OCALA, Fla., July 14, 2014 — Americans are concerned about our country’s future.
When these fears are voiced, however, they are usually phrased in economic terms or jargon used to describe hot-button social issues. Rarely do we hear much about the people who will build, or perhaps erode, the United States in years to come.
As a group, these individuals constitute “Generation Y”.
BusinessDictionary.com defines this as “(t)he generation of people born during the 1980s and early 1990s. The name is based on Generation X, the generation that preceded them.
“Members of Generation Y are often referred to as ‘echo boomers’ because they are the children of parents born during the baby boom (the ‘baby boomers’). Because children born during this time period have had constant access to technology (computers, cell phones) in their youth, they have required many employers to update their hiring strategy in order to incorporate updated forms of technology.”
That’s not all there is to say. Far from it.
For one reason or another, some people really do believe that the world revolves around them. Why do they buy into such nonsense? Who knows. Nonetheless, said mentality has caught on with many in Generation Y.
Trying to understand the reasons for this can be a most complicated ordeal. After all, who is going to admit that he or she is self-centered to the point of delusion? Perhaps anyone honest enough wouldn’t be so self-centered in the first place.
Academic and author Dr. Jean Twenge decided to illustrate the facts about the generation that can’t seem to see beyond itself. In her 2007 book Generation Me, she explained the social dilemmas often faced by members of Generation Y. As co-author of The Narcissism Epidemic, she outlined how self-absorption is actually changing America’s cultural landscape.
“This isn’t a matter of agreeing or disagreeing, as empirical studies have answered this question,” Dr. Twenge told me in 2012. “These studies are unequivocal and numerous. Eleven studies show a generational increase in narcissism. They include respondents from high school age to adults, four different ways of measuring narcissism, three different research methods, four different ways of recruiting respondents, three different countries, and eight sets of authors.
“Five of these studies compare GenY with their predecessors at the same age. This includes one dataset that originally claimed to show no change that demonstrates significant change when analyzed correctly. Nine additional studies show increases in positive self-views.”
One of the gravest concerns cited with those now entering the business world is a poor work ethic. How did laziness become so prominent?
“First, let’s address the premise of the question — are recent generations lazier?” Dr. Twenge asked. “Fewer than in previous generations do say they are willing to work overtime and more say they would prefer not to work if they had enough money. But most still say they want to work and would work overtime. Many want to preserve “work-life balance.” As long as that’s not taken too far, that can be a good goal. The danger comes if young people expect to not work very hard to succeed and then find out it’s not so easy. I think many people got the idea that success comes overnight from watching celebrities and movies where the years of hard work are invisible.”
Despite being more confident than their elders, members of Generation Y, on average, suffer from higher rates of depression. Can this paradox be explained?
“Good question. It could be two different segments of the generation,” Dr. Twenge noted. “There may be one group who’s more confident and another that’s more depressed. Or it could often be the same people at two different points in time, as overconfidence can lead to depression when unrealistic expectations are not fulfilled. One caveat should also be made to this premise: Some studies suggest that depression and anxiety rates peaked in the 1990s and have since leveled off or declined slightly (at historically high levels compared to the 1980s and before, but that’s better than continued increases).”
Thad Cochran won his primary, but will the GOP lose if
conservative voters don’t turn out in November?
Dr. Paul Gottfried, one of America’s leading conservative thinkers,
talks about this and more on the latest Cotto & Company.
Listen to the show here: