Editorial: Seeing the world the millennial way - Press-Republican: Opinion

Editorial: Seeing the world the millennial way

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Posted: Sunday, April 20, 2014 3:25 am

It’s the time of year when soon-to-be college graduates are searching for jobs in their fields.

We wish them — and their families — good luck. They will need it.

Though the national jobless rate has declined somewhat in recent years, it remained at 6.7 percent in March, and the whole employment landscape has changed dramatically over the years. That is affecting whether young people can build successful careers.

Millennials — the name for people born between 1980 and 1995 — number about 80 million. They are stereotyped as being lazy and self-absorbed, partly because many of them have had trouble finding full-time jobs in their fields and have had to turn to their baby boomer parents for help.

The New York Post recently reported on a study that showed that when labor-force participation is factored in, the unemployment rate for millennials jumps to 15.5 percent.

“It says we have 1.9 million unemployed young Americans who aren’t even counted in the official jobless rates because they’ve stopped looking for work,” the article said. 

But while people like to heap blame on the millennials, other factors should be considered. You might get a very different perspective on the situation if you watch the humorous YouTube video “Millennials: We Suck and We’re Sorry.” Search for it by name or check it out at youtube.com/watch?v=M4IjTUxZORE.

In it, young people address the baby boomer generation. The millennials describe themselves as self-centered, entitled, narcissistic, lazy and immature — the labels that have been attached to them.

They address the age group their parents belong to: “You raised us to believe that we were special” and “insisted we all go to college,” resulting in “the most educated generation in America,” but noting that they average $30,000 in student-loan debt because college is so much more expensive now.

As for the accusation that they are lazy, the millennials point out that they graduated into the Great Recession, that many manufacturing jobs are now outsourced and that 90 percent of the jobs created since 2009 are part time.

A reference is also made to “those two wars you started” and being “sorry so many of our friends died.”

The video, watched by almost 2.45 million people so far, is worth seeing. If you are one of the people who has criticized “the younger generation,” you may feel a little more sheepish about doing so after seeing the subtle points made in the video.

Older adults in almost every decade have found reasons to think the “youth of today” don’t measure up.

Remember how outraged everyone was about the Beatles’ hairstyles and music when the British group first rose to fame? Did you know the same criticisms were voiced about Elvis Presley before them? And Frank Sinatra before him?

Over time, judgments change — and rightly so — as each generation faces its own challenges.

Maybe we need to give young people a little more respect and understanding.

 

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