Generation X loves to bash Generation Y.
They say we’re lazy. Entitled. Delusional. They think our parents success has led to our “failure” and that because we had nice things handed to us growing up, we don’t know how to work hard to get nice things ourselves. They don’t understand our ambitious go-getter attitudes, and think we’re foolish for not settling and wanting to be happy. They basically think that we just don’t get it.
I’m sure there are a good number of millennials out there who fall into the “idle” category that Jennifer Graham refers to in her millennial-bashing article in The Boston Globe. But not all millennials. How can you lump us all into one category like that? Especially when a recent study has proven that 85% of people 16-24 are in fact working or studying. I highly doubt that the entire 15% who are out of school and work are in their situations because they’re comfortable and happy with the life their parents have given them. It’s hard to believe these unemployed young adults want to stay in their twin beds surrounded by childhood trophies for life.
First of all, college is expensive. And tuition is getting more expensive every year. A lot of people just can’t afford it. And getting a job after you actually graduate from college? IT’S NOT EASY. After I graduated I was so sure that I would get a great job right away. My resume was well equipped with internships and part-time office jobs, but the job just wasn’t coming along. In fact, it took 8 months to receive a full-time job offer. Do you think I sat around drinking booze and watching bad daytime TV every day for the entire 8 months I was unemployed? Because I didn’t. I spent my days trolling job search engines until I eventually got sick of sending resumes out with no replies and decided to up my internship count to six.
You may say it was very “millennial” of me to work for free until I got a job related to my degree, instead of settling for some random job with a salary, but LUCKILY I had the ability to wait it out. LUCKILY, I was able to stay on my parent’s health insurance. Jennifer claims that being able to have health care coverage from your parents until you’re 26 is the beginning of our problem. But it’s not. It’s one solution to our problem. Another solution (for me) was being able live in my parent’s house while I struggled to find employment. I wasn’t staying there because I was comfortable. A twin bed is not comfortable. And neither is trying to have a sex life while living under the same roof as your parents and three younger brothers. I would have LOVED a job right out of college. I would have LOVED for one of the many interviews I went on to have worked out. But they didn’t. So I was forced to stay home. But the minute I saved up (barely) enough money, I went apartment hunting, signed a lease, and committed myself to monthly payments that I basically couldn’t afford… just because I wanted the freedom.
My parents asked me to stay at home. They told me I was stupid for blowing my money on an apartment while making a standard entry-level salary. They told me I should suck it up and stay home to build my savings. But I didn’t want to. I chose to share an old school kitchen with three other people over the large kitchen with new appliances in my parent’s home. I chose a small room and small closet as opposed to my room at home which is almost the size of the apartment I live in now.
Yeah, I grew up in a nice house. But that doesn’t mean I was clinging to the nice environment my parents raised me in. I wanted to be on my own. In Jennifer’s article she explains that millennials are “nesting,” which in pregnancy is a mammal’s instinct to burrow in a home surrounded by comfortable things. She says, “Once our national nesting habits expanded to include pillow-top mattresses and media rooms with big screens and theater seating, we might as well have hung a sign over our kids’ doors, saying, ‘Abandon all ambition, ye who enter here.’”
Growing up in a comfortable environment did not make me abandon my ambition. Nor did it deter my siblings to abandon their ambitions. I’d say it made me more inclined to chase success.
Yes, you may hear a millennial say, “I wish I could just quit my job” or “I would love to be laid off. I could collect unemployment until I find a job I really love,” but the majority of them probably aren’t going to quit their jobs. And I’m sure they don’t actually want to get laid off. They just want success and they want it now. They also just love to talk. And sometimes millennials can’t keep their mouths shut.
HBO’s show Girls may portray our generation in the “idle” light as well, but people need to understand it’s a satire that pokes fun at millennials. In the real world, I don’t actually know anyone who doesn’t work and whose parents still pay for their entire lifestyle. I’m sure there are people like that out there, but in that situation the blame isn’t on the millennial. It’s on the parents. The parents who are part of Gen X. But I’m not going to sit here and bash Gen X because those parents probably make up a small portion of the entire generation. And the same goes for when people try to stereotype all millennials as lazy and entitled — that doesn’t apply to all of us.
We are all in different situations for different reasons. And if you’re able to pursue your dream on a low salary that cannot nearly pay for all of your expenses because your parents can help you out — all power to you. That doesn’t make you entitled. It just makes you lucky. Believe me — I have an immense amount of jealousy for anyone who’s monetary situation allows them to freelance write their way to success without having to worry about their day job. One day, right?
So please, stop lumping us all into one generalized category of entitled, lazy, delusional brats. While there are millennials out there who do in fact fall into all of those categories, the vast majority of us fall far from it.