There was the Baby Boomers, then there was Gen X, and now there are the Millennials. History has more or less closed the books on the formers, but the Millennials are still writing their stories and I hope it turns out be to a good one. I can’t help but notice all the derogatory terms being thrown our way way. If you guys haven’t already heard, we are known to others as generation me, trophy kids, narcissistic, lazy, and entitled. I don’t think that there has been a generation as misunderstood and reviled as ours. Being a Millennial or Gen Y or however you want to call us myself, I feel that I have to at least try to defend our misunderstood generation.
Before I go into all of that, lets start with some background history. The post World War II world became a time of prosperity. Returning veterans reaped the benefits of the G.I Bill which promoted home ownership and the pursuit of higher education. These veterans now were able to receive a college education when only some years ago, they could only have dream of. With cheap loans for housing, it became for affordable. So now, you have more people who were college education and owning houses, which meant that they could earn better wages and live more comfortably. Times were good. People were settling down, having kids, and enjoying their nice picket fences. These kids were what we call the Baby Boomers and they grew up in a time that seem like everything was good. Then they had kids and they too believed in the same message. But sadly, the goods times couldn’t last forever and now here we are with the dilemma of Gen Y.
I can’t say that the negative labels are completely false. I mean there is a good explanation on why they call us trophy kids and entitled. For those of you who don’t know, trophy kids refer to the idea that participation is enough to make you a winner hence the trophy. The last generation in general lived the good life. It was only natural they would communicate the same message to their kids. So we were told that we were going to be winners. That’s not the reality however, not everyone can have a white collar salary even if they were qualified or not. That’s just not how capitalism works. There’s simply just not enough room for everyone to achieve white collar status.
I think this is the part that people just don’t understand. It’s not necessarily that we feel self-entitled. We just want what our parents had. We’re just unlucky for being born into a time with so many problems. Here’s some of the issues that we have inherited.
1) Global climate change that the previous generations have only made worse.
2) A world where the income inequality gap is getting larger.
4) A political system that doesn’t serve our interests.
5) The rising costs of college.
6) The repercussions of the housing bubble.
7) Living through a recession caused by the last generation.
8) For the first time ever, we are doing worse than our parents.
There’s a lot to be disillusioned about so cut us some damn slack. The millennials are some of the most educated generation that has been around. I don’t care if you think getting a degree in something like communication or philosophy is crap. Those people still made it through college and frankly, it is a task that I think should still be worth celebrating in itself. Never mind the idea of job competitiveness in the marketplace or the practicality of certain degrees. That topic will be discussed perhaps another time. To just even have a college education is something that was revered and respected. Why should that change? We got a huge mess to clean up, and we feel overwhelmed by all of that. The world seems so screwed up and the stories of good times told by our parents turned out to be crap.
So here’s to generation Y. A generation so misunderstood. I hope some light has been shed on the topic and no matter how much crap we get, in the end, we will inherit the world as it is our birthright just like every generation before us. When that time comes, when we inherit power. This I am optimistic about but who knows what the future really holds. Perhaps we’ll all be dead by then and finally the world will realize the mess handed to us.