I’m Proud To Be a Millennial So Fuck Off

Lazy, entitled, freeloading, whiny, safe-space-inhabiting, impatient, thin-skinned, don’t-know-the-meaning-of-a-hard-day’s-work, precious snowflakes. Millennials. My generation.

Or, if you’re Time Magazine, “The Me Me Me Generation.” This is but one example of the current favorite editorial of the lazy middle-aged journalist. It’s one in which they trash millennials for everything they’re anecdotally doing wrong. And they do it with very little empirical evidence about what’s actually going on in their lives.

Writing indignant think pieces about how awful the young people are these days has been in style since Socrates was wearing bedsheets as a fashion statement in the amphitheaters of Athens. But this style of editorializing still pisses me off.

I’m tired of it. For one thing, the entire concept of “generations” is bullshit, as perfectly explained by Adam Ruins Everything:

For another, the Millennial stereotype is pure, unfiltered cockamamie. So let’s set aside for a moment the fact that generations are a nebulous concept devoid of meaning and that the popular stereotype of millennials is false. I’d like to take this moment to explain a thing at you.

I’m proud to be a millennial. Here’s why.

The most educated generation

For the purposes of this article, I’m defining millennials as North Americans between the ages of 18 and 34 at publication date.

The Pew Research Center says millennials are on track to be the most educated generation ever. People in this generation are graduating from high school and attending college at rates that exponentially outpace previous generations.

Of course, that also means they’re graduating with their college degrees and an average of $35,000 in student loan debt. And for more on why that sucks, here’s what we have to say about our own experiences with student loans:

But let’s keep focusing on the positive, shall we? Like how having an education reduces poverty, raises income, makes people healthier, and of course, gives one the ability to pretentiously quote Kierkegaard in social situations at a moment’s notice.

To be fair, part of this statistic is due to the fact that women, immigrants, and people of color in the United States currently have more opportunities for educational advancement than at any time previous in American history. It’s hard to be the most educated generation when it’s 1950 and you’re suppressing half your generation’s access to an education. Which leads me to…

The most socially progressive generation

The millennial generation has been at the forefront of the Black Lives Matter movement and seen marriage equality become the law of the land. And they are far more comfortable with social justice than previous generations. Which, as far as this millennial is concerned, is something to be very, very proud of.

Millennials are overall more progressive than older generations. This doesn’t just cover political party affiliation (though 57% of millennials lean Democrat according to the Pew Research Center). A Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) report reveals that millennials are starting their adult lives more progressive than any generation since 1960.

Most people lean more conservative as they age. Yet millennials are beginning to formulate their socio-political opinions farther to the left than their predecessors. Which ultimately could mean that they will trend less conservative as they get older.

That same CIRCLE report states that millennials are more progressive on economic issues. Also, they’re more committed to community service. More tolerant of demographic diversity, more comfortable with homosexuality, more welcoming of immigrants, more supportive of civil liberties like free speech, and more liberal about gender roles.

I’m optimistic enough to believe that even the most anxious conservative pearl-clutchers can’t think that’s all bad.

But this also means that, politically speaking, millennials are more pro-government than their elders and they have a more favorable view of socialism. So, maybe start clutching those pearls, old conservatives?

The most productive generation

Millennials currently make up the majority of the tax-paying workforce in America. So suck on that, cranky old fart starting letters to the editor of his small town newspaper with “As a taxpayer…”

But not only are we highly represented among the worker bees, we’re also the busiest bees in the hive. For according to the Harvard Business Review, millennials across the board are total workaholics. In fact, because of a number of factors, millennials could be poised to be the most productive generation ever. It completely flies in the face of the stereotype, but there it is.

With all this work we millennials are doing, you’d think we’d be painting our fixies with gold leaf and sprinkling our Unicorn Frappuccinos with diamond dust. Not so: despite this unparalleled work ethic, millennials are vastly underpaid. Which just makes the whole “entitled” stereotype that much more infuriating.

Anecdotally speaking, I find this statistic completely believable. Almost all of my peers pull long hours at their day jobs and freelance on the side. When we can get together to commiserate, it’s like the Overworked Olympics: comparing stories to see who’s more stressed, who’s got more on their plate, who’s sacrificing more vacation time, who’s working themselves into a coffee-and-adrenalin-induced brain aneurism faster.

Millennials work hard! “I know I do,” says the girl writing this blog post on a Sunday. After I spent most of my afternoon freelancing for a Gen X client! And before I head to my day job working for a Baby Boomer tomorrow! I DARE YOU TO CALL ME LAZY.

The generation that is fighting your goddamn wars

That’s right. I went there.

71.8% of our country’s active duty military members are Millennials.I count some of them among my friends. And these millennials are doing the most dangerous jobs in the military.

They’re the deployed, on-the-ground, front-line enlisted soldiers and marines and low-ranking and non-commissioned officers. These are the ones following the orders of higher-ranking older officers sitting in locations of relative safety. They’re working hard. They’re risking their lives. And they’re millennials.

So you can either be all “Millennials are lazy and entitled and they don’t know the meaning of sacrifice.” Or you can #supportthetroops. Pick one. You can’t have both.

And we’re doing all this under overwhelming circumstances

The crash of 2008 and the recession that followed defined the economic circumstances of my generation. We had nothing to do with creating these circumstances, and yet we disproportionately suffered because of them.

Because of the 2008 crash, millennials may never make as much money as previous generations according to Bloomberg.

Employers are more cautious about hiring and offering competitive paychecks. That will affect millennials for the rest of their careers. And those millennials who could find a job after the crash are way more likely to cling to that low-paying position for fear of being unemployed again. Watching the housing market and stock market completely implode and betray normal investors has bred a deep-seated distrust of these institutions, which has made millennials worse investors.

Then there’s the student loan debt crisis, a $1.3 trillion burden on our generation that nobody in government seems particularly motivated to alleviate. Our youngest working generation is starting their professional lives deeply in debt, with a staggering negative net worth. Combine that with the whole underpaid issue and it’s no wonder that millennials are delaying typical adulthood milestones. Like getting married, buying houses, and having babies.

And yet even in the face of these depressing odds, millennials are doing all of the above. Statistically speaking, we’re kicking ass and taking names and being thoughtful and compassionate while we’re at it. And as far as I’m concerned, that’s something to be damn proud of. So fuck off.

(I’m Proud to Be an American got stuck in my head while writing this article and now I’m at least halfway to insanity.)

To the members of Generation Z

I originally wrote this article back in 2017. It is now [checks watch, remembers I don’t wear a watch, squints thoughtfully into the distance] almost 2022. I’m older now. Questionably wiser. And I’ve noticed the baleful eye of public opinion turning on a new generation.

Gen Z. Zoomers. Zennials. Now that we millennials are looking more and more like grizzled, late-thirties wine moms, this younger generation has been left to carry the torch of intergenerational scorn. And I am fiercely fucking protective of them.

As fucked up as the world was when millennials came of age… zoomers have it worse. All of the problems of the millennial generation have just been exacerbated for zoomers.

Which is why I’m choosing to buck tradition when it comes to shitting on the next generation. If Gen Z is bracing for contempt, misunderstanding, and judgment… they won’t get it from me. For my younger brother and sisters, I have nothing but respect, support, and compassion. Plus tender bafflement as I watch them Tik their Toks and develop a vocabulary where they can say things like “poggers” and I definitely can’t.

The zoomers also have my admiration. For while so many of my millennial peers have sounded the alarm about climate change, imperialist wars, unfettered capitalism, toxic masculinity, and a whole host of other social ills… the zoomers are actually doing something about it.

So far from looking at the next generation and shaking my head in shame and disapproval… I salute the little fuckers. They give me hope. They inspire me. I’m proud to be a millennial. And prouder still to see Gen Z growing up to absolutely slay.

The kids are all right.The kids are all right.

28 thoughts to “I’m Proud To Be a Millennial So Fuck Off”

  1. Lololol so my boss asked me how my weekend was and I bragged – DOWNRIGHT BOASTED – that I only did about two hours, max, of freelance and blog work!

    She was happy for me and told me I looked extra rested, but joke’s on her, I just bought a new drugstore BB cream so it’s just that I’m not using expired makeup.

    1. This is hysterical!! You guys are so emotional over anything. You can own it. If you are a slob and someone tells you. You dont like the way they tell you. If you cant handle your job that you signed up for you will sneak on your phone all day till you get fired. Omg go forbid I have an outing with any of you. You stare at your phone the whole time. What is going on?? I’m only 42 but jesus, there is a difference. Street smarts is also important you should be aware of your surroundings..

  2. Thank you! I get really sick of millennial bashing. They have whole shows dedicated to it (the great indoors)

    I laugh every time i read an article on NYT or routers about how millennials are kicking but saving and working compared to other generations despite the fact we have had a lot of set backs.

      1. I’m a baby boomer and am so proud of millennials for their bravery in social change, tolerance and respect.

  3. I know a lot of great millennials, they’re smart, humble and hardworking people. They serve in the Army, working in police, helping others. But our society based its opinion on a small % of loud “me-me-me babies”

      1. Funny. I started typing my comment “…I’ve worked for over 25 years…” and then it hit me. CLICK. They’re out..boring…they haven’t even read past what I was going to say. You know that’s true. But if I said ROFL or OMG or BITE ME that would get attention. Of course I’d have to repeat that after every other sentence to keep their attention.

        1. Hi Bob. It’s me, Piggy, the author of this blog post. I just wanted to assure you that I, a person who has been in the workforce for considerably fewer than 25 years, have read every word of your comment. I’m a little confused about the acronyms you used, though. Could you kindly explain the meaning of “OMG” and “ROFL”?

          Friendly Russian’s comment really resonates with me too, since it perfectly encapsulates exactly what I meant in the original post! 🙂 🙂 🙂

          1. Not sure the “most educated”, “most progressive”, etc. Is buying you a whole lot in the greater social context. These are not accomplishments. They are, as you kind of mentioned, opportunities that were afforded to you based on the suffering and change driven by others. At the end, It’s really about results. Each “generation” builds on the work of the previous. I know many hardworking, no BS millennials so I’m not here to paint with a broad brush but understand the words you used add fuel to the fire.

  4. Wait. I was hoping I was a millennial but being born in 1980 puts me at 36!

    I agree. The concept of generations is complete horse doo doo. Plus one stereotype does not fit all. It is just that society does not know how to handle progress and change. So they talk smack about the next generation. Nicely written!

    1. We’ll accept you as an honorary millennial. 😉 I’ll bring it up at the next meeting.
      And thank you so much for reading!

  5. So Refreshing!

    Thank you for this wonderful rant. I found myself reading faster and more angrily the farther I went! I think in the end us millennials won’t be so bad.

    I hate that I hear this entitled word thrown around the way it is when I ran my own business, paid a ton of student loan debt, and found a way to make enough money to start a family and buy a modest home. I would say I am entitled as fuck to my view on life and what I think of government, the world, etc.

    Suck It Old People! I will put fairy dust on my Unicorn Frappuccino and wherever the fuck else I want!

    1. LIVE YOUR BEST LIFE, CAMERON! Your story is exactly the kind of thing I was thinking of while writing. Plenty of millennials I know work DAMN hard for what they have, and the stereotype is just useless. Thanks for commenting. 🙂

  6. I can’t wait to be a lazy, entitled Millennial when I am Early Retired! 🙂 Work hard, stash money, rinse and repeat = sayonara workplace!

  7. Great article! I’m an on the cusp millennial (born in ’82). I hate when a whole generation of people are all summed up into one bucket. It is complete crap. Either way, I like how you pointed out that millennials are badass. I will be walking with my head held high today.

  8. Well f*ucking said! I love that you did your research to back up everything that say! You also display an excellent command of the Queen’s English! Great read! You really prove that ‘we’ the Millennials are the shit {well some of anyway! I know some douchy ones too!}… Thanks

  9. The one important thing to note here is that not everyone in the generation is going to have the same things, which doesn’t necessarily mean they’re lazy. There’s poor, and in-between poor and not poor. I managed to get to a college, but I didn’t do so until 24 and won’t be graduated until almost 30. I don’t have ‘health” food because although I know what it contains, I can’t afford it, and won’t be able to until later. I lack social skills to the same extent as peers due to various problems, some genetic, some environmental. The thing is it’s rather problematic and this makes me as mad as the ones that say all the negative stuff, for the simple reason I don’t fit neatly into either and is a perfect illustration of the principle why “positive” stereotyping can be just as harmful as the negative kind, not to mention the tone of the article reminds me of that of people who beat me with that for about 6 years straight while OCD pushed me to go further and further with them. Because people just plain flat out do not fit into simple boxes, period, especially when it’s something as broad as this. I am not very disciplined, but I try to get more now, nonetheless have enough to at least get good grades in college though I’m sure prior self-study and not going until 24 helps. I was not able to acquire a lot of “skillz” when younger as I never went to school and was mired in emotional and psychological problems but fortunately I manage to get grants and scholarships to pay for my college,

  10. PS I would say though that I agree that education should be a human right, NOT a privilege, at least insofar as the means to acquire it are concerned. You should not HAVE to go a shitload into debt.

  11. (still not sure my posts are getting through because some display and others don’t then it says “already posted” 🙁 )

    However the problem with this is that not everyone fits these categories either. I did get into a college, but not until I was 24 and am 27 now but still in college. I do not have a lot of skills to qualify for a lot of jobs right now. I am not a very disciplined person though I try now to get more. Mental problems did not help with that. The problem is this “positive” stereotyping is still stereotyping and it’s still just as harmful as the negative kind. Because not everyone is like this either just as not everyone is like the other type either and I don’t consider myself to fit into either mold.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *