Thursday, August 03, 2006

Younger workers: a laughable letter.

The Star's letters have been a good source lately of stupid letter-writers. Here is another one.
In response to the little rant from letter writer Joel A. Berger regarding baby boomers not stepping aside and taking early retirement, maybe if the spoiled young people of today were not staying at home until their 30s with the parents footing most of the bills, those same parents would be able to think about leaving their jobs early.
I'll grant that complaining about older workers staying at work longer is a red herring. The problem, of course, is that there simply aren't enough jobs to go around. And this is accepted as being okay. However, there's enough non sequiturs in this paragraph to give a logic professor an aneurysm. First, young people are not "spoiled" because they are staying at home later. (It's also not clear to me that more are staying home later.) My understanding is that those who stay at home, or move back home, do so because salaries and wages have not kept pace with the cost of living (particularly the cost of renting or owning a home). Second, young people who live at home are often contributing to the household expenses as much as they are able. Third, while it's nice to think of older people as sacrificing their retirement years to provide for their layabout offspring, I find it more plausible that parents stave off retirement for the same reasons that their children might stay at home: they simply can't afford the alternatives.
It is my observation, after 30 years at my company, that the younger workers coming in don't want to earn the promotions and perks that we older workers toiled and fought for.
Or, perhaps, they aren't idiots and don't see the rewards as equal to the work. I'm beyond sick of complaints that young people feel "entitled" to things they don't "deserve". My impression generally is that previous generations settled for less than they deserved, and diminished their expectations accordingly. If previous generations were that stupid, that's hardly the fault of later ones.
I'm guessing that we created this attitude by handing our children anything they wanted and not instilling a work ethic in them. Maybe, we were too busy working ourselves.
Ah, the mythical "work ethic". A good old Protestant carry-over: suffer in this world, be rewarded in the next. Of course, there's a growing number of people unwilling to buy into the myth, who demand that they be compensated fairly in this world for their labour. And when they do so, they don't have a "work ethic". I've never seen compelling evidence that younger generations aren't willing to work hard, only that younger generations aren't willing to kill themselves for a pittance and a pat on the head. Which, to my mind, is just good sense.

(I need to come up with some sort of mock "award" to give to letter-writers whose idiocy I deal with here. Any ideas?)

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