5 Truths About Millennials

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There’s been a lot of commentary on millennials. I guess you could say we’re a controversial bunch. We’ve been called lazy, selfish, entitled, rude…really, the list of less than complimentary descriptions goes on. We’re the participation trophy generation. We’re the kids who ate only grass fed meat and organic vegetables. We weren’t immunized. We wore hemp. Our mom’s kissed our boo-boos till we were twelve and we got ribbons even when we came in last. We were coddled. We were cuddled. We were encouraged. “You can be anything you want to be,” they told us, and we believed it. And then we grew up.

We worked hard in high school. We played three sports, took APs, and were the president of five clubs. We went to college. We worked (and played) hard there too. We studied abroad, we worked for free, we built our resumes. And then we graduated. We graduated, and this world that was promised to us, this world that was supposed to literally be at our fingertips, this promise of success and opportunity, this promised future, it didn’t exist. We got our diplomas, we took the obligatory cap and gown pictures, and then we moved back home with our parents. This future, this fruitful, opportunistic life that had been guaranteed to us since birth…it was gone. There were no jobs, there were no opportunities, and there were no paths.

We were left with student loans and bruised egos. We were met with part time employment and no benefits. We’re now greeted by our mom and dad in the morning and drift off to sleep while staring at the “Hope and Change” poster on our high school bedroom wall at night. We’re faced with an unemployment rate of 7.6% and a debt of nearly 17 trillion. We’re not lazy, we’re not selfish, we’re not entitled and we’re not rude. We’re angry and discouraged and defeated. Simply put, we were lied to.

Last week, The Washington Post ran an article titled the Five Myths About Millenials. The column, written by Mark Glassman, was an attempt at saying that millenials really have got it together, that we’re not worse off than our parents, that the economy really isn’t so bad, that we’ll make it, that we’re not disadvantaged, that we’re not royally screwed. But the thing about it, is that we are worse off than our parents, we don’t have it together, the economy really is that bad, and damn it, we are royally screwed. We’re in a recession on the verge of a full fledged economic collapse. We’re buying into systems that will soon be extinct. We’re spending more than we have. We’re training kids for jobs that don’t exist. We’re not dramatic and we’re not ridiculous; we are simply dealing with the repercussions of generations before us. We’re angry and we’re defeated, we have a wall of trophies at our parent’s house – simply put, we’re not used to losing.

5 Truths About Millennials:

1. Millennials depend on their parents and can’t find jobs.
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York recently reported that 44% of recent college grads are underemployed. Thus, only slightly more than half of our contemporaries actually hold jobs that require a degree; the rest of us are baristas at Starbucks and folding sweaters at J.Crew. So yes, I would say that looking at those numbers, it is in fact…a fact…that we can’t find jobs. This cannot be attributed to laziness or lack of ambition; there simply are not any jobs worthy of someone with a college education.

2. They’re the most self-involved generation.
As children, we were promised the world. We grew up in a world of budding technology. At home computers, cell phones, and Google all came to be during our formative years. We were raised in a society that told us that we could be anything, and technology and innovation acted as our cheerleaders. We’re motivated and we’re hungry. We want what is ours; we want what was promised to us. We’re self-involved because we were taught to be. It’s a dog eat dog world out there, Mark. We’re just looking out for number one.

3. They aren’t interested in marriage.
It’s not that we’re not interested in marriage; we’re just not interested in marriage yet. And who could blame us? 8% of us are completely unemployed. Of the 92% of people who do have jobs, only 56% of those jobs actually require the college diploma we worked so hard to get. Even if we did feel like getting married and moving our new spouse in with dear old Mom and Dad because we can’t afford to live on our own with our $8 an hour pay and one out of every two marriages currently ends in divorce. What the hell? This is not the happily ever after I read about when I was a kid.

4. Republicans don’t stand a chance with them.
I’m going to preface this with saying that I’m a Republican. However, if the past two presidential elections offer any proof, young people as a whole are not voting for the conservative candidate. In the 2012 election, 67% of people aged 18-29 voted for Obama. Granted, only about half of all eligible people in that age group vote, but that comes out to a cool 23 million, 15 million of whom voted for Barack Obama. The number of young people who voted for Mitt Romney? A little under 7 million. The fact of the matter is, until major changes within the party are made, the GOP won’t be winning any elections any time soon.

5. They have an infinitesimal attention span.
Look, I’m by no means a doctor, but if the obsession we have with refreshing our Facebook pages and Twitter feeds is any indication, I’d say that yes, we have a short attention span. Our eyes are glued to computer screens and our hands are in constant connection with some sort of electronic device. We’re busy bodies. After all, aren’t we the generation that was fed Ritalin from a silver spoon?

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Catie Warren

Catie struggles with adulthood and has been celebrating her 21st birthday for the past three years. She attended college in the nation’s capital and to this day is angry that Pit Bull lied to her, as you cannot, in fact, party on The White House lawn. Prior to her success with PGP, Catie was most famous for being featured in her hometown newspaper regarding her 5th grade Science Fair Project for which she did not place. In her spare time, she enjoys attributing famous historical quotes to Marilyn Monroe and getting in fights with thirteen year olds on twitter. Find her on Total Sorority Move as "From Rush to Rehab." Email: catie@grandex.co

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  1. 35
    Chuck_Moskowitz

    #4 absolutely blows my mind. Try being a millenial Republican in Los Angeles… it’s not fun you guys.

    Nice workMehLog in or sign up to reply. • 1 year ago
    • 2
      thefatbaker

      Wow, seeing all of you here supporting each other, It’s amazing. It sucks being a millennial republican, I’m so glad I found you all. *seriously this is not sarcasm* All my friends are liberal and they just don’t get that the dem economic policies are batshit insane.

      Nice workMehLog in or sign up to reply. • 1 year ago
      • -7
        OmarShamshoon

        I’m 30, so I’m old enough to remember a solid economy. When I started college in 2001, student loan interest rates were 2.1%. Can you guess who raised them? Hint: wasn’t Democrats. I also remember that the Bush tax cuts were passed because the government was running a surplus. Bush argued, “Well, that’s America’s money. Give it back and watch it boom!” Then 9/11 caused a recession and revenue dropped. The answer? Tax cuts! “Why, we don’t have enough money. Give ‘em a tax break and watch it boom!” Millenials are bearing the brunt of a decade of that bullshit.

        One party has batshit crazy economic policies, and it ain’t Democrats.

        Nice workMehLog in or sign up to reply. • 1 year ago
  2. 20
    Bubba

    Republicans don’t stand a chance with any young conservative voters until they actually run a conservative candidate with and actual plan of how to fix the economy. Young people haven’t hurt Republicans, the American reliance on a 2-party system has. I’m very conservative and don’t like 99% of them.

    Nice workMehLog in or sign up to reply. • 1 year ago
    • 1
      dargonhuman

      Amen to that! That’s why I get so irritated with my girlfriend when she complains about my job and that I should get a better one.
      My usual reply is, “Mm-hm, and as soon as there are better ones available, I’ll fight off the 30 or 50 other people applying for the same positions with my bare hands to get it just so YOU will be happy.”
      I should mention that because of disabilities, she hasn’t had to work for nearly 11 years and has zero clue about what the current job market is like. Hell, she’s not even a Millenial, she’s a Gen-Xer having been born in 1975.

      Nice workMehLog in or sign up to reply. • 1 year ago
  3. 11
    JDbro

    When I was growing up, literally no one was telling me to get a STEM degree (entered college pre-recession), and it’s disingenuous to offer this as “advice” to millennials now.

    Nice workMehLog in or sign up to reply. • 1 year ago
  4. 8
    postgradpanda

    Catie, I love this post. This does seem to be exactly what the world thinks of the millennial generation despite the fact that most of us have been working as hard as possible for as long as we can remember. I just graduated in May, and while I did get a “real” job despite my degree in English, it’s not something I even remotely like or am passionate about. So even when we do get jobs, chances are it’s not what we really want to do, but we have no choice because of the mounting pile of bills we face in the real world. Thank you for speaking up about this.

    Nice workMehLog in or sign up to reply. • 1 year ago
  5. 8
    BitterJD

    I believe that the unemployment rate for recent grads and 20-somethings is at least double the national average of around 8%. I don’t remember where I read this, though.

    Nice workMehLog in or sign up to reply. • 1 year ago
  6. 4
    ICF

    Companies want people who have accomplished something. Most grads, while getting decent/good grades, didn’t accomplish anything extraordinary in college beyond days spent hungover. Compounded with the lack of new entry-level positions, this makes employment hard.

    I’m not saying you went through college drunk and stupid, but remember those losers in the chem lab at 11:00 p.m on a Saturday night? Yeah, they’re published in a scientific journal, employed, and are probably loaded.

    Nice workMehLog in or sign up to reply. • 1 year ago
    • 3
      mericangurl

      I’m all about getting useful degrees, but I don’t entirely agree with this. I went to an engineering school and got an engineering degree AND a product design degree and I’m seriously underemployed. If you’re implying that I didn’t work hard enough in college, I’m a little offended.

      I even did the internships and was all lined up for a job in the medical device industry…until the company I worked for lost 350 mil because of Obamacare.

      So yes, I get your point about getting a hard-fought degree…but that doesn’t guarantee anything in this economy anymore either.

      Nice workMehLog in or sign up to reply. • 1 year ago
  7. 2
    a leveraged sellout

    Since when did a poorly thought out major and a large unpaid student loan tab become a fashionable burden. I understand that’s a very broad generalization but there are quite a few people who where massively unprepared for the real world and grossly overestimated the value and income potential of their degree. But it’s not their fault really, it’s not like liberal arts programs make you sign a waiver acknowledging this.

    Nice workMehLog in or sign up to reply. • 1 year ago
    • 1
      Esis

      I wouldn’t say it’s a “fashionable burden” just a common one. People were told, “Go to college it’ll make your life better!” and “You can do anything you want!” so they picked majors that interested them. Then the economy went to shit, and it took awhile for the commonly given advice to shift to reflect that.

      I count myself lucky. I went to a less expensive school and took a practical major (biology). So my debt is lower that many others and my prospects are better, but still not really “good.”

      Although intro science jobs are almost entirely temp positions right now, which makes starting out rough. It’s risky to move out of your parents house on a temp job, you might not find another one after that and get slammed with bills.

      Nice workMehLog in or sign up to reply. • 1 year ago
    • 0
      dargonhuman

      It’s not their fault that high schools have shifted their focus from “preparing students for the real world” to “turning students into grade machines so the school gets more money”. There is such a tremendous amount of focus on extracurriculars and standardized tests that any sort of real-world education gets pushed out. Preparing students for the real world doesn’t earn government grants or increase school budgets, high test scores do.

      Nice workMehLog in or sign up to reply. • 1 year ago
  8. 2
    buynow8888@yahoo.com

    Omar it would be nice if you were in the ballpark but, you’re not. 9/11 didn’t cause the recession. If anything, military actions cause military spending booms. It’s very simple minded to say A=>B in an economy as complex as the United States. And it isn’t ‘batshit’ economic policies, either. It’s borrowing to pay for programs which contribute nothing back to the country’s citizen’s. You know, like Medicare (which the interest on the debt is over 1/2 of our annual budget) which was intended to be a retirement income supplement but is, in fact, a subsidy. And/or the widespread public administration expansion of over 30% in the last decade. We’ve got 6 or 7 programs like this that will systematically and automatically spend money on social programs that have proven to produce negligible results at best. It’s not the way you manage your money either personally or as a country.

    Nice workMehLog in or sign up to reply. • 1 year ago

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