Younger generations aren’t silent




When Reddit users aren’t throwing tantrums over being told they can’t cyberbully fat people, it can be a great place. It provides a voice to niche communities, creating space for online discourse in an open setting for all who wish to participate in “subreddits” of interest. One particular subreddit that caught my eye is r/lostgeneration. To let the community speak for themselves, here’s their introduction:

This subreddit was forged about the same time the economy went to hell, lamenting the sorry state of the economy, the problems of an educated (and sometimes over-educated) young workforce having troubles finding employment despite “doing everything right”, and just what this generation is supposed to do when the usual markers of adulthood (kids, house, marriage) have been pushed back in the name of higher education/income potential, along with the collective reorganization of a new set of values.

The front page is littered with articles and discussions on the current economic climate – usually revolving around issues that young adults face. Regardless as to the various articles posted and discussion threads started, the singular guarantee is that everything is depressing.

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Boasting over 23,000 subscribers, this is a collection of fears and anger from a generation feeling like their place in the world was sold before they got a chance to capitalize on it. Much of this frustration is directed at older generations, particularly Baby Boomers, who — as a generation, not necessarily as individuals — have refused to retire, and paid far less for their college education and houses, yet are the same people asking younger generations why they haven’t reached the same milestones of life they did at their age.

We’ve all heard it – “when I was your age I owned a house already!”

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Or, “I worked my way to the top from entry level. Young people don’t have any loyalty to their employers!”

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And the classic: “I worked my way through college. You don’t need that financial aid.”

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But ultimately, the message young people are being sent is that “you’re just not working hard enough, like I did. That’s why you’re not successful.”

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Protest, via Shutterstock

Protest, via Shutterstock

When the narrative is that kids these days are lazy, self-obsessed or simply lack ambition, it’s easy to see why those being labeled as such can want to vent their feelings about how society has changed, yet they’re still labeled failures for not achieving what was far easier in the past. Is it really fair to call someone a lazy failure for not achieving the same success as your elders when the task is objectively harder now than it was then?

It’s time to let go of the “bootstrap” fallacy that hard work guarantees success and riches with time, and it’s time to think about how these new circumstances will shape the future. Playing the blame game isn’t going to solve anything, but accepting there is a problem is part of the solution. It’s not as if your average grandma made the direct decisions that are affecting the economy today – we all know money talks, and those with the most of it have done an awful lot of yapping.

As a commenter in the subreddit writes:

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And another:

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Getting angry at people from previous generations isn’t productive, but spreading the understanding that young people are facing difficulties and this will have a devastating rippling effect if they can’t get into the housing or job market is important, and should be taken more seriously.

I know you walked right into that store, demanded the manager give you a job and he happily gave you one since he saw you were a real go-getter, grandpa, but doing the same nowadays would just get you arrested.


Holly Blackler is a University student in the final year of her degree, which is a double major in Political Science and Philosophy with a minor in Media. She writes on a variety of things, but focuses on social issues and international events.

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