So are you as fed up as I am with the All Millennial Problems All The Time thing? Millennials get all the media attention – they have debt! they are worried about jobs in the era of global capitalism! they are good at some things and bad at some things! they like avocados!
But in some ways we kind of had it worse than them! We were expected to be financially self-supporting from the age of 18. We didn’t get to move back in with parents and save gazillions on rent. Parents didn’t routinely help with cars or down-payments on houses. There were no career or mental health counselors at school (at least not in the UK where I grew up). The word “mentor” didn’t exist.
No GSAs or legal rights or visibility for queer students, no discourse around consent or bullying or racism. And just as we were looking for our first jobs, Thatcher and Reagan set the world economy on a collision course to hell, so those of us without connections supported ourselves through the 1990s on $600-$1000 a month with no family help. Housing prices went through the roof as people started seeing property as an investment, so many of us had no way to get on the property ladder. And we are just as screwed in terms of Social Security/Medicare as millennials, maybe more so because we’ve been paying in longer and likely will be the first generation to get zilch. At least millennials have more time to prepare for the retirement apocalypse.
So I often think I’d like to be a millennial, living at home not paying rent, to consider my parents as my friends, to be supported by counselors and advisers and teachers who actually counsel and advise and teach, to have been able to take classes in coding and not feel like a total anachronism in today’s economy, to have my taste in toast analyzed as a meaningful social trend. Yes, the gig economy hit them just as hard, and millennials do pay far more for college than we did (the only reason I have an okay job today is because my undergrad in the UK was free).
But to read the press you’d think that no other generation has suffered under late capitalism, and I kind of think we were its first victims. And if that made us depressed …. tough. No “honest conversation about the stigma of mental illness” for us!
– We Walked Ten Miles Barefoot To School Every Day Then Came Home And Ate Gruel, So There Millennials
Eh, pretty much.
Why do I feel like the very people who could benefit most from our advice are probably never going to ask us for it?