I’m a firm believer in the power of the press. Journalists can steer a national conversation, expose corruption, and inform the citizenry. They can also look at a stupid Time Magazine article and think, “You’re right! Kids these days DO tweet a lot! Let me bloviate about that for 2000 words.” To those people I say this: you are not, nor will you ever be, Andy Rooney.
Whatever the reason, my generation has been labeled narcissistic, lazy, and entitled. We only care about ourselves. We think we shouldn’t have to work to earn the things we want.
Incidentally, the title was bestowed upon us by the generation that caused the greatest economic crash in nearly 100 years, started two unnecessary wars, caused the housing bubble, repealed Glass-Steagall, drove up college tuition, shut down the government a couple of times, and kept “Two and a Half Men” on the air. But no, you’re right, wanting full-time jobs and Instagramming selfies are much graver offenses.
What’s that saying about glass houses?
Suddenly, because the most technologically adept generation is using a form of communication older people don’t understand, we’re narcissistic and self-obsessed. Yes, some people get carried away, but the thing is, if you don’t want to see someone tweet out a picture of their food, don’t follow them on Twitter.
I refuse to believe Baby Boomers would have behaved any differently if this technology were around during Woodstock. Or Beatles concerts. Or the moon landing. It would have happened.
The other classic attack line against Millennials is that we feel entitled to more than we deserve. This was exemplified by the blog “Wait But Why,” which has nothing even remotely resembling a byline or an “About” section. The rant uses crudely drawn stick figures to stress the point that an imaginary girl named “Lucy” is special and better than her peers, so she doesn’t want to work hard to have a lush, green lawn with flowers and a unicorn.
It’s as bizarre in the original post as it sounds in this summary.
It’s also a load of crap. Millennials don’t want things handed to us. We want to work. We went to college, and we want to work in the fields we studied. We expect to start at the bottom and work our way up over time. The only problem is there is no bottom. Jobs described as “entry level” often require 1-2 years of experience. Do you see the problem when entry level jobs require prior professional experience?
We did everything we were told to do. We studied, we took unpaid internships (which itself is a terrible scam), and we applied for entry-level jobs at a time when companies were not hiring. The narrative of success Millennials grew up hearing from Gen X and Baby Boomers was irrelevant. We had to find a new path to a sustainable career. We had to make it up as we go. We had to…move back home.
Many of us did move back home out of necessity, which is not a situation we anticipated. To call us lazy is uncouth and ill-informed. In this situation, the next step is to find a job, any job, and move out. Where does that leave recent graduates trying to enter the work force? Working at Ann Taylor. Barnes & Noble. A local bar. Wasting their education, drowning in student loans we were told was a “good debt.”
Many graduates are able to freelance, if their profession has the means to support that kind of work. A young reporter, for example, can write articles to stay active in the industry, but $75 for the rare published piece is, by no means, sustainable, and there is no guarantee that it will lead to full-time employment.
Millennials are a hard working generation. We’ve been inherited an impossible situation and are handling it the best that we can. We were raised in a post-9/11 world by parents with a Cold War mentality. We know fear and economic instability. We know that movie theaters and elementary schools are no longer safe.
Yes, some people are obnoxious on Facebook, but shouldn’t they be overshadowed by Millennial Sandra Fluke, who stood her ground against Baby Boomer Rush Limbaugh, or Malala Yousafzai, who survived an assassination attempt from the Taliban after fighting for women’s rights?
Let’s seriously consider the reality of the situation: a teenage girl is a threat to the Taliban. That’s the power of my generation.
Twitter helped fuel the Egyptian revolution in 2011. Young people made a huge impact in the 2008 election. We’re driving the fight for LGBT rights. We’re doing our best to handle the world’s problems that were dumped into our laps.
And yes, we like it when BuzzFeed posts a list with GIFs of cats twerking, and it’s okay if you don’t understand three words in this sentence.
Our generation isn’t lazy, vapid, or entitled. We’re broke, and we want a chance.
For a society to advance, it has to constantly do better. Rather than blame young people for the problems of the world, older generations should look to Millennials and say, “We’re sorry it got this bad. Please, do better than us.”