by Lil Tuttle
Despite their negative press, are millennials any different than previous generations? Like those before them, millennials move through stages in life: from the protected cocoon of make-believe, to disillusionment, to anger (sometimes), to dealing with reality. Given the state of affairs in 2016, all generations seem to be simultaneously frozen in the state of anger about something. What each of us does next will make or break us as individuals, generations, and as a nation.
Millennials are angry
They believed the promise that large college debt would be rewarded by great jobs with high incomes. They got the debt, but not the jobs.
Millennial Talia Jane demonstrated what not to do with anger. In defiance of the maxim don't bite the hand that feeds you, Talia Jane blasted her Yelp boss in a rude "Dear Jeremy" public blog post that essentially blamed him for shattering the dreams—of a car, a credit card and her own apartment—she'd held since age 8. She lost the job.
Jane's post earned the ridicule of another millennial, Stephanie. Stephanie shared many of Jane's experiences, but, moving beyond anger, she "not only took the 'embarrassing job', but thrived at it, made bank from it and found a career path through it." More on Stephanie’s post in a bit.
The middle-aged generation is angry
They were promised everything from a world of peace and safety to holding back the rising seas.
Most specifically, they were promised an Affordable Care Act-driven health care system that relieved their high insurance rates and expanded their coverage. They were betrayed. They got the law, but not the relief. Today, if they have insurance, it comes with budget-busting premiums and deductibles, and fewer choices of doctors and hospitals in their plans.
The same Pied Piper who destroyed their health care dreams also nearly doubled the national public debt—from $10.6 trillion in January 2009 to $18.9 trillion in January 2015, according to treasurydirect.gov. As with college loan debt, the national debt will have to be paid back, and the middle generation knows they will be paying the bills for years to come.
Seniors are angry
Seniors were promised that working and paying FICA/Medicare federal taxes all their lives would yield social security benefits and healthcare once they were old and gray. They paid, but the Ponzi-scheme programs are nearly bankrupt.
They know a national treasury already $18 trillion in debt can't bail those programs out.
So where do we go from here?
Some millennials think the answer is a new "free college and debt relief” program from government. Disillusioned by past betrayals, older generations see that for what it is: more make believe … leading to more betrayals … and even greater anger.
Fox Business News chief Neil Cavuto raised the question of how to pay for this new program with Keely Mullen, spokesperson for the Million Student March. She wasn’t prepared.
Anger is a symptom, not a solution
Millennial Stephanie Williams can relate to Jane's circumstances, but not to her anger. In an open letter Stephanie tells Jane to “put on her big girl pants” and take responsibility for herself. She ends with this:
Work ethic is not something that develops from entitlement. Quite the opposite, in fact. It develops when you realize there are a million other people who could perform your job and you are lucky to have one. It comes from sucking up the bad aspects and focusing on the good and above all it comes from humility. It comes from modesty. And those are two things, based on your article, that you clearly do not possess.
Trust me when I say, there are far more embarrassing things in life than working at a restaurant, washing dishes, or serving burgers at a fast food window. And one of them, without one shred of doubt, is displaying your complete lack of work ethic in public by asking for handouts because you refuse to actually do work that at the ripe old age of 25 you think is unworthy of your witty tweet creating time.
You wanted to write memes? Darling, you just became one.
In this year of anger, all generations might want to take Stephanie's advice to get beyond anger and deal with our world as it is.
The nation is only as great as the individuals in it. For our own personal and collective well-being, isn't it time each of us stop looking for government handouts and start taking responsibility for our own life?