CTALK - Cito Beltran - The Philippine Star

I received quite a number of messages reacting to last Wednesday’s column: “Blame the Boomers, not Gen XYZ.” Young folks found the column an expression of their situation while the “Boomers” gave it a mixed review. Some liked it, others found it judgmental and unappreciative of the sacrifices made by parents.

The misunderstanding or misappreciation of the article is my fault for using the words “Blame the Boomers.” There was never any intention of finding fault or laying blame, but headline writing requires brevity and words that catch attention, like today’s “Click baits” or “Triggers.”

Still, we the Boomers have to take authorship of the lifelong lessons that XYZ witnessed, were immersed in as our children and ultimately absorbed and modified in a globalized society of social media. We unwittingly modeled the life of exploited employees, they on the other hand had to live with the “employee” going through all that, as well as benefit from or suffer the fruits and consequences of careers being built or penalties paid for doing what was right or wrong.

We unwittingly taught them the bad experiences at work and to set boundaries, priorities and self-care in the workplace or careers and when they did, the corporate adults called it the “entitled mentality.” Believe it or not, what the kids are doing is a good thing because today, many companies and business leaders are confronted by young people who will not take the same abuse that their parents tolerated or suffered. The kids are now exacting revenge on the Human Resource culture and companies that exploited their parents.

These kids are, in fact, redefining employment and workplace practices. Aside from being intolerant of exploitation and any form of abuse, they are forcing the issue regarding online or work from home policies. There is a growing resistance to these options, but all based on ignorance, habit and fear.

The business community, government and Congress have not done real and serious research and studies on the benefits of flexible work models and work from home programs in the same way many Boomers don’t recognize XYZ ideas. So today we have employees who burn their money on transport, mobility and no productivity while stuck in traffic or driving to and from work.

The Philippine economy is losing billions of pesos and ending up with zombie employees who lack sleep, rest and extra cash. Consequently, more and more XYZs live with parents, live YOLO, don’t have romantic misadventures like their parents and grandparents and are not inclined or think of marriage because nothing in the current model gives them confidence to do so.

One of the arguments or points being pushed against the article was that there was nothing wrong with hard work and sacrifice, considering this was done for the benefit of the young kids. That line reminded me of an episode we had on ANC’s “Kamusta Kabayan” where we interviewed OFWs and their families in the Philippines.

The OFW mother was talking about all her sacrifice so that her daughter could go to a good school, finish college, etc. etc. She spoke at length about her work and how disappointed she was that her daughter did not appreciate her pain and suffering but got pregnant instead.

That’s when her daughter cut in and said: Did I ask you to go to the Middle East? Did I not ask you to stay because I needed you to be with me? Did I not tell you that I did not have to go to a private school? Did I not tell you I need a mother, not money? That exchange was brutally honest. The daughter was not being ungrateful; she was honestly expressing the pain of abandonment regardless of the mother’s good intention. There is a generation of physically and emotionally “abandoned” Filipinos today.

I recently spoke at a seminar called ED Talks for provincial media practitioners hosted by San Miguel Corporation. One of the issues that popped up was the “journalists’ pursuit of the truth” at all expense regardless of who gets hurt or at all costs.

On paper, such courageous and noble principles look great. But I told my listeners that it was selfish and short-sighted. Regardless of what line of work you’re in or career you pursue, there will always be people who will pay the price, whether you are chasing a Unicorn or the mythical dragon of Don Quixote.

Often it is your spouse, your children, parents, people beside you, behind you or under you who will be hurt, become collateral damage, innocent victims as well as beneficiaries from your salary or your life insurance as the case may be.

Your initial intention or need to work may be to provide for your family, but when it reaches the point when they have to pay the price, like your absence when your wife gives birth, or you’re not there when one of the kids gets hospitalized, or your absence at the graduation or a missed birthday or anniversary, sorry but now they are paying for your “work.”

I have friends who are faithful husbands because their father was unfaithful. I have friends who are great fathers because their entire lives were void of the words “I’m proud of you.” I know people who don’t care for brands and gadgets because these things could not make up for the absence of a mother or a father.

Instead of debating or arguing about Boomers and XYZs, lets pray for God’s promise in Malachi 4:4-6: “He shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.” Go break bread together, not hearts.

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E-mail: [email protected]

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