All week we've been talking about what a pain in the ass are these young people with educations and without mortgages.
I've contended that such people have always been a pain in the ass. Now I'm about to contend that it's us oldsters who have changed for the worse.
Or at least, what it is we have to offer these young people in exchange for their freedom.
You want these junior jamokes to pay some dues. To a company that tells them over and over that they have no right to expect job security no matter how competent and committed and loyal they are. (Loyal! When was the last time you even heard that term in connection with the workplace?)
You say they should be more patient. So that they can eventually have—what? The job that's going to be made redundant when you're laid off five years before they're ready?
Are you teaching them a trade that will serve them well their whole lives? I didn't think so.
You want them to show a little more respect, for—what? Even if you're working for IBM, it's not like you're working for IBM—or HP, or GE, the Chicago Tribune. These institutions are not the institutions that they used to be, just as the country they exist in isn't the country that it used to be.
Yet we still expect our young people to buckle down as seem to remember buckling down, back in the day. And when they don't, we say they're coddled.
But we don't tell them that. We tell each other, behind their backs.
They may have been coddled by their parents but they're not coddled by their country, their company or their professional elders, who are too busy surviving to spend any time teaching or mentoring anyone at work. They're neglected by people who don't take responsibility for them, who don't confront them, who don't teach them anything—but who instead despair, like childless aunts and uncles who think it's the children who are being selfish.
It's not them, my friends. It's us.