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Parents Effect on the Way Kids Perceive Work

Millennials Get a Grip: Work as a Contradiction


As kids, we're all aware that when we grow up there will be a place we go everyday and it's called work, and any perceptions of this so-called work came from our parents and teachers. An article in the New York Times called "Prepping Children for the 9 to 5" blames the parents of Gen Y for our it's-all-roses opinion of how a job should be. The author pulls in an expert who says, “This generation has been spoon-fed self-esteem cereal for the past 22 years. They’ve been told it’s all about them — what they want, what they are passionate about, what they find fulfilling. That’s not a bad message, but it’s also not a complete message.” To get a glimpse of the message we should be operating under just read more

The expert who owns the quote about the incomplete message is Daniel Pink, who's also an author of a career guide aimed toward those of us who've apparently been nourished with the wrong message. The lessons he focuses on are things like being comfortable without a career map, learning that persistence trumps talent, and that work isn't all about you. He makes an interesting point that parents should be teaching kids the simple truth about work — that "it can be glorious but grinding, worthwhile and wretched, a place you can’t wait to get to and can’t wait to leave, something you love but hate to do."

Are you as sick of the Gen Y criticism as I am? It seems like these articles and studies always find the biggest slacker in order to represent an entire group. Even in this Times article they brush over a 24-year-old founder of a consulting business, and instead focus on an old friend of his who quit his job because it had him working on weekends. I'm not saying that we don't deserve the criticism at all, but I don't think it serves any good to continue singling out our generation as one thing or another. Doesn't that just feed the whole basis for the criticism in the first place, that it's all about us?

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