Is Gen Y the Outsource Generation?

The evolution of life skills
The evolution of life skills

The evolution of life skills

Are Gen Y the outsource generation? It’s a question I pondered recently as I was thinking about putting up some shelving in my garage (inspired by my brother who did) and realised I had no clue how to do it. Sure, I could go to Bunnings and I’m sure someone would help me learn, but I had no base knowledge. So my first instinct? Outsource!

This led me to wonder about my values – is my time more valuable than my money? Do I no longer value knowing how to do these basic skills? The answer to these questions lay, I believe, in the shift of how we, as a society, work and the fact that my generation can be characterised as “lazy” when really, I think we’re just more efficient.

With the rise of computers and more and more work being automated, it’s easy to see why practical skills have fallen by the wayside, unless you need them for your work. If you don’t know how to do something, you’ll always find someone you can pay to do it for you. Plus with our working hours increasing and the average pay going up, comparing us with previous generations we are cash-rich and time-poor.

So what are the skills we value? Instead of being able to put up shelves or replace taps, my generation is more likely to know how to repair a computer, automate something instead of working it out manually, or fix any iDevice on the run. My first reaction to this realisation was to mourn the loss of more practical skills and suddenly panic thinking if I were stuck on a desert island I wouldn’t know how to build a raft to escape.

But, in the words of my husband, you don’t find people who know how to hunt a woolly mammoth anymore for one simple reason – it’s no longer relevant. What’s relevant now is knowing how to use technology, how to program it, how to take advantage of what it can do, and how to fix it when something goes wrong. Also let’s not discount how fast Gen Y can be as learners – if I had to build a lift raft, I could probably figure out how.

This is how I get things done

Faced with this dilemma of needing to put up shelves in the garage, I weighed up my options. I could buy the materials from Bunnings and google it to learn how (another skill my generation have mastered – advanced googling), or I could ask my dad to help me and learn while he helped, or I could pay someone to do it. I thought over the people I know and very quickly realised at my fingertips (or more specifically my Facebook) I have access to a carpenter I went to school with. Not only that but I also know an electrician. Another skill my generation are good at: networking.

So the first thing I’ve done is contact said carpenter friend, asking him to come out and quote for putting up shelves. The second thing will be a trip to Bunnings to price all the materials and tools I would need to do it myself. Then decide. Because if it’s not much more money and it saves me the time of learning and then doing, why wouldn’t I? Isn’t my time worth more than my money?

You may call my generation lazy, but are we? Or are we just efficient?


Do you think Gen Y are lazy? Do you think I’m wrong and Gen Y are just as handy as previous generations? Do you think it’s important to know how to have basic handy-man skills? If you were trapped on a desert island, could you build a raft? 

Image 1 Image 2

  • John James

    I don’t think it’s just Gen-Y – I think everyone is outsourcing their lives…I’m Gen-X and I know I do…

    It’s all about expertise – why do a half-arsed job when I know I can pay someone else to do something better than I can…even with my Fear Of Tradies, I’ll still outsource

    • Tamsin Howse

      Yes, to be fair Husband is also an outsourcer and he is Gen X… So perhaps I should say Gen X and Gen Y 😉

  • Mazi Gray

    Having computer skills is all I need to survive until the Zombie apocalypse comes… Then I will wish I ahd learned to sale and how to skin a kangaroo.

  • PerthWife

    I’m not sure if it’s a generation thing or not.

    I grew up in a family where my parents always hired someone to fix/replace/install something.

    Husband grew up in a family where they’d learn how to fix/replace/install something or use their family and friend network to find someone who would help them out for free knowing that the favour would be repaid at some point in time.

    The result is that Husband has some basic handyman skills that he learnt from helping out his Dad as a kid, and I have none. In our household we do call in favours from my in-laws quite a bit (and in return help them out when we can), and only hire tradies who are necessary (such as electricians and gas plumbers).

    • Tamsin Howse

      My parents are SUCH DIYers, for everything! But I’m just a bit shit.

      I do get lots of favours and help from my parents and my in laws :)

  • Hayley

    If I’m going to spend money on materials and do a crappy job of whatever it is then I will just outsource. Sometimes that means getting a more talented mate or family member and sometimes that means getting in a professional. Or, I might try to google how to do it, get distracted, and forget about said task altogether 😉

    • Tamsin Howse

      I’m a little bit crap at everything domestic – OUTSOURCE!

  • Mazi Gray

    Cant have my house work done in India by phone, so it’s no good to me to outsource.

  • carohutchison

    I grew up in a family who DIY’d everything. I was given a tool box for my 20th birthday and I’m reasonably handy for little jobs. Dad and I recently renovated my old flat (well he did most of it and I did all the painting) and I actually enjoyed learning from him along the way.

    Having said all that, Hutch is not handy and realised early on it’s better for everyone if he works an extra shift here or there to pay someone else to do the big stuff.

  • Karen

    I outsource alot. Except for Ikea flatpack. I treat them as a big jigsaw puzzle! I guess I’ll outsource if I feel I don’t need to learn how to do it or I won’t enjoy it.