A defense for Generation Y

Posted on Feb 21 2013 - 9:36pm by Lacey Russell

Baby boomers and Generation X so often express hatred for Generation Y, or millennials, that it’s a cliché.

We get it: You think we’re lazy, ADD and socially inept. Sure, I guess I can agree. I actually can’t deny that my generation is full of neurotic, overly medicated, unemployed video gamers.
But aren’t the baby boomers and old Gen Xers our parents? You raised us, and now look at how we turned out. I’m kidding, kind of.
Millennials are the demographic born after Generation X, typically in the time frame of late 1970s or early 1980s to the early 2000s. We are the first generation to come of age in the new millennium.

We are the Facebook generation, tweeters and YouTube users. We are technology-obsessed and glued to our iPhones.
There’s this gross generalization of us that depicts us as totally ill equipped to, in any way, survive regular society and the workplace. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the cry that millennials are no-good, idle sloths. The job figures don’t help us out. Our generation has the highest unemployment statistic of them all.
That’s pretty misleading, though, and unfair. We are the most educated generation, and yet the great recession of 2009 has hit us the hardest, at a time when many of us were just entering the job market.

Although many millennials have a college degree, 48 percent of working college grads are in jobs that do not require a degree, and 38 percent are in jobs that don’t even require a high school diploma.
We also carry the most crushing student debt of any generation, becoming indentured servants to our student loans.

This economy has older folks hanging onto their jobs for longer, preventing millennials from filling those positions.

We paid good money to get an education, and now we’re working at Starbucks to pay back our debts. I think it’s pretty clear that we’re trying, but the system has us struggling.
Seriously, stop hating on Generation Y. It’s pretty common in general for other generations to gnash their teeth at the younger generation. Those darned kids.

I’ve heard the arguments — that every generation has had its struggle, and if millennials just had the same work ethic as baby boomers, we wouldn’t be in our wretched state. I’m not sure work ethic is really the issue.

Does anyone think that millennials enjoy not having jobs or any money?

We just love living with our parents well into our 20s. Sorry that we can’t claim a world war or the civil rights movement as a redeeming characteristic of our generation.
There’s also the complaint that we were shielded from criticism growing up, always told that we were special little snowflakes, and now we don’t know how to turn negative feedback into something constructive.

Maybe it’s true, and maybe it’s not. There’s no way to measure that, and anyway, whose fault would that be?

I am pretty sure millennials didn’t tell their parents, “Hey, make sure you don’t hurt my feelings too much when you discipline me.”
This probably sounds like a defensive, self-righteous, pitiful response of a millennial, one that older generations will say is typical and fails to accept responsibility for our own failures. But that particular response is equally as predictable.
Yes, millennials have depression and are ADD. Yes, we have tattoos and piercings.

But these are generalities, and aren’t depressed, ADD, tattooed and pierced people also in other generations? Just so you know, millennials are also known for being the most tolerant of same-sex and interracial marriage. We’re also the most religiously open-minded of any generation.
We’re not that bad if you just give us a chance.

E.M. Tran is in her first year of M.F.A. graduate studies. She is from New Orleans, La. Follow her on Twitter @etran3.