I?m a millennial and my generation sucks | New York Post
Millennials are the worst. I should know — I am one.
At 26, I’m stuck in the middle of the world’s most maligned, mocked and discussed age group. And I hate it. Imagine being forever lumped into a smug pack of narcissists who don’t just ignore the past, but openly abhor anyone and everything that came before them.
“My boomer co-workers get paid more and they have no clue what Reddit is!” drones the millennial victim as the tiny violin plays. Meanwhile, baby boomers gave us, um, computers, and our major contributions to society are emojis and TV recaps.
2016 hasn’t exactly been a banner year for the Lousiest Generation.
First there was Talia Jane, the dopey, 25-year-old Yelp employee who was rightly fired for whining about her low salary on social media
. Next came the 27-year-old Mic writer who told his boss he was taking time off for a funeral
when he was actually building a tree house
And then entered the Sandernistas, Bernie Sanders obsessives who preached reform and inclusion by berating their closest friends and family for daring to think differently. (One post on the “Bernie or Bust” Facebook group reads, “I don’t want to be friends with you if you support Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump.”)
This is what happens when parents slap their toddler’s headshot on a birthday cake.
Recently, a comment from a colleague hit me like a stray selfie-stick. She said, “In some ways I love being a millennial, because it’s so much easier to be better than the rest of our generation. Because they suck.” It was jarring to hear the truth so plainly stated. But she’s right. We suck. We really suck.
Like a member of Alcoholics Anonymous, I must admit that I’m powerless to my biological age. Nonetheless I fight back every day against the traits that have come to define Gen Y: entitlement, dependency, nonstop complaining, laziness, Kardashians.
People like me are called “old souls,” or “26-going-on-76.” We’re chided by our peers for silly things such as enjoying adulthood, commuting to a physical office and not being enamored with Brooklyn. Contentment has turned us into lepers. Or worse: functioning human beings.
My millennial friends want me to be hopelessly nostalgic for the ’90s, obsessing over which “Saved by the Bell” character I’m most like, while ironically purchasing Dunkaroos and Snapchatting my vacant expressions for 43 pals to ignore. Or flying home for the weekend to recover from office burnout by getting some shut-eye in my pristine childhood bedroom. Thanks, but I’ll pass.
This is my number one rule: Do whatever millennials don’t. Definite no-nos include quitting a job or relationship the moment my mood drops from ecstatic to merely content; expecting the world to kowtow to my every childish whim; and assuming that I am always the most fascinating person in the room, hell, the zip code.
By absolving ourselves of responsibility, we’ve become forever 8-year-olds, tattling on the world in hopes it will better our situation. It won’t. It will only make it crummier.
Millennials are obsessed with their brand. They co-opted the term from Apple and Xerox to be — like so many other things — all about them. “What’s your brand?,” millennial employers ask. The trouble is that a young person’s brand rarely extends beyond a screen: Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube. When you meet them, they’re never quite as witty, attractive or entrepreneurial as they seem on Facebook. They’re fiction authors, spinning elaborate yarns about their fabulous lives: “The Great Cathy” or “Asher in the Rye.”
But the truth is more like “A Tale of Two Cindys.” She’s the life of the party online, dull as dishwater in person.
Last year, sitting at a bar in Hell’s Kitchen, a 29-year-old friend asked, “How do you just start talking to somebody you don’t know?” The best answer I could muster was, “I’m interested in other people. I like to ask them questions about themselves.” Simple, right?
Not when your mind has been warped to believe you’re automatically deserving of others’ attention like the pope in Vatican City.
Perhaps their messiah complex is a result of being coddled, petted and worshiped like toy poodles from infancy all the way to college. Pundits love to cite soccer participation trophies as the downfall of Western civilization — but it gets even worse.
Last week, Hastings High School in Westchester, NY, handed out 87 commendations at its Senior Awards Ceremony. The graduation class size? 141 teens. A Reason Foundation survey found 58 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds think their own generation is entitled. Huh. Why could that be?
The social awkwardness of 20-somethings is a problem caused by two enemies: Kanye-sized egos and smartphones. But in order to be a good networker — still the best way to secure a job — you need to stop filtering mediocre selfies with “valencia” on Instagram, look up from your device and string together a few words with strangers. Preferably, words about them.
Too often, during a conversation, a young person’s eyes glaze over as they decide what scintillating tidbit about their brilliant selves to reveal next, be it the three days they didn’t leave their apartment, or how a study abroad experience in Portugal nine years ago shaped who they are today. News flash: Nobody cares.
(Sorry, I just got a text from someone I’d rather be spending time with. Feel free to keep reading while I carry on a separate conversation with them.)
The self-obsession doesn’t go down well at the office, either. Millennials make up the largest portion of the workforce. But employers are terrified of them — with good reason. They’re serial job hoppers. According to Gallup, in 2016, 21 percent of the commitment-phobes left their job after less than a year. Sixty percent are open to it. The “Where do you see yourself in five years?” question has never been more redundant, because the answer is almost definitely “Not here.”
One friend of mine has tackled six different jobs in two years, which seems more stressful than just sticking with one less-than-perfect spot for a while. How long should any person stay in a gig? At least 18 months, according to most career experts. Think of it as binge-working.
And once they do land their dream job as a hoverboard tester paid in wads of cash and sushi burritos? They want to work from their apartment. A US Chamber Foundation study said work-life balance drives the career choices of 75 percent of millennials. In my experience, however, the balance generally tilts toward wherever you can type pantsless.
Millennials are more interested in documenting their lives than they are in living their lives to the fullest.Photo: Getty Images
The situation looks bleak — but we can turn it around, millennials. Here’s how.
Action item one: Stop blaming everybody. Don’t blame the big banks, don’t blame your mom, don’t blame the baby boomers, don’t blame your employer, your landlord, the economy, the Apple store, the media, the airlines, the weatherman, George R.R. Martin. By absolving ourselves of responsibility, we’ve become forever 8-year-olds, tattling on the world in hopes it will better our situation. It won’t. It will only make it crummier.
Action item two: Stop being so insular. Many young people were shocked when Brexit won out in the UK, or when Donald Trump became the presumptive GOP presidential nominee. That’s because you’ve curated your social media accounts — where most of your interaction takes place — to be in total agreement with your opinions. But most of the world doesn’t think the way you do, which doesn’t make them bad, just different. Try empathy on for size. Befriend some dissenters. Grab a beer with them, listen to what they have to say. For once, don’t yell at them.
Action item three: Stop waiting around for something big to happen. Getting a job is hard. Filling out a million online forms isn’t enough. Primping your LinkedIn and hoping your God-given greatness will finally be recognized by everybody else like your grandma always said it would will get you zip, zilch, zero. You need to leave your apartment, meet people, be assertive, interested, open. I’ve gotten full-time jobs by sitting at bars and dancing at wedding receptions.
Fellow millennials, I want to like you. I really do. But you make it damn near impossible sometimes.[\quote]