I was reading an article today about how Millennials, essentially, are screwed. How we’re the generation with the lowest birth rate, the highest amount of debt. How we aren’t buying houses, having kids.
Is it any wonder?
Most of us are broke – up to our eyeballs (and sometimes higher) in student loan debt, struggling to find our place in the working world where Baby Boomers are trying to hang on to their jobs as long as possible so as to maximize their social security when they retire. This means that we aren’t being promoted (or even hired) as the prior generation just isn’t leaving the workforce. Many are working 2, sometimes 3 jobs just trying to make ends meet. And many more of us are underemployed.
Ours is the generations where our parents really didn’t put money away for our education because when they went, college was cheap. No one saw the high prices of education coming. And then a lot of us had to go on and get Masters degrees (or higher) just to try to stay ahead, or even get started, in our careers.
I was talking with my husband tonight and he made a good point – there was one thing that could have saved our generation, but it’s the one thing that our parents managed to convince so many of of us not to do. Blue collar work. Mechanics, electricians, brick layers, heavy equipment operators, etc. But our parents mostly were of the mindset that we had to go to college. Either because they didn’t and wanted better for us, or because they did go and believed it was the only true way to get ahead in life, or sometimes it was because they looked down on blue collar workers and didn’t want that life for their kids. Whatever the reason, there are a lot of us suffering from crippling college debt, unable to find a job, on the brink of declaring bankruptcy, unfulfilled, unhappy, and feeling like our lives were nothing but wasted potential.
Obviously, this doesn’t apply to all Millennials. I know more than a few with a home and a few kids, but most of them didn’t take the “traditional” routes that our parents wanted or envisioned.
But I have to ask – what toll has all of this taken on our mental health? Kind of funny, but I read an article not long after the first that pointed out that Millennials are one of the most highly medicated generations for mental health issues – depression, anxiety, bipolar, personality disorders, OCD, and on and on and on.
Reading the two articles back to back made me think – are you really surprised? We’re all stressed beyond belief. Many of us know we’re getting the short end of the stick given to us by forces way beyond our control. We don’t know how to make it through. All of the promises of our youth ended up being made of paper. We’re watching the environment turn to shit – a cause that many of us first took up as kids when we cut the six pack rings so ducks and fish didn’t get stuck in them. We came of working age at a point where the economy was at its lowest and unemployment was at its highest. We took menial jobs because we couldn’t find work in our fields. We waited for the days when it would be our turn, but – funny story – it seems to have skipped right over us and onto the next generation.
I’ve heard a lot of people blame Millennials for things we had nothing to do with and couldn’t control, and the be castigated for things when really it was our younger counterparts in Gen Z (never looking up from our phones, disconnected from what’s really going on in the world, wanting everything handed to us) (no offense, guys).
We’re waiting patiently for the day when we have political power, the power the Baby Boomers don’t want to relinquish even though many of them seem to think it’s still 1985 and the world should be run as such. We’re waiting for the day when many of us can really make our mark in the business world as people stop refusing new ideas just because they’re new.
We’re waiting for it to be our turn.
I’m sorry for the rant. This issue has been featured in many of the news outlets and blogs that I read, and many of these things have been weighing heavily on my mind. Partly because I feel a lot of this really applies to the situations I find myself in, but partly because the messages resonate so clearly with me.
Thanks for reading this long-winded rant.
We should be back to our normal programming next week.