genme (genme) wrote,

are young people today lazy?

It's an oft-repeated complaint. Even young people themselves believe this -- after "open-minded" and "independent," "lazy" was the third most popular word that my undergraduates used to describe their own generation. Then last week Sen. Hillary Clinton made similar comments (though she later apologized):

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060515/ap_on_go_co/clinton_apology

There is probably some truth to this -- one of my main points all along was that young people feel entitled. Yet I think most of them are willing to work hard. But most of them don't realize how hard they are going to have to work until relatively late in their development. Teens especially get the idea that you can become rich overnight with little effort, and often don't realize that it takes years to move up in a company.

Another possible counter to the laziness argument: young people today are very, very ambitious. 80% of high school students say they want to graduate from a four-year college. 75% of college freshmen say they will get a graduate or professional degree.

Of course, most of them don't reach these goals. Is that because they are lazy and don't work hard? In some cases. In many others, though, things are simply too competitive and even with hard work they don't make the grades or get into the graduate program.

So maybe it's not that young people were brought up to be lazy. They were just brought up to expect too much.

Or are they just lazy? This is one I don't have data on, so argue away.
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