Since I’m just shy of 24 years old, I’ve often been lumped into the perpetually unfortunate category of Millennials, along with the rest of my less than lackluster young-adult counterparts currently enjoying unemployment. That generalization never sat well with me. I hate it. I’ve been fighting the stereotype since the inception of my post-secondary education. After five academic years of laboring in this uphill battle, I think I’ve finally won deserved freedom from all the negative connotations ascribed to my generation of esteemed 7th placers, and thus I offer an anecdotal rebuttal to the 5 Truths About Millennials:
1. Millennials depend on their parents and can’t find jobs.
Conclusion: a moderately-reasonable assertion. As in the olden days, my family paid for the entirety of my education. The asphyxiation of student debt never burdened me. In that sense, I was financially dependent on my family. Sounds pretty good, right? That couldn’t be farther from the truth. If anything, the weight of the expectations that accompany a $135,000 education was an enormous incentive for me to not dick around in school (I did anyway).
With that said, my job search was approached with severe urgency. I landed two wonderful internships that resulted in a job offer. Unfortunately, that job offer evaporated four months before I graduated, coinciding with my former employer’s hiring freeze and mild financial implosion. After a summer of unemployment devoted to broadcasting 60+ job applications, I was noticed by an industry leader and hired on for my dream job. Keep at it, folks. The dream job exists, so long as you look for it.
2. They’re the most self-involved generation.
True, but in a different way than you’d think. When I was 4 years old, my mom brought me to a child psychologist to have my IQ tested. It was an excellent idea on her part – best to know how your child will perform before you end up sinking a ton of money on an idiot destined to major in classical literature and subsequently flip the proverbial burger. Evidently my score was a sufficiently positive prospectus for her to layer on the encouragement rather heavily.
Because of this, my mom always told me I could be anything I wanted to be, provided I work hard enough to actually achieve my dreams. When I was ten, I thought I wanted to be a physicist and research the most perplexing unknowns of the universe (thanks, Bill Nye). It was at that time I received the kind of honest guidance every young child deserves: a gentle realignment of hopes and dreams. “You know, sweetie, if you choose to do research for a living, you aren’t guaranteed to make a lot of money, and you don’t want to be poor, do you?” Fuck no, I don’t. Greed can be a powerful motivator, and for that, mother, I thank you. Better off to study engineering than underwater basket-weaving.
3. They aren’t interested in marriage.
False. I hate losing such a significant chunk of my income to taxes and I’ll be damned if you don’t too. How does this relate to marriage, you ask? Look up a copy of the IRS tax tables from 2012 and the reason is plain as day. Being a single male means I pay a whopping $5,000 more in taxes than if I were hitched. Depressing? Somewhat. Aggravating? Indeed. “Married, filing jointly” sounds pretty damn good right about now, despite my college-era game plan of waiting until thirty, then finding a fresh 22-year-old college graduate.
4. Republicans don’t stand a chance with them.
Hopefully this isn’t accurate. The prospect of a dream job brought this Midwest-native to Maryland, so you could definitely say I’m in the thick of it. No matter how unlikely, I still entertain the thought of the GOP’s policy transformation to a more libertarian philosophy – a trend that enjoys growing acknowledgement, despite continuing traditional conservative critique. I think it’s still too early to tell if there will be much political transformation to come, but optimistically speaking (LOL, optimism), our generation may eventually come around. There are many versions of this adage, all attributed to different historical figures, but I think it speaks much wisdom: “If a man is not a socialist in his youth, he has no heart. If he is not a conservative by the time he is thirty, he has no head.” Get with the program, fellow Millennials.
5. They have an infinitesimal attention span.
A product of our environment, no doubt. During my aforementioned visit with the psychologist, my mom asked if my mildly hyper behavior was indicative of ADHD. Back in 1994, ADHD was apparently still considered a “made up” disease. Perhaps the shrinks hadn’t yet seen the profit of peddling pills to young’uns. “Your son is easily bored with the world around him, get him some books.”
Fast-forward to college: technological dependency legitimately does have a significant impact after all efforts to care about mind-numbing lecture material have been expended. I desperately thought I needed that coveted ADHD diagnosis, but that ship had sailed before kindergarten. I eventually came to the realization that, not unlike Peter Gibbons, we just aren’t being challenged enough. It’s definitely true that most jobs in today’s world are completely monotonous, but the tragic part is that little can be done to change that. The carrot on the stick is always suspended ever so slightly out of your reach. And that, friends, is why your job is intolerably loathsome. Back to searching for that dream job…