Monday, January 2, 2017

A New Wave of Entitlement ...




When the high tide comes in, it lifts all boats  


Indian economy, in my opinion witnessed its major high tide between 2004-08, notably in the services sector 

The incomes jumped up multifold and the salary graphs have shifted trajectories dramatically. Buoyed by the growth in services, other sectors also enjoyed the chain effects; financial services as usual enjoying their disproportionate share in the largesse. The  resultant income and wealth effects spurred the consumption boom and a virtuous cycle of growth 

All this was certainly desirable; particularly for those of us (the urban Indian Baby Boomers; born in ~'50-70's) who were brought up in a save-first and spend-later environment where securing a job is considered propitious in itself. The higher affordability and the financial security of course, did bring in a certain degree of brashness in an otherwise subdued generation of conformists. As far as the urban India Generation X (born in ~'70-90's) is concerned, this clearly meant a slow departure from the conformism in favour of a steady increase in the consumerism. As a result, the luxuries of the Boomers sort of became the base case needs for the X gen

When it came to the urban Indian Millennials (born ~90-10's), however, the attitude and the approach seemed sharply different as compared to the previous generations. Having interviewed and worked with a lot of youngsters in the Indian outsourcing industry in the past couple of years, I can not but feel (what I think as) the unfortunate side effects of the sudden prosperity on the impressionable minds

To start with, I see a reluctance to push and work hard. And a tendency to hype the otherwise normal achievements and ignore the shortcomings or blame others for failures. The expectation of rewards is completely disproportionate to the work load. Self-before-organisation is more often the rule rather than exception. Jobs seem to be easily available; and each time one changes a job, a 20-30% raise is said to be normal irrespective of how one has performed in the previous role. And if you don't keep hopping jobs, you will stagnate. 

When it comes to actual work, it is the super specialty tags that rule the roost, even though a little introspection would suggest that most of these jobs are of the cut n paste variety. And fancy labels for routine stuff seem to add a veil of complexity to the unsuspecting bystander   

Quality, in my opinion comes through diving deep into the subject at hand. Diving deep would require as they say 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration. Progress is not sequential and happens in spurts and bounds. And  in the form of breakthroughs that happen in a flash of inspiration; but these typically come to persons who have been grinding away

If there is no deep involvement, the gratification will equally be non-lasting. And you will need more of the superficial and fleeting instant appeasements to keep you going. Then there is the active social networking enabled through technology and the resulting forced need to look good and feel blessed just like others. The social and psychological pressures this puts on people in general and the millennials in particular is perhaps a separate topic in itself

Being at the right time and right place is perhaps not limited to the Indian outsourcing industry. This was probably applicable at various points in history to various nations, communities and smaller groups. And everyone has to pay a price for this. Leaders pay for their hubris. Arrogant organisations are taught by the markets. Entitled societies and individuals will be brought to the earth by the pure economic logic of the need to balance incomes and expenditures, aspirations and opportunities and opportunities and capabilities   

If and when this does happen in the outsourcing industry, I am afraid that the urban Indian millennials will have to bear the burden of the previous windfalls and reluctantly end up paying the price. This has both the above factors playing out; viz., one, you are out-pricing yourself through aggressive job hopping and two, the poor quality of output can not be camouflaged beyond a point 

It is quite possible that this view is clouded by the fact that each generation views its successors with circumspection. And the urban millennials are a confident generation and thereby invoke a degree of discomfort in the oldies like me 

Nevertheless, there is a nagging feel that the aggression, being so overt, is not limited to mere confidence but has generous doses of arrogance and a strong sense of entitlement. If this is the case, along with the story of opportunity mentioned above, a degree of faulty parenting and avid consumerism may the other reasons for the complacent generation that has been handed over all goodies on a platter       


Is it natural that progress has entitlement as an inevitable baggage? If so how does a successful generation take luxurious care of its successors but also teach the virtues of hard work, ownership, humility and respect        






     

5 comments:

Ajeet Garde said...

This entitlement culture is there not only in office but in marriages as well. Agree with views but feel the 99 perspiration work reduced to maybe 70 due to comforters and general greater smartness. However the saving in time of 29 becomes idle time rather than additional work

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tushar soni said...
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Sana Hussain said...
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