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What is behind the cliché: "You young people just don’t want to work"?

The point of view of our Fabiola Graziosi, a young Italian entrepreneur


On my father’s 18th birthday card, I found John Fitzgerald Kennedy’s famous phrase: "Don’t ask yourself what your country can do for you, ask yourself what you can do for your country" written with the beautiful ink of his iconic Montblanc pen.

So you will understand what values I grew up with. Before demanding, you understand what you can give, the world you want must be built, the good and specifically the correctness is found by beginning to apply it in the first place in our daily attitudes. 

I have always believed, I have always shared, I have always adopted a positive attitude in my professional relationships, I have always tried to build a working environment in which everyone could feel respected and rightly rewarded. 

But when I hear stories like the one lately viral on social media, where for a full time job are offered 280,00€ per month and probably in black, I honestly don’t understand if this energy in making the near future is spending only me.

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Un post condiviso da Torcha (@torcha)

I will try to go specifically without falling into clichés and remaining super partes.

Francesca Sebastiani is a 22 year old girl from Secondigliano in the province of Naples. The name will not tell you anything, but you will probably remember her screenshots with messages between her and a possible employer, which she shared first on TikTok and then on Instagram. 

Sebastiani finds an online ad for an open job, as a saleswoman in a clothing store in her city. Then he asks the store for information on employment, says he has already worked as a saleswoman. She asks what the working hours are, which seem to be really demanding: from 9:00 to 21:00, with break and cleaning attached (not that there is anything wrong... but she was not a salesperson?). 

Francesca does not give up, she is young and needs and wants to work. The schedules are fine. Then she goes to the next question: "What is the compensation?". 

280,00€ per month. Almost 240 hours in thirty days for 280,00€. Any short answer from the girl would have been appropriate to the context, but she only answers with an elegant: "Thank you anyway but I’m not interested".

What I brought back might be enough, but the fun comes later. It comes when the shopkeeper responds to Francesca’s disinterest with one of the most famous and inflated Italian phrases: "You young people do not really want to work". 

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Un post condiviso da Andrea Caruso (@carus89)

How many times have we heard this? It’s true there are some young people who don’t want to do anything. There are many Italians who do not eat spaghetti every day and many Chinese who prefer a hamburger to spring rolls.

We’ve been getting calls for years from mommies with the big-boy variation. Eurostat statistics show that young people between the ages of 25 and 34 still live with their parents. Those who leave home do so after the age of 30. 

We’re mommies, we’re dads, we love our family. But do you think if at 30 we still fall asleep in our bedroom with posters attached more than 10 years ago we do it because we are afraid to sleep alone, or why we can’t afford anything else?

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Don’t you think that all the young people who want to do, to build, for themselves and for others literally have their wings clipped in this country? Do you not think that imposing an over-measurement tax on young entrepreneurs and freelancers is totally inadequate and harmful for the growth of the companies themselves? 

Understand, the concept of taxes I know very well. My father (the one of the ticket) is an accountant, I have in my DNA a sense of honesty, justice and will contribute to my company. I know very well that paying taxes saves the lives of those who need to call an ambulance, allows us to have the infrastructure that allows us to travel and discover the world and makes it possible for less privileged people to have a dignified life.

But I wonder why there is no fair division between taxpayers. I wonder why it is allowed to e-commerce giants that sell in Italy to pay contributions in other nations or tax havens. I wonder why those who could pay taxes that really make a difference insist on not paying them, and I wonder why no serious action is taken.

I wonder why those who behave in the most correct way can be seen as a little cunning person on the verge of dementia. I wonder why the entrepreneur "sly of the quarter" is praised, appreciated and even emulated. But where do we want to go?

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If I could answer these simple questions, which in the execution of simple facts are not, it would probably be a matter of easy resolution. But I believe that after all, each of us knows the answers and that we also know who in fact should work to make this world, this country a better place, civil and human. 

We young people want to work and work hard. We want to buy our first home, we want to build the families of the future. But above all we want to be treated with respect and dignity. 

We want and I want to ask myself every day what I could do for my company, but I demand and demand that our society put us in the best conditions to give it what it needs.