On Gen Y and Entitlement

I honestly am tired hearing about millennials in the workforce. For the past few years I’ve made a good progress moving away from generalizing and judging a whole thing based on the part of it, so every time I read or hear about millennials being whiny, narcissistic and entitled, hopping jobs and getting pissed if they did not get rewards stars for just showing up at work, I get sort of irritated.


Based of the timeframe I do belong to GenY myself and with all humbleness I cannot say I am any of the above.  I worked for few years for the manager who praised my work once – 2 years after I quit, in a Facebook correspondence. And it’s not because I did a lousy job, but because it was his management style. I personally did not share his views on how to manage people, but I did not quit just because he wasn’t showering me in confetti every time I showed up for the meeting on time. Most of my friends and colleagues of my age are smart, hard-working and persistent people, who don’t loose their grip of reality – I might be very lucky  having such a refined circle, but I still tend to think one should not draw generalized conclusions when describing so-called millennials.

However, something I read today made me better understand why millennials by large are seen as spoiled entitled brats.

One of the bloggers I read has posted today about an Open Letter to My CEO by Yelp! ex-employee. Yeah, that’s right, they fired the girl after she published this letter. If you work in HR, you know that retaliation is the last word on earth you want to hear (ok, second to last, before harassment), so I was very curious to read it to see what caused the employer neglect the possible retaliation charges. 

Long story short, the author moved to San Francisco Bay Area  (area with one of the highest cost of living in the country)  after she graduated majoring in English (one of the most useless  hard-to-be-applied degrees – I can say that, I majored in English myself!) and could not stand living in Northern California one more day because it made her depressed (how about the war-torn towns in Eastern Ukraine or Syria?) , found a job in a call center (one of the lowest paid jobs) and wrote a letter to CEO using all her writing skills (very good skills, btw) and sarcasm to call out the shitty way that the company and the CEO himself are treating the employees while leading a luxurious life himself. The shitty way included fully paid medical benefits, fridges with snacks and coconut water on every floor of the building and yes, minimum wage (which is higher in CA than in most of other states). She ends her letter with the links to 3 funds set up to support her financially and asks the readers to donate.

You can read it all yourself – the comments are priceless too.

If there is one thing my 3 emigration experiences stripped me off, it would be entitlement. I learned it very hard way that even if your mama keeps telling you are great and you get all the A’s in high school, nobody -NOBODY! – gives a crap about it when you move abroad. All your past awards and accolades mean very little when you have to start all over. The moment I figured that, my life got so much better, I can’t even explain.  Having this experience of being an emigrant, overcoming language and mentality barriers, xenophobic prejudices, having no work experience in the country and no established circle of support  – and reading about a able-bodied white English-speaking  US citizen, who had the privilege of getting a college degree and a family few hours drive away if things would have gone completely south, wining how miserable and struggling she was earning a minimum wage, drove me bananas a little bit.

You consciously made a choice of pursuing this degree. You consciously made a choice of moving to one of the most expensive areas of the country. You hopefully were not held at a gunpoint when accepting the job offer with such low rate. You chose not to live with the roommate so you could save on rent. You chose not look for the employment elsewhere. Why the heck do you now complain and blame others for the choices you made?

Entitlement is definitely one of my biggest pet peeves.


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