“That generation just doesn’t have a work ethic.”
“They always want things handed to them…”
Blah, blah, blah… we’ve all heard it, right?
All in all, I think the whole “work ethic” debate is a bunch of bunk.
In my experience, people really define “work ethic” as “works as hard as I do.” So, if someone has a “good” work ethic, then they meet my standard of effort; if they don’t, they don’t. This is easily exemplified when people will disagree over a particular coworker’s “work ethic.”
It’s a moving target, with as many definitions as people.
Regarding generations, it’s simply one more diverse group to deal with, no different than race, background, gender, etc.
Further, it’s largely a cop-out label, broad-brushing a “group” because of the transgressions of a visible few. Ten young 20-somethings working in MacDonald’s or Wal-Mart are invisible; three pierced, tattooed, and spiked youngsters catch everyone’s eye.
Finally, my anecdotal evidence… I work with a lot of manufacturers. When facilitating supervisors and managers, I’ll pose the question: “”You are King/Queen for the day, and can fire three people without any thought, reason, or repercussion; who would those three be?” Invariably, they don’t select a young employee — they choose three dead-weights with looong company tenure (frequently 20+ years) who still don’t “get it.”
So, again, I think the whole “generational work ethic” thing is a bunch of hooey…
But that’s just me.