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.

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