January 19, 2019

This NYT Op-Ed About Millennials is Bad and You Should Feel Bad

How old are we — the oldest, saltiest, most bitter of the Millennials — going to be when older, saltier, more bitter Boomers finally stop writing articles like this about us? I mean, guys, we're pushing 35 now — we have kids and mortgages and retirement plans. Are the curmudgiest Olds going to be sitting in the nursing home 20 years from now still bemoaning how self-absorbed we are? Yeah, we'll see how self-absorbed they think we are when we're the ones who decide whether they get a nice senior living apartment or dumped at Shady Pines for the remainder of their days.

Sam Tanenhaus has used the New York Times fashion section to come to the conclusion most reasonable people came to many years ago. Barring global nuclear war or a resurgence of the Black Plague, Millennials are not going anywhere:

Suddenly, as you may have noticed, millennials are everywhere. Not that this group of people born after 1980 and before 2000 — a giant cohort now estimated to number at least 80 million Americans, more than the baby boom generation — was ever invisible. What’s changed is their status. Coddled and helicoptered, catered to by 24-hour TV cable networks, fussed over by marketers and college recruiters, dissected by psychologists, demographers and trend-spotters, the millennial generation has come fully into its own. The word “millennial,” whether as noun or adjective, has monopolized the nonstop cultural conversation, invariably freighted with zeitgeisty import.

Suddenly? Bro, some of us are in our THIRTIES. It's not like we helicoptered in from technology planet with our #selfies and our #texting just last year.

So what is it about "kids these days" that so baffles Olds? Our fascination with technology? Nope. It's our fascination with ourselves.

[W]hat besides youth sets millennials apart from their elders — the wizened silent generation, the graying boomers, the midlife Gen-X’ers?

The usual answer seems to be “narcissism” — self-absorption indulged to comical extremes. We all can recite the evidence: the breathlessly updated Facebook profile, the cascade of selfies, the Kardashians.

I've noticed a trend in Baby Boomers myself: they are as obsessed with Millennials as Millennials are with themselves. It's hard to not be self-absorbed when Old White Guys™ are constantly dedicating so much hot air to the study of you as though you are some rare Brazilian frog species only recently discovered by scientists in the Amazon.

Consider the approach many take to the workplace. Thanks to the 2008 economic crash, millennials know how fleeting wealth can be. Their solution? For many, it is to acquire not more, but less.

“Almost two-thirds (64 percent) of millennials said they would rather make $40,000 a year at a job they love than $100,000 a year at a job they think is boring,” the Brookings Institution recently noted in a report by Morley Winograd and Michael Hais titled “How Millennials Could Upend Wall Street and Corporate America.”

Show of hands, children, how many of you would rather make $40,000 at a job you love than $100,000 at a "boring" job? Being a self-absorbed Millennial douche, I believe it is possible to both have a job you enjoy and make a decent living doing it but hey, maybe I'm one of those deluded kids this guy hates so much.

I can't wait for Generation Z to come of age so we can all move on and start ripping on them instead.

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