Generation Y is in no way ‘lazy’

Sam Graves, Staff writer

In a Wall Street Journal blog, New York lawyer Scott Greenfield says, “Generation Y is entitled, lazy, selfish, tech savvy, and incompetent.” This is a ridiculous statement. Generation Y is no different from past generations.

Generation Y refers to people born roughly between 1980 and 2000. This is also called the Millennial Generation. All South students belong to this generation. Some teachers and staff may also be “Millennials.”

To call Generation Y “lazy” is ridiculous for many reasons. One is that there are lazy people in every generation, and every generation says this about the younger generation. A major study of Generation Y by two Boston-based companies, Cone Inc. and AMP Insights, recently found that 81% of Millennials have volunteered in the past year. The study also said, “Experts believe that this group is better educated as well as more disciplined and achievement-oriented than the generations that have preceded them.” This doesn’t sound like being lazy at all.

The same study also stated that 61% of 13- to 25-year-olds “feel personally responsible for making a difference in the world.” Does that sound like a selfish generation to you? A recent USA Today article said, “A growing body of academic and market research suggests Millennials are civic-minded and socially conscious as individuals, consumers and employees.” This statement is true because of the discovery of the Internet.

It is true that members of Generation Y are tech savvy, but this is in no way a bad characteristic. Our use of technology has made us more aware of what is going on in the world. Technology has enabled us to be more socially conscious than past generations. With the Internet, we can learn about issues around the world that previously went unnoticed. For example, learning about sweatshops in other countries from the Internet prompts many to boycott certain products.

To say our generation is incompetent is disturbing. Sure, we are younger, and have more to learn, but we are just as competent as the generation before us. And does Greenfield really believe we rely too much on technology? Sure, it’s an important aspect of our daily lives, but it’s in no way negative. Does a calculator make us incompetent to solve math problems on our own? Of course not. Does a computer make us bad writers? Absolutely not. Utilizing the tools available for us only makes us more competent in this changing world.

Our generation is doing many great things for the world. For example, Mobilize.org is working to use Millennial ideas to improve the way democracy works. A study released by the federal Corporation for National and Community Service found that volunteerism by college students increased by 20% from 2002 to 2005. It may sound cliche, but it’s true – we are the future, and to call us lazy is false and accomplishing nothing.

There are 78 million Millennials in the U.S. alone. It is in no way useful to make a generalization about 78 million people.