Millennials. Is there anything worse? Has there ever been a worse generation on the surface of this earth that’s slowly and steadily being destroyed by human-caused climate change? Here we have a bunch of people who have been accused of being (and these are only the most notable highlights): All that entitlement. Difficult to work with. Lazy with no conception of what working hard is. Sex obsessed with no desire or intention to get married or grow up altogether really.
Speaking of growing up, this bunch are living with their parents longer than any generation before them and don’t even talk about things like buying homes which their parents had already done at their age. This bunch is allegedly so soft and sensitive about literally everything. Absolutely cannot handle money and overall just greedy and money-hungry. Then there’s the thing where millennials are responsible for killing numerous industries from the diamond ring industry to the entire economy. It’s a lot. Let’s talk about millennial entitlement which encompasses a majority of the rest of the accusations.
Entitlement refers to the fact of having a right to something. And if there’s something millennials are aware of it is their rights. This is the root cause of all the rest of the accusations.
1. On being difficult to work with
So millennials are difficult to work with, why? Unlike their parents and previous generations, the majority of millennials refuse to supplicate to authority figures asking how high whenever they are told to jump. This is a generation that requires an explanation for why they are being asked to do something. They are not overly obsessed with arbitrary social hierarchies and as a result, will ask questions and argue their point instead of just defaulting to the position of the ‘superior’ party. If not being a well-trained dog that just executes commands like a well-trained robot is being difficult to work with, I say, we should all be difficult to work with.
2. All that entitlement
Millennials have heavily criticized systems that were previously just accepted by a majority of the population. Unlike previous generations, millennials heavily criticize companies that exploit labourers, with a special focus on unpaid internships. Previous generations accuse millennials of being lazy, money-hungry, and drenched in entitlement for refusing to work for free aka be exploited by corporations that can afford to pay for labour but refuse to do so in order to maximize profit.
This is a violation of human rights and the rights of workers. Older generations argue that they went through this and worse and millennials are just too soft. If expecting fair treatment and just remuneration for their labour and refusing to quietly be exploited is lazy, money-hungry, soft, and entitled, then we should all be lazy, money-hungry, soft, and entitled. Give no quarter to greedy exploitative corporations.
3. On sex-obsession and refusal to accomplish key social milestones
There are all these social milestones that older generations had accomplished by some age like 25 or 30 that millennials do not look like they have a prayer of reaching. At their age, their parents had moved out of home, gotten married, and had two children with one on the way. Millennials on the other hand still have not moved out of home, are neither married nor parents, and could not be further from economic stability.
It has been proposed that millennials are not married because they are sex-obsessed and glued to Tinder. That is a lie. One of the main reasons holding people back from tying the knot is the economic cost. Unemployed economically precarious people don’t exactly meet the threshold of romantic viability. Millennials are also rethinking social norms and practices including institutions like marriage. This level of social awareness and intentional living should be celebrated.
5. On being lazy and not knowing the first thing about hard work
Millennials are economically precarious. They are poorer than previous generations. Poorer than any living generation. Wages are stagnant and the cost of living continues to rise. Inequality continues to rise globally. Every country in Africa is less equal than it was in 2010.
Millennials find themselves in a very different economic landscape than their parents and previous generations and it is not by any indication going to get better. So no, millennials are not moving out or buying houses or having a team of children because they are lazy. The systemic factors at play and the economic system, in particular, are crippling. There’s no getting around that and it’s gravely unjust and unfair to blame individuals for systemic factors far outside their immediate control and influence.
6. On being oh so sensitive
So millennials have fought against poverty wages and exploitation of students in the name of internships and attachments. They have spoken out against an economic system that is more focused on increasing inequality as it redistributes wealth to the already wealthy instead of workers. Millennials have spoken out against totalitarian workspaces where they are treated more like robotic slaves required to bow to authority rather than full-human beings.
Millennials are more vocal against injustice in all its forms from capitalism to racism, sexism to homophobia, fatphobia, and everything in between. That is not being soft and sensitive unless you’re talking about being sensitive to injustice. In which case, let’s all be sensitive. And millennials are sensitive to injustice even when it’s their own actions behind it. They are constantly evaluating their beliefs and positions and whether they stand up against injustice. That is beyond commendable.
Millennials expect better. They expect more from themselves and everyone else, especially our institutions. Expecting to be treated as human beings with a lived experience marching that of a human being in a decent society is not being entitled, at least not in any negative way. In any case, if this is entitlement then more people should be entitled.
Generations of humans have fought for better lives because they believed human beings deserve better. Enslaved people believed they deserved better. Colonized people believed they deserved better. Workers in the struggle for labour rights believed they deserved better. Numerous other discriminated groups whether on the basis of race, gender, sexuality, or class have struggled because they believed they deserved better.
All of them fought against exploitation and negative social hierarchies in all their various manifestations. Suddenly millennials believing they deserve better, demanding and struggling for the same is entitlement? Refusing to settle for less in a fractured poorly organized society is laudable not something to be shamed for. Demanding better from ourselves, each other, governments and other institutions should be par for the course. Don’t settle. Give them no quarter. Believe people deserve better and keep fighting for a better future for all. That’s the only way things change. Aluta continua.
Another lie Millenials have been fed is about the magic of entrepreneurship and endless possibilities therein. Check out a critique of entrepreneurship.