There’s always been tension between generations, but the bad blood bubbling up between millennials and Generation X may be about to boil over. To put it simply: Gen Xers hate millennials for diluting the job market by working longer hours for less money. They also assume a sense of entitlement and laziness in the younger generation, a perception born out of the same attitudes that birthed their parents’ tales of trudging seven miles uphill to school every morning.
Millennials, on the other hand, inherited the Great Recession and dramatically decreased wages just as they were entering the workforce, resulting in an unemployment rate that, for a spell, hovered around 20 percent. Somebody tanked the economy, so they’re naturally going to set their sights on the previous generation.
A new piece from MEL Magazine attempts to provide some perspective. Staff writer John McDermott, a millennial himself, tapped a few business professionals and workplace consultants to discuss what perceptions are justified and what are just sour grapes. The results are interesting, if also a bit frustrating. There’s truth on both sides of the debate, but also a deeply ingrained sense of ageism to fuel accusations of generational discrimination that are only getting worse with time.
As Mike North, an assistant professor at New York University’s Stern School Of Business, puts it:
Generational tensions clearly foster more discrimination, and vice versa. The main difference [is that] the perception of generational tension appears to be greater than at any point in recent memory. Age discrimination charges have steadily risen as older adults remain in the workforce longer than ever. On the younger side, unemployment rates are uncomfortably high. It’s created a unique climate of age discrimination and generational tension that clearly needs to be resolved.
Our condolences to whoever’s next in the bloodline.