I’m outing myself a little here, but I’m a millennial. (Albeit, I’m close to the cutoff.)
Though I fall into the age bracket, I never quite found myself fitting in with this young generation. My best friend is 86 years old. My favorite movies have Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant in them. The music I listen to is only found on AM radio.
But I think what bothers me most about this young generation I’m part of—though maybe it’s just my own perception—is its work ethic.
I’ve seen too many young people with an “I need it and deserve it now” mentality rather than “I’m going to work hard for it.”
As for me, I’ve always believed in hard work and paving my own way. (I had four internships in college—partly, though, ‘cause I was terrified no one would give me a real job after.)
Though I’ve been down on my own generation for a while now, some recent news made me a little proud.
New data released by Generation Opportunity, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that reaches Americans age 18-29, shed some light on us young Americans—including what we want.
And apparently, the only thing we want is a job.
Though we keep hearing campaign promises about help with student debt and health coverage, young voters say the availability of full-time jobs is more important than lower student loan rates or further dependency on parents for health insurance.
“Young adults are sending a very clear message to the president and other elected officials: We want opportunities, not more dependency,” says Paul Conway, president of Generation Opportunity and former chief of staff of the U.S. Department of Labor. “Young people know the root issue is the lack of real job opportunities, not further dependence on government, so that they are better able to provide for themselves, pay back loans and choose the health care plans that best suit their individual needs.”
According to the Generation Opportunity survey, most don’t believe today’s political leaders reflect the interests of young Americans.
It’s no surprise as to why. The job market is brutal—and it’s not just for millennials’ parents. The unemployment rate is worse for young people, sitting at 12.7 percent for 18 to 29 year-olds in July.
Because of the current state of the economy, young people are putting off major life changes such as buying their own place, getting married, starting a family, going back to school and saving for retirement.
Conway does a good job of explaining what all this sad data means: “The more politicians avoid discussing details on how they will get government out of the way of full-time job creation and reverse record-high youth unemployment, the more politicians are viewed as either disingenuous or completely out of touch with the day-to-day concerns of young Americans.”
This discontent could prove for an interesting twist in the upcoming election.