Just read another piece on the internet talking about "Generation Y" and "our" unrealistic expectations. Ugh. I hate being identified by my generation, and I hate mindless "generation bashing" - it's the most asinine thing I can think of; it's painting a myriad people from countless backgrounds with a brush so broad Roseanne Barr would tell it to go on a diet.
The truth is, bashing Millennials was in the vogue a few years back, but people have started to accept that we've got some serious problems, such as a f*cked housing market and student debt here and in the USA, and those problems are the result of the Baby Boomers' ambitiousness - something they accuse GenY of, and refuse to accept themselves. But to see another attempt to bring the blame back to the generation who were infants when their problems started makes me a little ticked off, so I'm going to respond.
First off, yeah, GenY as a whole seems to have a problem with thinking of themselves as protagonists, main characters even, in poorly scripted drama. It's led to ambitiousness without drive - SOME people want results, such as a high paying job, six-pack abs, or a career as an elite assassin/top-tier system administrator (whatever floats your boat) without actually recognizing how hard it is to achieve those things. This is how we were raised, though; when parents and teachers tell you from a young age that "you can achieve anything", AND THEN fail to encourage the competitiveness* and the focus on effort rather than inborn talent that you need to achieve these things, of course some people will be confused. When movies, which were ludicrous escapes from reality for previous generations, became the medium upon which your generation was raised, showing characters walking on screen and just being awesome, of course it creates false expectations. The Karate Kid taught a million youths that you can defeat hardened delinquent athletes at a violent sport they've practiced religiously for years with a short montage worth of effort and cleaning some f*cking fences. From birth we were assaulted with images of luck, wealth, success and most of it was accompanied by only the vaguest hints of actual effort.
Likewise, we were raised to look down upon "sh*t kicking jobs." This was due to attempts by Baby Boomer parents to fill GenY with the drive to succeed past such jobs, to achieve more in their lives. Even nowadays my sister tells me (whereas others assure me she's wrong) that you're nothing without a university degree, working a white-collar professional position; that's the message we grew up with. Now we have GenY youths, terrified of the working world, clinging to schooling until their late-twenties, then demanding a high-paying job without actually having to work for it. They were terrified to take any other avenue in life, and now that they've walked the fabled path, achieved the vaunted goals and expect their reward, now, at age 23. Sad, but remember: their parents and teachers told them it would be owed to them.
But all that said, while I see this happen sometimes, the truly awful cases are very rare. Most people my age were never that bad to begin with, mostly because we feel we've failed to measure up to the very high standards of "specialness" and achievement our upbringing tried to tell us was necessary, but also because reality is the best possible teacher. I expected a quick degree and a $95 an hour job... when I was fifteen and hopeful. Now I just want an entry IT position so I can work my way up and gain some industry qualifications. Most GenYs are long aware of the trials of the workforce and know we have to claw our way up the ladder.
The problem is, the ladder is not the same ladder the Baby Boomers had to climb. They changed it, swapped it out with a bigger ladder; higher and harder to climb, a boon for those already on top. Houses that once cost twice your annual salary now cost seven times; debt cripples American students especially, but everyone feels the pinch in some form; cost of living is spiraling out of control; employers expect degrees and unreasonable experience for jobs that don't require them, while there's an overabundance of graduates and a floundering economy, discouraging training fresh staff; we can't move out at 18 like our older brothers and sisters did, unless we lucked out on a tradesman role. Something that was generally discouraged by our parents who asked us to become university graduates, not plumbers. I can't just go to the dockyards and get a job to support a family by myself, like my father did. It's not that we won't accept a shitty job and work our way up - we try to do exactly that, and more. It's not the booming post-WW2 economy, it's a world fucked over by the economic effects of the War on Terror and a global economic recession. EVERYONE is hurting from this, but the youngsters and elderly with no base and no real advantages are hurting the most when it comes to social and economic advancement.
To quote someone else: "Nonsense. To the extent that there's a problem with Gen Y, it largely consists of having believed that they could do the same things their parents did--go to college, get a degree, get a decent job--and achieve the same results--buy a car, buy a house, start a family etc.
This now breaks down at several points. It's much harder to get a decent job or start a career, even with a college degree. Getting the degree often requires massive student loans. And buying a house in many parts of the country is a pipe dream.
So yes, Gen Y feels like if they do the same things their parents did, they should be getting similar results. If that's entitlement, well, so be it."
And to quote another: "I don't feel special or entitled. I just feel poor."
It's gone from a single man being able to feed a family with an unqualified job, to requiring two working parents... to twenty-year-olds struggling to move out, even if we desperately want to, and baulk each time we borrow money or suckle at the tax-dollar teat. Bloody hell, I've sent out 116 job applications, receiving a total of 3 interviews, and I've applied for everything from cleaning jobs to selling sponges.
I'm not special, I'm not entitled. I don't expect a quick, easy job at $95 an hour to fall into my lap; I just want a job, so I can work my way up that damn ladder and pay for my hobbies, my friends (Australian Gen Y-ers were criticized for being overly GENEROUS to others), and my eventual family. As for the claims that my "protagonistic" viewpoint makes me unhappy... I AM happy, despite it all. I have my hobbies, I have my writing, my interests. I know I mean the world to some people, and that's the definition of self-worth. A little worried for the future, but not cripplingly depressed.
But like everyone else, whatever generation, I just want to be able to stand on my own two feet.
These attacks on Generation Y are nothing more than divide-and-conquer nonsense from the lucky, wealthy elite, mixed with a little self-aggrandizing from the kinds of morons that complain about "kids these days" despite knowing nothing concrete about them.
It's all a distraction to hide us from the fact that, well, MOST of us are being screwed over by the system nowadays, and it's getting worse - that's why people are noticing it more with the current generations, who are raised on the concepts of social equality and possibility.
Instead of taking the bait, can we not admit the obvious flaws in today's system? Can we not be affronted, such as when millionaires smugly leaflet-drop McDonalds applications onto protestors who have degrees, crippling debt and two jobs already? Can we not stop and ask why twenty-five year olds who work full-time are still living with their parents, instead of vaguely blaming them? Can we not look at the graphs, charts and statistics and see there's something wrong?
Yeah, sure, GenY isn't perfect. No generation ever will be, just as no individual can be judged by their generation. But to oversimplify the economic issues we're ALL facing now as "this generation is unhappy because they have lofty expectations", is to plunge headlong into the realm of stupidity... or deliberately disingenuous.
My expectations, which are grossly misrepresented by these so-called pundits, have no bearing on the cost of home-ownership in proportion to the average income.
And I hate to say it, but guys? There's no comparison between a young baby boomer wanting a privileged job with no effort and a young generation Y university graduate expecting something better & more relevant to their skill-set than a job at Micky D's after slogging through years of hard study. They're not the same. People aren't graduating and expecting 100k per annum; they just want something a cut above minimum wage. That's not entitlement.
Maybe you need to learn the difference. Maybe that's your delusion.