Ita Buttrose Throwing A Tanty About Sensitive Millennials Is Peak Boomer Energy

The audacity of wanting basic human respect, am I right guys?

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.

“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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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?

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.

Image Sources: Twitter 

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