In true boomer fashion, ABC chair Ita Buttrose (real name) has chucked a tanty in the form of derisive comments made about millennials – mostly that they “lack the resilience”, “almost need hugging”, and have the audacity to want some kind of recognition for their work.
nobody under 40 has heard of Ita Buttrosehttps://t.co/effMGHCpSx
— Kishor (@kishor_nr) July 22, 2020
“It seems to me that today’s younger workers, they need much more reassurance and they need to be thanked, which is something many companies don’t do,” Buttrose is quoted.
“They’re very keen on being thanked and they almost need hugging – that’s before COVID of course, we can’t hug anymore – but they almost need hugging.
“You have to understand that they seem to lack the resilience that I remember from my younger days,” Buttrose, now 78 years old, said.
There’s a lot of sweeping patronising statements – let’s unpack them, shall we?
What a slap in the face as a millennial reporter for @abcnews to read these comments @ItaButtrose. It’s not hugs that make us dedicate our lives to journalism in the current climate – it’s resilience, and I’m quite frankly tired of lazy inaccurate tropes. https://t.co/4lknHP011F
— Mridula Amin (@Mridula_Amin) July 23, 2020
The Audacity To Want To Be Reassured And Recognised For Your Work
Look, journalism is a pretty fucking precarious place to work at the moment. I would know – I’ve only just begun my career here, yet this year three different publications: 10daily, Whimn and Buzzfeed News Australia, have announced their demise – and two of them I’ve written for and relied upon for freelance portfolio building.
Lack resilience? How insulting. Us millennials at the ABC were usually paid less but expected to do so much more than many of our older colleagues, plus many are on insecure contracts for years – @ItaButtrose clearly needs to go & meet more of them https://t.co/TFf2SW5xFg
— Sophie McNeill (@Sophiemcneill) July 22, 2020
The truth of the matter is it’s a really shitty time to enter an industry that’s dying, evolving and perhaps being reborn as something else in ways that no one really has a hold of yet.
There’s no job stability in journalism for young people like me. We’re always on edge, wondering if our publications can afford to keep us, especially during a global pandemic.
Just dropping past to remind you that last year, Ita Buttrose was paid over for $62,000 for 4 months work.
Her Managing Director, ABC’s David Anderson’s package is in excess of $1.1M p.a
The entire ABC board’s remuneration alone costs taxpayers $770,000 p.a
Hugs all around.
— RonniSalt (@RonniSalt) July 22, 2020
Has it ever occurred to people that hold contempt for reassuring their staff that perhaps that reassurance is necessary in these unprecedented times of unemployment and lack of security?
Ita Buttrose left school at an age younger than is currently legal to get the copy girl job that launched her career, in a time where the unemployment rate was far lower. Her father was a journalist so she was already exposed to the industry and she became an editor at 23 years old – something which is almost unheard of now. The way she developed her journalism career is no longer a viable way to enter the industry. That career trajectory doesn’t even exist anymore.
ita buttrose is one of those people who talks about daily long lunches in the good old days, as opposed to the rest of us who can count the lunchbreaks theyve had in four years on two hands
— all my hexes live in texas (@CeeBeeGBs) July 23, 2020
I found Ita Buttrose’s remarks especially distasteful. Not only did she start her career in a time of full employment (unemployment rate of 2%!) but her personal circumstances were from a place of relative privilege. She’s never had to consider homelessness or hunger
— Joanna Mendelssohn (@oldlillipilli) July 23, 2020
We’re currently experiencing a recession and a global pandemic, the unemployment rate is the highest it’s been in a while, and our country is yet to recover from the catastrophic bushfires of just months ago.
almost everyone i know: working precarious jobs in precarious industries with basically no stability, or attempting to find work in a crumbling job market
ita buttrose: widdle miwwenials need their hand held to feel good about themselves u_u
— alex (@lexgallagher) July 22, 2020
Imagine thinking kindness and respect are weaknesses.
Also, surely we aren’t going to indulge a tanty about having to use our basic manners and treat our workers as human beings, right?
Maybe The Lack Of Hugs Is Why Some Boomers Are So Bitter
Ita Buttrose always reminds me of Lucille Bluth, and her comments today only reaffirm that.
“It’s the millennials Michael, they keep asking for hugs.”
Narrator: “What the millennials had actually been asking for was job security and a livable wage.” #ItaButtrose pic.twitter.com/EqEurQ338O
— Cai Holroyd (@Cai_Holroyd) July 23, 2020
I do find it incredulous that the compassion, understanding and sensitivity associated with young people (though most Millennials are in their 30s-40s) can be viewed as a weakness? If anything, this perspective reeks of some deep underlying issues around mental health shaming.
Why is it so bad if some people do need a hug? What is wrong with wanting more emotional support in the work place? Why is a transparency in the way we experience struggle so controversial? Why can’t we welcome progressive, considerate and sensitive work environments with open arms?
Oh no! Milennials demand a supportive and transparent working environment! Terrible young people, ruining the workplace.
— Dr (@pj_afternoon) July 22, 2020
Boomers went on strike *all the time* over conditions millennials can only dream about. https://t.co/Y0L6CU7pNT
— Richard Cooke (@rgcooke) July 22, 2020
The contempt for sensitivity also seems to imply that these are not leadership qualities – which, quite frankly, is bullshit. Vulnerability and compassion in a time of struggle and uncertainty is a marker of strength, not weakness, and we need more of it.
And then, of course, come Ita Buttrose’s comments on resilience.I think there’s a fundamental difference in the way we define the term.
Resilience isn’t just being stoic or ‘hard’ as the older generation may view it – just putting up with bad treatment and bottling emotions. Resilience is about bouncing back and persevering when things are difficult and you want to give up. It’s about trying again and again and again – something that any young person filling out job applications or emailing pitches will be familiar with.
And honestly, considering Millennials and Get Z are existing on a dying planet, with record levels of unemployment, intense anxieties about the future, increasing university expenses, limited job availability, and a fucking recession – I reckon we’re doing alright for resilience, thanks.
When people like Buttrose ignore the unique material conditions faced by this generation and instead focus on wafty culture wars snowflakes discourse, it’s a deliberate choice to reframe the conversation on terms that suit them and it’s pretty neat that it works 100% of the time.
— Ben Jenkins (@bencjenkins) July 23, 2020
Millennials (and Gen Xers) have put up with Boomers buying all the houses, destroying the planet, installing shit governments, embedding system racism, changing the rules to benefit themselves, and André Rieu.
Don’t fucking tell us we’ve got no resilience. #ItaButtrose
— Phteven with a pee haitch (@BroHilderchump) July 23, 2020
Image Sources: Twitter