Culture

'50 Things About Millennials...' Not as Scary as It Thinks It Is

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No wonder people are talking about one particular article at something called EliteDaily.com, a site that bills itself as “The Voice of Generation Y.”

(As long as you’re good looking, that is.)

(Poking a little deeper into the site, I’m forced to presume that EliteDaily has a “no ugly chicks” hiring policy.)

(Although I guess the site’s name should’ve been a clue. Dummy me!)

The article’s title — “50 Things About Millennials That Make Corporate America Sh*t Its Pants” — promises a heaping serving of perennially provocative “generation gap” polemics, in easily digestible list form.

Forget click bait:

This is click chum.

Does the article deliver on the promise of its title?

Most don’t these days, do they?

“50 Things…” is crisp and coherent, but (not surprisingly) the “Port Huron Statement” it ain’t.

Here’s a sample of Lauren Martin’s “50 Things…”:

Our parents scorn us, then praise us. They lament over our technological dependency, then ask us to set up their iPads. They tell us we’re lazy, then ask us for a loan.

We refuse to accept that life must be dictated by a job we hate. We refuse to go to work in suits and ties when we’re more productive in sneakers and graphic tees.

We refuse to adhere to work schedules that don’t work. We refuse to allow the corporate culture to suffocate our creativity. We no longer see adulthood as the end of our childhood, but the beginning of something even more liberating.

We’re not going to hand our souls over to men in suits or women in pencil skirts. We’re not going to work for companies we don’t respect. We’re not going to wake up every morning dreading the 9-to-5. But we’re not going to sit back and sulk either.

We’re going to innovate. We’re going to change the game. We’re gonna show our parents, Corporate America and everyone else who refuse to take us seriously that we’re not lazy, entitled nor egotistical. In fact, we’re the kids who are going to take your jobs and throw them away.

Like that girl you can’t understand, Corporate America has gone from scorning us to fearing us. The bosses don’t understand why we’re not pleading to work with them, why we’re not wearing suits to interviews and why the hell we’re not trying to make a good impression on them.

They don’t understand why we’re not lining up after college for a spot on their factory lines. They don’t understand why we don’t want to make five figures under fluorescent lighting or why we’d rather be broke than bored.

They don’t understand why we’re not chasing them with our legs spread. Sorry Corporate America, we’re just not interested.


Now, I grant you that “chasing them with our legs spread” should’ve caught an editor’s eye, but I’m willing to bet that said editor at EliteDaily.com thought it was the best line in the piece, so..

Also?

“Like that girl you can’t understand, Corporate America has gone from scorning us to fearing us” isn’t as clever as the author thinks it is, either. In my experience, enigmatic young females of the “manic pixie dreamgirl” variety do a lot of scorning, sure, but very little fearing, of life’s flesh & blood “you”s.

The truth is, though, that a lot of my objections to “50 Things…” are matters of style over substance.

I wanted to hate it more than I actually did.

See, I could have easily written “50 Things…” when I was this writer’s age, and it would have sounded quite similar, right down to the “fluorescent lighting” and “cubicles” and “suits.”

Not only that, but back in my day, we also had things called “factories” to rail against, but you guys have only seen those things in old movies.

(We also bitched about “suburbia” but I understand Kids These Days love the place. Where did we go wrong…?)

And other writers bitched about pretty similar stuff in the 1920s, and ’30s and…

Guess what: Except for the factories, all those awful things are still around for you to complain about.

Tell you anything?


All that to say that, presuming the whole thing wasn’t a sarcastic piss-take, I actually go along with quite a few of those “50 Things…”

But not because I’m a secretly a millennial, obviously.

Rather, it’s because I’m a white Western 20th/21st century human being.

The only person who ever liked fluorescent lighting was the guy who got rich inventing it (and, therefore, probably his wife, but I bet she still didn’t let it in the house).

Cubicles aren’t even supposed to be cubicles.

Only psychopaths love office politics. And so on.

Here’s what we used to call “film at 11”:

Nobody loves rising at dawn to wage-slave for dumber-than-thou bosses, or many other of those “50 Things…”

That’s why I don’t do it anymore.

And that’s one of the most depressing (rather than eye-rollingly funny/annoying) aspects of this article:

It’s all about working for somebody else.

(We used to call him “The Man,” but I guess that’s not gender neutral.)

Don’t any of you kids want to start your own businesses?

Or go into the trades? Start a band? Join the Army?

Hell, rob a damn bank?

Are you millennials really so risk-averse from a lifetime of conformist, chauffeured, peanut-free helmet-wearing that such obvious alternative careers never crossed your minds?

Of course, we’re talking about a generation that seems to want to live with its parents forever, too.

Anyhow, here are the three things that made me laugh the hardest at “50 Things…”:

First, there’s number 17: “We don’t have a chip on our shoulders.”

Second: I’m happy to stand corrected, but the photo they picked to illustrate it looks like one taken in England, not the United States. Those lively looking lads hanging out the window could almost be squatters circa London, 1977.

That’s when and where youth unemployment was something like 35%, there were “apprenticeships” instead of “internships” (and not too many of those, either) and normal kids wanted to live on their own, even if it was in an abandoned building without heat or running water.

That’s at the top of the page. At the very bottom, if you click on “About,” you’ll discover Funny Thing #3:

That EliteDaily.com is venture-capitalled up the wazoo by “Vast Ventures” and “Tribal Ventures” and other satirical sounding thingies, some of which are undoubtedly headquartered in fluorescently lit, cubicle-heavy offices.

I bet you’d even spot the odd suit or pencil skirt on the premises, worn by some boring old fart.

Who I somehow doubt are all sh*tting their pants, at least not over this article.

PS: If anybody needs a palate cleanser right about now, permit me to leave you with one of the ancient songs of my people:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3B6saoj_31k