Today I wish to direct your attention to a piece by John Beckett at Under the Ancient Oaks entitled ““Adulting” is an Indictment of Society, Not of Millennials“.
It is a thing nowadays to bash millennials for being entitled, emotionally fragile, and immature. We hear all the rants about how previous generations of teenagers and 20-somethings were off fighting wars, holding down factory jobs, and raising children and starting families. Why won’t these brats straighten up and get with the program? We hear all the horror stories about today’s students being coddled with political correctness, about “safe spaces” and “trigger words” and about that girl who required hours of counseling because she saw a Rebel flag somewhere on campus. What is with these people? But what if the problem is with us and with society at large?
Millennials grew up being told that they could be anything they wanted. Of course we didn’t really mean it; what we really meant was that they could be anything they wanted as long as they chose from the approved list of options that support our way of seeing the world. But they took us at our word, and when it came time for them to be adults, they did not like what they saw.
Here are some money quotes:
“So you want me to put on expensive, uncomfortable clothes, commute to a job, work all day five or six days a week for 50 weeks a year, all so we can ‘increase shareholder value.’ If I play this game really really well maybe in 20 years I’ll be an executive and make tons of money, but I’ll work even more hours. If I don’t, I’ll be kicked to the curb the first time ‘fixed expenses’ need to be cut so some executive can make his bonus target.
If this is being an adult, I want to be something else.”
The Millennials – and Gen X’ers and a few Boomers – who don’t want to adult are imagining a world where education doesn’t require massive personal debt, where health care is a universal right, where making sure everyone has enough is more important than making sure a few have the ability to become obscenely rich. They’re imagining a world where providing for yourself and your family doesn’t cost your soul.