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Millenials: The Lazy Generation?

Millenials: The Lazy Generation?

By Lauren Bayne Anderson

April 29, 2011

Rodney Wilkinson*, born in 1979, agrees.

He recalls his first job working as an auditor for a “Big Four” accounting firm, where he was expected to work 60 hours a week during the busy season. One time in particular, he was expected to stay at work until 2 a.m. and to return to the office by 7 a.m. When it became a problem for him, his company purchased him a hotel room close to the office so that he could be there to work 19 hours a day.

At the time, the company’s motto was “People First” he recounts with a scoff.

“I remember one co-worker, a man in his 50’s, who was rushing to leave work ‘early’ at 6 p.m. on a Friday so that he could catch his son’s last ever high school basketball game. It was the first one he’d ever been able to attend due to his work schedule,” Wilkinson said. “I just remember thinking how sad that was.”

McQueen says corporations want loyalty, but they don’t provide it for their employees.

“Why should you work 60+ hours to get a bunch of stuff, when the company would just as soon fire you at a moments’ notice leaving you not able to pay for all the stuff they said you had to have?” she said. “The lack of job security in this country, and the fact that our jobs were sold to the highest bidder in a foreign country has left our generation not too eager to comply with the corporate mold.”

Wikinson agrees. He has since left the accounting industry and works in politics, but was recently laid off due to budget cuts. Being laid off has only strengthened his resolve to put family and personal life first. He says he is dismayed with the way companies treat employees.

“I’m applying for jobs now and some of them want you to attach your W2 statements so they know exactly how much you’ve been making,” Wilkinson said. “They want to pay you the cheapest amount possible, but expect you to give it your all and dedicate your life to the organization, with no job security.”

Wilkinson said the condescending approach the story took was offensive and that it’s time for a country who considers itself high on family values, to take notice and recognize that if they want loyalty from their employees, the road goes both ways.

McQueen agrees that corporations just want everyone to work harder and longer, and it’s smart to put family first. She agreed with Wilkinson that instead of this attitude being misconstrued as “selfish”, it should be considered part of “family values.”

“It’s like, ‘Just had a baby? We don’t care! Get back to work in 6 weeks when your baby can’t even sit up on his own! Work! Work! Work!’,” she said. “I am hoping our generation will be the one to change this for our daughters, and maybe throw in some paternity leave for our sons.”

*Wikinson asked to have his name changed, because he didn’t want the story to interfere with his on-going job search.

You can view the original broadcast here.

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