Generation Stop

I am tired.

I am tired of hearing that I am shiftless, that I think myself special when really I am not, that it’s my own fault the world “isn’t meeting [my] expectations.” I am tired of everyone on the internet telling me I know nothing, that I am entitled, that I am lazy. I am tired of self-important magazines and bullshit marketers coming up with abhorrently stupid names for my generation. (Call me a “Millennial” and it will be the last word you speak.) I am tired of so many parents complaining about their children using the very technology their children have created.

You know what, Boomers (and a few Gen X-ers who got busy early on)?

Maybe you shouldn’t have created a world in which everyone feels pressured to go to college, where following your dream is the Ultimate Good. Maybe you shouldn’t have fostered an economic ecosystem in which a bachelor’s degree is basically a requirement to find a job that pays minimum wage. Maybe you should rethink your company’s stance on unpaid internships that serve only to broaden the gulf between the talented poor and the undeserving rich.

Maybe you should recognize that the reason most of my generation is graduating without gainful employment lined up is because you will have to stay in the job you currently have for the rest of your life, because Social Security will run out before you can retire and you foolishly invested most of your savings in tech stocks that had worse odds than a Vegas slot machine. (This is also why we had to sign away the next 30 years of our fiscal lives at age 17: because you invested our college fund, too.)

Maybe you should understand that those of us who have by some miracle found a decent-paying job in our desired field will remain where we are, at the bottom of the totem pole, for perhaps our entire careers, because upward mobility has simply vanished. Maybe you have never been at risk of falling into unemployment, a state the majority of us have already found ourselves in and still bear financial and psychological scars from, and so will never know the icy clutch of panic every time your boss asks to speak with you.

Or maybe, just maybe, you should shut the hell up.

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80 responses to “Generation Stop

  1. Yes. Yes. A thousand times YES. I wholeheartedly agree.

  2. Don’t worry, I won’t mention it and just shut up!

  3. I so knoe what iy feels like to be in that position.

  4. Reblogged this on chucktown bucket and commented:
    I cant help to agree with this harsh and alternative perspective.

  5. I most definitely agree.

  6. Reblogged this on all styles and commented:
    All styles

  7. Well said. A whole generation is paying the social and economic consequences of the decisions of their predecessors. Talk about a son paying his father’s sins.

  8. Brilliant, simply brilliant. Are we twins? lol

  9. Then don’t listen to the negative that comes from others, magazines or marketers and use what you’ve got now to make your path the best way you know how.

    But come on……every generation has had its hardships. Regarding your statement “Maybe you have never been at risk of falling into unemployment, …….. and so will never know the icy clutch of panic every time your boss asks to speak with you” — I suggest you do some reading that relates to the the generation before you and the economic/unemployment stresses of the 70’s and 80’s.

    • Totally agree with you @EB50+!! But it is difficult sometimes for others to see from another’s viewpoint or life experiences..Thankfully not all from the generation the writer speaks from; share the same sentiment..And honestly? The job market these days is steadily getting better..I don’t personally know anyone out of my son’s circle of friends that aren’t in excellent jobs or unemployed..But alas they do all have at the least a Masters degree..As you rightfully said every generation has had its hardships and shortcomings..But the key IS or so I feel; at the least hearing out the generation before IT. Those with cocky attitudes that have an issue listening to worthy elders? Usually end up repeating same mistakes, if not worse, than the generation before it.

  10. I’ve been fired so many times, I can’t tell you how many. Sometimes getting fired worked for me, other times not. But I never let getting fired from a job scare me s——-t! Just roll with the punches and you’ll do all right. Don’t stay at a job because you’re scared you won’t get another one. One way or another, we all land up in the same spot.

  11. My suspicion is that everyone in their 20s thinks they are special and seems entitled, we all think things should be easier than they are and behave like we know more than we do, and for a while find adult life disappointing. I am absolutely convinced that I did, and generally think the 20s are a horrible, unpleasant, unlikable age to be. I also suspect that when we leave school, we expect to achieve the lifestyle of our parents fairly rapidly–not realizing they have spent about 2 decades working to achieve that, if not more. In other words, I think we are blaming your generation for a developmental stage that is not in the slightest particular to one generation or another, but is something we all go through, just as we all went through tantrums and the terrible 2s. If you look at criticisms of Gen-X, they are pretty much the same as criticisms of your generation, which suggests to me that they are just what older adults say about younger adults.

    Oh, and we all used new-fangled gadgets our parents thought would ruin our lives. My grandparents were slaves to their radios and did these outrageously provocative, godless folkdances on Friday nights just so they could meet other young people! Of course, that was probably about 12 other young adults. A far cry from the thousands of friends you can interact with on social networking. But equally shocking to their elders.

    • There you go! Perfectly explained.

      Only difference is that our voices – when we were 20 – weren’t heard so much in online forums that blindly juxtapose the 17-year old girl and the 55-year old man. Now very different worlds are colliding and each judging the others. I say give millenials a break – they’ll be zombified like us soon enough.

      P.S. thumbs up on the ‘godless folkdance’. Oh! To be tormented and damaged by your own!

  12. And maybe some parents invested in their children’s education and they did so out of love and concern wanting to provide the best possible future for their children. For those parents the current situation is no less painful than it is for their children because they wanted their offspring to have a good life which did not work out the way they hoped it would and they themselves are running out of money for they are using their savings to support their children.
    So for many it is as much about a son paying his father’s sins than it is about a father paying his son’s expenses.

    • I don’t think it’s too late for that good life. It’s just that we all had this image that everything would get easier and easier, and obviously that’s just not realistic. There is a kind of evening out point where this is as easy as success in life gets. And I think we have reached that point. Getting settled in life financially and otherwise takes a long time. Building confidence in yourself and your career–without being a grating know-it-all–takes time. That’s just how it is. We aren’t “set” for life at 30. We were only at our peak at that age when life was considerably less complex and had less to offer us, and I actually believe it’s been quite some time since that’s been the case–probably not within the last 100 years. We may have imagined people did, but I suspect it’s nothing more than a fantasy. For example, my parents may have bought their first homes at 30 or close to it, but my grandparents certainly didn’t–they were nearly 40, and wouldn’t have been able to at all if it hadn’t been for the GI Bill following the Second World War. I still don’t, and the younger “millennials” would be my children’s age if I had any. So, I’d say neither young people nor their parents need to despair. There is still time.

  13. I feel as though many millennials are unfairly written off and stereotyped. A new generation has to be given a chance to succeed (or even fail for that matter).

  14. This is what people need to hear!!!!!

  15. I absolutely agree! It’s ridiculous how a college degree gets you nowhere these days.

  16. Now go to your room! Kids today, can’t live with em, can’t live with em.

  17. congrats on freshly pressed. nice post

  18. *applause* well said.

  19. Spot on. I recently read a job description that required three years experience, preferably a masters (but because they were so magnanimous a bachelors would be considered) and various other requirements and appropriate skills that boggled the mind. The position…graduate level (despite the need for three years experience!) for £18,000 p.a. I just wrote an article about someone being criticised in The Guardian for sending out an over the top CV…no one seems to have thought that maybe those CVs wouldn’t have to exist if job adverts weren’t so bloody ridiculous.

  20. It isn’t terribly amusing to be a Boomer, either.

    I work in the same place and industry as you — NYC print journalism — and it is in total chaos. If you’re over 40, you’re a dinosaur, and a costly one and the odds of getting hired are about as slim as yours. We’re now being told to write for pennies by 20-somethings with scarce, well-paid staff jobs.

    Boomers have survived three recessions since 1989, so we are equally fed up with looking at depleted or never-acquired savings (hello, 2008), the insane costs of schooling children through college and stagnant wages — the average American family now earns the same as they did 25 years ago, before the generation that we will not name here was even born.

    Many of us will never achieve the career or income heights we’d hoped for..there were too many Boomers and too few great jobs.

    A little inter-generational compassion, in both directions, might serve us all better.

    • This field was intentionally left blank

      This is so VERY true – I love broadsideblog’s comment. :) My parents are Boomers and they told us what things were like at that time. My sister is a Mi——–al and quite a brilliant, down-to-earth one at that. Both admit the faults of their generations, and do their best not to emulate those faults and serve as potent counterexamples to the stereotypes. I’m a late Gen X, stuck in the middle, but hoping to serve as a bridge for both. :)

      • Blaming one another is a terrific way to avoid useful options of how to get THROUGH lousy economies by trading useful strategies of survival. Studying macroeconomics is also a helpful reminder that, within capitalism, labor (i.e. us) are always expendable and always will be. To expect humanity and kindness from people who are only focused on financial profit is not a smart move.

  21. Cheer up. Think positive.

  22. I understand your point of view. My son did not finish college. He entered the mortgage field and got really good at it. Before the bust he made really good money. Even after the fact he made a decent living. He was ten college courses from the B A. but stopped wasting his time and money for he was already in the profession. So you have valid points. Are you lazy? Probably not for by writing this blog indicates you are not. Keep going and have faith in yourself. Ideas come out of the minds of thinkers, and you are a thinker. Good luck. PS. I was a teacher, so my advise is contrary to the profession.

  23. Reblogged this on Powdered Wig Couture and commented:
    I want to print this out and throw copies of it out of a helicopter, stick it to people’s windshields and print it on the back of grocery store receipts!

  24. Great Blog!!! Do you think all of that holds true for you in the field you are in?

  25. Oh, I’m an early Gen X, or so I’m told, and I’m right along side you. I got degrees in fields (yes, plural) which the received wisdom held would be emptying our presently as the Boomers all buggered off into retirement. Not quite twenty years later, my employment has zero connection to my formal education. I get very angry with those same people you do, and so do most of my co-generationist friends; these creatures in the main prefer to blame those who aren’t as comfortable as they are because the alternative is to share.

  26. My boomer step-dad was just telling me the other day that there are lots of jobs that offer free health insurance. hahahahaha. Oh, that was a good laugh. His career advice consistently sucks.

  27. Yes! Totally agreed.

    The truth is that a lot of older people understand and are going through the same kind of shit with regard to their careers and living standards. But some make too many assumptions about us. It makes me sick to my stomach when I hear that I’m lazy when I’m at school working towards a professional degree that involves a stupid amount of work and networking. I’ve also known long days of work and six-day weeks.

    Maybe our generation is the one that will redefine what it means to “live a good life”, since we basically have no other choice considering our stagnant/declining wages and the permanent loss of middle-class jobs. Maybe it’s not such a bad thing that money and ownership don’t define our lives like it did for the generations before us. If that’s being “lazy”, then fine, I’m lazy as well.

  28. Don’t worry about it — they badmouthed Gen X before you guys and still do. As a member of that generation who is soon to turn 50, the only thing I can say is:

    Don’t bitch about being poor. I’m serious. You are going to be surprised at how long it takes you to get on your feet in life. You’re seriously not going through the Worst Economy in The History of the Planet, and I am SO SO SO not saying this to belittle you or the obstacles you face. But … you seriously aren’t. I graduated grad school with an MS in physics at the start of the supposedly go-go-90s and the first job I got was shift work at a hospital where the shifts rotated the wrong way around for about $250/wk. The hospital was legally required to give us a half-hour break in an 8hr shift but didn’t. They compromised, though: they had us work the full 8hrs straight through but just didn’t fucking PAY us for that half hour. Every two weeks, I got five hours ripped off out of my paycheck. By a hospital. Did I mention that the job came without health insurance?

    I turned 30 in that job. It sucked. Until the job I have now — which I got when I turned 40 — I had nothing resembling the focused, stable, well-directed career I’m finally beginning to develop at 47 and no vision of what it might look like if it ever happened. Please don’t look at people my age and imagine that we got what we have no out of the box. And please understand that when we hear you complaining about why you don’t have that yet because you’re been out of college for two whole years, it can sound very annoying. YOU have to give it time, and WE have to understand that from your perspective, you don’t get how much time you have to give it yet.

    I sometimes want to reassure young kids that it takes a lot longer to get settled and get your feet under you in life and in a career than they think, and just because they don’t have a corner office by the time they’re 30 and are still sleeping on a futon, living with roommates, and eating cheap food does not mean you are a failure or the world is against you. Again, I’m not saying this to belittle you — I’m saying it to reassure you that you’re doing fine, or at least better than you think. You aren’t a failure, you aren’t facing the most catastrophic economy the world has ever seen, and you aren’t destined to die on the streets. Ignore the fucked up armageddon-mongering and just dig in your heels. It’s a long game. You’ll do okay hon, I promise.

  29. These are the words no one has had the guts to say and I’m glad you articulated them. This struck home with me, very good work!

  30. I truly enjoy your word!

  31. I seems to me that no generation likes their place or their role in society. I was born in 1960. You would not believe what flew as accepted child-rearing. Beating your children was an accepted punishment for any mistake a child made. Parents were very hard on their children. Nothing was ever good enough.

    So, when we grew up, our generation wanted to change that. We wanted our to raise our children 180 degrees from how we were parented. And,for the most part, we too got it wrong. The way we raised your generation we set you up too fail. Hopefully, you will raise your children somewhere in the middle. Good luck to you, it’s a tough world out there.

  32. I am thirty, and just about to enter my second year of college. It took me twelve years to reach the point to be able to attend college, and now I get to face a world where I might not have a high paying job to show for it. It’s got to the point where we’re told to major in something that completely bores us in order to get a job straight out of college.

  33. K =) (but i think ur really quite right about most of what you were writing about).

  34. Oh… I hear your pain and frustration. What is it George Carlin saif? Inside every cynical person is a disappointed idealist. Self – expression is the last remnant of freedom.

  35. As another recent college grad who is still working as a waitress because the job market is abominable, I could not agree more. Thank you thank you thank you.

  36. Reblogged this on The Daffodil Perspective and commented:
    I found this on the Freshly Pressed it’s fantastic. Read it, love it, let me know your thoughts!

  37. Good response to all of these inane posts.

    • By which I mean, all of the posts that talk about how our generation is spoiled and entitled. I’m fortunate to have a full-time job in my field with some prospect for mobility, but most of my friends are smart, lovely, talented people having too much trouble trying to push through things that other generations took for granted.

  38. Reblogged this on My Infinite Balance and commented:
    I have to share this blog because there is so much truth in it!

  39. Well put. I was born smack in the middle of Generation X. The problems you cite are applicable for us old monkeys too. That’s why I gave up my municipal, soul killing job and struck out on my own. Good luck…

  40. “Maybe you shouldn’t have created a world in which everyone feels pressured to go to college”
    Hi, I love you. This is perfect. :)

  41. This 46 year old father of three says to you, “Preach it!” Thank you for saying this, because I’m tired of the marketing world creating a lie for us to believe in, to blame you so that we don’t blame the original marketers who are truly guilty.

  42. hahahaha…spoken from the heart….well said, hails to you!!!!
    remarkable absolutely…congratulations and am glad you got freshly pressed

  43. Yup. unemployment, job insecurity, countless CVs and cover letters never even answered. The stress and the anxiety of not knowing what will happen to you in a few months’ time, not being able to make plans on the mid-term. Sigh.

  44. Pingback: On Being Ordinary | Normal is the New Weird

  45. Pingback: Generation Stop | Give 'Em A Brake Safety

  46. On a recent backpacking trip, the word “millennial” came up and my boyfriend’s friend had never even heard it, certainly didn’t consider himself one (although age-wise he fits comfortably in the millennial category). I then explained the baggage that comes with the term. It was refreshing to know someone who lived well, completely ignorant of and unburdened by the expectations and criticisms that automatically come with being a millennial.

  47. you seem unhappy with someone lol.

  48. My company just offered a workshop on Gen Y and the keynote expert made these exact same points. As a Gen Y myself, I wholly agree!!!

  49. It’s really tough living in this world that seems to run at incedible speed. Everybody is expecting something from you and on top of that, you have your own expectations that conflict with theirs. We need to form our own expectations first before giving others the chance to control us like this. Know what you want and stick to it, make it your religion to live by.

  50. Pingback: Hey Gen Y’ers: Don’t Forget to Live | An Appetite for Running

  51. Oh my gosh, thank you for saying this. Maybe when (if) we ever get to be “in charge” things will change for the better. I guess after the Boomers and X-ers finally retire. Wonderfully put.

  52. Pingback: Fresh (Word)pressing | Who Loves Kitty

  53. Love this!

  54. Pingback: Generation Stop | twigged out.

  55. Everyone in their early 20s thinks they’re special. That’s part of BEING early 20s. But today with everyone telling early-20-somethings that they should get ready for a life of poverty as they graduate with thousands in debt, I think they’ve got enough on their plates. Hope about the complainers get off their asses and try to help fix a society that is massively broken?

  56. Love the second paragraph!

  57. I’m a Gen X and I have the very same problems! I have a BBA and an MBA and cannot find a job and have mountain of student loan debt!!! I think that most of the frustration comes from parents of kids who are not doing anything and are counting on the parents’ support and believe me these slackers happen in every generation. I am at the point where I’d rather not have a stressful job where I can be fired for any little thing. Of course I have to pay the bills, but I think I’d rather strike out on my own like DougLife.

  58. Great post! I think you are speaking for a great deal of people who have been hit the hardest with everything going on, but who get the least amount of credit.

  59. Pingback: Fuck the Boomers | Smashed Snowglobes

  60. Perhaps we could all get used to the fact that we are all individuals; that the actions of not only a generation but an individual will always be different and similar in relation to others. Rather than allowing yourself and your peers to be defined by strangers or defining yourself and peers through your own opinion find peace with yourself as an individual by whatever means you can.

  61. I have a Daughter your age and I understand politics. I am behind you 110 percent. You go to college for a lie of the status quote.

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