To The Baby Boomers Who Continue To Look Down On Millennials

Dear Baby Boomers,

Recently, my dad showed me a video that he thought was absolutely hilarious. It was a job interview where the interviewer was a middle-aged, reasonable, smart, likeable man; yet the person being interviewed was a millennial who was phone-obsessed, entitled, and an utter dolt. My dad laughed until his face turned purple, but then got upset with me because I didn’t think it was funny. I mean, if that’s the stereotype he believes of my generation, then what must others think? I look around at people my age, and I do see the stereotype. I get it. But it has gotten blown way out of proportion. What’s really going through our minds is probably a lot different from what you think.

The biggest complaint I hear from you about millennials is that we spend too much time using technology. Well, if technology like this existed when you were our age, you would certainly be all about it, too. Remember when home television came out? Don’t tell me that you didn’t excitedly plop yourself down in front of the TV when they were airing I Love Lucy or when The Beatles made their appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. Every time technology has advanced, it has made a splash and the older generation has protested; now is no exception.

We’re judged by you for having artsy, unconventional jobs. Although these jobs are fun and we love them, it does not mean that they require any less effort or training. These careers are much more intricate and difficult than most baby boomers realize; they’re just unfamiliar territory to you. Times have changed. Your parents were alive during World War II; many of them were immigrants who had to escape persecution. They only knew hard work and struggle. They taught their children, you, that work comes first and play comes second (if at all). Why can’t you have both, though? Why can’t you enjoy what you do for a living? Although millennials have also been alive during several wars, our only experience has been of a thriving country; we’re very fortunate.

I have to laugh when I see how upset you get over a lack of common courtesy and a surplus of entitlement in millennials. We are a product of how we were raised. I’m a millennial who was raised by baby boomers, but I know that many millennials were raised by Gen X, your children, who have inherited the means to give their kids an easy life with minimal to no work. You struggled so that we don’t have to. They lavish their kids because they can and don’t enforce values; therefore, their children think that they deserve everything and their neighbor’s lawn mower, just for doing absolutely nothing. I hate to say it, but some of your hard work went towards spoiling millennials.

For a long time, I was ashamed to call myself a millennial. I would often refuse to tell someone how old I was because I knew that they would treat me a certain way; I still feel judged on a daily basis. I have since realized that I am not lazy or dumb as I was made to believe, though. I am actually very proactive, smart, and creative, as are the people with whom I choose to spend my time. Millennials like me exist, and I would like for you to look past your preconceived notions to see who we really are as people. You’re the ones who taught us to not judge a book by it’s cover, so practice what you preach!

You, your parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents all worked your fingers to the bone in order for us to have a better life. My maternal grandparents escaped to America from Greece during WWII, and barely scraped by; my grandfather did factory work, and my grandmother sewed hot air balloons. My paternal grandparents were Austrian-Jews and also escaped to America during the war; they made their livings selling Formica. My parents were the first to earn college degrees, and now I’m here with a choice on what I get to do with my life. You and your parents made it so we have the freedom to explore our passions, so we owe it to you! Thank you!

Sincerely,

A Millennial

Photo by Matheus Ferrero on Unsplash

3 COMMENTS

  1. Dear Millennial,

    What you wrote is a rant which should be more aptly titled, “Woe is me!”

    You claim that baby boomers struggled so that the millennials would not have to. Frederick Douglas said, “Without a struggle, there can be no progress.” Millennials are missing that point.

    Agreed. Baby boomers paved an easy road for their children to walk on. It’s easy to blame our parents for our short-comings and inability to achieve even half the success they achieved when they were our age but they for a variety of reasons. Are any of those reasons valid? I say no.

    When you compared modern technology to the television set of the fifties, you lost me. Sure, our parents and grandparents gathered around the television to watch the latest episode of I Love Lucy or Dobie Gillis. You forget though, at that time, the ability to watch those episodes was comparable to us now being able to stream an episode of Friends on a sail boat in the middle of the Atlantic. Before television, there was something much more archaic then Sirius XM, it was simply called, radio broadcast.

    The point I’m trying to make is this: we can blame our parents and all the baby boomers for the world we live in—the regressive laws and lack of purchasing power—but you can’t blame them for giving all of us the easy road. That easy road enabled most millennials to carry around a $1000+ smart phone, a $2000 plus laptop computer. What do most millennials do with those luxury items? They post pictures of what they last had to eat, they ‘game’ for hours on end into the night, they take off their clothes for strangers to achieve both money and fame. The easy road has produced minimal progress because there has been no struggle. When was the last time you watched a truly awe-inspiring movie written by a millennial? Many of the most prolific motion pictures were written on scraps of paper—some even on squares of napkins. Millennials have a keyboard at their fingertips almost 24 hours a day. Have we reached peak creativity?

    You wrote that you’d like to see both—work and play. The problem is, baby boomers are still very much providing for their children be it subsidizing rent, income, tuition, etc. This is a hard argument to make considering that most baby boomers were able to afford rent, income and a college tuition by working one or two menial jobs. Baby boomers, back in the baby boomer days, could buy a car for $500 or rent a decent apartment for $60 a month. The times have changed absolutely. We don’t live in the same world our parents grew up and thrived in. I get that! However, the spoiling of millennials was for better or worse, to allow the millennials a means of CREATING something, anything of value other than 60 second instagram videos.

    The financial sector of the economy which is controlled by the baby boomers will sadly, control the lived of the millennials for some time. What the millennials need to do is focus on creativity—not finger painting while high on acid or using some iPhone app to overlay effects on an instagram video-type of creativity—actual creativity. Most millennials have all the time in the world to create something spectacular (thanks to their baby boomer parents) so create something spectacular because if you don’t or can’t, you, yourself, is the only one to blame.

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