Expectations vs Reality -- Millennial Edition

By Alexander Leslie

“Millennials are the laziest, most spoiled narcissists in American history. This entitled generation needs to get off their asses and find jobs, instead of mooching off their families.”

Yeah, we’re pretty damn lazy.

It doesn’t take much commitment to juggle two minimum wage jobs, an unpaid internship, and overload on credits while struggling to afford rising university costs as our average student loan debt reaches an all-time high.

I mean, it doesn’t really matter that we’re the lowest-earning and most unemployed generation in U.S. history, despite the fact that we’re both the largest portion of the population and the highest-educated.

It’s irrelevant that our poverty and addiction rates are unrivaled, although we started graduating during the worst global recession since World War II.

Earning prestigious degrees from private institutions, yet being forced to work at Hot Topic because of our inability to penetrate an oversaturated job market isn’t pathetic, but rather it builds character.

Who cares that millennial home ownership rates are the lowest in history, while our homelessness rate steadily rises each month? I mean, who needs to own a house when a third of us just live with our parents? Housing prices are rising anyways, we don’t have the money for that.

Seriously.

The resilience of our generation is underrated and unparalleled.

There is a reason why millennials grapple with the highest rates of suicide, depression, and generalized anxiety of any generation. The inability to meet our own expectations is crippling.

We aren’t entitled to success, we’re obsessed by it.

As we compare ourselves to past generations and witness our median income fall while the American middle class shrinks, we can’t help but get stressed. We’re just as selfishly worried about our future as anyone else, it’s human nature.

The millennials I know are fighting just to get by. They’re entrepreneurs, political activists, and hardworking students fighting for change in a turbulent era of global disruption. They feel neglected by, and displaced within, a system with more regulatory barriers than ever before.

How can we invest if we lack the capital? How can we climb the promotion ladder at a Fortune 500 company if there’s no jobs available? How can we pursue a higher education if we can’t afford it?

Instead of rolling your eyes and muttering “kids these days” under your breath, try “the economy these days” instead.

Of course we have a sense of entitlement and self-ownership. I mean, the future of this planet will soon become our responsibility, yet we lack the tools and experience to design a better society for our children and grandchildren.

Our ability to stay determined, although we earn less, isn’t a reflection of our “underachieving” work ethnic, but rather an indicator that we’re motivated by something other than money. We can endure through financial turmoil while still striving to make the world a better place.

Worker productivity is up by almost 40% since 1995, yet our salaries have only seen a 10% increase. We’re working harder, more efficiently, and producing more, yet not being rewarded.

We may have lost the genetic lottery. We may never have the job security we hoped for. We may never acquire the material possessions of our parents, but we can fight so that future generations can.

We have the courage to pursue our dreams, because we literally have nothing to lose.

Even in the face of economic uncertainty, we remain open-minded and optimistic. Our shared struggles have produced a spirit of empathy unlike anything else, because even the most privileged can fall from grace.

If you truly believe that millennials are apathetic, unenthused, disinterested, and selfish, you clearly haven’t had the opportunity to work with us.

I love all of you, keep kicking ass.