Blame The Boomers?

by Seneca Moraleda-Puguan

“One sensitive area among GenXYZ involves impositions on personal time and space such as take-home work or overtime. Unlike past generations, the young people today have a life outside work, they treat their personal time as inviolable. These are all part of the “boundaries” they have learned and established through their life.

Their parents may have found overtime equates to more money, but the younger generation have better things to do with their time after office and a number really make more money doing side hustles and gigs outside of the office. Besides which, today’s young recruits are the “no homework on weekends” generation.

To better appreciate and understand this culture and values, we, the Boomers and elders, need to look back into our past life as “employees” who devoted our lives to a company or a job at the family’s expense.

Many of us lamented our “shitty” situation at work, the monster we work for or the backstabbing credit grabbers. Then we would tell the kids that there would be no weekend trip or “pasyal” because we had work to do. Kids were generally at the receiving end of the office-related anger and frustration.

We sold our soul to the company in the false hope of eventually having a nice shiny car or a house and lot but ended up working more for the company to get the upgrade. As the children grew, they slowly became aware of the high price of education, raising a family and the “slave wages” their parents were paid.

And so today, they are less inclined to pursue the dream and the romance their parents chased and compromised for. The only “good” we did was to show them it was not worth it, and they have learned well.”

This is an excerpt from the opinion piece by columnist Cito Beltran on the Philippine Star dated April 10, entitled “Blame the Boomers, Not Gen X-Y-Z.” This went viral and has been shared many times on social media.

My parents are boomers. I am part of Generation Y.

I must say that some of the things that Mr. Beltran pointed out are spot on. It made me look back at how my parents devoted their lives to their jobs, patiently enduring all the drama involved with work just to ensure long-term stability.

On the other hand, the younger generation values work-life balance, self-respect, and mental health preservation.

But one thing I disagree with is that they are to be blamed. I believe that it is not a blame game but instead a learning curve.

Life was different during their time. The conditions were more difficult. The boomers came after the war and global recession, a time of chaos and instability.

They didn’t have the convenience, the luxury, and the technology that the succeeding generations get to enjoy. What we are facing now is unlike what they faced then.

Looking at my life now, what I want to give my parents and their generation is not culpability but gratitude.

I am who I am and where I am now because of the foundations that they have laid in my life. I want to thank the boomers for the many lessons on how to do and not to do things in life, at work, and raising a family.

I have learned (and am still learning) to become a better mother because I have witnessed and experienced the mistakes of my parents. There are times my husband and I find ourselves discussing how we won’t apply in our family the way things were in our homes growing up.

I also have learned the importance of setting boundaries because I don’t want to experience the trauma and pain that my elders have been through in their workplaces.

I have learned to set my priorities straight so that my children won’t have to suffer the consequences if these are misaligned.

Just like how Mr. Beltran concluded, our generation has learned well.

So enough with the blame game. No generation is perfect. With the changing times, each generation is distinct from the other.

My children’s generation is very different from mine. And I trust that they, too, will continue to do the things we are doing right and learn from the things that we are falling short of.

As they do this, I pray that the next generations become better than their predecessors.

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