Time Magazine Cover Features the Me, Me, Me Generation

{ I just want to make a point that it’s not just great
teachers that sometimes shape your life.
Sometimes it’s the absence of great teachers that shapes
your life and being ignored can be just as good for
a person as being lauded. — Julia Roberts }

The Me Generation

Time Magazine Me, Me, Me Generation, May 9, 2013
Time Magazine Me, Me, Me Generation, May 9, 2013

The most recent issue of Time Magazine is about Generation Y, the Millennial Generation. The headline says it all: The Me, Me, Me Generation. I haven’t read it yet, but I will as soon as I go buy it since it’s behind a paywall. You can read Salon’s extended comment about it.

You can also see Joel Stein, the writer of the article, try to be a Millennial for a day. This is honestly too awful for words. It makes Gen Y look pretty disgusting and pathetic. Why would Stein (a 41-year-old Gen Xer), let alone Time, do this? Is this journalism? PR? Ugh?

I decided to take a look at some old covers of Time Magazine that deal with generations. In 1967, the magazine named the Baby Boomer Generation “Man of the Year,” and in 1986, they celebrated the first Boomers turning 40.

In 1982, they had a cover that heralded the new whiz kid: The Computer Generation. That would be Generation X. But, by 1999, they said we were overshadowed by Boomers. They said we had a hard act to follow. In 2009, they wrote about our downfall as helicopter parents.

Time Magazine Helicopter Parents
In 2009, Time reported on Gen Xers as helicopter parents.

In 2011, they ran a cover story about the generation that would change the world: Gen Y. And, now comes their latest issue: The Me, Me, Me Generation.

I wish I’d thought of that.

Time Magazine Covers Generation
A collage of various Time magazine covers dealing with generations including Baby Boomers, Generation X and Gen Y.

{ There’s a lot of mediocrity being celebrated, and a lot of wonderful stuff being ignored or discouraged. — Sean Penn }

Generation X: The Ignored Generation

So, I know what you’re thinking, Gen Xers. How come we didn’t get a Happy Birthday issue? Just be glad when they covered Gordinier’s book in 2009, they used “ignored generation” in the headline instead of Waa, Waa, Waa Generation.


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  1. Emiclair says

    I think its time we as a society stopped seeing the differences in priority each generation has as major selfish flaws and started asking what we should do to help each other. Gen Y may be obsessed with tech but can you blame them after its been shoved down their throat since preschool? They also (and forgive my generalisation) are very socially, environmentally and globally conscious. I find it so upsetting that older generations dismiss the generation which are their children and grandchildren (which frankly are the kids they raised!) as ‘selfish narcissists’ instead of asking how they can help, in the way grandchildren try to help their baby booming grandparents stop saying blatantly racist statements (obviously another generalisation). We are one society, we should start acting like it.

  2. Mikey says

    I am a Gen X’er (born in ’74) who is a Regional Manager of an advertising company. I’m in charge of my company’s production from Oklahoma to Florida, and have 49 Outside Sales Reps that report to me…none of which are Gen Y’ers. Our Sales Reps don’t have an office to work from or a clock to punch, they are left to their own work ethics to make quotas without any direct supervision. This is the reason I don’t have any 20 somethings working for me. It’s not that I haven’t hired any, they just don’t last very long. They have the ability and energy, but what they lack is focus, drive, and a need to feel a certain sense of accomplishment. I don’t want to generalize, but that’s how it’s gone to this point. Of my 49 Sales Reps, all of them are over the age of 40.

    Left to their own will to work, Gen Y seems to have a problem. It’s as if they need to have someone overlooking them and forcing them to punch a clock to be productive. This is an issue that my Baby Boomers and Gen X’ers don’t seem to have a problem with. My team ranges from 40-73 in terms of age, and they all work really well together. The younger group seems to listen to the older group on the conference calls, and asks for advice on overcoming obstacles and issues that stand in the way of success. These are things that Gen Y has a problem with, at least from my current perspective. Perhaps it’s a phase and they will either grow out of it, or be forced out of it by demand. I guess only time will tell.

    • says

      I hear this from so many people. I wonder what’s going to happen to America if we have employees with such poor work ethics. I know what you are saying is not anecdotal, too. I’ve heard from too many people. Baby Boomers are going to be in the workforce a lot longer than anyone expected and Gen Y’s wages are going to be kept low because we can’t afford to pay people who do not and will not perform. This really seems like a crisis in the American workforce. I still haven’t read the TIME article it its entirety, but I’ve heard Stein goes into some of this. Thanks for your comment. My hat is off to you for having a sales team that includes people in their 70s. We need them engaged and contributing b/c it actually does benefit the workforce very much. It’s not patronization. –jen

  3. madmonq says

    I was once told by one of my bosses that I’d have to adjust my expectation when deal with Generation Y. He explained that they had a “different impression” of what was expected from work that what I was used to & heavily implied that I’d have to adjust our work flow to accommodate. I was all in my head like “Oh bull$#!t!” but verbally acknowledge said bull$#!t” and went on about my business. Afterward I realized that I’d previously worked with a group of 20 year olds that they were just as hard working & driven as any other age group, given that other age groups also have their exceptions. The term “Slacker” from Richard Linklater’s semi-definitive film effort, others, wasn’t embraced by Generation X for nothing.

    I am, however, gaining a dim awareness. An impression that there is an increasing supply of 20 something who DO think we should adjust the workplace in order to address their needs (read:wants) rather than the other way around (or rather that, they smugly feel they don’t need to participate in a process of give and take. An important and actual adult skill that no one ever seems to want to learn). That awareness may have a lot to do with my beginning to transition from a characteristically surly 30 something to a surly middle aged adult. It could just be early onset “You Kids Get Off Ma Lawn!” syndrome. I could be wrong but it doesn’t bode well for me.

    Don’t know if the article parses the information this closely but the problem (if there is a widespread problem) has less to do with the age group but the class background of the age group. If my experience with reading all of the puff pieces about Brooklyn Hipsters in the NY Times matches (trust fund babies of the Baby Boomers brand hold) it doesn’t. They almost never include the money aspect (save that living in Brooklyn is cheaper than Manhattan). The group of hard working 20 somethings I mentioned came from a mostly working class background. They rarely complained & tended to work overtime whenever possible. The other group of 20 year olds (those slightly more monied) complained more and worked less if they could manage it. Oddly this reminds me of the Princeton Mom; the perhaps slightly entitled woman who went onto great internet fame after attempting to single-highhandedly reset feminism to the Gurley-Brown age. A sense of ‘We can do this when’ what she / they really mean is ‘I’, a throwback to their parents traditionalism & conservatism that tended to exclude the majority. The children of hippies of a certain demographic don’t fall far from the money tree. In my opinion.

    I think about this a lot. Thanks for being a smart lady, lady.

    • says

      I, too, have gained a dim awareness about Gen Y. I do some HR consulting, and while Gen Xers can be a snarky, pissy bunch in the workplace, the entitlement of many professional Millennials (as you pointed out – the lack of GIVE and TAKE) is stunning. And what happens when the counterculture of Hipsters (or whatever) shifts back to culture. Where does that leave irony? Mainstream, I guess. How weird. Great comment. Thanks for making me think – and google Princeton Mom.

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