I get confused about the arbitrary labels assigned to “generations” in the marketing worldview that dominates us. But, for today, let’s go along with Cindy Krischer Goodman and call them Gen-Y, the 18-30 year olds I love so much. The Inquirer picked up one of Mrs. Krischer Goodman’s pieces (and may have edited it to death it is so choppy) about how the recession has smacked the age-group with reality. “About 37% of 18-29 year-olds have been underemployed or out of work during the recession, the highest share among the age group in more than three decades.”
I love talking about reality. The reality Krischer Goodman is talking about is that Gen-Y’s prized work-life balance is no longer a viable goal. They must swallow “humble pie,” adopt a “new attitude” and make themselves “more valuable.” They must face up to being “coddled” and stop demanding raises, promotions, time off, training and the hottest technology or they will just be raising their unemployment rate even beyond its present 15.3%. They need to return to being the slaves they were bred to be.
One of the most intriguing things about Gen-Y is that they have a very quiet rebellion going on. I think it is their best attribute, even when I wish it were more vocal and aggressively subversive. In a book about how they work, Stan Smith writes, “They are compliant for now. Yet if you dig beneath the surface, their underlying values are still there…They want flexibility. They want work-life balance. But for now, they are just not as vocal about how they want it served up.” They are compliant….FOR NOW. You’d think they were an army of zombies ready to enter the village and eat Mom. It is amazing that the ominous demands laying in wait are: 1) not to be treated like they are machines or pack animals and 2) wanting a forty-hour (or just not seventy hour) workweek and more than two-weeks of vacation a year! Cesar Alvarez says the recession is a wake-up call that will change the generation’s behavior. “I think their concept of the ultimate safety net has shattered. I’m seeing them much more engaged. I think this was a tipping point that helped the new generation suit up for the game.“ He reminds me of my football coaches in high school who used “galley slave” as their model for training.
I couldn’t decide which scripture best responded to this article. So I chose two. They kind of go together:
“Were you a slave when called? Do not be concerned about it. Even if you can gain your freedom, make use of your present condition now more than ever. For whoever was called in the Lord as a slave is a freed person belonging to the Lord, just as whoever was free when called is a slave of Christ. You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of human masters.” (1 Corinthians 7:21-3)…”For they speak bombastic nonsense, and with licentious desires of the flesh they entice people who have just escaped from those who live in error. They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption; for people are slaves to whatever masters them.” (2 Peter 2:18-19)
The Inquirer highlighted the article: “For the coddled, tech-savvy young, the recession has brutalized their income, savings, career plans.” Next thing you know they will be forced to rely on Jesus and others for life itself! They might discover that the freedom they are offered is slavery, and the slavery they think is conforming to Christ is freedom. My hope does not waver.