I get really annoyed when I hear this phrase, especially when uttered by people much younger than I (at least older folk are even further removed from teenagers and young adults right?).
Why you might ask? Because it’s an over-generalization, the same way one might say all women are bad at directions, or that all men are emotional juveniles. It’s a form of discrimination because it discounts a person’s qualities simply because they fall into a certain age group.
I’m sure you can argue that sweeping remarks have a grain of truth. Of course they do – I’m with you on that. The problem is, sweeping remarks like these are often said with disdain, to discredit an entire group of individuals.
I have a particular grouse about the whole Gen Y thing – that they’re unwilling to work, irresponsible, too focussed on work-life balance that looks more like life-and-other-things-I-want-to-do balance, whatever. Understood, these traits may be commonly noticed – goodness knows, I’ve heard and seen enough examples to despair.
But I also know so-called Gen Y people who are hard-working, inspiring, compassionate, creative, idealistic and willing to take risks for a good cause.
And on the flip side I can think of many people who are lazy, selfish, entitled, self-obsessed, unreliable and downright delusional about the type of people they are – they just don’t fit into any convenient age-group so there’s no label for them. Doesn’t make them any better than so-called Gen Ys, no more than having a label for a certain age group makes them all the same.