Who is Lying to Generation-Y?

For those who don’t know, Generation-Y is anyone born in the early 1980’s up to and including anyone born before 2005. Many people have dubbed this generation, “Generation Y Me?”, “The Millennials”, and “The Lost Generation”. For the purposes of this article I would like to focus on “The Lost Generation” because I find it to be the most insulting but unfortunately accurate.

geny Who is Lying to Generation Y?

Generation WHY?

“The Greatest Generation” and “The Baby Boomers” were born and grew up during arguably one of the most tumultuous centuries in this countries history. Generation-Y however was raised during the tail end of the 20th century. A time of relative peace meaning the 1990’s, excluding of course the “Three Wars” of the 2000’s and focusing on the early childhood years. For most of us we were raised on a culture of disposable consumerism. Meaning we buy something only for the bigger and better thing to come out several months later. A type of consumerism that has been perpetuated by this generation and has leached itself into every facet of our lives. The point I am trying to make is that this generation, until 9/11 had not experienced what the previous generations were born and raised into. A country ravaged by war, and forced to change and adapt to the Geo-political climate. Generation-Y for all intents and purposes could have been called the generation of peace but that all ended on September 11th 2001.

Why are we called “The Lost Generation”? Well many people say and consider, that this generation has no sense of purpose. They say that this generation is lazy and doesn’t expect to work or earn anything. For the most part those criticisms are sadly true. However context plays an important roll on the direction this generation is going. First of all we were lied to about our futures. We were all told that all we had to do was go to college and the opportunities would be endless. We were told that if we worked really hard in school it would all pay off in the end. That our parents wanted us to go to college because they didn’t and they wanted us to be better off then they were. That is all wonderful but statistically this is going to be the first generation in American history that won’t be better off than the previous one. There is certainly something to be said about that statement. Every generation in American history has excelled and done better than the generation prior. So what has changed? Are you really going to tell me that this generation honestly just doesn’t have the drive of the baby boomers? Or the hippie generation? I can’t believe that, I wont believe that.

The truth is that we were fed a lie. In the past if you had a college degree, well you could do just about anything. What happened is that after 9/11 the opportunities started to go away. The economy started to founder along with the opportunities. So now a generation of kids (now adults) who were told and raised to be better than their parents and do more don’t have the capabilities to do so. I don’t believe that this generation is lazy, I believe that this generation given the opportunity could flourish and be one of the best and most ambitious generations of all time. I believe that this generation is being denied by the previous one to flourish because of mistakes made by the previous generation. We just need a spark to get us there. We just have to stop being fed the lies of the past and the new lies that are being fed to this generation and the next. We just need to get up and work really hard to take the opportunities that are rightfully ours.

images21 Who is Lying to Generation Y?

Generation-Y

The advent of the internet and the popularity of reality TV has introduced the most dangerous lie on to the American public we have ever seen. It’s no longer that all you have to do is go to college and the opportunities will be there. It’s that you don’t have to do anything. As I said the age of disposable consumerism has leached into every part of our society, up to and including what we consider entertainment. Disposable entertainment such as reality TV or “reality” TV has led people to believe, that all it takes is a certain lifestyle and you can become famous. For example the most egregious are shows such as Real Housewives, The Jersey Shore, Keeping up with the Kardashians, Teen Mom etc. All examples of the glorified culture of nothing. Simply watching people do nothing and making boat loads of money has now become the American dream. The Kardashians being one of the saddest examples. It takes the name of a man who worked hard his whole life and gained notoriety, albeit under an unfortunate circumstance but nonetheless true, and has taken that name and turned it into what I consider one of the leading reasons for the downfall of this generation. Kim Kardashian is what I consider a waste of life with no redeemable qualities except for the fact that she had sex on camera and got famous for it. This person would not even be remotely famous if not for the fact that everyone who owns a computer has seen her have sex. Now the rebuttal from Kim to these claims is that people are just jealous of her fame and envy what she has. This might be true but the problem is her fame directly reflects the culture in which we live.

Yes we have always glorified voyeurism and fame but not on this scale and certainly we have never concerned ourselves with the daily activities of a person who has nothing to contribute to society but be famous. She doesn’t act, sing, write, invent, create, or inspire. Kim Kardashian is famous for being famous and that fact right there is what our generations flaw is. Because we were denied the opportunities to excel we were forced to create new outlets for opportunity. What outlet is that? That outlet is nothing. You can’t count on your fingers how many people are included into the popular zeitgeist simply because they are relatively attractive and they have made a sex tape. How many people are now famous because they did something stupid on the internet, or had something like a blog, YouTube video, or picture that went viral? Easy money is becoming a belief rather than a theory. There is no such thing as easy money. As a generation we need to demand a higher level of thinking. We need to demand a higher standard and do away with disposable consumerism and entertainment. We need to realize that working is not a bad thing, that opportunities stare us right in the face everyday and that all we have to do is look away from the computer screen and television for one second to see them. So who is lying to Generation-Y? It’s not our parents, political leaders, teachers, family, or celebrities. We are lying to ourselves.

We have tried to make sense of a situation that doesn’t make sense and as a result we have created a world and generation of people who have no idea whats going on. We just need to right the ship. Yea we might be “The Lost Generation” but we can undoubtedly find the right path. If we can’t demand or fix what we have broken then it is our responsibility to make it better for the next generation. So if we start now, if we start actually working towards a better future then we might just make it alright for the next generation.

-Sal

About SalPezzino
Along with writing for ZazenLife.com, I also have my own personal blog called It Doesn't Take Common Sense to Know.... Check it out @ http://itdoesnttakecommonsensetoknow.blogspot.com/

8 Responses to Who is Lying to Generation-Y?

  1. Pingback: Screen-delivered Consumerism Saps Resistance | Rod's Blog

  2. jatwood4 says:

    Hey, Sal,

    I understand your feeling of betrayal, and I am not saying it isn’t happening, because I know it is. But the one thing you don’t mention, maybe because you aren’t yet aware — every generation feels betrayed by the promises of the generation before. Eventually, they say “Bullshit to all of them.” I did. But then that younger generation has to do what every other generation has done. Forget what your elders promised, and make your own mark, as an individual and as a generation. If you feel, as I do, that the generation before us fucked everything up, that doesn’t excuse either of us from growing up, putting away childish things, and be the masters of your own destinies. I know it won’t be easy, but then no parent or teacher or school taught your peers the basic requirements of life — work hard, be trustworthy, and don’t throw their lives away on feelings of victimhood. Regardless of the promises you feel you were cheated out of, no one gets through life successfully without taking responsibility for their own fortune, good or otherwise. As of 1993, I was pastor of a church, and looking at a bright future. Then the bottom dropped out of the mainstream Protestant church, and I wouldn’t move into a conservative religion, so as of 1994, I got a job as cashier in a family-owned hardware store, for a lot less money, and got stuck with my own mountain of student-loan debt. I was angry and resentful, but I learned recently that nothing helpful comes from anger or sadness about the past, or about what might have been. Those feelings waste a person’s energy, and only draw more anger and frustration and sadness. This isn’t something a person does overnight, but the sooner we find one little thing to be happy about — really happy, not wry or sarcastic — we will draw more happiness to our lives. Before long, we are just happy. I hope you find this out for yourself, but even more, I hope for the whole Generation Y that they learn what real value is, and what is wasted spirit, time, effort, and money. I am happier now than ever before, even though I am alone and my body is trying hard to fail on me. I just don’t plan to let it.

    I hear and I really do understand the feeling of betrayal, because nothing is the way you were told to expect. But the best way to overcome that is to believe in oneself and the limitless possibilities of a life one gains by releasing the rest.

  3. jatwood4 says:

    If I were not lazy myself, I would say that most generations in this country’s history thought that being lazy is what makes a person miserable. I look around me at the state of my apartment, and I know that I’m living in squalor, compared to many. But when I go to work, with my Bachelor’s degree and 3/4 of a Masters, I am a cashier in a hardware store, and I do that job as well as I can, whenever I work.. One difference I see daily — 20- and 30-somethings who are hired to do the same job are disinterested, impolite, and have no idea of what is meant by Sir, Ma’am, Please, Thank you, and every other courtesy I offer my customers as a matter of course. And almost all of those younger cashiers works a few days, or weeks, and they give up. You speak of working 3 jobs and living at home — I understand how frustrating that is. I owe well over $25,000 in student loans that I am paying off at the lowest possible rate. But I don’t spend what money I do have on Playstation, or the latest iGadget, or the newest car, with a price well above what is required to have a safe ride,or any of the other extravagances most Y-Generation people have in abundance. I think one of Gen-Y’s biggest problems is not understanding that none of us are entitled to that kind of life — we have to work to earn it. I agree that Gen-Y was dealt a raw deal by the political and economic fallout of 9/11; but I felt all that stuff too, and I have to answer to spying NSA and our country approving drones used against its own people. At least we aren’t Syria.

    • SalPezzino says:

      Don’t get me wrong I constantly feel disassociated from my generation. I don’t agree with anything my generation stand for. I just feel like I was lied to. I feel that my future was planned until I joined the real workforce (meaning post college). I graduated got a job almost right out of college and my plan was to pay off most of my debt before I went back to school. I was doing well and then I was fired nearly a year after getting the job along with 5 other people because of budget cuts. Since then I have been on countless job interviews up to and including interviews for sales positions at Target. I have heard every excuse under the sun and for a year and half now I have been unemployed. I apply for jobs daily and go on at least 5 interviews a month. I want to work but I just can’t get a job. I know a person who graduated from Columbia law school who cant find a job as a lawyer and is now walking the beat in Manhattan as police officer. This country is not being destroyed by my generation it is being destroyed by the generations of the past. I am not asking or feel entitled to a life of high society and opportunity I am just simple asking for a chance stake a claim for myself. I was told my life would be better than my parents. That was the purpose of my article, this generation was and is being fed a lie that it will all be ok. That is just simply not the truth. So we agree and just come to the same conclusions I just don’t accept that my generation is to blame, at least entirely. Let me rephrase myself we have been denied the opportunity to work for whats ours. We have not had a chance to even work our way up to prosperity. Its as if our older brother threw a party while the parents were away and we are forced to clean up the mess without a garbage bag. I resent being clumped into this generation because I don’t associate with most of my generation but at the same time I feel and am experiencing the effects of what is keeping this generation down

  4. jatwood4 says:

    Hello, Sal. You’ve written an essay that goes from whiny to wise, and I offer kudos for that. However, no one “took” your generation’s right to excel — they gave it willingly. Do you think that the conditions of this society after 9/11 were difficult? What about The Great Depression? Or the upheavals around civil rights in the 1950s and 60s? and the current American economy? Many, many Americans met those difficult times with a serious determination to excel, not to give up. I know we can find many strong, motivated people in Generation Y, but half, at least, seem not to give a crap about anything they have to work for. Reality TV? That little gem came out of one incident — the writers’ strike of 2007-2008. No one forced anyone to watch that stuff — it has obviously made money for the industry, and dubious stars out of Real World, but somebody is watching it. If they have satellites, or cable, anyone can switch to History 2, or The Science Channel or, (heaven forfend,) shut off the boob tube and open a door. Go for a walk; clear their heads. Only by eliminating the mass media junk. and Facebook and Twitter and the social media phenomenon, (which may mark the final downfall of respect between people,) can anyone ever hope to get any generation, yours, or mine, or the next, or all the coming generations out of the hole that rampant consumerism has opened before us. Disposable spending is only half the problem — the other half is people believing that time is disposable, as are the values of hard work, fiscal sense, and common courtesy and respect for others.

    Feel free to dress me down — this is just an opinion that has been bursting out of my brain.

    • spez1989 says:

      Judith I would dress you down only if you were wrong. You are almost in no way wrong. I agree with most of what you said. However this generation has been saddled with the burdens of the previous generation. We have been forced to cope with the mistakes of the previous generation and given an impossible problem to solve. Every generation since the depression has left this country better then they found it for the next generation. For the first time since the great depression this country was not left better then it was found. So this generation is choosing not to deal with.

      You are right about the wars, civil rights, the depression and other opportunities for generations to perceiver but I would say that 9/11 is one of the most defining moments in American history. It changed us so much and in so many ways that this generation has no idea how to deal with it because it has never happened before. The exponential changes in government policy, economic policy, politics, and social change has denied this generation the opportunity to move forward. So its easy to say that this generation is lazy but what do you say to the college grad who has $200,000 dollars of student loan debt and no job to be found. That the previous generation outsourced all of the high paying American jobs leaving nothing for this generation to take. So lets move to the labor jobs….well those are gone too. So whats left working 3 jobs to pay for student loans and having to live at home. Forgive us for not wanting to dive into the labor pool with a bachelors and masters degrees to wipe are asses with. So yes our right to excel was taken from us by the previous one. Greed, Narcism, Arrogance, and politics have taken the opportunities from this generation. What do we have left? Give me an example please? Are we supposed to be the generation of temporary employment, walmart, and fast food workers. Because the people in this generation that actually work, thats all we have. Are we supposed to keep high school jobs through our twenties? No thats not right. This is the most educated generation in American history with the lowest employment. Its not that we don’t want to work the work is just not there.

      We obviously agree when to comes to social things such as television and the internet but when you say switch to the history and discovery channel whats on? Moonshiners, Swamp People, Pawn Stars, Gold Rush, Mountain People and the list goes on. If you want something remotely historical or scientific you have wait until 9 o’clock. I mean why put important stuff on when people would watch it?!?

      I agree with everything that you said when it comes to the loss of fiscal sense, common sense, and common courtesy but I honestly and truly believe it is unfair to call this generation completely lazy. We have been dealt an impossible hand and forced to go all in. That being said this generation is pretty lazy. I know that sounds like a contradiction but the options for this generation are not there. Its be lazy or be miserable.

    • SalPezzino says:

      Judith I would dress you down only if you were wrong. You are almost in no way wrong. I agree with most of what you said. However this generation has been saddled with the burdens of the previous generation. We have been forced to cope with the mistakes of the previous generation and given an impossible problem to solve. Every generation since the depression has left this country better then they found it for the next generation. For the first time since the great depression this country was not left better then it was found. So this generation is choosing not to deal with.

      You are right about the wars, civil rights, the depression and other opportunities for generations to perceiver but I would say that 9/11 is one of the most defining moments in American history. It changed us so much and in so many ways that this generation has no idea how to deal with it because it has never happened before. The exponential changes in government policy, economic policy, politics, and social change has denied this generation the opportunity to move forward. So its easy to say that this generation is lazy but what do you say to the college grad who has $200,000 dollars of student loan debt and no job to be found. That the previous generation outsourced all of the high paying American jobs leaving nothing for this generation to take. So lets move to the labor jobs….well those are gone too. So whats left working 3 jobs to pay for student loans and having to live at home. Forgive us for not wanting to dive into the labor pool with a bachelors and masters degrees to wipe are asses with. So yes our right to excel was taken from us by the previous one. Greed, Narcism, Arrogance, and politics have taken the opportunities from this generation. What do we have left? Give me an example please? Are we supposed to be the generation of temporary employment, walmart, and fast food workers. Because the people in this generation that actually work, thats all we have. Are we supposed to keep high school jobs through our twenties? No thats not right. This is the most educated generation in American history with the lowest employment. Its not that we don’t want to work the work is just not there.

      We obviously agree when to comes to social things such as television and the internet but when you say switch to the history and discovery channel whats on? Moonshiners, Swamp People, Pawn Stars, Gold Rush, Mountain People and the list goes on. If you want something remotely historical or scientific you have wait until 9 o’clock. I mean why put important stuff on when people would watch it?!?

      I agree with everything that you said when it comes to the loss of fiscal sense, common sense, and common courtesy but I honestly and truly believe it is unfair to call this generation completely lazy. We have been dealt an impossible hand and forced to go all in. That being said this generation is pretty lazy. I know that sounds like a contradiction but the options for this generation are not there. Its be lazy or be miserable.

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