It's been awhile, but some more concrete, empirical evidence has surfaced to prove that millennials, Gen-Y, or whatever you choose to call your children, have a disproportionate sense of entitlement.
A new report, published by University of Massachusetts-Amherst marketing professor Charles D. Schewe and colleagues earlier this month, not only suggests that Gen-Y is entitled, but that the entitlement is more prominent in an emerging "generational cohort." Naturally dubbed the "entitlement cohort," this new sect of Gen-Y has developed different values than those of older millennials (millennials in general are all those born after 1981).
Professor Schewe and his colleagues are contending that this emergence of contrasting values is thanks to the 2008 economic downturn, which was classified by the authors as a "coming of age experience." For the purposes of the study, a coming of age experience was understood to be a defining moment happening between the 17th and 23rd years of a person's life.
Comparable experiences include the Great Depression, Pearl Harbor, the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and the Watergate scandal. The advent of the Internet ca. 1995 is identified as the coming of age moment for millennials at large, despite the fact that the majority of millennials, the oldest of which were 14 the time, likely didn't initially have access to the service.
Amazingly, the researchers declared that the terrorist attacks of September 11 were more "television events" than coming of age experiences, as the places where they happened -- New York City, Washington, and Pennsylvania -- are places that "not all Americans identify with," in their words. Fallout be damned.
The authors of the report also listed several traits present in the younger generational cohort that suggest that we have "internalized the value of entitlement." They reached this conclusion from observations that, compared to older millennials, younger millennials are more sexually permissive, more secular, less patriotic, less thrifty, and less concerned with politics, sustainability, and making mistakes in life. Whether or not these traits are unprecedented or unique to this generation remains highly debatable. And probably just a tad untenable.
The authors also make the astute observation in declaring that, should the job market for new college graduates continue at its current dismal pace, those members of the younger generational cohort who are soon to graduate will probably come home and work temporary jobs that do not produce a strong career path. In other words, if there are no jobs when we graduate college we might have difficulty finding jobs. But that's entitlement for you.
I don't think I need to reiterate my views on "kids these days" comments. But if universities are really spending money on research that finds that young people are irresponsible, and bad job markets make it tough for the inexperienced worker to find jobs, then maybe it's time for universities to be a little more careful with who does the research.