Recently I’ve been grappling with the question of what the future holds for us millennials (those born between 1980 and 2000) as we try desperately to enter the workforce.
I feel that our generation will look back at the mid-2010s with a strong sense of accomplishment. The millennial generation has been called “entitled,” “lazy,” and “disinterested” by our forebearers. However, this can not be farther from the truth. Firstly, millennials have grown up in a society where the middle and working class had employment and unionized protection — giving our parents and grandparents the ability to provide a quality of life that is no longer obtainable for the majority of Canadians. Of course, this resulted in millennials feeling empowered to achieve the same class status as their parents.
Secondly, the fact that this generation has been labeled as lazy is a complete and utter misnomer. Millennials in posterity will be remembered as a generation that was spoon-fed the lie that the hard work of receiving an education will result in stable employment. My generation was taught from the onset from our education that if we follow our passions and dreams, that, that alone would result in a bright future. This fact is laughable upon a cursory investigation into the reality of the employment sphere. Millennials are now forced into low paying part-time jobs with little or no chance of ever receiving full-time employment and the benefits associated with it. This issue leaves many of us working up to three jobs in a futile attempt to support ourselves while trying to pay off a crippling student loan that our parents and grandparents never had to deal with. For them, employment was plentiful and opportunity of advancement was high. This is why the common adage of: “I started with nothing” is hilarious for millennials because we would kill to start our adult lives debt free.
Most of us will be starting our independence owing $20,000-$40,000, resulting in us failing to uphold the traditional societal timeline due to the fact that our parents and grandparent could afford to put a down payment on a house. Meanwhile we will have just pulled ourselves out of debt. Not to mention that now the cost of living has been compounded to the point where the vast majority of millennials are flirting with or are below the poverty line. If you ask a millennial their greatest wish, you will undoubtedly hear that all we want is full time employment. This should not be a pipe dream for us…this should be a right! The fact that we have to fight tooth and nail, against established professionals for the same low-level positions breeds an environment of failure. Not mention that this is usually coupled with an outdated unionized system that prevents external candidates from ever entering the field and favours a retiring class that is greedily trying maintain the same standard of living that millennials are shunned from.
The fact that we are labeled lazy because meaningful work is impossible to find is a gross misevaluation. It is not our fault that they had the opportunity to build experience while the economic climate was favourable. This leaves us fighting with each other over the scraps of what was the “American Dream”.
Thirdly, We are not disinterested! Millennials are one of the most well read and academically inclined generations ever produced. We are actively interested in changing the world for the better and once we are able to establish ourselves the world will be a much better and more well rounded place. Where previous generations were inherently racist, homophobic and sexist we have moved past this hurdle and accept everyone based on merit instead of a sweeping generalizations that were propagated by our generational forebears who grew-up in socially insensitive institutions.
Not to mention that we are spanning a gap culturally between the age of ideological conflict and the blossoming age of information.
To conclude to my fellow millennials, even though the older generations label us falsely we should not lose faith! We will overcome the trials ahead and when we pass the torch to our children at least they will be prepared for the realities of the modern age. I thank-you all for reading this observation and I hope some of you now understand the actualities of what us “lazy millennials” are going through.
-Evan Vetri, Contributor