07 August 2007

Where Dikkii cracks the sads with "Generation Y"

Like an infection oozing pus at the back of my already horribly diseased brain, this has been festering for quite some time. And rather than just go in to see a neuro-surgeon about having it lanced, I'm going to blow it all out the back of my head, in the vain hope that someone reads this and cleans the whole sodding mess up.

Yes, folks. It's time I handed out a flogging to all you young shits who identify with the stereotype known as Generation Y.

Now the best part about media stereotypes, is that we all get a good laugh. They're relatively harmless. Remember "Metrosexuals"? They were, if you can't remember them, a trumped up generalisation of blokes who were supposedly so into themselves that they masturbated in front of mirrors.

Nothing was too outrageous for this bunch. Hair product? Check. Manicures? Check. More sensitivity than your average emo? You got that right.

This lot were so low that they masqueraded as your stereotypical mincing inner-suburban queen just so that chicks saw that they were "comfortable with their sexuality" and slept with them.

And pretentious? My fucking FSM, were they? If I was born in a different era, I would have called them a bunch of poofs who were repressing, and I wouldn't be far wrong.

And in case you're reading this and thinking, Dikkii, you've really gone and lost it now... Actually, I've probably lost a good portion of my normal readership. They're currently looking up for the "Flag" button that Blogger conveniently provides for this sort of objectionably homophobic copy to get noticed by some killjoy whose job is to come down on me like a tonne of bricks.

Who knows? They'll probably suspend me, or worse, kick me off?

Anyway, the joke's on you, o politically correct thought police.

Metrosexuals never existed. Never did. Never will.

Some newspaper columnist thought up this term as a joke, and the best part of ten years (and countless millions of dollars) were spent by marketers trying to sell stuff to this "demographic".

And so too on to Generation Y.

Originally, this term chose itself, after the loathsome blanket generalisation of my generation which became known as Generation X after Douglas Coupland's novel. But where Coupland applied this term to Americans born between 1960 and 1965, I was born in 1972 and am not American.

Generation Y has become an umbrella term for whatever epithet you can throw at the under 30 crowd, and this blogger for one, is getting sick and tired of it.

Supposedly, these are hallmarks of your average Generation Y'er:

  • A combination of SMS-speak, "1337" or leetspeak, spell-checkers on computers and school teachers who consider spelling and punctuation to be the realm of English teachers only has allegedly rendered Gen Y'ers as illiterate as your average doughnut.
  • Innumeracy has been blamed on the use of calculators from an early age, combined with a "what, me worry?" attitude to even basic arithmetic. Critically, this has led many to the conclusion that the credit crunch we are now seeing across the US requires Gen Y as the logical scapegoats.
  • Gen Y'ers apparently want your job. Hire one, and they'll (supposedly) straightaway tell you that their aim is to be in your position in six months time. They're ambitious.
  • But not only that, they're lazy too. By all accounts. They want your job, but will not lift a finger in the process.
  • Lastly, in the process of moving from being a hiree to moving up the corporate ladder, your average Gen Y'er is supposed to be the kind of wonderful human being who would knife his or her own mother in the back to get there. Treacherous souls, aren't they?

Now forgive me if all of this sounds just a little too far-fetched, but just like metrosexuals, this is the picture that we are being sold. I didn't buy it at first, and I thought that if ignored it, it might just go away. Unfortunately, however, just like Myers-Briggs tests, "emotional intelligence" and what I hope to God is not NLP ("Neuro-Linguistic Programming"), the willingness to embrace this unctious stereotype has pervaded my workplace to an even greater extent than the stream of management consulting bullshit that is so fashionable at the moment.

"Succinct" as a verb, anyone?

Back to the job at hand, though. The first time that I noticed that this was an issue was when someone reviewing one of my communications asked me if I could tailor my language to be more "Gen Y". After telling them to get stuffed, I was treated to a half hour lecture on why we needed to pander to a workforce that was illiterate, innumerate and had the attention span of a diseased carp.

And you know, I think that this is the reason why service standards have slipped. When I joined the workforce, all those years ago, we were expected to lift our standards to those of our employer, and those around us.

Now, employers - in the interest of supposedly being flexible - dumb stuff down and pander to what must surely be the lowest common denominator. And our staff think that this is what the employer expects from them.

Witness what this half-wit wrote in response to a routine query from a customer.

But that is not the end of it. By lowering standards to a perceived level that we deem appropriate for our audience, we have suggested that even mediocrity is too high a standard for the new young workforce. We give them stuff that is so bereft of intelligence that they must feel that it an employer's duty to be as condescending as hell.

No one benefits from this.

But to make matters worse, go back and look at my bullet points again. Notice anything?

Yep. You guessed right. These are the exact same prejudices that were foisted upon us previous generations by the ones who came before us. Except in this case, we're treating this kind of behaviour as though it's a good thing.

Is this a power thing? A numbers thing? Are we seeing the start of the dumbing down of society just so that we can satisfy a bunch of lazy, belligerent, ambitious young hooligans that may not even exist? Is our market research so subject to confirmation bias that we can't even smell the coffee on this?

I've had enough. You can all go and get stuffed.


Greg said...

While Idiocracy was an unsatisfying movie, it had a great premise which seems apropos your rant.

Dikkii said...

I hear you loud and clear, Greg.

KitKat said...

What is happening to our young
people? They disrespect their elders, they disobey their parents. They ignore the law. They riot in the streets inflamed with wild notions. Their morals are decaying. What is to become of them?

Apparently a quote from Plato.

I see no hope for the future of our people if they are dependent on
frivolous youth of today, for certainly all youth are reckless beyond words... When I was young, we were taught to be discreet and
respectful of elders, but the present youth are exceedingly wise
[disrespectful] and impatient of restraint

Hesiod, 8th century BC

(I got these from Google)

Some people in every generation forget how "young" they were when they were young. I see first-year students, and think surely I wasn't like that... Bet I was.

But they have cash, no debts and marketing to them is easy. Dumbing down is a pet hate of mine. If they never experience proper English and stuff, like, they'll never learn. Not doing them any favours.

But how many stereotypical people does it take to create a stereotype? For every stereotype you can always find one person who fulfills it, so it perpetuates. Those who defy it are conveniently ignored...

Dikkii said...

Good quotes.

And you're right to some degree about sterotypes. I once noted about the flamboyant gay male stereotype that gay guys are divided into four camps (not making excuses for this pun) on this matter:

1. Those who ape the stereotype
2. Those who ape the stereotype but put a satirical spin on it
3. Those who criticise the first two camps for perpetuating the stereotype, and
4. Everyone else.

I stand by this observation.

Anonymous said...

As usual, I blame the parents.

Greg: That premise would be a lot funnier if it weren't regularly trotted out by racists and religious nuts too. I don't think it's particularly compelling - the same evolutionary forces that created you and me also created slime mould.

Anonymous said...

You know, I think in my coffee-fueled, work-addled haze I feel like I'm missing an entire layer of satire.

I've been feeling that a lot lately - guys like you and Greg are getting smarter and writing better, more carefully hiding the irony in plain sight, and I'm getting less patient and careful while reading...

Dikkii said...

Don't think that I'm getting better as a writer Taj.

I think that my writing is the first piece of evidence supporting devolutionary theory.

Anonymous said...

I chose to interpret that as DEVO-lution. "When a good time turns around, you must whip it."

Dikkii said...

Anon, you've just provided me with an interpretation of that line that I never knew existed.

Thanks for that.