This has just landed in our inbox and made us smile.
I’ve only been home a few days and already you have mentioned more than once that I am bone-idle, self-centred and spoilt – that I, like the rest of my generation, think the world owes me a living. Don’t get me wrong there are lecturers, who are the same generation as you, who think the same thing! But, here are three reasons why you have got me and my mates completely wrong (and yes, I know you think you should never start a sentence with a conjunction, but language evolves. If it didn’t we’d still be saying thee and thou – innovations good, Dad!).
Point 1: You think I’m Bone-Idle
I’m not bone-idle, I’m efficient. Here’s an example: Last term, a mate of mine wanted to organise an Easter get together. Not just a small group of mates meeting up in the pub. He wanted all our old class and team mates, more than 80 in total, to meet up for a trip down memory lane. Those friends are scattered right across the globe, studying, travelling and working in various parts of the UK, France, Spain and the States. Although most of this group return home for their end of term breaks, it takes some organisation to pull them all together on one day and in one place. So here’s the point; the entire get together was posted on Facebook and planned on Google Docs from six different locations and four countries. No one in our group sent an email (certainly no one sent a letter – are they really sure the Post Office was undervalued!!) and nor did anyone pick up a phone. A few years ago, that wouldn’t have been possible and let’s be clear if your generation had to do the same thing, you’d have your secretary and pa cutting and pasting instructions, sending out letters, managing ‘who’s coming’ lists, there’d be endless phone calls and emails and still only a limited amount of people would have access to all the information. There’s no doubt that you would have put in more effort but our event achieved a better result. That Dad, is collaboration!
So, I know that it pisses you off when I’m tapping away on my screen but my generation has the world quite literally at our finger tips and as it happens we can function quite effectively like that, often without even getting out of bed (yes I know that stresses you out). You may have grown up with a ‘work hard, play hard’ ethos, however my generation doesn’t see the two things as separate entities but rather aim for a work practice that incorporates ease and fun. Our social media profiles: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and StudentSurveyor accounts (by the way this is a great site guys!) give us instant access to anyone. Back in your day, when you were a kid, you had access to a couple of friends who lived no further away than a couple of doors, maybe at a push a couple of streets. Today, I don’t need to knock on doors because in 140 characters I can be in the pub with eight friends in half an hour. In my humble opinion, I would call that efficiency not bone-idleness.
Point 2: You think I’m Self-Centred
This one’s priceless! It was your generation that blew all the money and used up all the resources.
In 1960, when you were born, 78% of women and 66% of men (yes Dad, I can do research!) by the age of 25, had got their own place to live, were financially independent, and married with kids. #LOL #GoodJoke #SadBastard. Half of a century later, that applies to only 12% of women and 9% of men.
So why am I and the rest of my generation so self-centred? Well, apart from the fact that we can’t afford to get on the property ladder and we certainly can’t afford to support anybody else when we’re weighed down by student debt, we’re just doing what we were told. We keep adapting and switching and trying new things not because we can’t settle but because we are trying to figure out what it is that makes us happy. Your generation, pissed off that you didn’t get the chance to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, hike across Peru or lay on the beach in Thailand, told mine not to worry what anyone thinks and to follow our own dreams. Well we are and ironically it is this self-centred approach to life that makes my generation so much more inclusive and tolerate than yours! Whilst you may think I’m self-centred, I know it’s simply that I’m more likely to follow my dreams (not someone else’s) and because of that I am more tolerant of other peoples choices.
Point 3: You think I’m Spoilt
According to you, I am part of the ‘Me, Me, Me’ Generation. Thankfully though, your generation taught me that I don’t need to worry what others think. Thank you!
Don’t get me wrong, I’m really grateful that I have had the chance of a great education but as I head towards graduation, I enter what has been the worst economy since records began, with more than £30,000 worth of student debt and you on my case. It’s not exactly the dream situation. I’ve endured lectures you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy and ones especially dreamed up for my generation such as Employability: Customer and Commercial Awareness (What a joy!). When I apply for jobs, I seriously wonder whether I’ve made a mistake and inadvertently applied to be CEO. I fill in online applications, write endless 500 word essays on questions they’ve asked. If I make the first cull, I have to complete online psychometric tests and it’s only if I pass these that i might be invited to an assessment day to do a presentation and participate in some group exercises. Eventually, I may be called back for an interview. You’re right, I’m lucky that I’ve been given the opportunity to get an education but my degree hasn’t been handed to me on a plate; I earned it. I have had the same opportunities that you had, but unlike you who went to university when it cost you absolutely nothing, I have paid a monumental price. I’m entitled to the privileges my university education has given me because I have paid a huge price for it and will continue to do so until I’m well into my fifty’s.
So you think I’m bone-idle, self-centred and spoilt but I think I’m efficient, believe in myself and entitled to do so. When I was young, you told me that I could do anything I wanted to when I grew up. That I was brilliant just the way I was (okay maybe that was more Mum). I took your advice. I am entitled to that dream because you sold it to me. Why would I give it back and why do you want to grab it from me anyway?
PS I’ll buy you an Easter pint in the pub and I promise to make sure my friends are not taking up all the available seating having eaten and drunk all your food and drink, when you next come in from work!