Selfish, self-obsessed, lazy, gutless, narcissistic – some of the words I have seen being used to describe Generation Z, aka ‘Gen Next’ within the past month. My Facebook news feed continues to be inundated with varying articles raving on about how incredibly mollycoddled today’s twenty-something year olds are. About how we’re spoon fed, we don’t know what it’s like to work hard and we’re afraid to get our hands dirty (apparently). Well today, I pose a different thought – and as objectively as I can being a twenty something year old myself, try to answer the question – are we really a privileged generation?
Please note: this is an opinion piece, all statements made belong to the author and have not been coerced in any way.
Let’s not get off on the wrong foot here; I get it. I understand the Baby Boomers’, Latchkey Kids’ (Generation X) and even some of the older Millennials’ hate for us. From an outsider’s look in, the youths of Gen Next have it great. They spend every Friday arvo down at their favourite breakfast spot, feasting on smashed avo for $22 a pop, making sure it’s featured on their Snapchat story. They’re more concerned with posting the right picture on social media with an appropriate #hashtag than say, reading a book. Oh, and instead of contributing to society, they’re too busy supposedly watching it through their newly updated, top of the range iPhone.
I can’t emphasise my next point enough: these examples are NOT the majority of Gen Next, rather, they are the minority. There are so many people in their twenties who are genuinely working hard, giving their all in life. One of my good friends wakes at 6, sometimes even 5 in the morning to get to her part time job while still studying her Human Resources degree. I know at least three tradesmen who work six days a week, sometimes 12-14 hour days. I myself at one stage worked two jobs while putting myself through university. My best friend once worked forty hours in just one week at Target, again while also at uni. We’re not afraid of hard work, in fact, most of Gen Next are doing all they can to prove themselves to our older peers, co-workers and managers that if given the chance, we will go above and beyond. What I’m getting at is, we are far from lazy and entitled. The majority of us know that these are our hustling years, time to make something of ourselves. We want to work hard, be educated, save our money, set goals and push our limits – that’s what your twenties should be about, preparing for your best possible future.
You said it, Karl
But what really gets me, is that instead of trying to combat this negative, highly offensive stereotype of being indolent, egotistical human beings, we’re sitting here on our invisible thrones saying that we DESERVE to live this non-logical lifestyle. It was only this morning when I watched a video of a so called “motivational speaker” telling millions of impressionable young adults that from the age 20 onward, they have a five year window in their life to basically f*** around. I’m sorry, can you repeat that ridiculous claim? Why on earth are we contributing to this self-righteous attitude? To date, that video has 11.3m views. That’s 11.3m people (and counting) worldwide, now thinking that it’s okay to completely slack off for five whole years with no plans or second thoughts. My question is why aren’t there more inspirational videos surfacing social media encouraging youths to make something of themselves – to volunteer, study more, go out and make a difference? Instead, we’re fed excuses as to why we’re allowed to keep up this facade “that not giving shit” and “taking it easy, dude” is cool – which is not the case.
“Be selfish, this is your time” they say. I’m all for people doing what makes them happy and putting their needs first, but not at the cost of having our entire generation being labelled as good for nothing freeloaders. Perhaps that’s why we’re perceived as a privileged generation? We’re not taught to be go-getters anymore. Every mistake is solved with an excuse or a soppy justification. It’s time we own up and take responsibility. As one of my good friends would say “grow a pair and move on”, which in its simplicity, is the best advice I can pass on.
To all the entitled twenty somethings reading this, here’s a news flash: Prince Charming is not going to sweep you off your feet and magically change your life overnight. There’s no talking mirror that will tell you what to do. The truth is, you are the answer. You are the only person who has the power to change your life, values and morals. I understand it’s important to find yourself and that it may take a while before you know where you’re heading and which path you’re supposed to choose. But I’m sorry, sitting around flip-flopping through life, bouncing around pretending that you have no responsibilities won’t get you there, it won’t get you anywhere for that matter. Be accountable and make decisions – don’t give them more of a reason to call us ‘privileged’, we know better than anyone else that we’re not.
I’m a big believer that there’s no better time than the present. Work hard and live life. Be active. Learn something new. Stay BUSY. Coming home like a miserable lump from work or a day of study isn’t contributing to society. You’re only the problem, not the solution.
But it’s okay, because these are our “selfish years” right?
Header image: Paramount Interiors