Heaven: (noun): a place or condition of utmost happiness : something that is very pleasant or enjoyable. (Webster Dictionary)
Hell: (noun): a place or state of misery, torment, or wickedness. (Webster Dictionary)
Millennials: (plural noun): a group of 21st century individuals that have to grow up in a world full of avocado flavored items, a declining job market, increased student debt/debt in general, and poverty. (Breanna Rock)
Do you honestly know what it’s like to grow up as a millennial? Sadly, I do. Now don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of great perks and opportunities for millennials, but there is also an equal amount of struggle and fear. Obviously the definition above is not truly what a millennial is, but it is how people view that generation to be. They also view us as “whiners”, “complainers”, and pretty much HUGE babies when it comes to entering the workforce and adulthood. I can attest that we do whine and complain, BUT we have perfectly good reasons to.
The millennial generation evolved in 1981 and continued all the way through 1997. That is a pretty good chunk of ages that were able to experience and witness many changes to adulthood and the struggles that have both increased and decreased many areas of growing up as the years progressed. Now, I am not hating on other generations, because honestly they helped pave the way for us millennials as a generation. It is just hard facing judgement from these people when they seemed to have it a lot easier in other areas.
For instance, student loans. You really want to hear a millennial whine? Ask them about student loans. There is so much research, statistics and indications that we as millennials pay far too much for schooling. Much more than the generations before us would even think about paying for an education. School is an essential to this generation. We are taught that if you don’t have a degree that you are pretty much never going to find a job. Most millennials do go to college and end up racking up a ton of student loans.
The average rate for student loan debt in the United States during the 1980s for attending a 4-year program is around $9,000. NINE THOUSAND DOLLARS??? That is a dorm for a year in 2017. So just right there is enough proof that millennials are getting screwed out of money left and right. According to Forbes, the average student loan debt in 2017 is about $38,000. Now, take into consideration that this is not including dorms and meal plans that most schools make you purchase.
However, being a millennial does give you the power of innovation. There are so many of my friends that do not have degrees or student loan debt, and they are some of the most successful people I know. It is hard to place millennials in a bubble of being lazy and not driven. I believe millennials to be some of the most driven and excited people out there. They just demand fast results… and honestly, is that so bad? We want to get everything done and see maximum results. Always aiming higher than the generations before.
But anyway, back to the “complaining”. As if being in crippling student loan debt wasn’t enough, millennials can’t even find jobs that pay good enough to live comfortably. This is where I find not only myself but others around me to be struggling the most. It is almost like employers purposely want you to eat Ramen for the rest of your life. Rent is more expensive. Cars are more expensive. Food is more expensive (if you want to eat healthy). Gym memberships are more expensive. Gas is more expensive. EVERYTHING IS MORE EXPENSIVE. Yet, employers want to pay you in peanuts. I mean I would gladly accept peanuts if my occupation was a circus clown, but it sadly it is not.
Now, living in a city is different than living in a small town. Most things are overpriced, but the job market is a bit larger and they do offer you more money than in a small town. This is all coming from a post-two year Communications Media college grad, with less than 3 years of experience, living in a city. The thing is, even with some experience, employers still want to try and pay you like you have none.
Being that we do come from the millennial generation, we already pose a threat to employers. They think that because we are young we don’t know what we are doing, that we are lazy, and that we demand way too much. These are true facts. I have been told this multiple times by upper management. It is the stigma that follows our generation around like garlic breath, or an ex-boyfriend. But are millennials honestly the ones to blame? How is it fair that we get paid the least to do the most? I swear employers try to make us lose our minds. I do EVERY SINGLE PERSON IN MY OFFICES JOB, and I get laughed at when I ask for a raise. It is belittling and honestly terrifying to think that this might be what I look forward to for the rest of my life when it comes to jobs. The office bitch getting paid in pennies.
The good thing is, we are the generation that is not afraid to speak up. We are not afraid to demand more. We will work harder. We will provide you with the best work possible if we are respected in our particular fields. Millennials grew up being accepting and understanding. They grew up knowing that the world is changing, and that we have to go along with the changes, but we don’t have to agree with them. It is difficult being stereotyped as someone who is lazy when everyone around me is working their asses off trying to make a living and trying to give their passions and work a shot. We fear the uncomfortability of adulthood. We fear the lack of trust and positivity by employers. We fear the humiliation of asking for what we deserve. Millennials understand that everyone must start somewhere, but it is hard when you work so hard and get nothing in return.
I spoke to a few people about how they feel about the millennial generation. The first person that I interviewed was a co-worker of mine. She is on the cusp of being in “Generation X” and “Millennial Generation”. Therefore, she is an older version of what is typically considered a true millennial. Nonetheless she had a lot to say on the topic. First, I asked her what she overall thought about “millennials”. She responded by saying, “I honestly think that a large chunk of the millennial bunch gets a bad reputation for a lot of things. I think the stereotypes are only true for a small portion of that generation. I know a lot of millennials and they are great people. I am a member of the LGBT community, and the way millennials encourage us, fight for our rights, and overall just accept us is beyond words. They are less judgemental than other generations. It is nice to see young adults so passionate and outspoken about certain topics that other generations pushed aside”. She did mention that some of the millennials she knows are heavy complainers and sometimes demand too much, but that she believes that those actions were a result of how they were raised.
It is sometimes hard to be a part of a particular group that is so heavily stereotyped. A majority of millennials are hard working, driven, and accepting human beings. We are not afraid to ask for more, because that is what we were taught to do by our parents and in school. The world is changing and it is not the same as it used to be when previous generations had to worry about the job market, student loans, and housing. Millennials are willing to put their all into everything when they are given motivation and respect.
I spoke to a younger millennial named Cara about how she thinks of her generation, and no she did not respond with “It’s LIT”. Now the millennial I asked was born in 1996, making them on of the last years of this generation. I asked the same question, “How do you view the term Millennial?”. She responded by saying that a lot of adults make snide remarks to her about always growing up with the Internet, computers, cell phones, and more. She said they also think we are a bunch of lazy people. However, she said she can see why people stereotype and say these things. “We are stereotyped the same way every group is stereotyped. People take the bad influences from each group and use that as the describer. Sadly, that’s not the case with millennials and other groups. It is just the bad bunch that ruined it for the rest of us”, Cara expressed to me.
Both the older and younger millennial had great things to say about how this generation is viewed. I think it is important to just continue to show other generations that we are not these stereotypes. Millennials work extremely hard and are not afraid to speak up about any social injustice. I am proud to be a millennial, and you should be too. So we can’t afford more than the $1 Menu at McDonalds, big deal. You will see millennials be the generation that transforms this world. Just wait and see.
PS: If you are my employer and reading this, take this article as a hint that I need a raise.