Is Gen Y the Most Narcissistic Generation Ever? : Under30CEO Is Gen Y the Most Narcissistic Generation Ever? : Under30CEO
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Is Gen Y the Most Narcissistic Generation Ever?

| September 14, 2010 | 14 Comments

NarcissisticSelf-confidence is good but to much can be a bad thing. A recent article on The Harvard Business Review shows that Generation Y may be the most narcissistic generation ever. The articles takes an excerpt from The Narcissism Epidemic saying:

“We found that… college students in the 2000s were significantly more narcissistic than Gen Xers and Baby Boomers in the 1970s, ’80s, and ’90s. The Boomers, a generation famous for being self-absorbed, were outdone by their children. By 2006, two-thirds of college students scored above the scale’s original 1979-85 sample average, a 30% increase in only two decades… The upswing in narcissism appears to be accelerating: the increase between 2000 and 2006 was especially steep.”

The article goes on to point out that this is a bad trend and can cause Gen Y to be less successful in their careers or entrepreneurial ventures. It states “Narcissists apparently make good solo performers, and are more likely to become entrepreneurs because of their high tolerance for risk. But in most contexts narcissism is a handicap. It makes you a less valuable professional and a less valued colleague.”

It is obvious that narcissists would make good entrepreneurs as taking that leap and starting a business can be viewed as crazy, cocky, and insane just to name a few. But it is that confidence that allows people to try things and build those companies of the future. However there is caution here because there is a difference in being confident but knowing when to ask for help and being to confident and thinking you can do everything yourself. Entrepreneurs must balance the two in order to be successful.

The author of the article also states “I’m tired of people who show no other passion or interest than themselves, of parents who can’t separate from their kids, of Millennials who apparently think that talking about how much they’re going to help the world is some kind of important precondition to doing so, and of the cottage industry of folk who encourage and amplify this talk.”

It is true that most people out there are all talk. Every young person is going to change the world but who really does? In the end it is about backing up what you say and taking action. Anyone can say something but it is the few that actaully go out and do something that make a difference.

Is this characteristic going to lead more younger people to find their passions and pursue what they love because they have the confidence to do so? Or is it a negative trend in Gen Y and will it lead to more problems for this over-confident generation?

What is your view on Gen Y being narcissistic?

Read the full article here

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  • MattWilsontv

    The first thing that strikes me in this article is the fact that our generation is the most educated out of all. This is a tremendous improvement in our society and means that the world is moving forward as a whole. To score these good grades, wouldn’t it mean that we have better work ethics and are more motivated?

    What’s wrong with that Gen Y haters?

  • The Seitz Group

    I agree Matt. In general younger generations are more confident and can appear arrogant. A lot of those traits fade with maturity, too.

    When we don’t know something we use our talents to find out faster then any generation could in the past because of advances in tech and availability of information. We definitely are the most brilliant generation, but being wise comes with age. And only experience and past generations can
    teach us that, in my opinion!

    Go Gen Y!!

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  • Grumpy Ol’ Man

    Did the article say that the gen y generation is the most educated? Even if that is true, is the education valuable or does it support the action called for in this article? You look at it as improvement and progress while others may view it as a waste of time or as a delay tactic to actually doing something. Never let schooling interfere with your education, and don’t let grade inflation and anti-competitive values stroke your ego too much. The article is a warning to the attitude reflected in your reply as well as that reply by “The Seitz Group” who touts gen y as the “most brilliant generation” because they know how to use the internet. Really?

    I do agree that it’s not so much a Gen Y thing but a generation thing; “you kids with your crazy music…” If there is anyone to blame, if that is what the article is trying to do, it would be on the generation that created it. It will be interesting to see what sort of generation Gen Y creates.

  • MattWilsontv

    Look Grumpy Ol’ Man, absolutely a higher percentage of Gen Y have graduated college than previous generations. Our generation is the most ambitious generation of all time, and yes, probably the most smug about it, but how can you say getting an education or starting a business is a “delay tactic to actually doing something”? Gen Y was brought up to study harder and try to get to the top as quickly as possible. That is certainly “improvement and progress” to our society.

    Thanks for the comment, but next time if you make a bold statement, put your name and face next to it if you really believe in what you are saying.

  • taralconnolly

    Interesting take on some of the stereotypes of Gen Y, though I don’t think we have to claim all of them (especially narcissism!) On my blog, I cover some of these perceptions and “tell the Gen Y story,” particularly the recent transitioning graduate. I hope you’ll check it out:

  • Usama

    Sadly its true. But as Generation X is not narcissistic. Its good news.

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  • Kingofnyct

    Intelligence and street smarts are vastly different. Gen Y has no common sense at all.

  • Kingofnyct

    College and high school are much easier than they used to be, btw and half of everyone cheats.

  • Dave Wentsworth

    Kingofnyct, are you kidding? In many jurisdictions, a 13 year school program have been shortened down to 12 years. College and university prep courses are now being offered in 10th grade. My kids get 4 hours of homework every day. The government makes regular cutbacks on education, so they cram everything down to the younger kids to learn at a faster pace. That’s the equivalent of using growth hormones in cattle. They are trying to force way more into our children’s minds at a younger age. I am going to have to disagree with you, Kingofnyct. 

  • Lenore Mewton

    I see a major difference between confidence and narcissism. True, in the West, (probably more U.S.), the rise of ‘helicopter parents’ came from one educations have called the ‘self esteem’ generation- Boomer parents promoting positive self regard- w/o equal focus on responsibility to achieve personal best through hard work, and teaching how to overcome internal and external barriers (not all is ‘rosy’). However- for the whole, this GenY generation is grossly misunderstood by Boomers and earlier generations- I’m speaking on the whole. Having researched the distinctions between these generations in the workplace- Gen Y’s want to learn, be challenged, mentored, seek opportunity, do not tolerate “boredom’ well (not willing to ‘punch in and punch out’ just to get a pay check… we all know how that can lead to years of inertia and broken self esteem…), they want to work and achieve. Rather than narcissistic, they want to experience on a regular basis, opportunities to use their strengths and grow- thus expect the same from their environments. Are not as complacent as other generations with ‘the system”- which is now broken anyway. They may be ‘brash’- and could use some EQ lessons- but let’s not confuse the same- consider the great opportunities for learning for ‘older’ generations through “reverse mentoring”- a trend started at GE to get resistant managers to learn technical skills- is now common place (or should be). Just as the “Occupy Movement”- there’s no time to settle for second best-. We do need to communicate effectively – walk through the ‘others’ ‘ door of communication’ as we say, but not throw out the content.

    Saying GenY’s are narcissistic is a cop out, frankly. An easy way for older generations (ah hem..) to sift the wheat from the shaft.  Wasn’t there a time when many Boomers were ‘disqualified’ by the generations above for their ‘determination to stand for causes’? .. Let’s embrace differences and work beyond what’s seen on the surface- and dialogue across generations in the workplace to find common ground and seek new alternatives for workplace thriving– on all levels- energized by those who dare to ask questions- but want to engage. 

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  • Ninja

    Please learn the difference between “to,” “too,” and “two” before writing an article, especially one that boosts yourself as highly educated.