The Mary’s blokes aren’t the first ones to complain about supposed ~entitlement~ among millennial workers. Throwback to the CEO of appliance company Winning Group John Winning who lashed out at millennials’ poor work ethic and “crazy” expectations, despite being a millennial himself.
“People are expecting more than what they put in. Some of the people coming in for interviews, their expectation of what they should be paid versus how much they’re expected to work is just crazy,” he said.
John, who took over the company from his dad after his grandfather created it over a century ago, seems to consider himself an expert on hard work, despite being incredibly privileged. It appears Mr Winning doesn’t quite realise that life is a lot easier when your family owns a multi-million dollar company.
I’m not saying the 37-year-old hasn’t worked hard, but as someone who comes from a reasonably privileged upbringing, I’m well aware that many of the opportunities I’ve been given are largely due to the privilege I have. (Editor’s note: He was 35 at the time of reporting two years ago, so one can only assume he’s 37 now).
John has achieved a number of great things in his 37 years of life, including starting discount white goods website Appliances Online. He hasn’t just taken his family’s business and kept it going, he’s worked hard to better it. But that doesn’t excuse the fact that he’s blatantly ignoring (or blissfully unaware of) his privilege. To put it in his own words, he “knew nothing about technology, management or even retail” before taking on the leadership role.
“I am now an unconventional leader because I don’t know what normal management is. I was thrown in the deep end because the business just grew. I went from being a kid that had done truck deliveries and a few sales on the shop floor, into suddenly running an e-commerce website when I knew nothing about technology, management or even retail, other than the fact that it’s in my blood,” John said in an interview with CEO Magazine.
Despite being a millennial himself, Winning says good millennial workers are “few and far between.”
“You train them up and by the time they’ve finished the two-month training, they’re either looking for the next thing or asking for a promotion or more money,” he said to SMH. Honestly, it sounds like they’re hustling to me.
Throughout the interview, he also blamed Instagram for our supposed entitlement issues. Of course it’s Instagram that’s the problem.
“People expect they should be able to spend all this money on eating out because they see all their friends on social media eating out breakfast, lunch and dinner, having these great lives and going to Europe every Australian winter.”
According to SMH, John considers “hustling” to be “rolling your sleeves up and working from early in the morning to late at night.” However, he neglected to comment on the fact that he was basically a shoe-in for CEO of the 113-year-old company from the day he was born.
There has been a definite shift in priorities when it comes to careers for millennials and Gen Z, with many of us wanting to feel happy and creatively fulfilled, rather than slaving away to a job we hate all for the sake of a fat pay-cheque. But I don’t think this makes us lazy at all.
According to Millennial Career, more than half of millennials would prefer to make $30,000 at a job they love, than work a job they hate for $100,000. But although there has been a shift in values, that doesn’t mean that the younger generation are lazy or entitled.
But it appears John Winning is too caught up in the building with his name on the wall to realise the privilege he has. Many factors including wealth, education and social status can greatly impact how likely you are to be successful.
It’s not impossible to be successful or “self-made” if you weren’t brought up with a CEO father, but it’ll definitely take a lot more work. And even if you work your ass off for years, sometimes you’re just not given the same opportunity as someone who’s taking over their grandfather’s company when their dad retires.
If you’re lucky enough to be a privileged person, you’re allowed to take advantage of the opportunities you’re given, but it’s not fair to pretend everybody else is lazy because they weren’t so lucky.