I want a job, money and plane tickets and I want it all now.
My mother always used to say I was going to be a judge when I grew up.
I knew she was only joking, and she never actually forced me into a career in law, but she made it clear to me that she thought I was going to be successful and rich, unlike her. She would always tell me she expected great things because I was smart, special, and could do anything I wanted to do.
I know a lot of kids growing up in the nineties were bought up with this message.
We were told we were special and to have high ambitions; the world was our oyster. In a lot of ways, ours became the first generation who were openly encouraged to go after our dream jobs, even if they weren’t ‘guaranteed’. For those who came before us, getting a trade or skill and working in that field until retirement was the expectation and the norm, regardless of job satisfaction. You worked to make money and provide for your family until the day you died.
In comparison, anyone under the age of 32 today tends to job-hop, usually to completely different industries. We expect to have a job we love, and if we don’t love it, we won’t stay in that career. We’re more interested in doing the things that bring us pleasure than working nine to five just to pay the bills.
We’re also obsessed with travelling and seeing the world. As such, more millennials are opting to live at home longer so they can save money and jet around the globe at least once or twice a year. My Facebook and Instagram feeds are crammed with photos of friends posing in front of the Eiffel Tower, volunteering in Nepal and partying in Amsterdam.
I think it’s awesome that my generation has been encouraged to go after our dreams, and I admire our resilience and go get ‘em mentality. My immediate friendship group is made up of people who mostly have degrees in the Arts, and are all at varying levels of success in these fields. All of us are still adamant our dreams are going to happen for us. We’ve been encouraged to seek happiness before money and have access to so many different experiences that our parents simply didn’t feel they could have, and I love that. But I have to say it; my generation is entitled.
Because we’ve been told we are going to have our dreams come true, we expect nothing less. And that’s a tad unrealistic. I literally have no money right now because I intern for free while attending university. I’m doing this so I can get my foot in the door and gain real-world experience in my field. And I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard someone say “I’d never work for free or do an internship”, while still expecting to land their dream job when they finish their degree.
I feel torn because I agree with my peers – we should follow our dreams and not settle like our parents; but I also think we should have to put in the work to get there.
There are some millennials in particular, who are really giving 20-somethings like me a bad rap. They want the dream job, the passport full of stamps and full bank account with zero actual effort. They’ll often get all of these things through privilege – maybe their uncle’s friend works at a boutique law firm, puts in a good word for them, and they get a job there.
Too many times I’ve seen people be handed these opportunities and not even say thank you, or get to the law firm and quit after a month because they’re doing too much filing and not enough lawyering. But this is real life, and to expect less because you’re a special snowflake who’s been told you deserve everything, is unrealistic and entitled. We were all told that we would have everything, but no one ever said we wouldn’t have to work for it.
Our generation is entitled. We’re entitled to be happy, and to live our lives how we want to. We’re entitled to the jobs we want, and to travel if we can afford to (even if it means staying at home until we’re 23). We’re entitled to love who we want, make the decisions we want, and be who we want to be.
The world is different to the way it was when our parents were growing up, and so is being in your 20s. Our parents probably had all of these dreams and wanted all these things as well, but were told they were unrealistic and to settle for less. So yeah, my generation has high expectations, but this doesn’t mean all of us are lazy and refuse to work our asses off for what we believe we deserve.
I’m personally willing to do what it takes to achieve my dreams, even if that means filing or grunt work for little or no pay to make it there. I’m actually really happy following that path, because I’m doing what I love, and could one day have a career doing it.
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Comment: Do you think Gen Y are entitled?