I wanted to make the title of this impromptu column “I don’t owe you money so stop complaining about me,” but I did not think that title would fit.
I’m also calling this an impromptu column because I wasn’t expecting to write it even though it has been something that has been bothering me for a while. This morning, however, I woke up, got on Facebook, and found some dude in a neighboring county I do not even know yelling at me and shaming me through his recent editorial, “Dear Generation Cupcake.”
Apparently, I’m “Generation Cupcake” because I’m a member of the younger generation transitioning into full-blown adulthood.
Really, sir? Really?
It also was not just “some dude” who wrote this editorial and ruined not only my morning, but the mornings of many other Generation Cupcakers. It was Darke County Commissioner Mike Stegall, our neighbor. Stegall utilizes SO MANY CAPITAL LETTERS and rants about all the stereotypical things one would expect in complaining about a younger generation.
You, sir, were not even original.
Since you did not bother to get to know me first before you assumed I was lazy, whiny, and possibly a “tramp,” let me tell you about myself, Mr. Stegall.
I was born in 1990, I am 25 years old, and I am actually a member of Generation Y. People of Generation Y were born in the 1980’s and early 1990’s and are also called “echo boomers” since we are generally the grandchildren of baby boomers.
I never asked to be called a “millennial,” and every time I see it used, I try not to cringe. The term “millennial” was never actually created by “millennials,” but was created by people of older generations to talk about my generation. It was also used by those same people to criticize us.
I graduated high school in 2009 with a 3.9 GPA. I earned a scholarship worth over $70,000 from a seven-page essay. I graduated from university in 2013 with a GPA of 3.97 and a B.A. in English and Writing.
Though I may receive criticism for my degree, creative fields like the humanities and the arts are fields not facing the same threat of being encroached upon by technology and robots as other fields.
English and history majors in particular also experience less job unemployment compared to college graduates who majored in political science or economics. According to a survey of the college graduate labor market by the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce discussed in the Atlantic in 2013, “English and History majors experienced 9.8 percent and 9.5 percent unemployment, respectively. For economics and political science, meanwhile, the figures are 10.4 percent and 11.1 percent.” College graduates in general face an average unemployment rate of 8.7 percent.
I am also a productive citizen. I have my own full-time job, I pay taxes, I live in my own apartment, I pay my bills, I am not on any kind of government assistance program, and I do not owe you anything. I also do not know why my existence is so offending to you and many others.
If individuals among the earlier generations do not like me — because some people do like me and should not be unfairly grouped in with the ones who do not — maybe we should look at what happened before I started transitioning into adulthood.
I’m looking at you, financial crisis of 2007-08 and U.S. subprime mortgage crisis of 2007-09. Those sound like a couple problems that I did not cause, but still have had a huge effect on my life.
I’m just going to skip to those effects:
• The portion of the population that is the middle class dropped from 61 percent in 1971 to 51 percent in 2011.
• People living in poverty have also increased. According to Business Insider, “Between 2000 and 2010, the number of suburban households below the poverty line increased by 53 percent, compared to a 23 percent increase in poor households in urban areas.”
• The total number of people unemployed jumped from seven million in 2008 to 15 million by 2009, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. By 2013, that amount started to drop to 12 million people unemployed.
I could go on, but that has been an issue that the country has been dealing with since I graduated high school in 2009. You don’t think that these problems that generations before me caused have had an impact on my ability to find jobs with living wages?
Now, I may get messages of, “I wasn’t talking about YOU. I was talking about those OTHER millennials.”
Except, no, you were talking about me. That is what happens when you lump an entire group of people together who belong together in the same subculture, but are still diverse and complex within their subculture. You end up calling us all out, when in actuality, the negative traits that you so deeply despise about my subculture can be found within individuals in every group, not just one of mine.
Instead of trying to get to know us, you just attacked us.
Maybe we could talk about what is really bothering you, Mr. Stegall, because if it does not bother my parents that I lived at home for a year after graduating college, it should not bother you.
You do not like our collective voting or bargaining power. We do not all vote or think the same, but you seem to think we do and you do not seem to like some of the ideas coming from my generation.
I guess you will have to take some of your own advice and get over it.
Reach Sam Wildow at (937) 451-3336 or at firstname.lastname@example.org