I recently had a discussion with someone from Generation X about Generation Y (Millennials). This person said, based on hearsay rather than evidence, that Millennials don’t want to work, need a “safe space,” and don’t have any employable skills.
I quickly told this person that, in essence, every older generation says these same things about younger generations. If you’re a Baby Boomer, remember when your folks were worried about you listening to Elvis? Yeah. Same deal.
Interestingly, Generation X was also so maligned. We were considered bad for listening to Nirvana. You’d think by now, with this type of thing happening every generation, that we’d learn to respect the younger generation. You’d think we’d learn, to boot, to respect every generation.
I pointed these things out to my interlocutor. And then I said, “So what if it’s true about Millennials? I hope they change the world!”
Think about the complains my interlocutor had: why is working an essential value in our culture? Why only develop employable skills? And what’s wrong with being softer and wanting safe spaces–spaces free from abuse?
I assert that there’s nothing wrong with any of this. While I myself may be somewhat careerist and interested in developing marketable skills, that doesn’t mean the argument that employability should be an essential value in our society flies. What’s more, many people who complain about “safe spaces” are really just defending an abusive status quo.
The times may be a changin’.