You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake

So. Did you see this over on HuffPo? I’ll wait while you click.

Now. Did you see this?

I’m not sure where this whole Gen Millenial crap got started about everyone thinks they’re special, because I sure as shit never heard it. Actually, that’s not true. My sister and I did hear we were special. I imagine a number of my friends did as well. For the most part, we had great parents and awesome teachers who encouraged us whenever possible. The biggest difference is we were told we had to work for it.

The HuffPo article seems to indicate that my generation, that is, those of us born between the late ’70s and early ’90s, have a sense of entitlement. Excuse me while I snort. Entitlement? Entitlement to what? More debt? More stress?

If anything, I think the only thing we’ve haven’t gotten that older generations have is how to prepare for life in the “real world”.

Gimme more. MOAR.

We have more debt. We use credit cards like they’re going out of style because it wasn’t driven into us that we need to be money conscious, or, if you’re stupid like me, you do it anyway because you naively believe you’ll manage to pay it off. We pay more in rent while our wages don’t follow suit. According to KUOW, there’s been an 18% increase in rental prices in the Seattle area since 2007 – yet wages have remained flat. There are more of us attending college (yay!) but we pay through the nose for it (boo!) Young parents these days are setting up investment accounts meant to fund their childrens’ college education, or finding creative ways to afford it. One coworker of mine is thinking of moving twenty minutes north just so her children would be residents of Tennessee and have access to in-state tuition at schools she believes are better than the ones in Alabama. A number of my high school classmates headed for community college first to lower the cost for their education.

We have shitty jobs. The job market was pretty grim when I graduated from college ten years ago, and it’s only gotten worse since then. My sister was a pediatric nurse at one of the best hospitals in the nation, and she can’t find a job. That’s some fucked up shit. I had college classmates working retail long after graduation. I have friends now who have jobs they’re underpaid and overworked for simply because it’s the only thing they could find.

Weinstein’s got it right. I don’t think I’m unique or special. Just poor. The HuffPo piece makes a lot of generalizations, and I can’t think of a single person in my acquaintance it applies to. The vast majority of my friends and peers are engaged in employment that pays the bills but otherwise doesn’t excite them (yes, there are a few exceptions).  Those that have jobs that make them happy worked for those jobs, either by furthering their education or internships or taking jobs with companies they had little desire to work for but gave them room for personal professional growth.

I am not delusional. The tens of thousands of dollars of debt I have, that my friends have, that my sister and her friends have doesn’t allow for many delusions. If we had any, they would have been squashed right along with our first rent payment. We look at the cost of home ownership and see it slipping away with each passing month. We look at our children and wonder how the hell we’re going to be able to afford their education when we can’t even afford our own.

So to quote Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, “Assumption is the brother of all fuck ups.” Don’t assume my generation feels like a snowflake. Most of us are just trying to muddle through.

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