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Cut the Millennial Generation Some Slack

Stuck between expectations set by tradition and rigid reality, what are we supposed to do in such a tough economy with such critics looking over our shoulders?

by
Becky Graebner

Bio

September 18, 2013 - 7:00 am
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I’m 24.

I’m young. I’m old. I’m almost mid-20s and six years from 30.  It seems like just last year I was legally allowed to drink, but every time I consult the calendar, I come out age 24.  I’ve been out of college for a few years, but each fall, when a new school year starts, I realize that I’m getting further and further away from my college memories.  I’m starting to feel—confused.

I’m 24–where did the time go? But I’m 24! Shouldn’t I have accomplished a myriad of amazing things by now? That’s what everyone says…  What’s with all this pressure?

And these last few questions are just it.  I find that the Millennial generation is stuck between expectations set by tradition and rigid reality.  What are we supposed to do in such a tough economy with such critics looking over our shoulders?

Tradition is the nursery rhyme, “First comes love.  Then comes marriage. Then comes a baby in the baby carriage.”  Slap a college education before “love” and “1.5 kids” after the first baby. Yep, you’re set! Not.

Reality is a sluggish economy, few jobs, loads of debt, and the possibility of relinquishing independence in order to live for free with family members.

This is the plight of the Millennials.

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Top Rated Comments   
I'm a millennial. One of the older ones.

Honestly, there are a lot of monstrous things about this generation. I can barely stand my self-promoting, personal-brand-building, save-the-world, i-can-do-anything peers. The girls are especially bad, since they received a double dose of the bad medicine. The regular 'you are special' variety and the extra strong 'you are special and a girl and girls are especially special'.

I can tell you what happened because I lived through it. The amount of poisonous beliefs directed at me and mine while growing up was unbelievable. We were constantly fed liberal pablum by authority figures, treated like children well after sexual maturity, and endlessly told of our boundless potential regardless of the presence of any actual potential. Even as a child, it was clear nonsense and I resented it. Maybe I had potential, but everyone was told that, right? I had no way of knowing whether I had strengths or none. I decided not to believe in myself, others decided to believe it in the worst way, and none of us were receiving accurate information about our strengths and weaknesses from authority figures.

The self-esteem program was laughable. It supercharged the people who needed it the least and declawed the system's ability to lend glimmers of hope to people who needed it the most. I honestly could have used an ounce of genuine encouragement growing up.

Now the boomers look at us and see the monster in themselves. They sense the great disservice they've done in their desperation to jettison all social conventions useful or otherwise. They cast about for exculpatory evidence as if we came by these pervasive and toxic beliefs ex nihilo.

We didn't. What Millennials believe root and branch is what they've been told to believe. Acting as if Millennial behavior is completely their own invention is counterproductive. We were propagandized.

If you're a boomer or a Gen Xer, I bet you're thinking, "Well, people make their own choices about who they are and so forth." Not really. That's one of the many, many harmful lies Millennials were told with the best of intentions. People do not choose who they are. They're taught, and the process was thoroughly complete by the time we decided that the world would, yes, absolutely be interested in barely-literate sentence fragments and pictures of our cats and what we ate for lunch that day.

Unfortunately none of the poison is leaving the system. Millennials are set up to raise their children to be equally as awful as them, if not worse. At least Millennials had grandparents who occasionally were grounded and made sense.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (21)
All Comments   (21)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The baby boomers came of age in the midst of a tough economy. It was the era of price controls, high inflation and relatively high unemployment. However, the much maligned boomers improvised, adapted and overcame these problems. The reason that the millennials get such deserved grief is that they supported in the past and continue to support a corrupt class of socialists bent on institutionalizing dependency on the government. For most millennials if they can get high, have sex, play video games and get abortions then they are happy to live the constrained life that the Democrats have planned for them. Millennials epitomize the low information voter. For all their faults boomers were much better informed then their children.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
If it were not for the hoodies and the electronic addiction, you guys would be perfect. I propose to make it legal to punch anybody in the face wearing a hoodie indoors.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Hoodies? Really? Of all the shortcomings of Millennials that's the most punch-worthy?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I'm a millennial. One of the older ones.

Honestly, there are a lot of monstrous things about this generation. I can barely stand my self-promoting, personal-brand-building, save-the-world, i-can-do-anything peers. The girls are especially bad, since they received a double dose of the bad medicine. The regular 'you are special' variety and the extra strong 'you are special and a girl and girls are especially special'.

I can tell you what happened because I lived through it. The amount of poisonous beliefs directed at me and mine while growing up was unbelievable. We were constantly fed liberal pablum by authority figures, treated like children well after sexual maturity, and endlessly told of our boundless potential regardless of the presence of any actual potential. Even as a child, it was clear nonsense and I resented it. Maybe I had potential, but everyone was told that, right? I had no way of knowing whether I had strengths or none. I decided not to believe in myself, others decided to believe it in the worst way, and none of us were receiving accurate information about our strengths and weaknesses from authority figures.

The self-esteem program was laughable. It supercharged the people who needed it the least and declawed the system's ability to lend glimmers of hope to people who needed it the most. I honestly could have used an ounce of genuine encouragement growing up.

Now the boomers look at us and see the monster in themselves. They sense the great disservice they've done in their desperation to jettison all social conventions useful or otherwise. They cast about for exculpatory evidence as if we came by these pervasive and toxic beliefs ex nihilo.

We didn't. What Millennials believe root and branch is what they've been told to believe. Acting as if Millennial behavior is completely their own invention is counterproductive. We were propagandized.

If you're a boomer or a Gen Xer, I bet you're thinking, "Well, people make their own choices about who they are and so forth." Not really. That's one of the many, many harmful lies Millennials were told with the best of intentions. People do not choose who they are. They're taught, and the process was thoroughly complete by the time we decided that the world would, yes, absolutely be interested in barely-literate sentence fragments and pictures of our cats and what we ate for lunch that day.

Unfortunately none of the poison is leaving the system. Millennials are set up to raise their children to be equally as awful as them, if not worse. At least Millennials had grandparents who occasionally were grounded and made sense.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
America as previously devised doesn't exist anymore. It's a cultural thing and rolling back government regulations isn't going to bring anything back, because....... that's not what the problem is. The America you DO live in...... uhmn, envision Brazil, but with winters.....'>.........
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Aren't there any black or Asian millennials and why to they all look like fashion models? The group does have a rep, you know, for being a little on the chunky side. And where are all the tattoos?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
First of all quit whining. Every generation thinks it has it tough. But here's the deal, you live in 21st Century United States of America.
1) You've got an extremely high probability of living another 50 years, or more.
2) You aren't going to get smallpox. Nor are your children.
3) Your country is not in a civil war or any other war that takes place mainly on your shores (the rare Islamic terrorist act is much rarer than regular crime.)
4) Yes it's tough economically, but I've lived through the 1970s, my parents through the Great Depression. They had radio, I had (living in the greater NY area) 7 tv channels. You've got cable and the interwebs, even if it's full of cats.
5) Stop your generation from thinking that all that's good flows from the government. It doesn't. It comes from within.

Instead of complaining about your generation's situation, (and I'm using your in the plural, not a specific person) demand that the government unshackle you. Companies aren't hiring and people aren't starting new businesses because of the modern regulatory state. End it.

And lastly, forget about that starting $60K job. Be humble. My first full time job after college I made $16K (1985) and worked with high-school only folks. I didn't live with my parents, but for the first month, as the job was near my college, which was on winter break, I broke into a dorm room and squatted there for a month before moving to a coworker's couch, to save up enough for an apartment.

And it was fun.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Perhaps this is the start of a new dialogue, but you have to admit up to now, the whiners have been the "voice of your generation". Except for being able to voice those whines farther and wider, you really aren't that different in the struggle to get started when the socialists are in favor.

However, just as the Woodstockers subset came to represent the Boomers, so to is your generation becoming defined by the foolish. And while all did not, a good proportion voted for a man based on the color of his skin instead of the content of his character and worse, fewer but still a lot did it again. Not learning from your mistakes is a very bad trait. As is not learning that most of what your professors and teachers told you does not match reality and, no it is not the result of evil "others." It is objective reality which exists everywhere except on college campuses.

So learn from your mistakes, such as falling for the indoctrination of your professors and that you should follow your passion, and make something of yourself instead of wallowing in the victimhood of your prior abuse.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Perhaps this is the start of a new dialogue, but you have to admit up to now, the whiners have been the "voice of your generation"."

Who?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Any one of the numerous, "I went to college and did everything I was told and all I got was this $100,000 debt and a degree French Feminist Literature" writers. Or was it puppetry? I don't remember but whatever it was it was a serious statement on the lack of good judgement.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Any one of the numerous, "I went to college and did everything I was told and all I got was this $100,000 debt and a degree French Feminist Literature" writers."
If you can't think of a name then it's not possible for them to be the "voice of your generation."

I can't think of anyone who would qualify as the voice of the Millennials. How many people are even close to finding their voice or something worth saying before 30?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Rudyard Kipling
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Thank you for demonstrating my point.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Hey Millenials, stop whining about college debt and lack of jobs. I didn't make you go to the expensive school nor did I make you get a degree in Mongolian Art Appreciation.

In other words, take some responsibility for your lives. You are not snowflakes.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I'll take criticism like this seriously when Boomers agree to haircuts on pensions, Medicare, and Social Security, and when GenXers recognize that when they went to college, people with degrees in Mongolian Art Appreciation got ood jobs.

You, GenXers and Boomers, let the socialists make their long march through the institutions unimpeded. You acquiesced to a public school system that emphasized feelings over truth, that put emotion over reason, and that encouraged political cults of personality rather than skepticism. You told us that all we had to do to have a good job and good life was go to one of these socialist-run colleges and graduate, and that student loan debt was OK--it's good debt!

To paraphrase Animal House, "We f***ed up. We trusted you."
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Watch that 'Gen X' stuff, pal. Remember, before we had gen X foisted on us we were called 'Slackers'.
We were getting screwed over by the Boomers before you were born and we responded with entrepreneurship, aggressively moving into emerging industries, home schooling, and tradition.
Your turn
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Please. You came of age in the 90s. Your "recession" consisted of a few months of downturn when people realized that putting a ".com" after a business name didn't make it profitable. You lived in a world where there were no foreign policy issues worth caring about--the Soviet Union was gone, the civilized world was happy and peaceful, and the biggest economic worry was that Japan might be more efficient. Your unemployment rate never got near double digits. You were never squeezed out of a job market where companies refuse to hire new people and old people cling to their jobs.

A few of you got into entrepreneurship and emerging industries. But not enough--and it was under GenX's watch that the diversity industry started plaguing corporate America. The overbearing sexual harassment trainer didn't become a stock character until the 90s.

You're not as bad as the Boomers, who force-fed us a diet of "We must protect the planet for our children" crap while robbing their children and grandchildren to pay for luxurious retirement. But you didn't help much either.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Uh-huh.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
And who got this enterprising entrepreneurship tripe going, anyway? Really..... who did, just asking. A just and legitimate society works and functions for all the people that live in it, not just for some precious elite. That's a rubbish third-world profile of a country and while there was 'excess capacity', so to speak, nobody noticed but now that it's like a dead whale on the patio...... inconvenient, to say the least......
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Very well said.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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