The most famous phrase that all of us hear is “today’s youth is irresponsible, lazy and spoilt”. Now look, criticising the younger generation has been going on since the beginning of time. Every few days I hear something about how social media has spoiled us, and how we have it easy. Usually, I try to start all my assertions or debates by conceding a point the opponent has made. However, this issue, the way I see it, is pretty much black and white. So here’s my stance in one line: All the non-millennials reading this, your views about millennials being lazy or spoilt are just plain wrong.
I only discovered the magnitude of this misinformed opinion against millennials when I saw a video going viral–an excerpt of the interview Simon Sinek did with Inside Quest. I myself received it on the cancer of communication, my family WhatsApp group. I haven’t been able to scroll past my newsfeed without someone sharing it. It is an opinion that I, as a millennial, totally disagree with, and it’s reached a point of virality where I feel it is necessary to speak out in defence of millennials.
Overgeneralisation, anecdotal evidence and unscientific conclusions – anyone with half a brain should disregard this argument in an instant, but since it’s easy to criticise the youth, everybody, including youngsters, have made this video viral. Also, let’s take a moment to digest that this interview was held on the “youth channel” MTV. Of course, they endorsed his views, because they are incredibly responsible and hard-working with youth-shaping shows such as Splitsvilla.
All of us have faced this “uncle” (as I like to call them) in our lives. Criticism from elders is great, but here’s the problem: It’s horribly inaccurate. So let’s go through some gems in the above interview (and in general public opinion).
“Millennials have always been told they’re special.”
No, we haven’t; in fact we’re probably the most non-unique individuals because we’ve been fixed into a box thanks to capitalism that your generation invented. We live in an age where our elders just CANNOT use the much glorified phrase, “When I was your age, I didn’t even have shoes to wear.” Sure you didn’t, but you could buy a house in five years of your annual income. My grandfather worked in the security team at the Mumbai Airport for the first five years of his married life, and was able to buy a house in South Bombay post that. Today, five years of annual income won’t cover my head with a roof, it will just about cover my education loan.
“Millennials were told they can have anything in life.”
Wrong again. In fact, we were told the opposite. We were told that to be anything in life, we had to be better than other students. Our self worth is measured by the number we score in examinations. Your generation made education unaffordable, which is why all education now is about competition and not knowledge. There are IIT coaching classes for 8-year-olds, but sure, keep moaning about youngsters being spoilt because it satisfies your agenda, and takes away from the fact that our suffering is the product of your economic mismanagement.
“They are addicted to technology.”
Yeah, get with the program; technology and social media are here to stay. Seriously, this is the worst point made by the “elders”, and if such people were taken seriously in their generation, we wouldn’t have half the inventions we have today. It’s called progressing in life, and that’s how evolution works. Technology enhances social choice by destroying spacial constraints, and it is here to stay. Get with it.
“They are impatient and they don’t have strong relationships or love or job fulfilment.”
Bingo! At least you got this right. Except, it isn’t out of free will. “Love, job fulfilment and relationships” are difficult to prioritise when you’re starving and struggling to put a roof over your head because Simon Sinek’s generation ruined the economy.
In conclusion, if you’re a millennial basher, be sensitive and check your privilege. We are a generation that works the hardest, for the lowest inflation-adjusted pay, with the worst standard of living. We are the generation with student suicides at an all-time high. We are a generation that faces pressures from change while being held back and attacked by a regressive past generation. Check your privilege and realise that, for most part, we are in this situation because of you and that we are working hard to get it right so that, unlike you, we have the moral and ethical clearance while blaming the next generation!
Image Credit: Nikhil Mudaliar