From New York to Newcastle, the General Manager of Muffin Break has incited debate surrounding the idea that social media has given a generation of millennial workers an “inflated view” of themselves, leaving them unwilling to work for free.
Natalie Brennan, the general manager of Muffin Break told news.com.au that she began to see a decline in young people and new graduates approaching her business for unpaid internships about ten years ago.
“There’s just nobody walking in my door asking for an internship, work experience or unpaid work, nobody,” Ms Brennan said.
Related: Muffin Break boss says unpaid work is dead, Gen Y have ‘inflated self-importance’
“I think everybody thinks social media is going to get them ahead somewhere,” she told news.com.au.
“There’s definitely that inflated view of their self-importance because they have X amount of Instagram followers or this many likes. That’s dangerous.”
“You don’t see it anymore. Before that people would be knocking on your door all the time, you couldn’t keep up with how many people wanted to be working. In fact I’d run programs because there were so many coming in.”
She feels like young people want to be applauded or named “staff member of the month for doing their job”.
“Great, you did your job, so you get to keep your job,” she said.
“I’m generalising, but it definitely feels like this generation of 20-somethings has to be rewarded even if it’s the most mundane, boring thing, they want to be rewarded for doing their job constantly.”
But many labelled Ms Brennan’s attitude too harsh on young workers.
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Some said if university graduates approach a business as a skilled candidates, they’re not out of line to request things like being paid for work. Others pointed out if the business relies on unpaid workers to survive, the model might be wholly unviable.
Social media users have jumped on the Muffin Break boss’ comments, saying situations like this only benefit the company.
New York Times writer and novelist warned the blowback for the muffin boss’s comments could be severe.
But some disagreed, saying the opportunity to work in the retail sector can be invaluable.
“This entitlement stems from the participation certificates they get throughout their schooling, they are awarded for just being present and not for doing anything outstanding,” Jill Atkins wrote on Facebook.
“With the amount of people commenting who don’t understand what an internship or work experience is I think her point has been proven in spades right here,” wrote Mark Barnes on Facebook.
“It’s not working for free it’s an education and qualification to get a job they otherwise may not get. It’s also not baking muffins it’s talking to degree qualified positions such as marketing with internships for uni graduates etc.
“I doubt half the people here even read the article and most just focused on the fact these role (which are short term and mostly based around education programs) are unpaid.”
Others have shared stories of mistreatment at similar chains while they worked at similar chains.
Overseas lovers of Muffin Break have tweeted to the UK branch, comparing the comments to slavery.
While some have wondered, what’s the deal with Muffin Break?