When he's not defending Sarah Palin from hypercritical monsters, Washington Post Writers Group columnist Ruben Navarrette Jr.'s hard at work offering "new thinking on many of the major issues of the day." Yes, that's right: "hard at work." Oh, you say you don't understand what that phrase means? You must be a millennial.
Navarrette's been thinking a lot lately about you twentysomethings and your sloth, your sense of entitlement, and your delusional life goals. Over at the CNN.com, he's posted a column that not only reinforces his role as "a fresh and increasingly important voice in the national political debate," but also describes what's wrong with you kids today in a most "meaningful and hard-hitting" fashion. Let us explore this ground-breaking new report on why today's youth are so defective!
First, it's important to note at the outset that Navarrette's encounters with millennials are few: "Most of what I know about millennials, I learned from my readers," he writes. But he has "experts" (and maybe MTV shows) to help him to better understand his subjects. One such helper is San Diego State University psychology professor Jean Twenge, who Navarrette says "has the advantage of being [a millennial] herself" even though she was "[b]orn in 1971" (which technically makes her a member of Generation X, but it's how young you feel inside that counts, and let's not obsess over details):
As Twenge points out, millennials didn't get this way by accident. They were raised in a world where grownups did everything possible to shield them from adversity and disappointment. Everyone got a trophy just for showing up; even red marker pens were banned from some schools because the color was considered too harsh and judgmental.
All the trophies have loaded down these young people with enough weight to rival the weight of their egos, and have also warped their fragile psyches. This is why Navarrette thinks that "Americans might just need to 'reboot' the millennial generation"—to use a computer word that these kids might actually understand:
The problem isn't that we've been too hard on millennials all these years, but rather too easy. Even with high unemployment, there are still employers who need workers. And many of the more physically demanding jobs — construction, landscaping, farm work — tend to need younger workers. The trouble is that millennials, with other interests and priorities, are just not that interested.
They're not interested because they're lazy and difficult:
Perhaps because they don't get much practice working for bosses, millennials can often be no picnic to manage on the job. Their unemployment rate is about 14%, compared with the national rate of 9.2%. Another 23% of young people are not even looking for a job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The more ambitious ones only want to work for free:
They don't have much employment experience, in fact, but they do a lot of volunteer work.
If they do somehow end up with a job, millennials—unlike employees of the past—demand promotions and raises and other accommodations, which is wrong-headed and bizarre. They should actually be willing to pay their employers for the privilege of working:
Oh, and when they do land their dream job, they have some pretty tough requirements in terms of what they want from the experience, such as career advancement. With millennials, you didn't do them any favors by offering them a job; they think they did you a favor by taking it.
In conclusion, millennials are frightfully similar to the common pundit:
Speaking broadly, millennials are tech-savvy, highly educated and have incredibly high self-esteem even if they haven't done much to deserve it.
With all their demands for job satisfaction and acknowledgment, millennials have, "in a way ... set themselves up to be casualties of the job downturn," Navarrette concludes. There are plenty of jobs out there. But millennials must first be willing to accept that their crappy degrees don't entitle them to become professional "fresh and increasingly important voices." Those jobs are only for the special few, and the gifted. Some people have to just be content to work at Applebee's, serving the fresh and increasingly important voices their meals. This is how life is supposed to work. [CNN, Image via YouTube]