the system was stacked against them, and they had to enact systemic change in order to make the improvements we’ve seen. You don’t get the Civil Rights Act by individual African-Americans being industrious, ambitious, and well-educated. You get it by banding together for systemic change. And you can’t band together for systemic change until you name and define the systemic problem, but that’s what gets you labeled as a “whiner” and “making excuses.” No. I am saying this is a problem, in reality, that really affects people’s lives. And it’s unfair for us to put the onus for fixing this systemic problem on individual people who just “ought to do better” individually, blaming them for their purported character flaws when they don’t “do better” enough, and using their “failure” as further evidence that people of that individual’s group deserve the shoddy treatment they get from the system.
cporoski February 10, 2012, 7:43 am
But I am saying that the country went through the great depression and the nation could have roled over and died or they could grow. They grew without the government being involved. And it wasn’t that women were lazy it was that a large majority did not have the means of education. There are more women then men in medical school currently. Change does not happen overnight. Honestly, look at the civil rights act. We do have a black president but do you really think that changed the poverty situation in the community. Do you think the ERA would make things better?
Matcha February 10, 2012, 10:06 am
Wait, aren’t you agreeing with her then? The ‘they grew without the governement being involved’ is exactly what she’s saying. The individuals banded together and acknowledged a systemic problem that restricted individuals. But the government was involved in that you have to advocate for change on a large scale yourself. Shutting up and being good at your accepted station isn’t enough.
painted_lady February 8, 2012, 2:48 pm
I love this. I’m not saying some of us aren’t entitled, but I feel like the game keeps getting switched on us. I was told, “You can be whatever you want to be,” which I feel like a lot of us got. And I decided I wanted to do something that wouldn’t have been good money in the best of times, but then theatre companies began folding left and right in 2008, the year I finished grad school. I had two different jobs lined up, and between my job offer and the mailing of the contract, the entire company “restructured” and the job disappeared. Would I have been able to live for very long on such a low-paying job anyway? No. It would have lasted a couple of years, tops, but I didn’t even have the option. After a couple of years of freelancing, working outside my field, temping, etc, I gave up the idea of ever getting a full-time job and started getting certified to teach because “they’ll always need teachers.” By the time I was certified, the state had started laying off teachers like crazy, and most districts were “restructuring” in a way that openings were being filled by the people who were laid off. I took a sub job for a semester and got hired the next semester full-time, but now I’m constantly terrified of layoffs. I have never as an adult had the feeling that my job was secure. Whether I love it or I hate it, I don’t even know if I will be unemployed in six months. I mean, I’m not even asking to love my job. I’m just asking to have one I can live off.
I had a Baby Boomer talk to me one day about all that was wrong with my generation – no innovation, entitlement, etc, and I finally lost my cool and yelled at him that his generation broke my world – environment, schools, economy, etc – and he had no right to criticize how my generation was trying to put it back together.
Sarah February 8, 2012, 2:51 pm
I am with you. I chose a very specialized, albeit low-paying, area of law. There wasn’t nearly as much competition when I chose it as there is now that the economy fell apart and all those law firm jobs my peers were chasing evaporated. So they went after my kind of job in DROVES (but begrudgingly, when I loved it–talk about adding insult to injury) and I ended up so, so, so much more fucked in my job search than basically anyone could reasonably have expected me to be.
painted_lady February 8, 2012, 3:48 pm
Exactly! All the scenic artist jobs disappeared – there is currently one theatre in town that has a full-time painter – and then everyone suddenly started expecting the set designers to paint their own sets, which is insane because that would be like expecting the author of a book to do his or her own cover art or illustrations. Some ridiculously multitalented people like Neil Gaiman could do it, but the vast majority can’t draw at all. So I started getting calls right and left from designer friends who could pay me $100 out of their own fees for me to paint for them for a week. It was so infuriating – of course these designers wanted their sets to look good, and of course they could only pay so much, but I generally charge $500 a show minimum!
cporoski February 8, 2012, 5:02 pm
PL – Are you in the NYC area? I have friends in set design up there. Also, I hope you are photographing all your work and getting reference letters from the designers. Even if you don’t make alot of money, the portfolio is important. Do you have a website i can network over to them? I don’t want to post my email on this forum but I think I can help.
painted_lady February 8, 2012, 6:45 pm
Oh I eventually moved on to teaching – the work wasn’t regular and I eventually found it was too much stress for money I couldn’t even live off. My co-workers talk about how much stress they’re under and I ask them when the last time they slept at school was 😉
Thank you SO MUCH, though. I actually knew I’d made the right decision to quit trying to make a career in the theatre when a full-time job here in Houston came open and I was just like, “Meh.”
cporoski February 10, 2012, 7:38 am
Sure. I know people who are making a go of it some more successfully than others but honestly they are all in NYC or LA.
cporoski February 8, 2012, 5:05 pm
Sarah – I know several legal recruiters. That is what my mom did. Where do you live? find me on linked in.
Sarah February 8, 2012, 6:16 pm
I have a job now, but thank you for the offer.
ele4phant February 8, 2012, 3:48 pm
Agreed agreed agreed! Again, I know some of us are spoiled brats who have never had to work for anything, and some of us are still growing up a bit and will grow out of our entitlements, but most of us are feeling like we got the bait and switch.
To have any sort of meaningful employment in which you can make a decent (not opulent) living, you HAVE to have an education. Even for most technical jobs, there needs to be some sort of vocational training. And so we’ve gotten ourselves educated. And education isn’t as cheap as it was in the past. A few decades it was entirely possible to have a part time job and be able to pay your way through school. Not so anymore, rises tuition and the cost of living have made it so this is not possible. If you don’t have family support or a butt-load of scholarships, you will be taking on debt, even if you work the whole time. While some of us may have been completely oblivious to the financial load this would entail, most of us understood the risk but assumed we could get a job that would allow us to pay this off in a reasonable amount of time. Not a dream job, maybe not even a fulfilling job, but one that would allow us to make a decent enough living and pay of our loans.
So yeah, when you sink in time, effort, and take on a tremendous amount of debt to find the only job you can get is a part-time retail job or a job waiting tables that pays minimum wage, I think its understandable if some of us are angry, and feel “entitled” to better. We held up our end of the bargain, we got educated, we took on the loans, and yet here we are, in our mid-twenties with no decent job prospects and a tremendous bill to pay off.
Sarah February 8, 2012, 5:03 pm
The thing that really pisses me off about this whole narrative is that the response is, “Well, you ASSUMED! Don’t assume! Dummy!” Well, A) you have to make assumptions to plan for the future, to some extent; and B) from our perspective, at the time, given all the evidence and what we were led to believe about the world, WE MADE REASONABLE ASSUMPTIONS. And now we’re fucked, even though we didn’t do anything that looked like a bad idea at the time. And that is shitty and sucks for us, and it sucks when people act like we somehow should have foreseen (and we’re stupid and entitled for not having predicted) that all the jobs we were told made our educations good investments would disappear, that all the money would be gone, when Wall Street didn’t predict it, let alone the government or our career counselors.
ele4phant February 8, 2012, 5:15 pm
Right, and to an extent, we didn’t assume. Getting an education, to eventually get some sort of job that will be stable, will give you opportunities to grow throughout your career, and will make a decent living is REQUIRED. We didn’t have a choice. If we didn’t get an education we would have a very low potential earnings for the rest of our lives. The sucky part is that we got an education, and we’re in the same place as those who didn’t get an education. Maybe things will turn around, and the degrees will come in handy.
I don’t feel entitled to my dream job. I don’t feel entitled to a fantastic salary. I don’t feel entitled to have the world handed to me just because I got an advanced degree. However, I don’t think I’m entitled if I’m expect that after I put in time, money and effort to gain certain skills to enhance my employability, I should be able to find a job that can utilize them, even if that means a boring entry level position.
Poicelle February 8, 2012, 7:50 pm
This is so true!! It’s like kicking a dog when it’s down, if you know what I mean.
I “paid my dues” to society by putting myself through college, through graduate school (during which I, begrudgingly and to save myself a little student loan debt, moved back home) and now through law school (I’m working the law school’s max allowed hours per week) only to be told that after I graduate with tremendous debt, I will have no job. I will have trouble paying my pretty low rent and paying for my 10 year old car. I will have trouble going to the doctor, because I won’t have health insurance, and I have a pre-existing condition so the longer I go without insurance the bigger a problem I have.
It’s not that I want things handed to me on a silver platter; I’ve worked hard in school and hard at work. I just want the opportunity to succeed. To do SOMETHING. And it kind of stings when it sounds like people think that its our fault that we don’t have jobs – like if we had just tried harder or had a better attitude.
Right now, I’m in the same position as Sarah. I intended, after law school, to work for the government or for a non-profit. And guess, out of every employer, who is absolutely no longer hiring? (the government is now hiring recent grads to work for a year FOR FREE – who can afford to do that?!?) So all of my training, and all of my school, to prepare me to work in women’s rights or domestic violence, is doing nothing to help me get one of the few legal jobs that’s out there.
Maybe that’s way off topic and maybe I’m just venting – but for a lot of us, I don’t think it’s our generation or our work ethic or our entitlement that’s the problem…
Sarah February 8, 2012, 8:46 pm
Okay, so do you know what my most (read: least) favorite thing ever is? The only people who can take those non-paying jobs with government are the people who are getting stipends because they were deferred from their law firm jobs. So they take them and work there for a year. For some proportion of those people, either they realize how fun public interest is or their law firms rescind their offers entirely because, whoops, worst economy ever, and now, even if the governmental organization IS hiring, who are they going to hire? Me, who has a resume that’s directly on target? Or Joe, WHO ALREADY WORKS THERE, everyone knows and likes him, and ooh, look, he has a year of real experience doing this! No contest. This is why I was crying in my office (short-term job) last year while looking for a more permanent job. I think I scared the snot out of our interns, which I feel bad about, but if I can convince just one law student to drop out while the debt is still in five digits…
Poicelle February 9, 2012, 5:52 pm
If I could do it all over again – I would absolutely not go to law school.
The only other people who can take those internships are people who have money either on their own already or from their families. So because they’re well-off, they get a resume builder and a step up and because I have to pay my loan payments and rent I get to…live in my car?
The sad thing is that now, even though I came to school to, even with all of the loan debt, work for the people who *need* help, I’m not going to be able to do that. I mean I was so pumped (and bright eyed and bushy tailed) and ready to fight for women’s rights and women’s safety. And right now I’m looking for any full time job within an hour of me. ANY. And the truth is, I can’t even find that. And even if I did, it terrifies me, because if I take a non-legal (customer service or retail) job and have to stay there for a few years, how easy is it going to be to transition from that to a legal job?
It honestly looks like I’m just going to be trying to pick up extra hours at the two part-time jobs I’m juggling now while I go to school (where extra hours are, basically, non-existant since I work for a non-profit in one instance that has limited hours to give and as a student mentor in the other – so if no students need me then I’m SOL).
Times are rough out there, for everyone.
bittergaymark February 8, 2012, 11:34 am
Look, in my opinion, a good number 80s Babies ARE hopelessly obsessed with themselves. Obsessed. I’ll say it again — Obsessed.
I blame reality TV.
No, seriously, I do. Hey, when the biggest star in the media right now is Kim Kartrashian — a impossibly vapid idiot who doesn’t even actually “DO” anything to be famous other than running around with cameras trailing her as she repeatedly proves again and again to be the world’s biggest cunt… well, THIS is the effect. A generation of fucking morons. There I said it. Who else would worship such utter crap?
And yet she’s your generations’ biggest star… No wonder so many 80s Babies come across as hopelessly dumb and narcissistic. Hello! They all WORSHIP the dumb and narcissistic. And apparently aspire to be that way themselves. Well, good job, guys! Far too many of you are well, well on the way to succeeding… A world of Kardashian Clones… Ugh, I weep not for your generation, but mine. For we are the ones who have to put up with your fucking shit.
MaterialsGirl February 8, 2012, 11:44 am
Do you love “Idiocracy” as much as I do?
bittergaymark February 8, 2012, 11:51 am
You know, I haven’t seen that flick in a long, long while. And it keeps coming up again and again in various conversations… It’s on my netflix cue and I will definitely be revisiting it once this epic road trip ends… 🙂
iseeshiny February 8, 2012, 12:01 pm
Again with the sweeping generalizations… What generation do the producers who gave us kids the Kardashians come from? I’m guessing yours. If we’re full of shit it’s because you’re feeding it to us.
bittergaymark February 8, 2012, 12:07 pm
Um, actually, I’d bet those producers are all from Generation Y. (Reality TV is too ageist to employ anybody north of 39…) But I don’t blame Generation Y. Nope, I sure don’t. Newsflash, if 80s Babies didn’t eat it up so — the show would have disappeared quite quickly. Look, nobody is FORCING you to watch, much less emulate…so take the blame for it. That’s another thing about your generation that astounds me… Nothing. Is. Ever. Your. Fault.
iseeshiny February 8, 2012, 12:22 pm
Oh, so you don’t produce the Kardashians, so they’re not your fault, and I don’t watch the Kardashians but it is my fault? Why don’t you blame me for Twilight while you’re at it? Good fare (with decent ratings, even!) is being removed from television. Not being in the TV business myself I can’t tell you exactly why, but I’m betting a lot of it has to do with production values. And who is making all the money off of the steady diet of reality TV we’re being force-fed? Um, not us.
Iwannatalktosampson February 8, 2012, 12:25 pm
Woah woah woah. Lets not bring twilight into this. That is a great piece of cinematography right there.
iseeshiny February 8, 2012, 12:29 pm
Everyone is free to love Twilight. I simply refuse to take personal responsibility for it.
bethany February 8, 2012, 1:39 pm
hahaha! love it!
bittergaymark February 8, 2012, 12:42 pm
Yes. Kim Kardashian definitely is NOT my fault.
I don’t watch them.
I don’t produce them.
Hell, it’s highly unlikely that members of MY generation produce them.
But your generation DOES watch them.
And it emulates.
So while YOU (personally) may not be to blame, your generation is. Similarly, my generation doomed the future to decades of bad flannel. Now, I never partook in that fashion(less) fiasco, but definitely admit that it was the misguided handiwork of my very own Generation X.
And um, yeah. Your generation is also very much to blame for the success of Twilight. Just as my generation was responsible for dreck like…um…well I’m sure that somewhere we produced films as shitty as Twilight, but admittedly, that series is hard to top for sheer awfulness. 😉 Actually, I went into Twilight with a very open mind and was astounded at just how bad, a bad film can be… Even the effects look shitty.
Meanwhile, good TV gets cancelled because Reality is so fucking cheap to produce. I mean, there is simply no “talent” to pay. No writers. No actors. No sets to design and build. And there is very little production value. In fact, there is value little of value in it anywhere, but that doesn’t seem to phase much of Generation 80s Babies….
Lili February 8, 2012, 12:52 pm
FYI: Ryan Seacrest (born 1974) produces all the Kardashian shows.
MaterialsGirl February 8, 2012, 1:22 pm
That maniacal, ageless jerk!
Budj February 10, 2012, 10:43 am
He also was the host of American Idol….which a loathe…and is dating Julianne Hough. Fuck that guy.
iseeshiny February 8, 2012, 2:55 pm
Not gonna lie, I never did go see the films. I did read the books, just so I could form an opinion on what everyone was talking about (I did the same thing with Harry Potter). I’m so glad I borrowed them from a friend and didn’t spend money on them. (Unlike Harry Potter, those I borrowed but then went and bought.)
Ps. I have not one but two plaid flannel shirts in my closet. That’s all on you.
FireStar February 8, 2012, 12:16 pm
I totally think you are right about reality TV. Growing up there were no shows about 16 years olds getting a Bentley for their birthday or 6 year olds having birthday parties that cost $40K. We had the Cosby show when Vanessa said to Cliff something along the lines of “y’know because we are rich…” and he said “Your mother and I are rich; you have nothing.”
A totally different kind of mindset…
bittergaymark February 8, 2012, 12:27 pm
Hah! I totally remember that episode. And yes, it certainly did reflect a very different mindset.
amber February 8, 2012, 5:11 pm
oh i love the cosby show. i just watched some re-runs last night! 🙂
Napoleon1066 February 8, 2012, 12:17 pm
This is pretty stupid.
I’m an 80’s baby. I don’t watch reality TV. I put myself through college without my parents’ help, and then went back for a masters degree. I have a full time job that pays me well… I’m a fully functioning adult.
Let’s not generalize based on the dumbest members of a group. There are a lot of pretty dumb people from the 70’s as I recall.
None of us, not Mark, not Wendy, not I, are qualified to make any sort of sweeping statement on an entire generation. We’re not sociologist, we don’t know hundreds of thousands of people, and we don’t have any data to back up our claims. Are there 80’s children with an over-developed sense of entitlement? Sure. What portion of the 80’s generation are they? Even if it were only 1 in 10, there’d still be millions of them.
I think one of the dangerous in Wendy’s style is that she’s so hard hitting, that when she over-reaches (which is what she has done here, clearly), things can go really, really wrong. She spoke with an authority she did not possess. Now, her message should have gone out to people who have a sense of entitlement, not a particular generation. I think calling out people based on the year that they were born is excessive. There may be experiences that were more common in the 80s, for sure, but they weren’t shared by everyone, and Wendy’s statement made it seem like they were.
ChemE February 8, 2012, 12:31 pm
I don’t watch that worthless bitch.
Lili February 8, 2012, 12:49 pm
You know BGM, as much as it stung to hear the words-yours and Wendy’s-I agree completely with what you both have said. Its hard to hear because it forces some-not all, not generalizing-of us to face unpleasant aspects of ourselves and the lives we live. I behave like a vapid narcissistic attention whore and then get delighted when someone nicknames me ‘kimmie’ that is bad, its wrong and its scary to think how far reality tv mentality has seeped into ME. Personally. I don’t like it one bit. But, I accept that it exists and I’m not going to be upset at you two for pointing it out.
Also-lets discuss the bachelor for a second. I feel really embarrassed even admitting it, but I had like a emotional reaction to the last episode. That made me scared for the life I am living. I need culture and class and depth STAT.
So again, thanks for the harsh words BGM. I expect no less, and appreciate your wisdom always!
Iwannatalktosampson February 8, 2012, 12:52 pm
I think the kids born in the ’90’s are worse. (Of course I would say this as an ’80’s kid). But really. My sister-in-law who is 14 (12 year gap in kids) is so self absorbed it’s painful to witness. Her and her friends take pictures of themselves with their lap top camera’s everyday. EVERYDAY. Like she puts on make up just to take pictures of herself in all these weird faces. Ugh and the emo crap. Like they are all just sooooo depressed.
Lili February 8, 2012, 12:57 pm
I see what you did there. LOVE it 😀
iseeshiny February 8, 2012, 1:12 pm
I went fishing last summer with a coworker and her twelve year old came along – fully decked out in the fishnets and dog collar and asymmetrically cut black-dyed hair – a look that when I was in high school/middle school meant one identified with the goths (emo was creeping in at that point, but mostly it was the goths) and this (incredibly perky, chipper) girl started to explain to me that she was “scene” – which in my day was someone really into making sure that you’d never heard of the bands they liked but evidently now means that you like to be emo and wear Hello Kitty ironically? Kids these days….
Lili February 8, 2012, 1:31 pm
That made me think of the commercial for Direct tv or something ‘Don’t have a grandson with a dog collar’ hahaha!
MissDre February 8, 2012, 1:14 pm
LoL I agree with you completely. 90’s kids drive me nuts, just like I’m sure I drive the generation before me nuts.
MaterialsGirl February 8, 2012, 1:25 pm
Please please please tell me you’ve seen the “dickheads” you tube?
If not, here’s a link
Budj February 8, 2012, 2:56 pm
Hey – let the kids have their emo time…I grew out of it in college 😛
Iwannatalktosampson February 8, 2012, 3:01 pm
Bugj! You never admit that. Please tell me you didn’t hang out at Starbucks in skinny jeans with your earbuds in. Don’t say it.
By the way I live right by Boulder Colorado, and that place will drive you crazy. It is the meca of trustafarians. Like kids with trust funds that want to be hippies. Seriously, there are people there that buy $500 jeans with holes in them to look like their poor. Or buy Hybrid Escalades.
Budj February 8, 2012, 3:25 pm
haha – I was emo in the sense of I listened to angsty music and was way too over emotional in my interactions with women (a.k.a. a P.A.B.)
Grilledcheesecalliope February 8, 2012, 3:53 pm
Oh dear lord boulder, the spoiled brat fog over CU is suffocating
honeybeenicki February 8, 2012, 1:19 pm
I still haven’t heard a good reason why Kim Kardashian is famous. I am really confused by that whole thing. Fortunately, I’ve never been sucked into that show.
Iwannatalktosampson February 8, 2012, 2:08 pm
I think it has the fact that she has approximately 700 eyelashes per eye. I want to count them.
Lili February 8, 2012, 2:30 pm
Iwanna–you too can get the look:http://www.maccosmetics.com/product/150/404/34-Lash/index.tmpl
Wait-should I be embarrassed that I just linked to that?
Poicelle February 9, 2012, 6:05 pm
Maybe this should be embarrassing, because I so have no idea what’s going on on any reality show that’s not Top Chef, but I also had no idea who she was or why she was famous until like 2 weeks ago. I had to keep asking my fiance (no idea why he knows) over and over again who she was.
I don’t get it.
Only “real” reality show (not like…top chef or project runway) that I’ve ever really watched, and that I miss, is Kathy Griffin’s Life on the D List. It’s done now…but, man, I love her.
cookiesandcream February 8, 2012, 2:03 pm
I don’t think everyone who watches Kim Kardashian is watching to worship her. A good portion of the people watching her show and following gossip stories about her are doing it so they can tear her down. It’s kind of how kids in the playground crowd around the unpopular kid so they can all make fun of him/her. The unpopular kid gets a ton of attention and people talk about that kid, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s all about worshiping that kid.
rachel February 8, 2012, 11:42 am
As an 80’s baby (1984), I kind of went “Hey!” when I read the comment yesterday, but wasn’t really offended. I’ve seen the stereotype exist in my peers, though I don’t think I myself feel entitled. I’m glad you addressed it, Wendy, and I hope it did the job. No one likes to be shoved into a stereotype, but they do exist for a reason.
leilani February 8, 2012, 11:43 am
I don’t know that there is a greater sense of entitlement today, or if people have always felt entitled to certain things, but in most time periods it has been easier for people coming of age to get it. I have always been an honors student, got a full-ride to college, worked all through college, and always had expectations for success for myself. I wouldn’t say I felt entitled to success, persay, but I feel that I am very capable of the jobs in my field that I apply for, and I have worked hard enough to deserve it. But, there is a big disparity between where I think I should be and where I am. Nowadays, a lot of people that might usually be starting their careers are stuck working part-time, or serving at a restaurant, or toiling away in a field that they are not at all interested in for little pay. Obviously, this leads to an extended adolescence and an increased dependence on parents, not to mention frustration, which admittedly to lead to bratty behavior. Maybe people are not feeling entitled to others’ assistance as much as they feel entitled to a certain standard of living that they are unable to achieve through other means.
AK47 February 8, 2012, 3:48 pm
This. I don’t think our attitudes of “entitlement” are any worse than the Baby Boomers or Gen X. I worked hard in High School, worked hard in college and just graduated. I am one of the very few people I know who a)found a job with an actual salary and benefits and b) is working in my field. In this economy, there are plenty of us who worked hard, did what were told were the Right Things to Do to get job post grad, and still have nothing to show for it.
Are there some amongst our peers who are spoiled and think they should be handed everything? Sure, there definitely are, but I don’t think it’s any worse than previous generations. We just graduated into a terrible economy where those negative traits in some are more highlighted.
ele4phant February 8, 2012, 11:53 am
When I was in high school, I was in the musical “Bye bye Birdie”, and there was a song the parent characters sung all about their kids, how crazy and self centered their children were. And this musical was written in the 60s.
I think as every generation comes of age, deals with maturing, and wants to do things their own way, they will be cast as selfish and immature. Somehow there seems to be an amnesia when they grow up and a new generation is coming of age, dealing with maturing, and wants to do things differently.
I don’t think its that my generation is particularly selfish or entitled, it has more to do with the point in life we are right now. You’ve been there, and our kid’s generation will be there someday too.
mf February 8, 2012, 1:01 pm
I was in Bye Bye Birdie too! What part did you have?
ele4phant February 8, 2012, 1:03 pm
Oh, just a bit part as one of the rabid, teenage fans (I’m not a very talented actor…or singer…or dancer)
painted_lady February 8, 2012, 2:11 pm
I was the first girl Harvey asked to the prom!
“Kids! What’s the matter with kids today!”
ele4phant February 8, 2012, 2:51 pm
Was that Penelope-Anne? I can’t quite remember who was first.
painted_lady February 8, 2012, 3:05 pm
I think so. That sounds right. I know her last name was “Hankle.”
MELH February 8, 2012, 11:55 am
I honestly think the comment caused such an uproar because of the users you attract to your site on a daily basis. While we all know you get some crazy letters from people who exhibit these charateristics, most of the commenters read because they like the way you lay it out and don’t coddle people who think they are entitled to certain things.The people who fit the generational stereotype are probably on some other website that tells them mom and dad owe them everything and they should be unhappy!
So, while the comment caused a bit of an uproar, I think its great you write a site that attacts “80’s babies” who are going against the trend!
Iwannatalktosampson February 8, 2012, 11:57 am
Stereotypes exist because they’re true! Amiright? Listen, I didn’t really get why everyone got their panties all up in a bunch yesterday either. I am the youngest child of baby boomers. Do I have some entitledness in me? Yes. Do I have some youngest child syndrome in me? Yes. Did I call my Dad living in Canada in college when my car broke down like he was magically supposed to fix it from 2,000 miles away? Yes. Did he eventually quit helping me and give me the number to my own insurance agent? Yes.
I don’t think you can take the good with your generation without being able to accept the bad. I am a fully functioning adult at 24, but it took me until I was about 22 to not call my Dad everytime something went wrong (well at least if the problem could be fixed with money). But I have this undeniable optimism in me that everything will be okay. I don’t have this doom and gloom attitude. Pretty great gift given huh? I think everything will work itself out because it always has. Every time I have fallen my parents have caught me. So even now that I am on my own and would rather sell my condo than ask them for help, that attitude has stuck with me. So yeah maybe all us 80’s babies are fighting an uphill battle to prove our independence, but we also have got to be a part of a huge cultural change and technological boom.
ele4phant February 8, 2012, 12:08 pm
Is it that bad to call your parents if something goes wrong? I live thousands of miles from my parents too, but if something (major) goes wrong, I’ll call ’em. Obviously, I don’t expect them to drop everything and fly out to fix it for me, but if its the first time I’ve dealt with such a problem, what’s the harm in tapping into some institutional knowledge they’ve built up over their lives? Is being an adult mean you have to reinvent the wheel for every problem you encounter, or can you get the opinion of people who’ve been there done that and then using that information to make your own decision?
I’m being honest, does calling your parents when you have a problem (and I mean a big one, I don’t call for just anything), mean I’m being immature or entitled? I just thought I was being efficient, blasting through the problem more effectively than I could on my own.
bethany February 8, 2012, 12:19 pm
Absolutely not! I value my parents’ wisom and opinions, and if I’m having an issue, I can talk it out with them. Regardless of how old you are, a parent’s job is to help guide you into making good decisions.
I’ll be honest- I’m a 30 year old woman and I’ll still call my mom now and then to see if she’d eat leftover meatloaf that was 5 days old. (3 days is really my max with leftovers 🙂
katie February 8, 2012, 1:38 pm
I think there is a big difference between calling parents for advice and calling them with the intent that they are personally going to fix the problem.
Renee February 8, 2012, 12:09 pm
Interesting story here in Boston, there was a fire at a fraternity and the students called there parents and NOT 911!!!!
“BU Police Chief Thomas Robbins says his department received a call from a parent of one of the students in the apartment, whose first response was to call home. Robbins says he hopes that students learn to make their first and immediate call to 911 or to the BUPD at 617-353-2121. “We’ve got to get our number on the students’ radar,” he says. “It’s great that this person called a parent, but people in danger should call us first, then call a parent.”
They’re in college, Boston University not less, not middle school!
What have we done to this generation!
Iwannatalktosampson February 8, 2012, 12:16 pm
Haha I would totally do that. Listen they loved us and made us dependent on them and now we know for a fact they can fix anything. And they did didn’t they? They called the cops and all was well. I discovered a couple of years ago that my dad didn’t actually know how to make shelves in the garage, he would have to look up how to do it. I was like what? That’s not just stored in your brain somewhere??
bittergaymark February 8, 2012, 12:18 pm
That. Is. Mindblowing. How can ANYBODY be THAT dumb…?
Renee February 8, 2012, 12:39 pm
Notice the parents didn’t tell the BU student to call 911. Instead the parents called the police themselves.
Iwannatalktosampson February 8, 2012, 12:56 pm
They just keep giving us fish!!! Why won’t someone teach me how to fucking fish?!?!
Addie Pray February 8, 2012, 1:35 pm
Ha — good point!
ele4phant February 8, 2012, 1:08 pm
While I might not like generational stereotypes about generations, I will accept blanket stereotypes about frat guys. Of course they’d be dumb enough to call their parents…they’re frat guys.
Amber February 8, 2012, 12:07 pm
I think this “entitled generation” idea really only applies in general to people born in the late 80’s and after. I was born in 1980, and I notice a huge difference between people my age and the young 20-somethings I am now hiring.
Many of them think it’s unfair if they don’t get perfect performance feedback, since they are doing “the best they can”.
They also seem to have a misguided notion that as an employer, our main priority should be to always be providing them with learning opportunities.
Dude – sometimes filing and other menial tasks just need to be done!
MaterialsGirl February 8, 2012, 12:10 pm
haha i know!i just hired of bunch of interns to do that for me. It had been piling up for a year! A YEAR!
Lili February 8, 2012, 4:46 pm
What’s their work ethic like-those youngun interns I mean?
MaterialsGirl February 8, 2012, 4:54 pm
There are three of them: one is AWFUL.. total POS. Not dependable. Only comes in around 11 when he feels like it. The other two are great. Ones married/mormon a little older, the other is super excited just to be at a manufacturing facility (he’s also happy with the pay and consistent hours since he’s paying for school himself). You wouldn’t believe the dirty crap these kids have to do. My first summer, I put in my dues: cleaning and calibrating forging furnaces and the like. Very proud of the second two interns who are very willing to work and helpful.
SweetPea February 8, 2012, 12:10 pm
Meh… I’m an 80s baby, but not overly offended. I realize that my parents did A LOT for me and that maybe I was slower to grow up than I should have been. However, I am beyond thankful for my parents. I don’t think I feel “entitled”. I realize that the things I’ve been given in life are not “owed” to me… I just happened to be born into a family that had the means to occasionally help me out. I have so much gratitude for that. I do not keep a tally on the things they do for my sister. I don’t really feel like my parents taught me to be lazy by being generous. On the contrary, they taught me how to be kind and giving.
However, I also understand why some of you are offended. Anytime you generalize people based on factors completely outside of their choosing, there are bound to be people who feel unfairly judged. This is clearly not as big of an issue of people being judged based on ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation. BUT, it still is judging people based on something they didn’t pick and grouping them with people who have had such different experiences in life. It is much safer to form opinions about people on a case by case basis.
But, all in all… none of this is a big deal to me. I know who I am… my faults and my strengths. So, if anyone wants to have the opinion that based on my age… I’ll have to leave them to it.
painted_lady February 8, 2012, 12:17 pm
Thank you for the clarification, Wendy. You didn’t seem to be the “kids these days!” type, so I figured I was misunderstanding or something.
For me personally, I delved into the idea of stereotypes in undergrad psychology, and the thing is, while they tend to be true-ish, stereotypes *seem* true more than they actually *are* true because people retain the information that confirms the stereotype better. And when they do encounter something that doesn’t fit the stereotype, that’s classified as an exception to the rule rather than acknowledging that the stereotype may not be as true as it feels. So I regularly get classified as an exception to the rule for my generation – I work hard, sometimes too hard, I’m self-sufficient, I handle my money well, and I’m in a functional relationship between equals. I’m the exception, and it sounds like a lot of other people on here are, too, and while maybe some of us aren’t as much of the exception as we think, it also may be that the stereotype isn’t as true, either. It also means that the 80s babies are expected to do badly over time – so if someone does well at work for six weeks in a row and then catches the flu the seventh week, people are less likely to say “Oh poor guy, he must be really sick if he called in” than they are to say, “Oh my god, ANOTHER lazy 80s baby! The work isn’t going to do itself, slacker!”
One way I will absolutely acknowledge my entitlement – which also led to my slow start and dependence on my parents, though the economy didn’t help – is that I didn’t have a very realistic perspective on career paths. I was told, of course, like all us 80s kids were, that I could be anything I wanted, and Mom and Dad only wanted me to be happy. I actually wanted something sensible for a long time – a counselor – and then decided I wanted to be something completely artsy-fartsy that even my supportive parents thought was crazy – a scenic painter. I guess they thought their “whatever you want to be as long as you’re happy” had also carried the subliminal message “and you stop living off us at 23” since I had wanted a sensible job forever. And then they were shocked, and I was shocked that they were shocked, and I assured them I could do it, and by the time it finally sunk in that I didn’t want to be destitute forever, I was all the way through grad school and two years into a career that paid about $800/month. And then I finally got it: I needed a job that made money.
Yeah, absolutely, my parents should have curbed that “whatever you want to be honey” attitude, because I didn’t realize the limits of reality until my mid-20s, but ultimately, it’s on me to figure that crap out, and I just figured because I reallyreallyreally wanted to paint scenery, the universe would open up and find a way to make that happen that didn’t include my eating Ramen every night.
Sarah February 8, 2012, 2:25 pm
Love your explanation of the psychology around stereotypes. Maybe this is a better explanation, n’est-ce pas, instead of “Well, stereotypes exist for a reason!”
Biglight February 8, 2012, 6:50 pm
That second paragraph starts off describing something called “confirmation bias” that applies to much, much more than just stereotypes. Anyone who doesn’t have an excellent understanding of it would be very well served to go learn about it. Thanks for bringing it up.
Christy February 8, 2012, 12:25 pm
1. Wendy, I just want to say that I totally support you in your assessment of the 80s generation. I was born in 1988 (like RR!) and I totally have to fight my own feelings of entitlement. I work a full time job I don’t really love, and it’s taken me a pretty long time to realize that it’s alright not to like your job, and just because you don’t LOVE every minute of your job (or life) doesn’t mean it’s not good or worthwhile. And I see that entitlement all around me. Pretty much all of my peers either talk about how they work hard despite our generation’s sense of entitlement or else they just act entitled. Even those who are hard workers should realize that they have to deal with the entitlement stereotype.
2. To everyone who’s appalled at the idea that 80s babies are entitled, wake up and read the fucking news. It’s everywhere. Wendy isn’t expressing some sort of crazy crazy idea. This is a common assessment of us. And I don’t know that you’re helping anything by whining about how you work hard and aren’t entitled.
3. Wendy, you go girl for telling off Mwalt! Rock the eff on.
SweetPea February 8, 2012, 12:36 pm
I am an 80’s baby and have pretty much always had the attitude that they wouldn’t pay me to go to work if I loved it. Maybe that is because I never had a specific career passion. I do like my job most of the time… but I never understood why every single person felt they had to be just ecstatic to go to work. (But, congrats to those that do… that’s awesome!)
It’s definitely bad to despise your job and just be miserable every day. But, come on… it’s work!
Christy February 8, 2012, 12:39 pm
Right?! It took me a long time to realize that they’re paying you to be there. Like, they don’t just pay you because they like you, they’re paying you to DO THE WORK.
iseeshiny February 8, 2012, 12:45 pm
See, yes. I’m 24. I work an incredibly boring job in bookkeeping. I DW to keep my brain from melting, because sometimes it feels like if I have to look at another spreadsheet I will walk away and just not come back. BUT it pays decently, I get good benefits and I know I have to eat, pay the bills.
My husband is turning 32 this year and while he has settled into a decent job situation for now, he keeps changing fields, because he’s never crazy about his job. It gets so frustrating because, hey, I’m not crazy about mine, either, but I get my happy ass to work every day, pick up my check, and have nights and weekends free to enjoy with him. Meanwhile I’m dreaming of retirement and doing everything I can to make sure we get one. And he’s a hard worker, it’s just he thinks there is this mythical holy grail of jobs out there and if he tries every one he’ll find it.
MissDre February 8, 2012, 1:20 pm
I feel the same way about your husband. But I also feel like my brain is melting half the day. That’s why I’m on here.
Poicelle February 9, 2012, 6:12 pm
My sister is 22 and has a job as a bank teller. I’ll give her the fact that it’s not remotely related to her undergraduate major (communications) and the fact that she seems to hate it there (they have her doing the job of someone in a higher pay grade and working overtime every week) but, I have to say, when she complains about her job and how she can’t wait to get out of there…all I can think is: at least you have a job. That’s more than A LOT of people can say right now.
I mean – the truth is that she’s staying there and she’s entitled to keep looking for something she likes better – but I still think that she’s super lucky.
I would KILL for any full-time position, boring or “beneath” me or not.
FancyPants February 8, 2012, 1:06 pm
Haha, as my fiance always says “If work were fun, the rich would have kept it for themselves”.
KKZ February 15, 2012, 4:50 pm
I struggled for a long time last year with the “I’m working a job that makes me miserable/but at least it pays the bills” argument. And yes, looking back, I think entitlement played into it – I was miserable at the job because (a) after four years of doing the same shit, I was not feeling challenged enough to keep me interested; (b) I was working nights, weekends and holidays for all four of those years, and they hemmed and hawed and maybe’d about giving me a day shift but never came through; (c) it took me forever to realize that my only value to the company was that I was willing to work that shitty shift, my skills and knowledge and interests had very little to do with it; (d) there were very, very few opportunities to advance or even move into a different department – I interviewed for one open position and was praised for my ambition but ultimately the answer was “we need you to keep doing what you’re doing” – and thus no goal for me to work towards.
So obviously I feel entitled to a job that challenged me, where I was valued for something other than being a warm body in a chair, and where I had reasonable expectations of being able to advance. Too much to ask? You decide – the message I got growing up, though, led me to believe this is the kind of job I could expect to get with a college education. I admit I was not prepared to settle for less – not for long, anyway.
In my fourth year at that job, every time I started to get miserable, that voice would chime in saying “Hey, be grateful, you have a decently cushy job when a lot of your fellow Millennials don’t, and it pays well, and it’s in your field, so stop bitching!” And for a while this “Fake it till you make it” attitude worked, but it would always cycle back to being miserable. I felt incredibly guilty for not being content with just having a job, especially when I heard others saying “I’d just be grateful for any job right now.” And the guilt and the depression paired together – well, it wasn’t pretty.
It took a therapist finally telling me “It’s OK to pursue your own happiness – dissatisfaction with your situation does not mean you’re ungrateful for what you have” to get me to stop beating up on myself for feeling like I deserved better. That put me in a much better mindset to start looking for work. It took six months but I did find another job. I traded a crappy shift for a long-ass commute, but other than that, this job makes me VERY happy. I’m consistently challenged, I’m using my skills, I feel valued every day, and I’ve already been rewarded for my contribution to the company. Yes, I’m lucky, but I’ll also take credit for taking responsibility for my own happiness.
So in my case, my sense of entitlement may have actually been a good thing, because it prompted me not to settle for less than I wanted/felt I deserved. And not settling is good – right? That’s what I’ve heard all my life…
ReginaRey February 8, 2012, 12:26 pm
Ultimately, I agree that stereotypes exist for a reason. Plenty of my 80s baby peers have proven THAT, for sure. And yes, my parents did quite a lot for me. I’m so grateful that they paid for my college education (allowing me to have no debt as I pursue financing grad school on my own), and that they welcomed me back home after I graduated so that I could save money for nearly a year before moving out on my own. When I left home, I didn’t have to rack up any credit card debt buying things I needed for myself – a couch, a bed, heck just FOOD. I now have a nice chunk of money left over in my savings, which gives me peace of mind. All because my parents supported me financially somewhat, as well as emotionally.
I was never upset about being lumped into one giant stereotype, because honestly, who cares? I’m sure all of us 80s babies have done SOMETHING that fits the stereotype, after all (as have people not born in the 80s, too). But I think my actions will ultimately speak louder than the year I was born…and that’s what matters.
Iwannatalktosampson February 8, 2012, 12:31 pm
I am with you, i’m not sure why it’s so insulting. For the people that claim they are the exact opposite of all stereotypes then fine – prove them all wrong.
Christy February 8, 2012, 12:38 pm
Exactly! Congratulations for rocking, but don’t pretend that the stereotype doesn’t exist.
Leroy February 8, 2012, 12:39 pm
I work with a lot of Millenials and employ a few as well. In my experience, much of the criticism of this generation is exaggerated. I have the sense that they’re being blamed for the excesses of the Boomers and Gen-X.
The one characteristic of Millenials that I have found to be consistent is that they are often very uncomfortable giving or receiving criticism. It can be difficult getting their honest opinion when this involves critiquing the ideas or performance of another person. And you have to be more careful in how you critique their performance because they’ll often overreact and take it very personally. This tendency obviously isn’t exclusive to Millenials but it’s something that I’ve come to notice about people that age.
Budj February 8, 2012, 12:43 pm
I feel like a lot of the branding of millenials happened during occupy wall street.
Budj February 8, 2012, 3:11 pm
Which consisted of more than just our generation…and was a very small portion of our generation…
Iwannatalktosampson February 8, 2012, 3:14 pm
By the way on an inappropriate note – did you see those shirts being sold to women that had an arrow pointing down their stomachs that said “occupy this”. I giggled. I love it when people can turn a really serious subject into something I can laugh about. Might be why I like family guy so much.
Budj February 8, 2012, 3:59 pm
haha – No I didn’t. That is clever though….if not shamefully disrespectful to guys that have trouble getting laid.
Leroy February 8, 2012, 9:13 pm
It’s been brewing, but Occupy did provide the media with a convenient template for characterizing Millennials.
What people don’t seem to remember is that Gen-X was depicted similarly – Slackers, selfish, uncommitted, aimless etc.. Then the DotCom boom hit and suddenly we were a bunch of Jr. Geniuses! So that was great, but otherwise nothing had changed, we were simply caricatured differently.
iseeshiny February 8, 2012, 1:15 pm
That is an excellent point, with the criticism thing. I never sorted it into generations before but it makes a lot of sense, especially with the “participation trophies” culture we grew up in. Everyone’s ego must be protected = a lot of fragile egos.
MaterialsGirl February 8, 2012, 1:29 pm
How do we do it better? We should have a forum thread or something on “sh*t I need to teach my children”
iseeshiny February 8, 2012, 1:54 pm
Well, that’s exactly my point. Parents (ideally) love their kids and to see them in pain is painful. No one wants to see their kid crushed because they’re on the losing team, etc. A bunch of pop psychologists do some sort of study on 100 preschoolers about how feeling like you’ve failed in something at a young age leads to depression and failure in later life. You want to keep your kids from that and so you call the coach and say, listen, my kid’s t-ball team sucks, don’t keep score, ok? I just want him to have the benefits of the experience, not the drawbacks. Now, while the drawbacks will teach your kid that sometimes you have to work harder to achieve desired results, and sometimes no matter how hard you work you can still fail – important facts of life – since the lesson is painful the child is kept from learning it. When confronted with pain from which the parents can’t keep him insulated, the kid has no skills for how to handle it. Far easier to just move back home and live on mom and dad’s couch than face that big, scary world on your own.
Meanwhile you have parents who want to teach their kids the harsh facts of life, going too far in the other direction, never giving their approval, and you do end up with these freudian trainwrecks who constantly question their self-worth, whether they will ever live up to expectations, and is unable to see when they’ve accomplished anything of value.
I think the answer, like everything else, lies in moderation. Let your kid fall off the slide and get splinters. Kiss the booboos, apply the little mermaid band aid, and explain that if you’re not careful, life and all its sharp edges will cut you. Let the owies come, explain how they happened and how to avoid them in the future. Intervene if it will maim your child, but don’t go making the mistake of thinking that a skinned knee (or wounded pride) is like losing a limb.
I say this as a person without children, of course. If I ever have them I might decide that saving them pain is worth having a forty year old living in my basement for the rest of my life, but I hope I have more strength of character than that.
MaterialsGirl February 8, 2012, 3:06 pm
Funny enough, as a senior in HS, one of my college essays was on failure, specifically, that I didn’t make the basketball team that year (and I had ALWAYS made it). Basically, I went into an analysis of failure and how to come back from it stronger etc. I felt I had learned an important lesson and that would be especially useful as I moved on to college. Talked about how plenty of successful people had failed, but that didn’t stop them. “try, try again,” right?
I agree… every decision has consequences whether good or bad. As a parent, you can buffer the ‘bad,’ but completely doing away with it will be detrimental to your child’s progression into adulthood.
painted_lady February 8, 2012, 1:24 pm
I think your assessment seems pretty correct – it may be part of that “everyone gets a prize” mentality the schools and sports teams had. It came as a huge surprise when I discovered in middle school that I was terrible at sports. Not until years later did I realize when they handed out awards in PE class or on my YMCA basketball team that I always got the purple ribbon, or the baby blue, or the green. It was sort of amazing how creative they got with awards for me. I swear on a stack of bibles that I got an award for “interesting running style.” I run like I’m having a very mobile seizure.
I mean, you get right down to it, and the only time we ever got genuine negativity was when we were in trouble. So I guess, yeah, hearing criticism as punishment is hard to shake.
iseeshiny February 8, 2012, 2:22 pm
Interesting running style! Love it. It reminded me of an episode of the office where Pam got the whitest tennis shoes award.
MELH February 9, 2012, 11:44 am
I think I won “most fun” or something on my basketball team once. I’m 5’2″, and I was even smaller in grade school when I played. Luckily I realized I sucked in 7th grade and went onto sports I was better at.
Once, in a basketball game, I hadn’t gotten to shoot the ball at all (I told you I was basically worthless) and one of the refs felt bad for me and called a foul so I could take a shot. I am an 80’s baby, but apparently my Catholic School Athletic Association did not believe everyone was a winner and actually suspended the guy for a few games for calling an obvious fake foul! I actually see the guy on the bus sometimes and I always want to be like “sorry my utter lack of basketball skills got you in trouble 15 years ago”
Painted_lady February 9, 2012, 1:14 pm
Hahaha! See, I was 5’2″ as well…IN FOURTH GRADE. I’m not even kidding – and people assumed I was going to be awesome at basketball because being tall means you’re also coordinated and competitive and aggressive. I am none of these things, so I actually had people asking me, “You’re so tall! Why aren’t you better?” Seriously! It was hilarious.
You know, part of me wonders as well if that’s part of why our generation are such slow starters. If you’re under the impression that you’re good at a bunch of things you’re actually sort of terrible at, wouldn’t that make it difficult to figure out what you’re actually good at? Like I said, I thought I was awesome at basketball for a couple years, but I eventually figured out that I’m terrible (early enough that all I had invested were a few humiliating Y games). I didn’t figure out, though that I’m only *okay* as a singer, actor, dancer, etc, until much later, and that was kind of painful.
va-in-ny February 8, 2012, 12:39 pm
Can it also be mentioned that there is a growing trend among the PARENTS of this generation (80s babies as you say) who can’t seem to let go? I am noticing more and more parents these days that can’t seem to accept the fact that their children are adults and make their own decisions.
Christy February 8, 2012, 12:42 pm
AKchic_ February 8, 2012, 12:59 pm
evanscr05 February 8, 2012, 1:36 pm
Ugh, my MIL to a tee.
MELH February 8, 2012, 1:42 pm
Definitely! My parents always gave me enough space to grow up. My aunt, on the other hand….wow. She once made a comment that she just wanted to call places my cousin applied and tell them how great he was….and if he got rejected she said she really wanted to call and see why. Luckily I don’t think she’s actually done it. Oh and she still calls him her “baby”.
Firegirl32 February 8, 2012, 2:40 pm
Amen Sista! I work with one of those…her oldest son is in his 6th year of college. She still pays his rent, phone bill, insurance, and gave him a credit card for food and supplies that she pays off. AND she CONSTANTLY complains about NOT having any money? Really? Are you a fucking idiot? Ugh. Sorry.
AKchic_ February 8, 2012, 12:58 pm
I wasn’t offended at all. I understand stereotypes, and realize that they have a basis in truth. I’ve been stereotyped my entire life and I work to rise above them. If anyone felt there was a bit of truth about the stereotype IN THEMSELVES yesterday, then maybe they should work to better that part of themselves if they thought it was a negative. If not, hold your head high and enjoy being lumped with the rest of “us”.
1983 baby right here.
Michelle.Lea February 8, 2012, 1:20 pm
Normally, generalizations piss me off. But this one didn’t. I realize that this does not apply to all 80’s babes. My niece is a prime example, she worked her ass off through school, and cut an entire year off her masters, and was working the whole time. Unfortunately I have run into far too many on the other end of the scale that expect too much without putting work into it. Or have lots of ‘wants’, and just dont understand why they can’t just go out and buy whatever they want, and wonder why they’re in debt. It’s not all, but several bad apples have spoiled it for the rest of you :/
spark_plug February 8, 2012, 1:21 pm
I was a little upset with yesterday’s column not so much because it generalized the 80’s generation, but because it wasn’t valuable advice to the LW. Telling someone to get ‘over it’ and that they are a terrible representation of their generation.. when the LW clearly has much deeper issues going on was kind of harsh and unproductive (IMO at least).
But since we are on the generational thing – I do think it’s a silly statement to make. People are the way they are because of how their parents raised them, not because of their birth year. There are plenty of 20s something that are entitled, but there are no 30’s or 40’s something? I highly disagree. This is the same thing as saying that the baby boomers and their terrible spending habits ruined the economy. Yes, poor spending habits are ruining the economy, but I don’t think its fair to say that baby boomers in general are financially stupid and irresponsible.
painted_lady February 8, 2012, 1:56 pm
Your second paragraph, I totally agree. How often have you heard someone from a previous generation say about the upcoming generation, “The youth of today make me think the world is going to be 100% okay. We got nothing to worry about, folks.” That’s not really something you hear people say. I wonder if every single generation says it about the previous generation because it’s not so much endemic to one particular generation as it is to being a twentysomething.
katie February 8, 2012, 1:55 pm
Was it not terribly ironic that on a comment in a generation being entitled, the people in that that generation come out and say “no. Look at ME and all my accomplishments!!” I thought it was kind of funny.
I said it yesterday, be proud of the fact you dont fit a negative stereotype!
XanderTaylor February 8, 2012, 2:09 pm
I have one 80’s baby & one very early 90’s baby & my experience has been what Wendy has described. Both of my children have huge entitlement issues. I think it stems from their being in day care for 12 hours a day while both my then husband & I worked coupled with my enormous guilt about their time in day care. I definately created these little monsters, no doubt about it. I wonder all the time about my children. I got married & left home at 20 never going back. My 25 year old is a boomerang child & my almost 20 year old is totally without direction & may never move out. And I am now raising my 8 year old grand child.
I wish my children would grow up, move out & have successful lives – on their own.
brendapie February 8, 2012, 2:50 pm
I just feel like the generalization was more of a rant than actual advice and that’s what I found a bit frustrating to read. LW clearly stated she now recognizes her sense of entitlement and is working on it. It’s also clear to me that LW is equating money with acceptance from her parents. Seeing that completely ignored by Wendy and by some of the other readers and finding myself instead reading a rant about 80’s baby entitlement didn’t exactly hit a nerve with me but I just found it in bad taste and not all that helpful.
I wasn’t offended by the 80s baby generalization but I’m of a particular ethnic background who constantly is affected by generalizations (I seriously can’t recall a single day in the past five years or so where I haven’t heard, read or seen some generalization about my background). They can hurt and they can be offensive. And it’s frustrating when I’m doing my best to stand apart from those generalizations but people just see my age or my race and don’t give me the opportunity to prove myself.
I do agree that there are many entitled young’uns these days. I’ve had my moments too. But as I’ve matured so have my beliefs and what I previously felt I was entitled to seems so rediculous and self-indulgent now. I think this economy has woken up a lot of people about our new reality but it is still a struggle for many of us who grew up with the expectations of our parents and grandparents but graduated into a world no one expected.
painted_lady February 8, 2012, 3:03 pm
That’s precisely how I felt reading it. I wasn’t furious by any stretch – I’ve heard so many aspersions on the Milennials, and while some are true, most I just chalk up to yet another rant on “kids these days,” which I’m pretty sure has been said since there were kids to say it about. It just seemed so uncalled for.
And yeah, being stereotyped as “other” is just frustrating. If you succeed, instead of changing people’s minds you get “Well, you’re one of the good ones.” And then if you fall short, which is of course inevitably going to happen, it’s like it’s expected and then you’re lumped back in with “the rest of them.”
I’m not a racial minority (although I am in my school, so I get it on some levels), but it still happens being young and female and an artist. I can’t imagine being young, female, and a minority. I would probably be so angry all the time.
Michelle February 8, 2012, 3:29 pm
The funny thing is – and I say this as someone in her mid-30s who teaches at the middle school, high school, AND university level simultaneously – is that people in their late teens and early 20s do, generally speaking, act like this.
There is strong evidence to suggest that many people in their late teens and early 20s act like this because of changing brain chemistry. “My” generation (Generation X – why “X”? Why not Generation Q?) acted like this too, only we tend not to remember how we acted while we were still growing up and being all immature-like. We grew out of it.
There’s always a tendency to lump “kids these days” with a certain amount of immaturity – the same immaturity and lack of experience that each and every one of us experienced. There’s finger pointing and eye-rolling about “kids these days” while forgetting that we’ve done many of those same things.
They said the same thing about Gen-Xers. Are we like that any more? I hope not. We grew up, got jobs, bought houses, got married, are raising families. Our kids will be like this too.
Michelle February 8, 2012, 3:33 pm
It’s ironic and infuriating that the “immature, self-indulgent behavior” that’s being attributed to those in their late teens and early 20s as a “generational thing” can be applied to anyone of any previous generation. It’s the folks who are currently going through this phase are being recognized as “self-indulgent.”
Of course they are. So were many of us at that age. It’s not generational; it’s immaturity.
iseeshiny February 8, 2012, 6:28 pm
@Michelle, in case my reply goes to the bottom: Yes! Not generation, but age! Brain development! Thank you. It was bugging me why all the people going, oh stereotypes and generalizations exist for a reason – that bothered me, but the idea that 20 somethings are often brats, that didn’t, not so much. Thank you so much for pointing this out.
oldie February 8, 2012, 4:10 pm
I agree with what Michelle says. Older generations have always tended to disparage the younger. Humanity under the next generation was always going to hell in a handbasket. I attend a breakfast meeting with my Dad and other men his age. Many share this view of younger generations. A lot is driven by change that they aren’t comfortable with. Many view texting, e-mail, etc as unnatural and dehumanizing and will say things like ‘the young don’t talk to each other, they’ve lost human contact’, Of course the same was said when the telephone and ease of travel led to the end of the personal letter. The older generation sees Hallmark cards as laden with great emotion and E-cards or e-mail messages as wholly inappropriate and impersonal. They see reading on-line instead of reading newspapers or watching the major network evening news as a sign almost of illiteracy or not caring about the world. They just don’t react well to different from what they were comfortable with in their youth through their working years.
Stereotyping by generation, because it ‘sort of fits’ really isn’t all that much better than stereotyping by race, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation, or religion. It is a non-thinking one-size-fits-all explanation of all members of the particular demographic. Born in the 80s, female, American of Irish descent, Catholic, heterosexual, registered independent. Well, I already feel I know everything of importance that there is to know about you. People like you think….
These generational groupings are created to make for easy and shallow media puff pieces and to butter up those of a certain age. ‘Greatest generation’. Really? Yes, they fought WWII, but they ignored Hitler, his atrocities, and the war in Europe until Pearl Harbor was bombed. They fought in a segregated military, with almost no females allowed. They tolerated or outright approved of segregation and limited rights for women and gays. They supported the McCarthy witch hunt. They have had unprecedented access to health care in their retirement years, paid for by the younger generations. They have almost unprecedented retirement income, with social security, defined benefit pensions, and working through basically good economies and stock markets. They are probably bound tighter together than most generations by the shared experiences of the depression and WWII in their childhoods and early adulthood, and going through the rest of their lives in the age of American supremacy. They were a good generation, but not demonstrably greater than those that followed. The wealthier members of this cohort feel entitled to undiminished Medicare benefits. Solving the social security and Medicare shortfall are to be paid by future generations.
That would be the generations who will see diminished social security and Medicare benefits. The generations who won’t have defined benefit pensions. The generations who have had many of the middle-class jobs outsourced by the greedy of my generation. The generations who can’t get good starter jobs, because my generation is working past age 60, 65, even 70 in greater numbers because we didn’t save for retirement. The generations who will carry an unprecedented level of student loan debt.
It’s very easy to criticize the young and say that they feel entitled. I, as was the case with most of my college classmates, had a job lined up two months prior to graduation. Those in my high school class who didn’t go to college, and some who didn’t finish HS, had a lot of good, high-paying manufacturing or skilled trade jobs to choose from. That was fairly close to the peak year in real median income per worker, which peaked in this country in the 1970s. Those who’ve come along since, really haven’t had as great an economic opportunity.
L February 8, 2012, 5:05 pm
Wendy, I greatly appreciate you and respect you and your opinions. The “truce” is also appreciated.
For me, the reason I didn’t appreciate the comment was that it seemed like a lecture on “kids these days” and a slap on the wrist. That is one of my pet peeves, when people assume that ALL kids or younger people have no respect and aren’t responsible (this applies to both my generation and younger generations). There are some kids younger than me who I just want to roll my eyes at. But at the same time there are kids who absolutely amaze me. There are kids who hold down leadership positions at school, get straight A’s, are star athletes AND are involved in extracurricular programs AND hold down a part time job. I’ve noticed that many people who brush things off and blame problems on “kids these days” typically make assumptions and oftentimes just don’t understand WHY the generation is different than their own.
And I want to also add that most of the time it’s the PARENTS that greatly affect how the kid acts. If a parent teaches their kids to be responsible and respectful, that kid will most likely act in that way. If a parent lets their kid do whatever they want, the kid won’t learn what it means to respect others or live responsibly.
iseeshiny February 8, 2012, 5:07 pm
Wait, what happened to the thread? Did I eff it up?
jlyfsh February 8, 2012, 5:21 pm
ay carumba, i’ve missed a crazy couple of days. i can’t say i’m actually sad i missed this one though. i think i might need a couple glasses or maybe a bottle of wine after reading all these comments!
Meredith February 8, 2012, 6:59 pm
I think, or am hoping anyway, that time, coupled with the general state of the economy is enough to shake the sense of entitlement out of most people. I’ve had so many friends that wouldn’t take jobs “beneath them” once they got out of college so just lived off their parents and unemployment checks. Once the 99 weeks ran out and they were truly flat broke and in lots of debt with no one to bail them out…well lots of humble pie started to be eaten. And then once you have a family to support and bills to pay, people realize hard work is what supports your family. Your anger that your college degree didn’t land you the job you wanted isn’t helpful, and doesn’t get the bills paid. That being said, I think my generation really was fed the line that getting into a good college was THE key to success. So our parents put us in extracurricular activities once we turned 3 so we’d appear well rounded, and opted to give us an allowance instead of making us get jobs so we could focus on making good grades. So we get into our colleges, get our degrees and then think ok! Where’s the awesome jobs at? Didn’t I do everything I was supposed to? Parents who had their kids get jobs and taught them hard work is the key to success are the ones really doing their kids favors!!
Anyway, I’m optimistic that life has a way of teaching kids the lessons they didn’t listen to or didn’t receive growing up. And in ten years we’ll all be complaining that the next generation are all mindless reality tv, text messaging, twittering dumb dumbs who can’t get off their phones and iPads long enough to sit through a job interview. Lol!
lets_be_honest February 8, 2012, 7:45 pm
Everyone offended yesterday took the opportunity to pat themselves on the back for…working hard! Good job kids, that why you earned the stereotype. Because you think you even if you’re not handed everything from mommy, you’re fucking amazing for not getting it and earning it yourself. Welcome to adulthood. It’s normal. Not something to pay yourself on the back for.
Meredith February 8, 2012, 9:25 pm
Whats the harm in telling yourself “I’m awesome” every now and again? I do this adult thing so well I deserve a big trophy: “Best Adult Ever”
Lynn February 8, 2012, 11:22 pm
Hmm. I hardly ever comment, but this whole 80s/90s babies thing has completely captured my attention. I’m a 90s baby… 1990 to be exact. I’m a very recent college graduate, and I already have a job I love. I’m going to be honest – I don’t feel entitled to anything, but I’m a fairly spoiled individual. I’ve never asked for outrageously expensive things, but anything I’ve wanted, essentially, I’ve gotten. And I’m so thankful and blessed. I’ve worked very hard to be as successful as I have been thus far in my life, and I owe a lot of that to my parents.
You know, I have a few friends who have airplanes and boats (their parents’) that we like to take out and have a good time in/on, and as 21-22 year olds, we find it to be very normal. My friends aren’t lazy by any stretch of the imagine, and in turn, are doing well for themselves too.
But here’s the deal… none of us work as hard as our parents do. I don’t think any of us ever will work as hard as our parents have and do. I’ll never have the work ethic my mom and dad have, and I like to think my work ethic is well-above average.
I think the ease of things (technologically-speaking, etc… lots of aspects of life are very/easily accessible these days) takes away from how hard we have to work. We didn’t do anything wrong, our parents didn’t do anything wrong… it’s kind of just how it is and how things are.
So I took something a little different away from Wendy’s comment. And for the most part, I agree with what she said. Yeah generalizations suck, but there’s some truth to everything.
*Transparency purposes, I’m a middle-class girl from the suburbs of a very large city. The way I grew up/live won’t always fit with how others grew up/live.
Kare February 8, 2012, 11:37 pm
Wow I’m behind on my Dear Wendy…
As a Millenial, I wasn’t offended at all. The generalizations didn’t apply to me, so I didn’t give it another thought. Maybe some people are getting a little bit defensive. Or maybe because I’ve heard the exact same speech hundreds of times from my parents, college professors, human resources directors, and tons of other Gen Xers and Baby Boomers. Going on and on and on and on about how you’re so offended kinda justifies the generalization that this generation is a bit self-centered.
Poicelle February 9, 2012, 8:30 am
Thought this might be relevant:
Just makes me want. to. cry.
Hire me? Please?
Wendy February 9, 2012, 9:00 am
You know what makes me want to cry? People who thought they were going to be able to retire comfortably at 65 but lost their jobs before they reached eligibility for full retirement or lost their pensions or lost all their savings in the stock market crash — people who didn’t just work hard for a few years in college and law school and then got smacked in the face with the grim reality of the job market — a job market that affects EVERYONE (says the woman who was laid off two weeks before christmas with no severance package or unemployment benefits at all), not just 20-somethings — but people who worked their asses off for thirty or forty years, raised entire families, supported kids through college and then, just when they thought they’d be able to relax a little bit, realized the rug had been pulled out from under them and the future they’d worked so hard for had vanished just like that and they were out of time to rebuild. That’s what makes me want to cry.
bethany February 9, 2012, 9:14 am
True that, Wendy!
My husband’s dad was laid off after almost 40 years with the same company, only a few years from retirement (along with a bunch of other people in the same age range/time with the company) and has been actively looking for work for alomst 2 years. I can’t imagine what it must feel like to have the rug pulled out from under you when you’re that close to retiring…
Wendy February 9, 2012, 9:17 am
And yet, read through this thread and you hear so much, “This isn’t what I was planning. This isn’t what I thought the market would be like when I started college! I worked hard! I have a good work ethic! This isn’t fair. We aren’t the ones who messed things up.” If you notice, I never once said anything about 80s babies being lazy or lacking a strong work ethic. What I said was that I notice a lot of entitlement. Like, because you worked hard you are entitled to a good future. Yeah, that would be nice! I’m sure the people who have worked hard for decades and decades would love for that to be the truth. But sometimes life fucking sucks. And sometimes — a lot of times — you have to deal with shit that isn’t your fault. Yeah, it fucking sucks. Welcome to adulthood. Now, when you have children remember to raise your kids with that in mind — prepare them to deal with life sucking sometimes and not always being medals and trophies for everyone who shows up. Maybe then they won’t have as difficult a transition into the real world — whatever state that world may be in — when they leave the roost.
Eagle Eye February 9, 2012, 9:41 am
As a late 80s baby (1987!) this is totally true! I came out of college super entitled and I figured that my prestigious liberal arts degree in art history, along with a long and varied list of museum internships would have been enough for people to WANT me to work for them…
And then I graduated in 2009…
All in all, I think that getting knocked around for those 2 years was a wonderful experience for me, I always worked hard but I’ve since learned to work harder, to hustle more, to take anything and everything that comes my way and be marginally grateful for it and to be clever enough to figure out how to leverage it to get something else. I’m sharper, less whine-y and a lot tougher, since now I know that no one is going to give me anything nor do I deserve anything just by being me…
Wow, now I just sound like a crazy person…but its true, getting my sense of entitlement knocked out of me was probably one of the best things that ever happened to me…
Christy February 9, 2012, 10:12 am
But sometimes life fucking sucks… Welcome to adulthood.
I think I’m adding this to my list of words to live by. (Other things on the list include “Perfect is good but done is better.” )
Addie Pray February 9, 2012, 12:05 pm
Wendy, I have told you lately that I love you? Like, I think it’s real love. Thank you. That’s all.
MELH February 9, 2012, 11:56 am
That’s a great point Wendy. My father in law has not been laid off, but has taken two pretty significant pay cuts over the past few years. He now makes less than he did 15 or 20 years ago. I don’t always think they are the smartest with their money, but it is sad to see him think retirement was getting closer and all of a sudden its backing away.
My husband works for the same company (entirely not using that degree we’re paying for but hey, its a job), and makes a decent wage doing typical trucking things, loading and unloading and keeping track of orders. I once overheard his dad say, “how do you think it makes me feel, I’ve been here for over thirty years and my son is making almost as much as I make.” Not to mention his job is much more important and higher up in the company than my husbands.
Lili February 9, 2012, 12:56 pm
Good point MELH. My dad recently lost his job, and its really shaken me up. I mean he works in the tech industry so its always had its ups and downs, but for him to be laid off was shocking for us. I’m hoping he finds something soon.
MELH February 9, 2012, 1:40 pm
I think I would be shaken up too! Its really an interesting perspective that Wendy mentioned. On alot of days I’m frustrated that I have a law degree and I have been diligently searching for a career job for months and the rejections keep rolling in. But thinking about getting laid off near the end of your career is eye opening. I’m young, I have a part time job right now that allows me to pay my bills, and I know deep down that it won’t be like this forever, and I will eventually find a job. Getting to the end of my career and losing everything I worked so hard for would be alot more painful than struggling to get started.
Poicelle February 9, 2012, 3:17 pm
I’m not saying that the job market doesn’t affect everyone.
I’m a little frustrated that you seem to be throwing the fact that I worked hard in college and graduate school and law school back in my face. I’m sorry that I’m young. I’m sorry that the job market sucks for everyone. But am I not entitled to be upset that unlike so many generations before me, I don’t even get a chance to try to be successful?
I’m not saying I’m in a worse position than those who worked for years and are now struggling. I understand that I’m not the only person who is struggling and I understand that people of my generation are not the only people that are struggling. But I, too, don’t know how I’m going to pay my rent. I, too, don’t know how I’m going to pay to go to doctors for a pre-existing condition (so I sure as hell can’t afford health insurance. I don’t know how I’m going to afford to have a family any time soon.
But I think I’m allowed to be dejected and frustrated and feeling a little dispair that I did what everyone *told* us to do. We heard a lot of “try hard and you’ll succeed” growing up. I did that. I tried. I worked hard. I didn’t want anything handed to me but a chance to try. And I didn’t even get that.
I’m sorry but I was a little hurt, since I respect you so much on this site, that you seemed to take issue with the fact that I went to school and I’m trying to find a job – as though I’m being selfish or entitled. I get that other people’s lives suck. That doesn’t mean that mine doesn’t suck too.
Poicelle February 9, 2012, 3:26 pm
Sorry if it sounds like I’m being too defensive or sensitive. Just having a stressful time with the job hunt. I really do know that the hard time is spread all around.
ele4phant February 9, 2012, 3:30 pm
I agree with what you’re trying to say. I don’t feel entitled to a job or success, and I’m not pretending that my generation is the only one struggling, but I do think I’m entitled to feel a little bit pissed off that the actions of a select few have screwed over me (and so so SO many others). I think everybody, regardless of age, is entitled to be pissed off right now.
Poicelle February 9, 2012, 3:34 pm
ele4phant – that’s exactly what I was getting at (just more eloquently put)
Poicelle February 9, 2012, 5:54 pm
btw I meant YOU were more eloquent than I was…I just realized that I was super unclear.
KAM February 9, 2012, 9:44 am
I think had this whole thing happened in 2007, most of us 80s babies would agree with Wendy’s “entitled” assessment – as it is, the comment and this thread are right smack dab in the middle of nasty recession where those same entitled 80s babies are being hit the hardest. I’ve been really fortunate, job-wise throughout the recession so far, but I think it’s a fair assumption that when you’re the age group who is the first to be laid off, the last to be hired, the last to get any sort of raise and you’re trying to pay back school debts (I think this pretty applies to most 80s babies, at this point) and all your new bills, it can seem like a slap in the face when someone tells you you’re entitled. And then on the other hand, maybe this recession is exactly what the 80s babies needed. And I’ve now just made my own point moot. Yay.
LTC039 February 9, 2012, 11:33 am
Unfortunately, when posting in a public forum or speaking to the public, as much as you try to not be offensive, there will ALWAYS be people who get offended by something you said. Also, people will nit pick & analyze every single partical to get their points justified. Even if that means twisting your intentions. I don’t get offended with generalizations bc the reality is they do derive from truth. Not saying this applies to EVERY SINGLE PERSON/THING, but more so than not. That’s why they’ve been generalizations people know for decades upon decades, as you’ve already stated Wendy. It gets to you when people jump on you for little things, so I understand where you’re coming from. But hey, no matter what, someone will always get upset, that just comes with the territory. So don’t stress it, I agree with you. Hey! You’re doing something right! Let the haters be your motivators & keep doing what you do best!! : )
MsMisery February 9, 2012, 1:04 pm
“Is it a gross generalization to associate specific characteristics to an entire generation of people? Of course. But there’s a reason we all do it: because there are trends among each generation that hold true.”
So wait, as long as *some people* fit a stereotype, it’s ok? Well then, let’s break out the racism, sexism, and anti-semitism! There’s bound to be some blacks and Jews out there who fit the stereotype, amirite? Just admit you have an unpopular opinion, but don’t say we “all” paint with a broad brush about certain people.
Tythe February 9, 2012, 2:30 pm
I agree whole heartedly with Wendy.
I’m an 80’s baby. So are my brother and sister. We are all over 21, and my brother and sister are constantly feeling entitlement over my parents for financial support.
I get that stereotypes are bad, but after witnessing how many people in my generation expect their parents to give them what they want, after hearing the pouting, moaning, and complaining, I have to agree that this stereotype exists for a reason.
I also want to point out this sense of entitlement doesn’t only affect the white middle class. My best friend is Hispanic and her parents have had issues with money for as long as I’ve known her (10+ years) and she still complains about how they won’t help her out financially.
My ex boyfriend made horrible grades in high school. In college his parents paid half his tuition, and helped with his rent when he was unable to make enough money for the month. His parents weren’t well off.
His brother made a 4.0 and received a full ride.
When my ex’s parents would buy his brother a present and not him he would complain about how unfair it was. This was a 22 year old man. I pointed out that his parents gave him money (a good chunk of it) whenever he said he needed it, and they never did that for his brother. He still complained.
Sure there are people like my ex’s brother who work for everything and don’t expect others to take care of them, but I see more people like my sister. Like my ex. People who are still taken care of as adults but find reasons to complain for why it isn’t enough.
That mentality is spoiled and self centered, and its too common for my comfort.
bittergaymark February 12, 2012, 12:41 pm
It’s interesting that the whiniest posts in this thread are all from…. 80s Babies.
KKZ February 15, 2012, 3:08 pm
Born in ’87 here.
My parents instilled me with a value of getting good grades – not just good, excellent. Straight A’s. Which I think was their version of the hard work thing – they presented Straight A’s as my ticket to success in the world (under the presumption that straight A’s means I get a good education and get into a good college and get a degree and get a job). I’m not saying it didn’t pay off – I got some great scholarships because of my high GPA, and it’s thanks in large part to those scholarships that I graduated three years ago and have 0 student debt.
But there was a loophole: I was one of those kids who got straight As without trying, at least in my public school education, and scored in the very upper percentiles of pretty much all standardized testing. I’d like to say I worked hard to earn that distinction, but I barely studied for anything. I showed up and did my homework, that’s about it. I know a lot of my classmates who worked much harder on their academics than I did and still didn’t get good grades. (Go ahead, hate on me. I don’t really know what to say about it other than, I’m grateful for my gifts.) I did have to work harder in college, but I still managed to keep my GPA up without too much struggle – again, in comparison to my peers, not much at all. And I worked part-time for spending money, and I maintained an active social life. I did not really have to sacrifice much to keep my grades up. So the good grades = hard work = success connection never quite shaped up the way I think my parents expected/intended it to.
But this emphasis on grades did leave me with a sense of dependency on other people’s validation. I was (still am) deathly afraid of failure – more accurately, of being judged for failing, especially from my parents. Validation in the form of grades was free-flowing in high school and college, but when I emerged from those environments, I did struggle pretty hard with the shock of not having similarly consistent sources of validation in the so-called Real World. (Like when I was applying for jobs last year and getting rejected even when I thought I had a really good shot, that totally wrecked me for a while.) This is only something I’ve consciously identified in my life in the past couple years or so, so I’m still working on adjusting my attitudes and my reflex reactions.
While I think I escaped the brunt of the entitlement trend and can count myself among the luckily & happily employed, I do feel bad for a lot of my peers. I grew up with the same messages they did – “If you can dream it, you can do it” without the disclaimer “but it’s going to be really hard and you’re going to hate life and want to give up and it might take you forever to get to where you want to be” that I think maybe my generation deserved.
It will be interesting to see how my generation will raise our children, what ideals and values we will try to pass on to them. What exactly will be the lessons my generation takes away from our rude awakening? Will we be jaded? Optimistic? When our kids are teens, are we going to warn them about how hard life sucks when you’re a young adult? Will they go into college knowing all the harsh realities of student debt, that a degree does not guarantee a job, and how hard it is to support yourself and balance life + work + school both emotionally and financially? Will they have lower expectations (entitlement) or feel that society owes them nothing because no unrealistic promises were made? Will they be like our grandparents and great-grandparents, grateful for whatever they can scrape out of life no matter how small? Or will we deny how hard it is and continue to tell them they can do anything because we still want to believe it? I am very curious to know.