By COREY LEBLANC
We have an image problem: a great many see us as narcissistic, digitally native, selfie-obsessed, glass-half-empty layabouts.
As a generation defined by our date of birth and our imposed digital awareness, we millennials shouldn’t have to carry this stereotype without some sort of rebuttal.
Many post-secondary students who fall into the millennial demographic manage to balance school, social life, relationships, home life, all the while keeping themselves from bursting at the seams.
Countless numbers of us are breaking our backs day in and day out trying to balance the many facets of life. So why all of the sudden did we get this bad rep for being born into a gap generation?
We didn’t. Our parents did, they grew up in the golden age of the world. Their parents had jobs, good benefits and a good pension. The Canadian dream was alive and well, plus every kid on the block was going to be the next Jon Bon Jovi.
The generation that came before them, the baby-boomers, grew up in the most prosperous generation of the modern era. Many well-paying jobs didn’t require advanced education. Teens were dropping out of high school and entering the workforce with full-time hours, pension and benefits out the wazoo.
Generation X and Y grew up with some of that same mentality, but the culture changed. While most of generation X escaped by their teeth, generation Y missed the busload of jobs that needed to be filled and jobs that were in a up-and-coming industry.
That’s not to say all was lost.
High school drop-out rates, which were at roughly 17per cent in 1990-1991, now sit at 8%. Unemployment rates from 1988 to 1994 rose from 7.7 per cent to 11.1per cent. That’s six years in which most of our parents, Generation Y, would have been reaching adulthood.
Today the number hovers around 7.4 per cent. A recovering economy could have played in on our elder’s sudden lack of jobs, but the fact remains; the general public aged older than 40 saw the 20-somethings to be lazy and ungrateful.
Those people have since aged to be 70 and have been trained to associate the 20-somethings to be unemployed shmucks.
Next time you see an elderly person glare at some teenagers in the mall, just know that it’s your parents’ fault.
It’s also important to note that the term “millennial” is loosely defined as a person who reaches adulthood around the year 2000 and while there are no specific guidelines to the generation, millennials are born between 1980 and 1994.
However, most of us were three feet tall in the year 2000 and not even close to adulthood. Therefore, it’s more appropriate for the on-the-brink millennials to break free from the stereotype and forever be known as Generation Z.
It suits us better. We need to be defined as the generation that worked hard and succeeded in transforming the culture of our nation. Hasn’t it already begun? The youth is taking over and it’s not simply because of “creative thinking”. Generation Z is simply working harder than the former.
We’re coming out of school $25,000 in debt on average. We’re battling a very competitive job market and we’re working at Walmart on the side until we can finally get a nine-to-five job that puts food on the table.
The millennials aren’t to blame. They know the struggles of the world as we do. It’s the connotation associated with their name that makes them difficult to stand by. Society has forsaken them to forever be known as the “gap generation.”
We shouldn’t so much reject the millennials as much as we should remove the black omen above them.