One day you’re 17 and planning for someday and then quietly, without you ever really noticing, someday drifts into the horizon having become a dream instead of reality. What happens when you can’t plan beyond months or years? How does it help you view your place in society? It makes you question - do I really belong here?
As this country, our country, recovers from economic implosion those within the 20-35 year old age group are really struggling. People aren’t living anymore - they’re surviving. Its crisis to crisis to crisis.
In a recent article published by the Sunday Independent it called for the “moaning millennials” to “pipe down”, arguing that those from Generation X were dealt an unfair hand. Although millennials aren’t the first generation who have faced hardship like this - they are the first that will be much poorer than their parents. It's getting depressing, being journalistically bound to consider the misfortune that my generation's parents brought us into this world in the wrong decade.
A study based on young people in seven major Western economies, including countries like the UK, Spain, Germany and France, conducted by The Guardian, showed that their income fell far behind the national averages. In the piece, they wrote, “It is likely to be the first time in industrialised history, save for periods of war or natural disaster, that the incomes of young adults have fallen so far when compared with the rest of society.”
Millennials, also known as Generation Y (the name is based on Generation X which preceded them) are those who were born between the 1980’s and the early 2000’s. In Ireland, in many respects they inherited a very broken country. They grew up in a country powered by an economic boom that was extraordinary, where expectations of what life could offer reached an all time high. Then by the time adulthood came around they had to deal with the fallout from the worst financial crisis this country has ever experienced and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
As I sat down to write this piece, I received yet another email from a potential employer stating that I wasn’t experienced enough to be considered for the job I had applied for. Being part of generation f****d strikes again where students, teachers and retail workers lives are all marked by an absence of opportunity, stability and security. Where owning a house is nothing more than a dream, homelessness rates have soared and where emigration has been used a scapegoat for the problems that have built up within this society.
We’ve graduated into a different working world. The harsh reality is that there are no jobs off the bat. It can be demoralising knowing that you’ve put in all this mental fatigue, having studied, graduated and interned, is it too much to ask for stability or even something so small such as a chance?
People in their forties, fifties and sixties allegedly don’t understand the millennials of today. This statement is as old as time itself as generation gaps are nothing new. But if there is one claim about the millennial generation that is truly absurd, it is the notion that they are entitled, spoiled and pampered. Some often insist that Millennials don’t want to pay their dues and expect everything handed to them on a silver platter, but Millennials as a whole are the polar opposite of entitled or spoiled.
We are the generation who has lost trust, one with also no prospects. For the reason that our Government’s policies for low taxes, privatisation, neo-liberalism, for fueling a property boom have led to this generation of f****d young people paying for it. What this country has said to this generation is ‘you’re on your own’.
Until this society recognises that this generation of entitled, spoiled and pampered individuals are not at fault for their economic woes but instead the casualty of mistakes made before them, many more “pampered” individuals will continue to fall through the cracks in this country.