Thursday, June 12, 2008

A Millenial Moratorium

Sunday's Washington Post provided a fabulous opportunity for my favorite game: Compare 'n Contrast.

The Magazine's cover story was an unintentionally hilarious portrait of the millenial overachiever freakshow: The Adventures of Supergrad. Apparently, the best thing to do with Daddy's money is found nonprofits in Rwanda, and if you don't have daddy's money, you're doomed to be a "program assistant" and do administrative work. The horrors! Having to work your way up and struggle like a mere mortal! Today's grads are so much better than that.

Meanwhile, over in the Metro section, a young father comes off a layoff, wins a full scholarship to college, and plows his way through Bucknell's engineering program to make a better life for his family: The Best and Worst of Both Worlds.

Make a wild guess as to who I'd rather work with. Also, make a wild guess as to who will be happier and more successful in ten years.

So, Post, can you please declare a moratorium on articles about predominately white, suburban, affluent overachiever millenials? We get it.

Their mommies negotiate their employment start dates, they want to save the world without doing even a smidge of scut work, and they need to be nurtured or they'll fall apart. Goodness gracious with Vegemite, We. Get. It. But I guarantee the sort of Gen Y-ers you profile (and profile, and profile...) represent a small percentage of actual young people.

In the real universe, where most of your readers live, there's more to life than the mindless accumulation of credentials. Personally, I'd like to read more articles about young dads from Bucknell and fewer about Acheivey McSpecialmeisters from Harvard.


Lemmonex said...

I tried vegemite the other day. Not too bad really. Definitely have eaten worse things.

Goodness Gracious with Vegemite has entered my lexicon. Thanks Shannon.

lacochran's evil twin said...

I couldn't agree more.

I'm so tired of hearing how the new grads will be sought after and wrapped in spun sugar. They still have to work with us old coots until we kick off and, danggummit, I for one ain't gonna put up with their lollygagging "oooh, couldn't you just get me a latte" attitude.

Shannon said...

Lemmonex, I'm supposed to be biologically predisposed to like Vegemite. But I think it tastes like reheated asphalt.

La-Evil, my theory is that these "supergrads" will be offered jobs that will offer leadership and flexibility and so on, but their first day somebody will shove 'em into a cubicle and they'll do the same scut work the rest of us did when we were recent grads. I, for one, am going to find it very amusing.

Tina said...


and then they will:

a) Have mommy call and complain
b) Quit to go work form some other company that will promise better and do exactly the same
c) Quit that job and live off mommy and daddy until the find them some no work all pay and play job.

this is not a large part of that demographic but they are very persistant and inventive slackers. I know I'm related to a few.

maryjanejeff said...

I remember running into quite a bit of trouble early in my professional career because colleges do too good of a job of pumping their kids up. I hate to pick on a category of people, or even categorize them in the first place, but 3/4 or more recent supergrads are cocky, arrogant SOBs with little regard for etiquette for anything else. It happened to me too. It's not really the kids fault most of the time, if you're told time after time that you're one step below a demi-god, you're going to believe it after a while. When interns come over to me while I'm eating lunch to tell me they need something right away when they don't need it for 3 days, I want to toss them off the roof on the Verizon Center into oncoming traffic, but I think about it and realize it's their upbringing 4/5 of the time.

Shannon said...

I think every generation has its persistent and inventive slackers. I know a guy who flunked out of college because he used to do stuff like stay up all night watching porno screensavers. I think most generational differences are overblown.

However, if somebody's mommy called me at work, I would laugh hysterically, hang up, and make the kid do data entry for three weeks straight.

Yeah, I'm mean.

Shannon said...

MJJ, I agree - I think those first few years of college are all about being taken down a peg or two. It's INCREDIBLY important to learn humility as quickly as possible. But if Mom and Dad come to the rescue, you miss the opportunity to be humble, to struggle, to eat Ramen and have a jerk boss. I'm lucky in that my parents loved me enough to let me suffer.

Anonymous said...

shannon, you posit that there are not that many of these obnoxious, self-entitled, blissfully unaware, pampered asshats. if that were true, then the whole of georgetown nightlife would cease to exist. not that i think that would be an entirely bad thing.

maryjanejeff said...

Hey! Georgetown nightlife is badly, badly needed in the DC area! A very important cog in the city's atmosphere. Serves a purpose that you can't place monetary value on. Georgetown nightlife keeps the people restaurant refugee refers to out of Old Town, Del Ray, and many other places in DC itself.

Shannon said...

Refugee, there are spoiled people everywhere. What I take issue with is the way these Post articles go on about these freakish, well-fed, affluent overachievers like they're the only kind of millenial out there. There's a whole world of kids who did NOT get tutored and cosseted - and I want to hear about them.

MJJ/Refugee - I agree, Georgetown is what keeps the rest of DC from becoming unbearable.

Anonymous said...

shannon, i got your point the first time, it was extremely well written. i just refuse to miss an opportunity to mock obnoxious, self-entitled, blissfully unaware, pampered asshats, or georgetown.

maryjanejeff said...

I like the running and bike stores in Georgetown. I like running the steps because doing so helps prepare me for a hike I'm doing at Pikes Peak, CO in September. The actual campus is nice too. It'll probably be about 60 years before I find something else I like about Georgetown, M Street in particular.

Shannon said...

Refugee, I am always happy to join you in the mocking.

MJJ, I finally went to the Exorcist Stairs a couple of months ago for the very first time. For the most part, I avoid Georgetown - the shopping just isn't all that great.

maryjanejeff said...

The shopping there ain't for everyone that's for sure. Friends of mine have told stories of loading up on the stairs after visiting Dixie Liquors before heading out. Great way to save cash, just don't lean too far forward after four or five.

Shannon said...

MJJ, I nearly tumbled down the stairs cold sober! I'm pretty klutzy, though.

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