The Low Expectations of Millennial (for themselves)

So every few days I read an article or hear something somewhere about how my generation–the Milennials, those born between 1980 and 2000–are lazy, demanding of immediate gratification, expect everything without work, think we should be having high paying salaries, etc., etc.  But, from the people I know and talk to in my age group (and this is obviously biased because I don’t exactly have a random or representative sampling of friends, it’s convenience), we have really low expectations for our futures.  No one I know, for fucking realz, expects to make more than 50,000-60,000 a year.  Like, ever.  None of us feel the need to buy a house.  Or raise a gaggle of demanding, expensive, oozing out of every orifice children.  Or have fancy things.  For the most part, the people in my age group that I know want these simple things: to not panic about bills, to not have full blown anxiety attacks over student loan bills, to have a decent apartment in which we have enough space to showcase ours and our partner’s book and movie collections, and perhaps a pet or two.  The point at which we believe we are living the dream?  Ownership of a washer and dryer, a small yard (in which we can tether our pets and allow them to chase squirrels), and the disposable income to enjoy a few decent (not PBR) beers at a bar on the weekends.

How most of us feel about our job prospects:

And our living conditions:
(Mad props to The Daily Northwestern for this comic, Millennials)

Now, compared to what I hear about my generation (yes, The Who is totally playing in my head as I write this) this is painfully modest. Last I read, we walked into jobs demanding top paying positions.  We didn’t feel we had to prove ourselves.  We thought shit was simply granted to us.  I NEED TO KNOW WHERE THESE PEOPLE LIVE AND BECOME ONE OF THEM!

The people I know of my age group are willing to put up with low prestige jobs, simply because they give us the ability to live normal lives and enjoy those simple lives.  So long as our bills are paid and we can meet up with friends at a bar, we’re pretty fucking happy.  We don’t mind working hard.  We want to enjoy our jobs, even if we’re overqualified for them.  Many, many people I know are working jobs they are overqualified for for one of two reasons.  1) They like the job and it pays the bills.  Isn’t this what everyone wants?  or 2) They’re trying to ride out the recession.  No better jobs are available; they are willing to suffer so long as they have something resembling income.

And I would really like to understand the stereotype that Millennial aren’t willing to work hard.  Myself and those around me have all worked multiple jobs at some point in their lives, or worked while attending college.  That shit is fucking exhausting!  It sucks! It’s insulting to hear the stereotypes applied to my age group that say we don’t work hard.  Especially when the truth is, or feels like, we get less for working harder.  There is no possible way at this point to “work your way through school.”  No matter how hard you work, you can never pay tuition with a part-time job.  You can never pay for a house as a working-class citizen, not matter how frugal you are.  Perhaps we are simply too beaten down to care about the bigger dreams of home-ownership.

Again, I need to meet these supposed “Millennials” that refuse to work and are so entitled.  I have no doubt they are out there, but I also refuse to believe they are the majority.  The majority of us work our asses off and get nothing for it.  We do not choose to live with parents or carry large amounts of debt.  That is how the world works now.  It fucking sucks.  We work well over 40 hours a week–fuck, the 40-hour work week is a long-forgotten myth to most of us–simply to pay the interest on our student loans because our high schools and parents told us that education was the key to success.  Well, that’s bullshit.  Fucking boyfriend (who I love to death) avoided college and now makes more money than myself (a doctoral student) or any of my friends with Master’s degrees fields varying from fine arts to business.  Granted, it is still no where near what would be needed for us to reach our dream of a 2-bedroom townhouse with a washer and dryer, but still.

The moral of the story:  Unless your parents are rich, you’re fucked.  And the rest of us have to pick up the slack while we wear the labels of your spoiled-ness.

The War on Kids–it’s brutal.

Another Documentary Review!!!  But this one is a bit more positive. (I wish this was my big kid job!)

I’m watching it as I read this, so it might take a turn for the worst, but it’s so good.  The War on Kids.  Oh, so good.  I’m biased, because of the work I do and my love for the work I do and my little soapbox, that I try to keep myself off of, because I know how annoying soapboxes can be.

(http://www.thewaronkids.com/)

The doc briefly covers a number of topics, (so many and so briefly that I would like to see the doc turned into a series) including Zero Tolerance Policies (for violence and drugs), the School to Prison Pipeline (http://www.aclu.org/racial-justice/school-prison-pipeline-talking-points), the psychological effects of school surveillance, education and corporate curriculum, diagnosis/psychiatric medication for children, teacher/faculty bullying of children, and several more.  The doc interviews individuals from various child-centered professions, including teachers, pediatricians, and school board members.

The doc is pretty low quality, but the people interviewed are very passionate and make a lot of good points.  In one section, various teachers and school officials are talking about how their curriculum is given to them by the state, rather than individually created.  This means, that freedom is taken away from teachers as well as students to think for themselves, to find creative solutions, and to ask difficulty questions.  To me, this answers the questions “Why are kids so complicit and so lazy?  Why can’t kids think for themselves?”  Well, because we never teach them to, and even that natural impulse to think creatively is squelched as soon as it begins to develop.  Those neural connections are never made and therefore the skill is never developed.  Soapbox time:  teaching to standardized tests, corporate curricula (sold by Scholastic, or whatever other company has a contact with the school district and state), pushing children through lessons without checking for comprehension, disallowing or shaming students that question what they are being taught are all what make children hate school.  They are not allowed to be creative, to think “outside the box,” to stop the teacher when they don’t understand, to ask about something they learned somewhere else, to point out when things are either inconsistent or flat out lies.

For a brief section, they talk about how this type of education impacts adult lives and the ability to participate in democracy.  One of the individuals in the doc points out how junior and high school school papers, newspapers, and other writings are so highly censored. What they can and cannot say, the opinions expressed are completely regulated.  So, when they get out of school, when they become adults, why would they think this kind of censorship is wrong?  Why wouldn’t they think being told what to think is normal?  In one of the schools I worked with at one point, the Government class was assigned to write a letter to their congressman about a bill that was being presented.  The students were told exactly what side to support and what points to include in the letter.  What the FUUUUCCKKKK!!!!!!! That’s so fucking insulting to these students!!!! That is a horrible assignment!!!!!! Writing a letter to your congressman? Yes, good.  More people should.  But telling them what to say?  Dear teachers, that is brainwashing.  That is not encouraging free thought or critical thinking.  Several students reported they did not feel comfortable with this assignment, but were forced to do it anyway.

In the past, I have encouraged students to question what their teachers taught them, and even pointed them to things that they might find interesting (Howard Zinn, anyone?  Writings on Disobedience is a good primer for teens, and less intimidating than A People’s History).

Main point: every system in place for kids and adolescents is broken.  They are too over controlled.  They’re not allowed to make mistakes because they’re too over-surveilled.  Their curriculum is written by corporations and states, with no wiggle room for individuation or creativity or accommodation for learning styles.   They’re over-medicated and sedated within an inch of their lives.  Bah.  I would hate to be a kid today.  Because they’re not allowed to be people.  They’re forced to be automatons.  And then we, as adults, complain and wonder why they suck at life.  Well, because they’re not taught how to live or how to be individuals.

Don’t disappointment me, Phil!

I just started reading Dr. Phil’s new book.  Oh No!!! Don’t think like that!!!

You see, when I say Dr. Phil, I mean Dr. Phillip Zimbardo, of Stanford Prison Experiment fame.  Not that douchey, pop-psuedopsychological twat on daytime TV.  Gewwwrosss.

Not:

But:

Anyway, this book is The Demise of Guys.  I read the first chapter so far.  And I have to say, as a girl who feels constantlyconstrained by having to “act like a professional woman,”  I kinda want to be like “dude, quit your bitchin’.”  I’m sure Phil won’t let me down.  He starts off by talking about the poor stereotypes that face growing boys and themes they are sold, including Lombardi’s famous “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.”  (Ironically, I had the entire transcript of this speech in placard form in my bedroom as a child.)   But, in my mind I feel myself being like screw you.  You did it to yourself.  You don’t even know the other side, so quit bitching.

I do completely recognize the negative impact of the hyper-masculine stereotypes that boys face.  Real Boys   did an awesome job of discussing this subject. And I do recognize that boyhood raises certain expectations and roles.  But my vindictive little mind can’t help but think that men do this to themselves.  I do not think that they would be reject by women if they break out of them.    But male culture punishes any movement away from the either man-childish or Rambo stereotypes.  I once read an article about “The new age of Stay-at-home dads.”  The article was very positive and encouraging this, expressing that men were just as caring and instinctual about child rearing as women when they allow themselves to be.  But I couldn’t stop myself from reading the comment sections, far too many of which were men stating that this was emasculating, that no woman would ever respect a man that did this, that these men were obviously gay, etc.  After reading such a positive article, the comments were so discouraging.

But I have faith in you Zimmy!  I hope that you will educate me more about male development and stigma.  Being a lady, I can’t experience this myself, but I need to know.  But I will most likely remain steadfast in my “Ha, fuck you boys!  No you get to be screwed by society.”  All the while knowing that society should not be screwing anyone and that being screwed over equally is the only kind of equality that seems to exist anymore.

(The Demise of Guys was also a TEDtalk and the book was co-written by Nikita Duncan, but she didn’t fit into my funny Dr. Phil/Dr.Phil thing.  So, yeah, sorry Nikita.