Why Millennials Are Actually The Hardest Working Generation
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Politics and Activism

Why Millennials Are Actually The Hardest Working Generation

We aren't lazy and we don't get everything handed to us. And here's why.

Why Millennials Are Actually The Hardest Working Generation
m. davis.

I've been told many times that my generation is lazy, that we have everything handed to us. That we need to "get a job" or get a better job. We constantly bash heads with older generations about political views. And don't forget, we "party too much."

Well, with all these comments I think it's time to evaluate how factual they actually are. Do we live in a generation that is lazy? Scratch that. Lazy, by definition, means "unwilling to work or use energy." Keep that in mind as you read on. Most part-time jobs hire people between ages 16-18 years old. A lot of these jobs that say they'll hire younger than 18 don't want to because laws require them to give specific breaks, limit the number of hours they work, and limit the available jobs they can have. Needless to say, it's a real hassle for the business. So we end up applying to a bunch of different jobs with little likelihood that we'll get a callback. So, let's say at 18 we go job searching. They ask, "Are you planning on leaving for college in the fall?" If we answer yes, we most likely don't get the job. Why? Because why would a company hire someone who they have to train for a few weeks, just to leave some weeks later?

This wasn't the case for people growing up in the 1940s and 1950's. Only 34 percent of people had a high school degree or higher, not including people who received a bachelor's degree. That percentage is significantly less. The percentage of people who received a "high school diploma or higher" only slightly rises over the next few decades. With all of these people, most people not leaving to go to college, it makes it much easier to get a job because they stayed home to work - which was ideal for businesses - instead of going to school for higher education (which is another job in itself). This cycle continues for the next three summers of college when we come home in search of a summer job but are constantly turned down because we will be leaving in about two months. It is not that we don't want a job, or we don't try, or that we are lazy. We apply but the circumstances we are in have a great effect on our value and worth from a company's perspective. With that being said, when I hear people say we are lazy, they have no idea what it's like to be a teenager or 20-something trying to apply for jobs in 2016.

Let's move on to the next topic. We have everything handed to us. There are some people my age, who I'd agree get things handed to them on a silver platter. But then again, that's been happening forever. There will always be wealthy kids who "have things handed to them". It's not something new. (And hello, parents are the ones handing things out. Why wouldn't a kid take it? I mean, isn't that like winning the lottery? Taking money that you didn't do anything to get?) Regardless, it's not the majority of us; most people don't get handouts. In fact, a great majority of millennials are taking out loans for college. Yes, we are spending thousands of dollars we don't have. It is a loan. We have to pay it back. Might I add, we are taking out loans to further our education and become smarter individuals, something the vast majority of past generations did not do. I've heard some older generations say (1) they couldn't afford it, and others opposing say (2), "I got a job and I worked my way through college, so why can't they?" Well, 1. It actually was affordable years, or rather, decades ago, for people to pay for their own college expenses. And here is how:

"In 1979, when the minimum wage was $2.90, a hard-working student with a minimum-wage job could earn enough in one day (8.44 hours) to pay for one academic credit hour. If a standard course load for one semester consisted of maybe 12 credit hours, the semester's tuition could be covered by just over two weeks of full-time minimum wage work — or a month of part-time work. A summer spent scooping ice cream or flipping burgers could pay for an MSU education."

And 2. college is outrageously expensive compared to how it used to be, and a part-time job at the grocery store, will no longer support college student needs. Here is why:

"The average student in 1979 could work 182 hours (a part-time summer job) to pay for a year's tuition. In 2013, it took 991 hours (a full-time job for half the year) to accomplish the same."

We are working incredibly more just to earn the same exact degree. So, we actually don't get everything handed to us. We work hard - harder than previous generations - for what we have.

So, next we need to get a job or get a better job. Well, I've already discussed this. But after showing how much more we work compared to past generations for the same education/degree, I'd like to add this thought: While it's near impossible in 2016 for anyone to pay to put themselves through college without massive amounts of aid from their university, or parents, or loans, if there is a superhero out there who can do it, do you think working almost 1,000 hours has an effect on their grades? And don't forget, we aren't only working, but also taking classes, doing homework, studying for exams, playing sports, participating in clubs and Greek organizations and volunteering for our communities. All of this takes time and effort, which is literally the opposite of lazy.

We definitely bash heads over political views. So what? That has happened in the past, too. But in a time when we have two completely opposite candidates and extreme left wing and right winged views, this gap between the generations is dividing even more. This isn't a political article, it's one trying to explain how truly hard-working and awesome millennials are and will be for our future. But I find it interesting that college-educated millennials are being bashed for our views when we are amongst the smartest generation there was.

Lastly, we party too much. I don't have much to say about this. In fact, I might agree. We like to have fun. College students are between the ages of 18 to about 23 years old, living without any parental guidance with bars around every corner and college campuses ten times the size of our high schools. If they were us, they'd do the same thing. We have extremely stressful lives, if you couldn't tell, so maybe our weekends out are what keep us sane.

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