In today's age, a false stereotype plagues the younger generation: today's teenagers and young adults lack the drive needed in order to succeed.
The older members of society often complain that adolescents and young adults no longer work towards a goal, but rather spend the majority of their time on their cell phones, on social media, complaining, or simply doing other things than work, thus, wasting their lives away.
A famous social commentator has written: "The children now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise" Ironically though, Greek philosopher, Socrates, made this statement more than two thousand years ago. This opinion of young people has now prevailed for two thousand years: many adults of today believe this current generation of teens acts lazy and disrespectful.
According to Andrea Kay Gannett of USA Today, hard work no longer plays a prominent role in the life of a young individual, as millenials possess a "self-centered work ethic," and lack the ability to "look around and see what should be done". In the eyes many (not all) in the older generation, young people lack proper work ethic. However, critics of the teenage population fail to recognize that the rising generation does, in fact, possess a very strong work ethic. In an era in which adolescents and young people compete against one another to achieve the highest title, hard work must persist. Contrary to critics' objections, competition and the desire for independence serves as a driving force that motivates young people to achieve their goals of success.
According to Dictionary.com, work ethic is properly defined as "the belief in the moral benefit and importance of work and its inherent ability to strengthen character." However, this definition does not have strict limitations, as it can apply to working hard in school, at a job, or simply for a general goal. Contrary to popular belief, high school students possess a substantial work ethic, as they feel immense pressure to succeed. According to Denise Reynolds of Stanford University, eight in ten students feel that success is important, no matter what the cost. Work ethic defines life for young people within both the classroom and the workforce. Just as one innately possesses the desire to acquire food for survival, some possess the unending desire to work hard. In working efficiently, some hope to eventually gain success, or the "food," that continually fuels their self-worth.
Aspiring, young students defy stereotypes, as they possess a never-ending desire to succeed through hard work. Many high school and college students perform with this drive in order to acquire a successful career, as they view school as a means that will lead towards a greater future. They believe it is one's "job" to learn and gain knowledge in order to obtain a position in their chosen professional field. However, this success does not come easily. According to the National Survey of Student Engagement's findings, the average student spends about 17 hours each week preparing for classes, which includes homework, reading, and any other assignments. Many students push through this heavy workload in an effort to increase their GPA, as they aspire to get accepted into prestigious universities, or if they are currently in college, to have a job once they graduate. Competition amongst high school students especially proves cutthroat, and many obsessively ask their peers about their scores, grades, and overall performance; therefore, many students must have a work ethic in order to meet their ideas of success.
In addition to performing well in school, teenagers also possess work ethic in an effort to earn their own money through working part-time jobs. According to CNN, in the summer of 2015, 4.7 million teenagers had jobs, many of them saving their money for college expenses. In holding jobs many teens hope to develop identities, increase in autonomy, achieve new accomplishments, develop work experience, and become more independent. A study carried out by the U.S. Department of Labor found that fifty percent of American teenagers hold informal jobs, such as babysitting or yard work, by age twelve, and by the age of fifteen nearly two-thirds of American teens have had some kind of employment. The majority of teenagers who hold jobs do so with the intent of earning their own money in an effort to gain independence from their parents, or because they have to provide for themselves in order to meet their goals and expectations. In order to take on such a responsibility and succeed, these individuals must possess a strong work ethic. Thus, nearly two-thirds of the younger population defies the "lazy" stereotype. They are holding jobs through which they can earn their own income and develop a sense of responsibility and independence. It is evident then that young individuals naturally possess work ethic; therefore, quelling the belief that they lack the drive and character needed in order to succeed.
This being said, work ethic must not be defined by society, but rather by the individual. For, if we were to stick to the societal standards of work ethic, we would be never satisfied; mainly because some of the most hard-working individuals are often described as lazy and unmotivated by their older peers. How hard must a young adult work before they are no longer labeled as a member of a "lazy generation"? I'm afraid we cannot magically grow older so that we are no longer affiliated with our own generation; yet, what we can do is continue to defy stereotypes and preconceived notions held by many in society. And in doing so, we can help many more realize our worth and contribution to the world as a whole.