Gen Y misconceptions on work ethic

October 5, 2012 8:30 AM

The Insider

On a sunny Wednesday afternoon, I snagged a spot in the Lavin-Bernick Center and waited for the perfect pack of students to walk by. When they did, I pulled them aside and asked their thoughts on a few unflattering perceptions about their generation’s work ethic.


Note: The student responses below are paraphrased to reflect the group’s general consensus. The opinions of these five students should not be assumed to represent the entire generation.

Insider: Generation Y has gotten a bad reputation for not wanting to commit to one job for the long haul. What do you say to that?

Students: Who wants to work in the same place for 20 or 30 years? Our grandparents may have been okay with that, but I think people our age are a bit more ambitious. Not lazy, just ambitious.
Insider: So does that also have something to do with the belief that too many young people want to be the boss right away instead of climbing the career ladder?

Students: We’ve never thought of it that way, but many of us have a mindset to be leaders. Being a leader can sometimes mean being the boss, although that’s not entirely the reason we would go for a leadership role. In fact, that probably answers why so many new graduates start their own businesses and nonprofits. It’s in our blood to be entrepreneurial.

Insider: You brought up laziness earlier. It’s been said that fewer young people are willing to put in more time than your typical 40-hour work week. It’s been said that some people want to work less!

Students: We blame this on how college is sold to us. Go to school, graduate, and you’ll get a 9 to 5. It’s somehow instilled in us that college guarantees we won’t have to do long hours of grunt work.

Insider: Is it true that young people prefer communicating electronically instead of face-to-face?

Students: Seriously, people need to get with the times. Using email isn’t a sin. In fact, it's faster, easier and more reliable than physically tracking down a human being.  

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