But generalizations about millennials, like those about any other arbitrarily defined group of 75 million people, fall apart under the slightest scrutiny.
Contrary to the cliché, the vast majority of millennials did not go to college, do not work as baristas and cannot lean on their parents for help.
It’s tempting to look at the recession as the cause of all this, the Great Fuckening from which we are still waiting to recover.
But what we are living through now, and what the recession merely accelerated, is a historic convergence of economic maladies, many of them decades in the making.
Every stereotype of our generation applies only to the tiniest, richest, whitest sliver of young people.
And the circumstances we live in are more dire than most people realize.
We spend money we don’t have on things we don’t need. We killed cereal and department stores and golf and napkins and lunch.
Mention “millennial” to anyone over 40 and the word “entitlement” will come back at you within seconds, our own intergenerational game of Marco Polo.
At the same time, the cost of every prerequisite of a secure existence—education, housing and health care—has inflated into the stratosphere.He sometimes considers getting a master’s, but that would mean walking away from his salary and benefits for two years and taking on another five digits of debt—just to snag an entry-level position, at the age of 30, that would pay less than he makes driving a bus.At his current job, he’ll be able to move out in six months. There are millions of Scotts in the modern economy.It was 2010, and Scott had just graduated from college with a bachelor’s in economics, a minor in business and ,000 in student debt.At some of the interviews he was by far the least qualified person in the room.“A lot of workers were just 18 at the wrong time,” says William Spriggs, an economics professor at Howard University and an assistant secretary for policy at the Department of Labor in the Obama administration.“Employers didn’t say, ‘Oops, we missed a generation.What is different about us as individuals compared to previous generations is minor.What is different about the world around us is profound.“I’m 25 and I’m still in the same place I was when I earned minimum wage.” Four days a week she works at a dental office, Fridays she nannies, weekends she babysits.And still she couldn’t keep up with her rent, car lease and student loans.