Hey Generation-X, Shut Up!

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If you’ve been on Facebook recently you’ve probably seen this stupid video of a guy talking about the challenges of working with millennials in the workplace. It repeats a bunch of the same old stereotypes about millennials: that they’re whiny and entitled because they got “participation trophies” as kids. They want free stuff. They’re lazy and they live in their parents’ basement. They’re addicted to social media. He covers it all.

You can watch the video if you want, but I don’t recommend it.

It’s been viewed 5.5 million times and shared over a million times. If you want to know what I think about it, and I assume you do if you’re reading this article, I think it’s a load of patronizing crap designed to help Baby-Boomers and Gen-Xers feel better about their own crummy generation. How’s that for a hot-take? Now, let’s take a look at each of these millennial stereotypes one by one and I’ll explain how wrong they are.

First, millennials are entitled because they received “participation trophies” for coming in last place. “Everyone thinks they’re a special little snowflake,” they say. Alright, let’s see who the participation trophies were really for. They weren’t for me or my friends. We played recreational sports because it was fun, not because we wanted a trophy. None of us would have cried if we didn’t get a trophy at the end of the season. The trophies were given to us by adults, the same adults who now condemn us for taking them. They were never for the players. They were always for the players’ parents who each thought that their kid was the best, for all the pathetic middle-aged dads who wanted to relive their childhood fantasy of being a sports star that never came to fruition. Maybe if your parents had told you that you were special you wouldn’t feel the need to do this kind of stuff.

“Millennials want free stuff.” I know right? How dare we protest against college tuition rates that have risen 260% since 1980 when the minimum wage today is actually lower than it was back then after adjusting for inflation. We’d really be grateful if we could pay for college tuition with only  a minimum wage summer job, you know, like you older generations did. Instead, we’ve collectively gone 1 trillion dollars in debt in order to get an education. Then you have the gall to write patronizing articles like, “Why Aren’t Millennials Buying Stuff?” Maybe if you really wanted to jumpstart the economy you would help us lobby to lower tuition rates so we can start buying cars and homes.

“Millennials are lazy and live in their parents’ basement.” Actually, we’re the largest generation in the workforce. The growing tech world is filled with millennials who have created new companies and technology worth billions of dollars. Meanwhile, older generations are duped by a presidential candidate who thinks that propping up a dying manufacturing industry is the most important solution to improving the economy. I mean, I get it. I understand. We millennials would love to have a guaranteed job in the local factory that doesn’t require any special skills or education, yet pays good wages thanks to strong labor unions. Instead, a lot of us have to resort to taking jobs at the local fast food restaurant which, just like your factory jobs, don’t require any special skills or education. But when we ask for maybe a little better wages or strong unions, we’re the lazy and entitled ones.

“Millennials are addicted to social media.” This one really makes me laugh. Sure, millennials may have invented most, if not all, of the most popular websites visited today. But are we the most “addicted?” I don’t think so. This may only be anecdotal evidence but of all my Facebook friends, the two who post the most are women between the ages of 40 and 50. I just counted, and one of them posted 18 times in the past 24 hours. The other posted 29 times in the past 12 hours. The fact that most of their posts are sharing fake news and conspiracy theories from non reputable news sources is a whole other problem. Maybe you Gen-Xers should spend less time on Facebook and more time reading a book or an actual newspaper.

Now if you’re a member of Gen-X you might be thinking, “Geez, you can’t just generalize an entire generation like that. Not all of us are like that.” Yes, I agree. Now remember that the next time you’re tempted to make an offhand remark about how millennials are whatever you’d like to imagine we are.

j.adams@dailyutahchronicle.com

10 COMMENTS

  1. You misunderstood the whole point of the video. He was not at all saying that about millenial. In fact, if you did your research, he actually talks about millenials having a disadvantage…he is merely mentioning the difference in how the workplace is functioning now due to changes in society. He isn’t blaming millenials for behaving the way they are but because society around them has made them that way. You’re being offended without realizing the point of the message behind it.

  2. You misunderstood the whole point of the video. He was not at all saying that about millenial. In fact, if you did your research, he actually talks about millenials having a disadvantage…he is merely mentioning the difference in how the workplace is functioning now due to changes in society. He isn’t blaming millenials for behaving the way they are but because society around them has made them that way. You’re being offended without realizing the point of the message behind it.

  3. Whatever… this guy.

    A few of the things he’s seeing about millennials, you could say about GenX too… participation trophies, lazy, debt.

    And this nonsense about the tech industry… um, weren’t millennials still watching cartoons when the tech industry started booming?

    And come on… I don’t know anybody who wants a low skill factory job. We’re busting our asses too buddy.

    And pretty much every generation has some folks stuck on social media… maybe you notice it more because, wait for it… you’re on social media?

    I get it, millennials are angry and fed up… but if you think GenX is the problem, you’re gonna have a bad time.

  4. Whatever… this guy.

    A few of the things he’s seeing about millennials, you could say about GenX too… participation trophies, lazy, debt.

    And this nonsense about the tech industry… um, weren’t millennials still watching cartoons when the tech industry started booming?

    And come on… I don’t know anybody who wants a low skill factory job. We’re busting our asses too buddy.

    And pretty much every generation has some folks stuck on social media… maybe you notice it more because, wait for it… you’re on social media?

    I get it, millennials are angry and fed up… but if you think GenX is the problem, you’re gonna have a bad time.

  5. To be clear, I wouldn’t lump all millennials in the whiny, snowflake category because there are lots of them who actually did work hard to compete in sports and be as good as they could be and truly deserved the medals / trophies they won. My kids are in that category. While no generation is perfect, I do think that the millennials, who don’t have a lot of life experience, are operating with a lot of inaccurate information and get caught up in the hot-topic of the moment and the feel-good stuff that often doesn’t work well in reality. Obama as president and his signature healthcare act are perfect examples of this. Millennials were given participation trophies not to make parents feel better but to appease the kids who would cry and whine when they didn’t get a trophy like those on the winning team. It did create a culture of entitlement which is incongruent with real life and the workplace. Our country and the constitution is founded on the rights of the individual and capitalism. It’s based on the opportunity that we have if we choose to take advantage of it, not social programs that an ever-increasing government is to provide us. The bigger the government, the more restricted we are as individuals because a larger government and more social programs means more taxes and less money for the individual who’s money that really is. Additionally, the more special groups there are who want special treatment and equality the more that can’t happen. By definition, if you want to be special, you dont’ want and can’t be equal. Superman was special, not equal (I know he’s not real but it’s an appropriate example).

  6. To be clear, I wouldn’t lump all millennials in the whiny, snowflake category because there are lots of them who actually did work hard to compete in sports and be as good as they could be and truly deserved the medals / trophies they won. My kids are in that category. While no generation is perfect, I do think that the millennials, who don’t have a lot of life experience, are operating with a lot of inaccurate information and get caught up in the hot-topic of the moment and the feel-good stuff that often doesn’t work well in reality. Obama as president and his signature healthcare act are perfect examples of this. Millennials were given participation trophies not to make parents feel better but to appease the kids who would cry and whine when they didn’t get a trophy like those on the winning team. It did create a culture of entitlement which is incongruent with real life and the workplace. Our country and the constitution is founded on the rights of the individual and capitalism. It’s based on the opportunity that we have if we choose to take advantage of it, not social programs that an ever-increasing government is to provide us. The bigger the government, the more restricted we are as individuals because a larger government and more social programs means more taxes and less money for the individual who’s money that really is. Additionally, the more special groups there are who want special treatment and equality the more that can’t happen. By definition, if you want to be special, you dont’ want and can’t be equal. Superman was special, not equal (I know he’s not real but it’s an appropriate example).

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