St. Cloud State student: Why are today's young people such slackers?

Hannah Swift of St. Cloud State‘s University Chronicle complains about how her fellow students don’t seem to have a work ethic:

Showing up late for shifts, not being accountable for their share of the work, and trying to find the easiest way to get something done are all common examples of the general “slacker” attitude of my generation.

It’s all about just doing the minimum:

Another reason more people are seem to be slacking when it comes to doing work is a trend which has been dubbed “work smart.” The idea behind working smart is not necessarily always reaching the highest level in quality of work, but rather finding the easiest and fastest way to achieve an acceptable output of work.

An older “nontraditional” student replies that we should blame it on human nature — and perhaps a little coddling:

College age kids are often required to get a job anywhere they can to satisfy their parents demands in order to keep allowances coming in. This would explain why they don’t initially care what quality of work they deliver as long as they can prove employment. Those that need the money are often more responsible in their work habits, but not always. Most I have worked with will justify skipping work to attend a concert or gathering if that is what they truly had their sights set on, thinking they can justify their behavior when confronted.

As to the aspect of doing quantity over quality, I can understand your gripes, but it is human nature, I believe, to get things done as easily as possible. I know this isn’t the best answer but I remember a physics professor I once had explaining that electrons will go with the path of least resistance, much like us, his students.

  • Louis

    it’s all about the ” Mr.Rogers” effect. Everyone is special, everyone gets a trophy, nobody has to prove anything of value or importance. My brother can’t wait to retire from teaching next year!

  • Sarah

    I think that there are people in every age group who try to take the easy path.  I think pinning it on a certain generation does a huge disservice to people in the current crop of college students that are paying more than ever to go to school, working more hours to cover the difference and have less and less time to learn and concentrate on homework.  Many are not only academically engaged, but also focus on social justice causes and volunteering.  And, as a thank you for all the sleepless nights studying, the hours spent at a job to pay the rent plus your unpaid internship that is supposed to bolster your resume and your volunteering efforts, you get zero interviews in response to your hundreds of applications sent, too much student loan debt to think about grad school and, apparently, the derision of both your peers and anyone over 30 wondering why you and all of your siblings and friends are such slackers. Some are, but many work very hard for very little reward, as in any generational group right now.