How to survive being a Millennial

I was born in “94 meaning that I belong squarely in Generation Y and am otherwise known as a ‘Millennial’. I belong to a generation know as cry-babies, spoilt brats and ‘snowflakes’. I find this extraordinarily unfair.

I don’t pretend that certain aspects of my generation or stereotypes are total untruths but I’d like to clear up some misconceptions. Yes, I grew up being told I was special and I was clever and I could be all I wanted to be and that “everything would be ok in the end” and it has been a horrific shock to realise that it was a lie. No, it isn’t my parent’s fault and of course I don’t blame them, of course, they thought they were doing the right thing. I’m not using a ‘blame the parents’ excuse. All I am trying to point out is that I used to believe unconditionally that if I was a good student and if I worked hard I would achieve my dreams and be happy. I have since grown up with a bump. We all have.

I will concede that my generation is ‘entitled’, we grew up like that, it’s what we’ve been taught. What I disagree with is the idea that we are lazy. To me, this is the most widespread and most hurtful stereotype of them all. I worked hard in school to get good grades despite a learning difficulty, then I volunteered and worked abroad, I funded myself and tried to educate myself in other cultures. I went to a good university. I set up an online shop and sold jewellery, I worked at a pub in the evenings and I went to all of my classes. I actively participated in class, I threw myself into my studies and I graduated with a 2:1. Almost immediately after graduation, I interned in London and used some money I’d saved to go to Australia to get a qualification. I worked for 12-13 hours a day with no days off and was paid with a qualification rather than money. Shortly after my return I began work for a company (which shall not be named) in which I worked so much overtime my wages added up to around £3 an hour. Currently I work as an unpaid intern for one company, I run the social media of another company, I run my own online shop, I get up at 5:30 six days a week to work (my only paid job) in a hotel and I try to spend at least six hours a week applying for more jobs. I get paid around £500 a month and I’m getting nowhere. I understand that previous generations worked hard to get by…but I’m pretty sure they got paid. Even minimum wage. There is no incentive to hire someone when they will gladly work for free for ‘experience’ so no one will hire us. Everyone I know is the same. We all work hard but we all work hard for free.

There is a grand idea that your early 20’s are the best time of your life, no responsibilities and no worries and you just party with your friends and have a fantastic time of it. I don’t do any of that, I’m lucky to see my friends once a month. It’s the same for almost everyone. It’s depressing.

There seems to be a sense of hopelessness, exhaustion with the world a depressing sensation that our lives are failing before they’ve even begun. The older generation see us as spoilt children and our voices aren’t heard.

Now that I’m sure I’ve depressed you all to tears I want to offer you a ray of hope. We may be in a horrid situation but we are in it together. Forget all the glossy photos on Instagram, the Facebook posts #blessed, and the fancy job titles that shine out of every LinkedIn Page. Talk to your friends and be open and honest. You’ll soon realise that it’s mostly a facade. It’s a horrid and difficult time of life, but you don’t have to suffer in silence or feel like you’re the only one. We’re all in this together. We really are, our parents may not understand but at least we can have empathy for each other.

I decided to write this post because a lot of young people seem to be killing themselves in my city. My little step-sister witnessed someone trying to throw themselves off a bridge. If you are affected by what I’ve been talking about please take my advice and talk to someone. If you can’t talk to someone you know then talk to me. It’s ok to admit it’s a struggle, you aren’t alone.

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