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Reader Soapbox: Gen Y 'job quitters' are merely true to their selves

Boomers created Gen Y values by raising them in privilege and love

It is clear that Courier writer Sandra Thomas (Why I didnt quit my job, July 11) is a baby boomer (late 40s to late 60s) who has not been exposed to Gen Y (those in their 20s) values and attitudes about work.

Earlier this month, Kai Nagata famously wrote on his blog about why he quit his job as a television journalist in Quebec City. He described his ideology and how he could not work with having to be censored or in a sexist environment. I read his blog as an outing of the media workplace from his Gen Y point of view.

Gen Ys have a greater need to be able to work authentically than to simply make a buck or have an important job title. I found his reasons for quitting quite explicit and yet Ms. Thomas seems puzzled as to why he quit.

We need to pay attention to Gen Y and their opinions as they provide us

with clues on how to create a brighter future for all.

We can judge, vilify or condemn the Gen Y attitudes or we can seek to understand their viewpoints. Frankly our very future is reliant on our ability to adapt to and to pay attention to Gen Ys.

Heres where their attitudes diverge from their Gen X (those in their 30s to late 40s) and Baby Boomer counterparts.

Gen Y have been raised since birth with technology, privilege and access. We can generalize and say that they are all spoiled, have no work ethic and hate hard work. Or we can look at why they may have developed these attitudes. They are the children of the Baby Boomers who raised them to go for their dreams, to not settle for less than they deserve and to have a life.

Many Baby Boomers motto is and has been work hard and then you die. A Gen Ys motto is life first and work second. Lets face it many Gen Ys do not have the same survival issues that many Boomers had at their same age. Boomers left home typically at 18 and did what their bosses told them to do for fear of being fired. They had bills to pay.

Today if you tell a Gen Y to do something or they will be fired, they will question, push back and eventually quit. Boomers would say that this makes them disloyal but actually it makes them a generation who are not willing to do anything that goes against what they believe is right.

Frankly we Baby Boomers have contributed to this phenomena by providing every comfort possible to our Gen Ys. Research says that the average Gen Y doesnt leave home until the age of ... wait for it ... 35!

Why would they? They live in beautiful homes, they have access to all of their technological toys and mom and dad love having them around.

So, Thomas choosing not to quit her job makes sense. She has bills to pay. But it is wrong to assume that Nagata doesnt or that he has made an irresponsible choice. As a true Gen Y he will likely YouTube about quitting CTV and then make a documentary while working on his feature film. In the end he will turn his decision based on his values into a new opportunity. True to his Gen Y nature.


Cheryl Cran is the author of 101 Ways to Make Generations X, Y and Zoomers Happy at Work and a leadership and generations expert. Her research on generations has been featured in the Globe and Mail, Readers Digest, New York Metro and many more publications.