“I’ve lost hope for this generation.”
This is a common phrase you may have heard. Us millennials have a bad reputation. We’re considered idealistic, lazy, narcissistic, and most of all, entitled. We’re thought of as fiscally irresponsible and obsessed with technology. We’re also accused of “killing” a lot of things, such as vacations, laundry detergent, and even ourselves. But these accusations have little weight, and in some cases, contradict themselves. We can’t be slackers but also be workaholics. Generation X and baby boomers like to tease us about “participation trophies,” but do they not remember that they are the inventors of the participation trophy? Do they not realize that they were the people who raised us?
What people don't often realize is the fact that the generations before us inherited far better economies than we did. We were born into one of the worst job markets and most expensive housing markets. I know baby boomers that graduated from a university while working a part-time job. That’s impossible today, because average college tuition is increasing faster than income rates. I don’t think it’s entitled for us to want affordable higher education, or a fair chance to receive the same opportunities previous generations had. The older generations have destroyed the economy and now make fun of us for being poor. The fact of the matter is, due to the change in economic climate, we have to work harder to be able to afford the same necessities that they had.
There’s also this weird obsession that older people (older than millennials) have with being scared, or critical of new technologies. We grew up in a world with these amazing gadgets that made our lives easier, and for some reason, people born before millennials fetishize doing things the hard way rather than the smart way. I think we’re living in an exciting time that no one else will experience, where we are being introduced to amazing things, and we should enjoy that. There’s nothing wrong with the convenience of the internet, texting, email, etc. Technology is an amazing thing, and because we take advantage of it, we face judgment.
Out of the past three generations, millennials are the most inclusive. We’re diverse and tolerant, mostly rejecting the xenophobic, hateful views of the baby boomers. There’s a cultural divide where millennials believe that the world is inherently good and we should watch each other’s backs, while baby boomers would rather focus on themselves. Baby boomers believe the government is stealing from them to pay for things such as the ACA or welfare, but we believe that it makes sense to pay a little bit extra in taxes so that everyone can live better lives. In the decades to come, I believe this sense of unity we share will help us to implement drastic change to better the world.
I honestly believe that older generations are jealous of us. They’re jealous because they were not told that they should be in careers that matter to them, or where they feel they are making an impact. Gen-Xers and millennials were told that we should work in fields that we love, so that we don't hate our jobs. Furthermore, baby boomers are being pushed out of their lines of work, simply because they are unable to adjust to new problems in the workplace. Our ability to adapt is what’s keeping us ahead in a quickly changing world of business and technologies. Not only is it easy for us to learn new things, but we are enthusiastic to do so. The baby boomers believed that to have a job meant sacrificing happiness, but us millennials believe that we can have our cake and eat it, too.
However, millennials are not perfect. We were born into a VUCA world, which has led many of us to lack confidence and suffer from depression. Many of us were raised while being protected by our parents from failure, rejection, etc. There are reports of people now bringing in their parents to job interviews to lead them along the way. Now, while this is a product of baby boomer and Generation X parenting, we need to learn to cut the cord and become independent.
Because we’re considered unengaged and unenthusiastic, we owe it ourselves to prove that everything negative that was thought of the newer generations is wrong. We are now beginning to outnumber the baby boomers, which means the world will soon be in our hands. We cannot be complacent in anything that we do, because if we really want change in this world, we need to push harder.
There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with our generation. We’re simply in a vicious cycle of the last generation being hypercritical of the next generation. The Internet has given Gen-Xers a platform to complain and questions how unfit for the world we are.The fact is, we might find ourselves in the baby boomer’s position someday. So for now, enjoy the moment. Enjoy the sushi-burritos and the weird Snapchat face filters. I think we’re all gonna be fine.