Young Australians have often been labelled as lazy and lacking many crucial skills, leaving many older Australians to worry about the future of this country, left in the hands of those who lack the ability to look after themselves.

Would you like an iPhone app with that Sven chair?

A bunch of survey results released recently echo these fears, focusing on the loss of traditional knowledge in the younger generation.

Simply put, women are not learning the skills that traditionally women once knew, and men are losing the manly abilities they once had.

Can I ask you though, is that necessarily a bad thing?

Having recently crossed the thirty barrier myself, I could lament that the young kids these days don’t know how to program a VCR. But I’m not - it’s time to recognise that the times, and our skill sets, have moved on.

While it is true that many of the skills our grandmothers possess - such as baking lamingtons (only 20 per cent of Gen Y know this skill), cooking a roast (51 percent of those under thirty), hemming skirts and growing a plant from cuttings - may be slipping on the wayside, that’s something I can live with.

We’re a society with disposable income, and there are services now that rely on our lack of time and ability to hem skirts. The world could do with less lamingtons anyway.

Of course, before a chore such as hemming skirts came along, our grandmothers were not routinely using skills their grandmothers would use, such as building a barrel (I believe it was called “coopering”), shoeing a horse or churning butter.

Milk a cow, you say? There’s a man in a horse and cart who conveniently delivers milk right to your door.

It was a simpler time, I understand, and there was also a lack of research companies churning out pointless ‘data’. Sounds almost utopian.

Reports neglects to take into account much that would account for these numbers, and there’s a large number of factors. Fifty years ago there weren’t many of our grandmothers working a full-time job, let alone taking on “domestic tasks” at the same time.

Many young people are also living at home for longer, relying on their parents for support.

Similarly, the skill sets of men have changed, perhaps more in favour of gender equality. I’m lost when it comes to any knowledge of how a car works, I wouldn’t know the first thing about fixing a leaking tap.

But when it comes to setting up a home wireless internet router, I’m your man. If you want to know what apps on your phone could make your life easier, you won’t find me lacking.

If you find yourself with some cheap Swedish furniture you’d like assembled, then hand over that metal thingie, stand back and give the man some room.

I’m a man of the modern age, with a skill set for the modern age. I also can include in that the ability to wash the dishes, and change a nappy - probably because I haven’t yet figured out how to pay people to do that for me.

None of this should be looked at as “losing skill sets” or “changing gender roles”. We retain the knowledge that is useful and enjoyable to us. That we have the time to complete, or the drive to learn.

In a modern, fast-paced, money-driven, work-fuelled society, modern women can be forgiven if they don’t know how to hem a skirt. A man can be let off the hook if he is incapable of fixing a leaky tap.

I know how to use Google to find a plumber to do it for me - isn’t that an infinitely more useful skill to have these days?

Read more from Matt on his blog End of The Spectrum

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    • S.L says:

      04:56am | 02/02/11

      Matt the lack of “old fashion” skills among the young are a worry. Changing a spark plug in a car for example or or even changing that dreaded light bulb! But then the young of today have skills that leave us oldies perplexed. If my PC gets a bug or I’m introducing a new accessory to it, my kids (any of them) are getting phone calls for advice from dear old dad! Adjusting Foxtel? HEEEEELP!!!!! It’s horses for courses and now the course is going in a different direction…....

    • James1 says:

      10:20am | 02/02/11

      Indeed.  I might not be able to fix a car, but I can set up a proxy IP for your uTorrent and install your DVR and set it to record your favourite shows for the next month.

    • Von says:

      12:01pm | 02/02/11

      My Gen Y bf has done some fixes to his car including changing the spark plug (which a mechanic couldn’t or wouldn’t do - the idiot couldn’t even tell him it was a spark plug issue), servicing his own car, he even replaced one of the drive belts and he learnt how to do it himself (with the aid of google/youtube). I bought him a socket set for his birthday to assist with his car maintenance. He’s not even a car enthusiast. It all comes from being frustrated at mechanics that charge a lot for not fixing anything.

      I would be surprised if someone couldn’t change a lightbulb though. These people really exist?

    • GrumpyTeacher says:

      10:38am | 03/02/11

      The biggest change, which hasn’t really been covered, is the change in how skills are learnt.  In the past you really had to learn something from an expert, and keep the skill in the back of your head until you needed it.  So your Dad would make sure you could change a spark plug because at some point in the future, you’d need that knowledge, and your Dad may not be close at hand.  Now we have mobile phones & the internet.  Why keep redundant skills/knowledge in my head ‘just in case’?  I’ll just phone my Dad or google it. Skills no longer have to be passed person to person - YouTube provides global experts whenever I want them.  Stupid survey trying to hold onto something when technology has changed the playing field.

    • Bec says:

      05:38am | 02/02/11

      It’s not the gender role aspect that should be bemoaned as people lose these skills: it’s the fact that we’re becoming less independent and more wasteful.

      I don’t know how to do any of those “feminine” skills because I’m female: I know them because I’m not stupid with my money, and there’s nothing more pathetic than having to outsource easy menial tasks. Same goes for the traditionally “masculine” skills I know how to do. Why should I hire someone to mow my lawn or paint the inside of my house when I can do a good job of it myself? (Though I hated the painting as I was doing it. VJ walls and high ceilings suck.)

      The real shame is that we’re more wasteful with our money and we treat our easily-fixed possessions like landfill.

    • KH says:

      06:54am | 02/02/11

      I agree Bec.  I can do some so called ‘feminine’ stuff - when I was young and I wanted clothes, I was given a sewing machine - I’m pretty handy with it too.  But I can also fix taps, put up plasterboard, paint interiors, change my tyres, oil and the battery for my car, set up a full home theatre system, wireless internet, rebuild a PC or Mac, and pretty much know how to use the entire tool section at Bunnings (thanks to a 2 year renovation project!).  It is a waste of money to outsource these things, and I’m not wasting a motor club call out for a flat tyre!!!  However I’m not such a good cook - unless it involves the use of a microwave and/or toaster, I’m out…...........hehehe

    • K8e says:

      07:26am | 02/02/11

      agreed wholeheartedly - they’re just blaming these things on gender stereotyping and being lazy… and whilst yes, SOME people are prone to bouts of laziness and being wasteful of money (and resources in the meantime - why fix it when you can just buy a new one!?!), usually as a result of poor parenting which has instilled these values in them, i don’t think we should all be tarred with the same brush.

    • Adam Diver says:

      07:53am | 02/02/11

      I disagree, there is only so much time in one persons life, if you have the means to pay someone else to mow your lawn why the hell would you bother doing it yourself (unless that is if you enjoy doing it).

      I say if you can, outsource away, you are helping out someone else (by paying them) and providing the only commodity you cant get more of, time, to do what ever makes you happiest.

    • Markus says:

      08:27am | 02/02/11

      That said, mass production hasn’t helped the situation. I learnt basic TV and VCR repair skills from my dad as a kid, but nowadays it actually costs more to track down and purchase a replacement part than it does to buy a brand new TV/DVD player.

      Some skills become redundant. Baking your own lamingtons would be one of them (never been a fan anyway).

      That said, who the hell can’t cook a roast?
      - Buy large hunk of preffered animal meat.
      - Coat/jam it with appropriate flavouring items (garlic cloves, rosemary etc).
      - Throw in oven/weber for an hour and a half.
      - Devour

    • Bec says:

      09:02am | 02/02/11

      Damn skippy, Markus. Another trick is to get a spicy Italian sausage (yuk yuk yuk, yes, enjoy any inherent double entendres there), slice it along the middle and wind around the pan when you roast a chicken or leg of pork. It will be the most delicious thing you add, especially when there are carrots and potato in the pan.

    • redvixen says:

      01:25pm | 02/02/11

      You know what makes me learn something I hadn’t previously had any desire to learn?  Paying a tradesman to do it and then realising that they’ve done a horrible job.  Or expecting a tradesman to turn up at a specific time and they don’t show - with no phone call to advise you that they can’t get there.  I work FAR too hard for my money to give it to people who, quite frankly, appear as though they don’t need it.  Paint the house myself?  No worries!  Chop down that dead tree?  Sure!  Are these things I ever thought I’d do?  Not in a million years, but that was in the days when I believed that all tradesman wanted your custom and would have pride in their work.  (I’m not bagging all tradespeople here, my plumber and gasfitter and the guy who fixes my whitegoods are worth their weight in gold).

    • Bilby says:

      03:15pm | 02/02/11

      redvixen - $2000 to a tree guy, or $100 to Bunnings for a chain saw. It’s not that hard an equation is it. On top of that, you get to play with a chain saw. Wins all round!

    • Steve says:

      06:46am | 02/02/11

      I love all the generation-related, “my, how things change” articles on The Punch. I reckon it stimulates healthy debate and raises awareness that each generation faces situations - both positive and negative - that previous generations didn’t and can’t necessarily relate to.
      Sure, our grandparents (I’m a Gen-Xer, by the way) didn’t have the internet or iPhones, but they weren’t cyber-bullied, either…
      Times change, society changes. We’re just rolling with it…

    • Bernadette says:

      06:58am | 02/02/11

      It’s also about understanding the basic’s to be able to fix a problem when things go wrong. Knowing how things work means when things go wrong you can deal with them yourself without having to wait for a repair or waste money to do it.
      You have the attitude that you can just pay someone else to do things but not everyone has your income although your attitude resonates through all economic circumstances. Leaving a big whack of society useless and broke so when something needs fixing they are stuffed.
      As for the traditional gender roles, as was pointed out gender roles are different the expectations of each gender has changed and therefore many roles that were ‘masculine’ or ‘feminine’ have become androgynous and I do agree that the basic skill sets do change with time- we don’t need to know coopering because we don’t use barrels as often these days but we do use taps and therefore should know how they work enough to do a general repair, what happens if you are broke that week and can’t afford a plumber, just put up with the leaky tap, increased water bill, water wastage etc?.
      Also having the knowledge and confidence (brought by experience) to do these things means that you can probably figure out how to make a barrel of sorts if you needed to and tried.

    • BT says:

      07:20am | 02/02/11

      It is entirely possible that the reason younger generation don’t have these skills because the older generations never bothered to pass them on? Besides, who has time when all the younger generations do is study and work in an effort to support themselves in such a horrible economic time? Also, in the past products such as toasters, washing machines, dryers, radios etc were all made in a way that allowed people to be able to pull them apart, figure out how they worked, and repair them. Products are now deliberately designed to be impossible to disassemble and mend. For example, recently I wanted to clean the inside of my keyboard as keys were sticking. I unscrewed the screws on the back of it only to find that they were only there for show - the plastic was moulded shut so I had no option but to go out and buy another one even though the first one would have worked fine if I could just have cleaned it.

    • JaneDoe says:

      07:31am | 02/02/11

      agreed!!! we expect to learn from our parents and what can we do except try to pick up skills elsewhere (bunnings DIY sessions anyone?!?!) or give up - and unfortunately i think, too many just give up.

      Re the keyboard - i hear you! Nothing more frustrating!

    • Bec says:

      09:06am | 02/02/11

      Heard a fascinating segment on Hack a few years ago about how electronics and whitegoods manufacturers are now deliberately designing products that don’t last as long so people will upgrade more frequently. Now that’s disgusting.

    • Markus says:

      10:11am | 02/02/11

      While it’s still just a conspiracy theory at the moment (where is Zeta when you need him/her?), I am certain that pharmaceutical companies are doing the same thing.

      After all, why cure someone, when you can sell them ‘treatments’ over a lifetime?

    • iansand says:

      10:16am | 02/02/11

      So it’s the baby boomers’ fault yet again.  Bastards.  Someone should shoot them.

    • Ben C says:

      10:17am | 02/02/11

      What’s even more disgusting Bec, is that they design them so that they begin to fail just after the warranty period expires.

    • Bilby says:

      11:07am | 02/02/11

      Bec and Ben C - You can have goods that last forever, or you can have goods that are reasonably priced so that the average person can afford them. You can’t have both.

      Ben - Warranties are carefully selected to match the expected life of the product. The product isn’t designed to fail, it is designed to *not* have an infinite life. There’s a difference.

    • BT says:

      01:17pm | 02/02/11

      @Bec - yes that’s true I learnt about it back when I was studying business, it’s called “inbuilt obsolescence” and it’s easy to find in most text books on the subject, Wikipedia covers it too so it’s easy to google.
      @Markus - I posited the same theory a while ago regarding vaccinations, and you should have seen the abuse I copped then!
      @iansand, I like your idea but unfortunately they’re just like a weed, their numbers keep growing year by year but they just won’t die…

    • loulou says:

      01:37pm | 02/02/11

      You don’t think the same thing applies to clothes?  Clothes are designed to be worn for a season or two these days - none of these “one suit for a lifetime” treasures my grandfather had.  He had a couple of suits made by a tailor and he wore it into his 80s.  No hem falling down, no unravelling seams, no pilling, no holes.

      I’ve been told that top designer wear - which costs a bucketload mind you - is designed to be worn 6 to 10 times only !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Meanwhile, I learned to sew in my 20s when all my friends started getting married and I couldn’t afford to buy a bunch of different outfits.  $40 in materials, tailored to my body shape - priceless.

    • Ben C says:

      01:51pm | 02/02/11

      @ Bilby

      Fair point, although I would disagree with the 3 computer monitors I’ve replaced just over a year after buying each…

    • Markus says:

      02:05pm | 02/02/11

      In their defense BT, I read the theories surrounding vaccinations too and admittedly some of them did sound nonsensical - I just can’t see any money to be had in intentionally making kids autistic.

      I was thinking more regarding lesser concerns like skin conditions.
      Back when I used to suffer from excema as a teen, it seemed that the second I stopped using the cream prescribed, it flared up three times worse than when I didn’t use the cream at all.

    • Markus says:

      02:11pm | 02/02/11

      Ben C, while it may have been cumbersome, I held onto my old 22” CRT monitor for as long as I could.
      The thing lasted me over 10 years, even after being dropped off the back of a truck, before I finally got sick of fixing bits in it to keep it going.
      I still kinda miss it… *sheds tear*

    • Chinaski says:

      02:45pm | 02/02/11

      I don’t know loulou - I’ve found you get what you pay for when it comes to many clothes. I’ve recently had to part with a favourite shirt of mine I bought about five or so years ago. It was I guess a little pricey for a t-shirt, but I wore it at least twice a week up until it finally ripped last week…

      In my opinion, five years is a decent time to have a t-shirt for.

      And don’t get me started on my favourite pair of Levi’s jeans…

      In regards to computers, whitegoods and other appliances, I’m siding with Bilby here. Do your research before you buy them, take at least semi-decent care of them and remember, you get what you pay for. Don’t get upset when you K-Mart LCD TV bites the dust after a year while your friends super-dooper Sony extravaganza is still going strong four years later.

    • BT says:

      03:12pm | 02/02/11

      @Markus, I didn’t mean to assert that vaccinations cause autism. I was thinking along the same lines as you in that we don’t really know what goes into the vaccinations/medications we take and there is definate motivation for drug companies to introduce who knows what so you are forced to take prescription medications to cure it. But that’s another story.
      Back on topic, I think the manufacturers of these throwaway products should be held responsible for the damage to the environment they create. E-Waste in particular is a huge issue at the moment and there needs to be more done to reduce this. I’m aware of some programs but they are limited.

    • HappyCynic says:

      07:39am | 02/02/11

      Heh the one thing that always interests me about articles like this is the completely irrational and unfounded fear some people have over the future and the permanently-glued-on rose tinted glasses that they wear when looking at the past.

      The past is not better, the future is fine (and besides the older generations won’t be alive to care) Get. Over. It and let us live our lives.  We’re humans just like our parents and grandparents are (or were) we’ll adapt to our surroundings just as successfully as they did if not more so because some of us learn from their mistakes.

    • Cloud Strife says:

      07:48am | 02/02/11

      Seriously, the only reason someone could not cook a roast is if they don’t have an oven! It’s the easiest meal in the world! Chuck it in a pan, toss in some vegies and check it every now and again. It’s more work to cook an Easy Mac.

    • Ab says:

      07:55am | 02/02/11

      Matt i’ll bet that when you have a leaking tap you get your wife/girlfriend to call the plumber and then leave the house, I mean you wouldn’t want to see the smirk on his face when he makes $80 in ten minutes would you?

    • stoob says:

      11:44am | 02/02/11

      fix leaking tap? most of my generation wouldn’t even go that far… shove some paper towel up it, PROBLEM SOLVED!

    • Adam Diver says:

      07:57am | 02/02/11

      Great piece Matt. My particular circumstances I have 3 father figures all in the building industry who have to help me do many task around the house which traditionally I should do.

      Whilst my masculinity takes a massive hit, I remind myself that if they wanted to complete a tax return, design a website, or market effectively they would be looking at me. Still it doesn’t quite have the masculine appeal of knocking up a back deck or building a house.

    • Stephy says:

      06:20pm | 02/02/11

      Adam, you could very well be their business-saver! If they run their own business, having a good accountant to help them with the numbers could keep them afloat when in other circumstamces if they were left to do it themselves they might make a critical mistake. You should be proud you can help out in this very important way! Your career is very valuable to many people!

      I think you’re an accountant. Riiiiight?.......

    • Alexa-Ynes says:

      08:10am | 02/02/11

      Well I think it’s too much of a generalisation to be honest. Yes, for a large amount of today’s youth, this definitely applies—but surely the final result from a survey won’t be the deciding factor? Who took this survey? I’m twenty and was raised in a very old-fashioned way…was almost sent to finishing school—It always comes down to where we should lay the blame, so to speak. Parents or not…but I don’t think it’s that at all. Don’t forget that we’re living in the pinnacle of technological breakthrough (and junk food, for that matter) and obviously it’s the younger generations that are mainly being affected by it—my nephew for example, who lives on video games he’s too young to be playing and speaks in grunts or sound effects—so I think the question you should be asking is should we be making more ofan effort to raise kids ourselves without relying too much on the conveniences of TV or Takeout?

    • Alexa-Ynes says:

      09:00am | 02/02/11

      *Effort, sorry!

    • DH says:

      08:35am | 02/02/11

      What’s a VCR?

    • St. Michael says:

      02:52pm | 02/02/11

      Visual Crap Recorder.  It’s amazing how they’ve transplanted this ability into the modern age.

    • RDJ says:

      08:47am | 02/02/11

      Old people complain about the younger generations but forget who raised them.

    • Huey says:

      08:48am | 02/02/11

      LESS LAMINGTONS!!! Who are you? you Bastard!  I am forwarding your name to the Country Womens Association SWAT TEAM… BASTARD.

    • Bilby says:

      09:03am | 02/02/11

      I guess that’s what makes us Xs so superior. We can fix a PC or a mower. We know the difference between a scroll, table, and jig saw. We know that a router is not just something to direct network traffic. We are the renaissance generation. Suck it up everyone else. You lose.

    • AusSteelMan says:

      12:18pm | 02/02/11

      You got it right there Bilby!!!

    • Kerryn says:

      09:04am | 02/02/11

      Im 22 and I can mend a button or a hole in a shirt.  I love ironing (in front of the telly with some good sport on) and my garden is my pride and joy.  It’s not hard!

    • Dave says:

      09:34am | 02/02/11

      “We’re a society with disposable income, and there are services now that rely on our lack of time and ability to hem skirts.”

      This is all well and good whilst our economy is booming, but try living through a recession without a job and we’ll see who’s hemming skirts.  Gen Y equates to spoiled young adults that have never had to cut back on conspicuous consumption and alcohol fueled nights out on the town.  Let the good times roll Gen Y, until the music stops and you’re out of a job.

    • HappyCynic says:

      10:11am | 02/02/11

      Or we’ll do what humans do best - adapt.

      You fail epically to consider the fact that people are capable of great change if the circumstances require it.  Being young in fact gives us a greater advantage because we’re not as stubbornly set in our ways smile

      And since we’ve had a taste of the good life (food, drink, cool technology and sex) we’ll also work twice as hard to keep enjoying the good life than someone who has seen the bad times before and knows how to survive them smile

    • NSW says:

      10:24am | 02/02/11

      Agreed. As a part of the “ME ME ME” generation I cannot help but laugh at how ignorant we all are about…well…everything. We are a bunch of spoiled dolts that care only for our iPhones and fakebook accounts. I’m off to take some photos of myself with no shirt on in front of the mirror as I need a new profile picture. Gen Y girls love that shite.

    • Mike says:

      10:32am | 02/02/11

      “Damn kids and their loudly paying for clothing alterations! Don’t they know how hard it was growing up with $30000 median house prices?”

    • Spite says:

      11:42am | 02/02/11

      Huzzah, another opportunity for people to slag Gen Y! REJOICE!

      It’s unfair to tar the entirety of Gen Y with the same brush - I turned twenty a week ago, have lived out of home since 18, work in a high-paying job (and am the youngest in the company), and can do all of the above “feminine” tasks - but often, I don’t, because I work 12 hour days and really, can’t be arsed cooking when I get home.

      Realistically, if the need isn’t there, people aren’t going to make things arduous for themselves. Outsourcing the occasional task is fine - it benefits those who have made a business for themselves out of what some may consider to be menial tasks.

      Personally, I think that as long as you have the skills to get by, whilst living within your means, then you’re doing okay. If people want to get plastered instead of doing household chores, then that’s their prerogative and no one really has any right to complain unless it’s becoming their problem.

    • stoob says:

      11:52am | 02/02/11

      living in a city with over 40% unemployment for under 25s… most people simply do not have the option of working and cant afforded to leave, if you think loosing their job will screw gen-y over… consider that a large amount of them probably wont even have access to a job for another 5-10 years simply because there are none, and a large amount will still be lacking qualifications by that stage due to the prohibitively high cost of education.

    • Muttley says:

      12:06pm | 02/02/11

      yes, Happy Cynic, humans do adapt. At the moment. Because we still have the ability to do so. How long living the sedentary lifestyle and outsourcing all of lives tasks do you think we can get away with and still retain that ability? The longer we do it the les likely we will be able to cope with anything unforeseen.

    • Miles says:

      12:33pm | 02/02/11

      Spite, working 12 hour days doesn’t mean you have a high paying job - it just means you are working in a poorly paid job but have to do so many hours to get a decent wage.

    • HappyCynic says:

      12:35pm | 02/02/11


      Adaptation is hardwired into the brain it’s a key component of our survival instinct.  The survival instinct has stuck with us humans since we were apes and ain’t going anywhere for millions more years no matter how sedentary we become.  On an evolutionary scale the next 50 or 60 years is a minute proportion of time, nothing is going to happen to over that period of time that will leave humans without the capability to adapt to our circumstances unless it’s a ELE (Extinction Level Event).

      If we needed to go back to living in caves and hunting for food with spears just like our parents had to (joke!) I guarantee you starvation would be a good incentive to learn pretty quick

    • Muttley says:

      01:04pm | 02/02/11

      Happy Cynic, how is outsourcing all of lives tasks improving us? Its not. Its making the ability to cope far less relevant. Until something comes along like is happening in Qld then all of a sudden coping skills become pretty bloody important. I look at it this way. Getting ones hands dirty occasionally is good for the soul. I realise that there are many that would disagree with me, but to my mind that is their loss.

    • HappyCynic says:

      02:36pm | 02/02/11


      Hey I don’t disagree with the outsourcing stuff, I grew up on a farm and I’m handy enough with electronics and cars, hell I can even check the oil on an aeroplane if needed (my dad’s an engineer), but there are times when I have too much money and not enough time so it’s simply easier to pay someone to these menial tasks.

      Is it lazy?  Perhaps, but in an effort to alleviate my guilty conscience I prefer to think of it as effective time management.  It also frees me up some extra time to socialize and have fun.  And having fun is much more important to me than not having fun.

    • Maginthatey says:

      10:11am | 02/02/11

      Why bother cooking a roast when the golden arches or the colonel can look after it? My brother complains about his family always being short of money but whenever I visit them they’re always eating fast food crap. Australia is now recognised as the ‘fattest nation’ on planet earth, I wonder why? I’ve tried convincing my brothers wife that it is cheaper, easier and healthier to cook at home, she disagrees….stupid and lazy I say. As for today’s younger generation not being able to cook lamingtons, so bloody what, and who uses a VCR?

    • Gen Y says:

      10:38am | 02/02/11

      FYI: You don’t COOK lamingtons, lamingtons are leftovers remade into a meal from old sponge cake.

    • iansand says:

      02:27pm | 02/02/11

      As long as you buy the sponge cake.  None of this home baking lark.

    • papachango says:

      11:16am | 02/02/11

      Yes Ok about Lamingtons, but being able to cook and repair things in the home are valuable life skills that do seem to be lacking. You may conclude that hemming a skirt is a waste of your time, but being able to sew a button back on without taking it to a clothing repairer or just buying a new one is another story.

      Likewise fixing a leaky tap which takes eihter 10 minutes of your time or $150 of your money. There are even YouTube videos that take you though the process step by step.

      Utimatley it’s good to know how to do all this stuff, even if you still choose to outsource a lot of it what with your busy 21st century lifestyle. You can then make simple, case by case economic decisions, about whether to fix the door yourself or call Hire a Hubby.

    • stoob says:

      11:58am | 02/02/11

      honestly i find it to be mostly the boomers who waste money paying other people to fix things, its gen-y you will see under the hood with an iphone fixing something while watching a youtube video tutorial

    • rudy says:

      01:36pm | 02/02/11

      That’s because we boomers have recently become wealthy enough to pay someone to do our dirty work - one of the main benefits of wealth.

    • Miles says:

      12:18pm | 02/02/11

      The fact that you assert that you can pay someone else to do these things is pretty naive.  In essence you seem to be quite happy to waste large amounts of money on something you could LEARN for yourself.  And with all the excuses of being time-poor aside, the REAL reason most people would rather pay someone is pure laziness.  But if you want to waste all your money unnecessarily then go right ahead…

    • GirlY says:

      01:21pm | 02/02/11

      “labelled as lazy and lacking many crucial skills”.

      The problem is, my grandmother wasn’t gone from the house for 13+ hours each day.
      My mother never worked full time either.
      We’re not lazy, we’re just time poor. And to compare the so called essential skills to each generation is pointless. Apples and Oranges.
      What’s essential for one generation isn’t necessarily essential for the next. I consider wifi access essential, my parents don’t. If that network goes down, for me, it’s crucial to restore it as quickly as possible, my parents wouldn’t care less if their internet goes down for a few days, but would fret if their landline phone wouldn’t work - I’ve never even owned a landline!

      And if there’s something I can’t do, I just search online for a how to (either text or video) - I don’t go out of my way to learn how to fix a leaky tap if I’ve never had one. But should it happen, I bet I could fix it.

      I can sew, I love growing plants, I love cooking (never cooked a roast though, being vegan and all…) I just never get the time to do any of it. When you’re up at 6am, and not home till 10:00pm, you just don’t have time to do the things your parents and your grandparents used to do.

      And really? Who doesn’t know how to change a light bulb?!

    • St. Michael says:

      03:06pm | 02/02/11

      The reason you learn these basic skills is that if you don’t have a clue how to fix a lightbulb, an electrician *will* come along and *will* charge you $200 for a job you could (a) do yourself at no cost (b) do easily at no cost (c) if neither (a) or (b) apply, could find an electrician to do it for a hell of a lot less than Mr $200 man did.

      This is especially the case if it’s an emergency.  Plumbing and electrical trades feed like sharks on people’s ignorance when something goes bung at a bad moment.  Forced redundancy and forced complexity are also attacks on this awareness.

      For example, my father keeps his ‘74 Leyland Mini for one simple reason: its engineering is simple enough that he can service it, repair it himself or at least narrow what’s wrong with it down to one or two parts.  Granted the parts are not as easy to come by now, but the Internet makes it both feasible and competitive to do so.

      Compare that to my recent experience with my (relatively untroubled) Mitsubishi 380.  The yellow “engine check” light came on.  The vehicle manual demanded I take the car to a dealer.  My normal, relatively sane mechanic said he could not touch it - only an “authorised distributor” had the computer to figure out what was wrong with the car $280 dollars and a full day away from the car later, and all they did was *change the battery*.

      Even RAC at worst would’ve done me for maybe $100 or so if they had me in “stand and deliver” position on the side of the freeway with a dead car.

      That’s what not having basic repair skills costs you.  If you don’t have them, yes, you can pay—and you will.  Through the nose.

    • Amazed says:

      03:06pm | 02/02/11

      Yeah you’ll be fine as long as there is no big financial collapse or any other major events that could change the way we live. A lot of people with your attitude in America right now could use these skills, no jobs for Iphone Fanboys with a few basic computer skills so they leech of their parents or struggle.
      At 27 I am a home mechanic(good enough to do anything on a car from engine swaps-electrical faults), I know computers a back to front(from repairs/assembly to basic programming), bushcraft survival skills, musician, I could walk out into the bush tomorrow and survive. If there is ever a major event that causes a worldwide food shortage I can provide for my family. If it was just minor economic turmoil I can switch from IT to mechanics, to playing guitar/piano for money, back to forklift driving or laboring whatever is required. Putting all your eggs in the ‘I know the very basics of technology and can write’ is great if nothing happens. In an overpopulated world that is not good thinking, broaden your horizons people. In a severe economic downturn the writer is 100% useless to himself and everyone around him. If stuck in the bush with him in a survival situation he would be deemed a liability and consumed. Having skills in only one area is the curse of our worthless generation and unfortunately this is very typical now-days.

    • Mr Subramanian says:

      03:21pm | 02/02/11

      Yep, we’re definitely going to be in trouble when the Zombie Apocalypse arrives…

    • Stephy says:

      06:32pm | 02/02/11

      Nonsense! Head to the local Bunnings!

    • St. Michael says:

      12:34am | 04/02/11

      We head to the Bunnings, pick up some shovels, put ‘em in the back of the car, head back to the Crown, have a couple of beers, go back to Subby’s place, take care of nosthow, drive back to the Crown, and hole up until this whole thing blows over.

      ...Shaun of the Dead makes for excellent preparatory viewing, wouldn’t you agree?

    • Amazed says:

      04:27pm | 02/02/11

      @Mr Subramanian, haha lol, well said, no comeback for you that was too good, I probably did sound like an alarmist but it is very worrying if we were to see hard times, nothing stays the same forever. Should also point out I’m also useless at some things(a terrible cook despite my persistent efforts, just to name one example) and still have many things I would like to learn, I just read my post back and sounds a little boastful, not intentional. I have friends that still live off mum and dad at this age because they haven’t bothered to learn the basics of independence, it worries me we tread this path, still some may disagree and say I need to learn the skill of not being paranoid!
      Thank you for letting me see a different perspective with your humor!

    • Emma says:

      08:45pm | 02/02/11

      The thought of paying out several hundred bucks of my hard earned cash each week to avoid doing the lawn, ironing, housework and even more if I eat out doesn’t appeal.  At least doing it myself I get exercise without paying stupid amounts for gym membership and eat good quality healthy food. Pay to have the ironing done….as much as it sucks to do I can’ t face the idea of paying someone else to do it.  Yes I have had periods of being time poor, working 50+ hours a week, taking care of my young kids and studying for my degree at night meant no social life for 6yrs but I still didn’t pay for someone else to do the stuff I could handle. What was the point of working the extra hours if I was giving the money to someone else.  I will happily pay to have something fixed if I can’t do it myself but won’t chuck money away if i can help it.

    • handy grandma says:

      09:37am | 03/02/11

      When I was young (many years ago) my father taught us how to do repairs etc - he trained horses and didn’t want to get called in to do the little jobs. I can sew, cook etc, but health issues are preventing me from doing a lot of the jobs I’ve always done. I think the fascination with tools is inbred in males. I was putting together some outdoor furniture when my 18 month old grandson pushed me aside and pushed a screwdriver into the hole on the frame, I jokingly said “You can’t do that with a screwdriver, you need an allen key”. He looked at me, rolled his eyes as if to say “women” and stuck the screwdriver in the hole and proceeded to turn it.

    • Erin says:

      09:39am | 03/02/11

      If previous generations lament the inability of us Gen Y’s so much, wont you please do something to fix it?

      For instance, start a one year “Life Skills” class that must be completed in year 10.  Teach all students how to manage finances, do basic household repairs, safely use basic tools, do basic mending, find out their consumer rights etc.  I am 27 and when I grew up there was very much a focus away from these skills - older generations, who set the syllabus, had decided that they were not necessary.  So now those of you complaining about us are reaping what you have sewn.  What I know I have taught myself - even my mother (1957) lacks many of the skills which are being lost.

      Or alternatively, perhaps the major newspapers could start online “skills exchanges” - New articles every week, some talking Gen X and Y through lost skills, and some talking the baby boomers through the basics of the technological skills that they might not have.  Written in language that each generation will understand and without any condescension.

      You may find us lazy but one thing the younger generations have is confidence.  Perhaps its an overinflated ego but my parents taught me that I can do anything I put my mind to, if I just take the time to learn.  So instead of whining about how useless your progeny are, why not take some iniative and teach us - we know we can do it, we just need someone to show us HOW.  Perhaps the punch could start a Life Skills thread where people can ask questions about the HOW and others can provide the answers.

      Lets start now.  if anyone would like to respond with basic instructions on how to deal with a tap in my bathroom that leaks (from the base, not the faucet) I would appreciate it.

    • Kevin says:

      09:47am | 03/02/11

      What’s a light bulb? What this story fails to tell is that the important skills are being lost to the unimportant. Bring up children skills are somewhat more important than operating the ipod or setting up your internet. And just for the record to the baby boomer bashers - it was baby boomers who invented computers and the internet and it’s baby boomers who are coming up with a lot of the new technology because the younger ones don’t have the basic knowledge, even after doing Uni because the ‘basics’ aren’t being taught anymore.

    • Ben says:

      10:58am | 03/02/11

      Hey Matt,
      Man up!!! Why do you think tradies are seen as quasi-sex symbols by women? It’s because they can fix things.
      Besides whilst one may earn lots of $$$ if they want to continually learn things then they will. If you don’t know how to fix a tap then learn. Not because it’s a menial task but a learning challenge. Besides fixing my GFs leaky pipes and taps was a great turn on for her. Her sister’s BF, who was there at the time, just stared at the gushing water and asked when he could use the shower again…. idiot.
      Guess what, I’m 31, can set up my PVR, wireless network, computer etc,... but can also fix my car (and my GFs), fix leaky taps, toilets, hang curtains, wash the dishes and cook. My GF even bought me a new Impact drill for my birthday too.
      It’s one thing to be able to pick up the phone and call someone but it’s a whole new level to be able to fix things yourself.

    • Laura says:

      11:53am | 03/02/11

      Marry me?

      You are totally right though, men who can fix things are much more appealing to women than those who stand there scratching their heads…
      Plus, it gets pretty old pretty quick when you have to call a plumber to unblock a drain & part with your hard earned cash, when an $11.00 eel from mitre 10 & a bit of manly know how could have fixed it

    • chief pancake maker says:

      10:18am | 04/02/11

      Now if I could just get him to make an honest woman of me he would be perfect!!!

    • Laura says:

      11:59am | 03/02/11

      The author of article can blame ‘Young Australians lack of crucial skills’ on expendible income, laziness or whatever you like, but the crux of the matter is the same as it always is in the generational furores, young australians don’t know these life skills because no one was bothered to teach them.

      And guess where the generational hand grenade lands for that one people.


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