Sunday, April 1, 2012

Entitled to Responsibility, Truth and Integrity

This week the Canadian government made some changes to Old Age Security but only for those born after 1962. The Globe and Mail published an interesting read this Saturday called "Two Solitudes" that highlights some of the key differences between Baby Boomers and their Gen X and Millennial offspring.

In the article describing the Boomer point of view, author Margaret Wente notes how Boomers have had it easy compared to those of the adult Gen X and Millennial generations. They've had relatively cheap higher education, a multitude of job opportunities even for those with just a basic high school education, job security with regular raises and fully stocked benefit packages, affordable homes and real estate, affordable health care and many publicly funded social services.

Funny how those Boomers have had everything in life including their retirement future even though we can't afford it, yet they still seem to point the finger at Millennial workers for being the entitled generation.

Certainly as children Gen X and Y's were well looked after. We were given every opportunity to prepare for a successful life: extra curricular activities to become well rounded individuals and learn how to work well with others, critical thinking skills in school to teach us to be smart and think for ourselves, and yes, even trophies for effort because we each have special talents that make us unique and participation is half the battle.

But by the time we became adults the rules had changed. In fact, each time we planned, prepared and showed up at the playing field, not only did the rules change but the game itself had moved. Each time we've had to go back home to grab different gear, a different uniform and load new directions into the GPS. Did we fail? Not exactly. But we have failed to succeed.

We now know that self esteem is not a gift, it's the reward. The result of learning through failure and feedback. And just being special doesn't mean I have the skills to deal with a failure to succeed. If I didn't learn these lessons as a kid under the wings of my parents, I'm certainly learning them now. In fact, I'm thankful for the uphill battles I've fought recently because I've learnt a whole lot more in the process.

I've learned that job security, is a fallacy. Trusting an organization or an institution to look after little ol' me is both foolish and dangerous. Only I am truly responsible for me and those in my care. But being responsible also gives me rights. The right to choose the game I play.

Responsibilities = Rights

But wait, there's more. Not only am I responsible for myself and have the right to choose which game I play, I've also learned that I have the responsibility to participate fairly, truthfully and with integrity.

Responsibilities = Rights = Responsibilities

If I'm doing my best to participate truthfully and with integrity, I expect others to as well. Sometimes I think Gen X'ers and Millennials should come with a warning label: Will challenge authority if responsibility, truth or integrity are broken.

Entitled? Damn right. Entitled to Responsibility, Truth and Integrity.

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