A Millennial Blog for All

Archive for July, 2012

A Response to Generation Screwed

A fascinating article was recently penned by Joel Kotkin for the Daily Beast the other day, called Generation Screwed. You can read it here:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2012/07/15/are-millennials-the-screwed-generation.html

His take is backed by sound numbers and good analysis. Those numbers and analyses suggest that the game is rigged against the Millennial generation by the Baby Boomers and Generation X. But not out of hubris or malice, but out of fear and stupidity.

The previous generations have taken what they could from what was offered without fear of the well running dry. Now, the well is running dry. Boomers aren’t retiring as early not, because all of a sudden, the money isn’t there to move to Boca Raton. And considering the palpable desperation frothing from the masses of 18-29 year olds looking for gainful employment, companies that are looking to hire new workers are low-balling Millennials

The Millennial reputation, oftentimes well earned, is that we are whiners, and who strut about with undeserved sense of accomplishment. Working with Millennials in a professional environment can be extraordinarily frustrating.

Millennials

In Ron Alsop’s The Trophy Kids Grow Up, he discusses the unusual precedents that our generation sets up for the workplace. We don’t like dressing up for work, and we don’t like our personalities infringed upon or stultified. We want flexible schedules, steady pay-raises, and a clear path up the corporate ladder. This rubs many in the business world the wrong way, and this is perhaps why many major companies are uncomfortable hiring us. But it’s a feeling they steadily have to get comfortable with. We are unavoidable, considering there are 90 million of us swarming the work force in segments, year after year.

There need to be new and clever ideas if we are to have it anywhere near as good as the previous generations have. There is a serious debate going on in Washington DC, and indeed, all over the world, on how to ensure that the wealth of nations does not dissipate taking care of generations who have grown used to spending without paying much back. We need to impose responsibility on those in power, and take that power away from those who refuse to be responsible.

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The Millennial Manifesto

We Millennials were born between 1980-2000, however it is much easier to define us by our characteristics. While not every single characteristic will qualify for every single teen and twenty-something, these broad strokes coat the vast majority very well.

Like every generation, we are shaped by the times in which we grow. Our generation was not shaped by war, but by money. Until recently, we had no needs that went unfulfilled, no desires unrequited. We avoided responsibility because none was given to us. Because of that, we are more likely to put off marriage, homeownership, and children. They are not the key to happiness as in previous generations. They scare us. They are burdens.

We are narcissistic and fickle, and we have been bred that way.

We are driven to excel: in school, in careers, in life. And we are disappointed almost beyond measure when things go wrong.

We are ill-equipped to deal with adversity, but we have been shielded from it for so long.

We care about success and community, but politics-as-usual nauseate us.

We are socially very liberal, because social conservatism has not been proven good or fair to us.

We are philosophically inclined and artistically endowed because the time and ability has been afforded to us.

We are technophiles; technology is simply another language we’ve learned.

We do not believe in absolutes. We have a sense of right and wrong, but it’s not black and white; it’s on a gradient scale of gray.

We believe in knowledge above power, and intellect above judgment.

We deny the emotive side while following our gut, without any desire to hone that skill.

We desire to have our lives perfectly synced. We are not adept at compartmentalizing, yet we do not enjoy truly deep questions either.

We are efficient multi-taskers, and because of that, our focus is scattershot and our attentions are deficient.

We want our news satirical and our humor off-beat; traditional machismo has been eschewed for androgynous sensibilities.

We deplore labels, so much so that we label ourselves against labels just to get away from them.

We tend to be close to, and respect, our parents and elders.

We are incredulously spoiled, yet oftentimes selfless.

We cannot take criticism, but we do not appreciate coddling.

We do not want to work for it, because we’re not sure if we actually want it in the first place.

We are very skeptical of organized religion, to the point of holding to skepticism as a dogma. While we mock organized religion, we believe in memes and evolution and social justice.

We are not religious. We are spiritual. Yes, to us, there is a difference.

We are well-traveled, and would rather see the world than work for a fortune.

Our distrust of authority grows with every disgraced politician, clergyman, and celebrity.

We don’t hate money, we just hate the greedy. Which oftentimes is the rich. We think. Old money is a foreign concept to us.

We dislike face-to-face communication, and find it taxing. We’d rather text you. Phone calls are avoided unless necessary.

We tweet; we like things on Facebook; we bookmark and have rss feeds sent to our email; we Skype and FaceTime; we text constantly.

We are a generation of true immediate gratification. Anything less is a denial of basic human rights.

We are very health conscious. We run, we go to the gym, and we do yoga. We would rather eat grilled edamame than Twinkies. We will pay more money for Whole Foods, and avoid obviously bad food, even if it’s far cheaper.

We are desperately individual.

We need options.

We believe, above all, in fairness. That nebulous, capricious ideal that means the world. The lack of fairness is deplorable to us. Any perceived intolerance puts you in Dante’s 9th circle. Racism, sexism, and inequality of any type burn us, and make us angry enough to fight.

We want it our way, we want it now, and we want it for nothing.

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