Wondering how to succeed as a Millennial? First of all, welcome to Millennialhood, you lazy, unmotivated slug. Don’t take offense, I’m also a lazy, unmotivated Millennial. At least, that’s what I hear twenty times a day, from Baby Boomers or Gen Xers. Anyway, I’m going to look up from my phone screen just long enough to give you some advice.
(Just kidding, I’m typing this shit on my phone screen.)
Now, where was I….oh yeah, advice. Did you recently graduate? Are you unable to find a job in your field? Not sure how to make ends meet on a low income? Working two or three low-paying jobs and still unable to move out of your parents’ house because you can’t afford the bills you already have, let alone rent? Wondering what happened to your twenties?
Well, there’s a solution to your problems, according to many members of our parents’ generations. The solution is: Stop being lazy, get off your phone, get a job, and work hard at it. It’s that simple!
What’s that? You work hard at your job and still make minimum wage? Well, that’s your fault. Obviously if you were really working hard instead of staring at your phone or watching Netflix or tweeting all day, you’d have received a raise or been promoted. Quit whining and get a second job.
Oh, you’ve got one of those too? Well, quit whining, your parents worked minimum wage jobs in the seventies and eighties and they didn’t whine about it.
Of course, they actually had, like, ten times as much buying power on a minimum wage job as you do. Want to see some proof?
See how far apart those lines were in the seventies, the eighties, even the nineties? Now see how close together they are today? Since 2009, minimum wage has lost almost 10 percent (9.6% to be exact) of its purchasing power. Don’t even get me started on how much its purchasing power has decreased since our parents were “working hard” for minimum wage. Sure, things might have been tough for them, but however tough it was, it is much, much tougher for our generation. We are literally working longer hours for less pay than our parents’ generation, while simultaneously being called lazier than our parents’ generation. Let that sink in.
Now ask yourself, why are Millennials so poor? Why are so many Millennials broke? Why are Millennials so stressed? Those lines smushed up against each other, that’s why.
Well, that’s our fault, though, according to those hard-working, well-paid Gen Xers and Baby Boomers. We should have stayed in school and gotten a degree. Never mind that the cost of college relative to inflation has gone up exponentially since our parents were giving peace signs in the seventies or rocking out to eighties hair bands.
In fact, since 1985, college costs have risen almost five times as fast as the overall consumer price index (nearly 500% to 115%).
What does that mean? It means we’re lazy and don’t know how to work hard, doh!
Oh, you did stay in school and get your degree? Got some student loans that you’re now forced to pay back, because skipping out on them isn’t as easy as it was back when our parents graduated? Worked three jobs to pay for school while attending school, because you can no longer get a job, work three months in the summer, and make enough money to pay the next two semesters’ tuition, books, room, and board?
Still working for minimum wage? Wearing a chicken suit and waving a “cash for gold” sign? Handing out smoothie samples at the mall? Asking people if they’d like to sign up for your store’s frequent shopper card, and getting yelled at by people who don’t want the card and don’t care that you’re required to ask to keep your shitty minimum wage job?
Well, that’s your fault because you’re lazy. If there are no jobs available in your field, you shouldn’t have majored in art, English, or Star Trek history. Oh, you didn’t? You majored in a field where there were supposed to be lots of jobs available? Sure there are, for people with twenty years of experience willing to work for what a recent graduate would have been paid ten years ago. Because, you see, in the shitconomy, lots of people with lots of experience are unemployed, which means lots of them become underemployed. Because why would you hire someone with no experience when you can hire someone with ten years of experience for the same price?
But hey, keep rewriting your resume, applying for jobs, calling to follow up to show initiative, and either never hearing back or being told, “We need someone with more experience.” Because it’s SUPER easy to get experience when no one wants to hire you! Better yet, quit your low-paying retail job and move to another city to work a free internship in the summer, because maybe after three months you’ll have enough experience to get a job somewhere…maybe. Meanwhile you can just not eat for three months—you need to lose weight anyway, right? Let’s face it, staring at screens and playing video games and polishing our participation trophies just aren’t calorie-burning activities.
Oh, you can’t even get an internship in the first place because they’re only for students, and you already graduated, and you were up against hundreds of other students for all the internships you tried to get when you were a student? Sucks to be you, and also, you’re lazy.
Besides, even if one of those older people did hire you, it would just be a waste of their time, because, you know, we’re lazy and addicted to our phones. However, people our parents age are temporarily able to overlook this fact when, you know, they can’t figure out how to work their own phone. Suddenly they don’t care that you’re lazy and spend all day on Facebook, they just want to know how to get off that screen or make that app work again, because previous generations were born without the ability to Google anything they need to know how to do.
But, the minute you finish fixing their phone or computer or whatever, they’ll go back to griping about how you spend too much time staring at a screen and not enough time working. Probably they’ll tweet about it just as soon as you show them how to reset their Twitter password for the umpteenth time.
Well, now that they’re occupied for the next five minutes, you can go back to your job search. But don’t spend your first paycheck yet—even if you do get a job, your diploma isn’t helping you that much. College graduates have faced a decline in earnings of 16-19% in the past decade. So as your degree got more expensive, it also got less valuable to you.
What’s that? I was supposed to be giving you advice about how to succeed as a Millennial? Yeah, that’s right. Sorry, I get distracted. You know us Millennials have no attention span because—SQUIRREL—too much screen time. I blame Facebook.
So, my advice:
- Either find a cheapo insurance policy you can afford that covers Valium, or put your headphones on and tune out the older generations when they start in on a story about how hard they had it when they were your age, and how you have it so much easier, and also, you’re lazy and have no work ethic.
- Buy food at Big Lots or other discount stores. Grocery stores are for our parents’ generation. You know, people who could buy ten times as many groceries as you with a minimum-wage paycheck back in the seventies. This way you can eat for pennies a day—because that’s all you can afford! Check out these boxes of Barilla pasta I got for .50 each the other day, just because they were about to expire:
- Ignore expiration dates, at least on dry packaged goods like, say, pasta. I once ate a box of Luna bars that had expired three years earlier. They tasted exactly the same as fresh ones and cost a lot less. Companies put those expiration dates on things that don’t really expire to screw you out of what little hard-earned money you have.
- Try to stay in good shape so you don’t get too worn out dancing around in that chicken costume on the side of the road, after a long day of running a cash register and fake smiling at people who say, “If it didn’t scan, it’s free, right?”
- If you can’t afford an insurance policy that covers whatever medication will allow you to fake-smile at assholes all day in your customer service job, remember that beer is cheap and doesn’t require a prescription.
- When writing your resume, describe your experience running the aforementioned cash register as, “Handling complex financial transactions with accuracy and aplomb.” At least, the guy from my university’s career center told me to do this. It never helped me land a better job, but maybe it’ll work better for you—especially if you can dye your hair gray and convince the interviewer you’re actually not a Millennial.
- Even though your college diploma is worthless, resist the urge to rip it to shred or burn it, because it will come in handy when you’re too broke to buy toilet paper. And trust me, that will happen.
- If you get bored or discouraged at your job, your second job, your third job, or while standing in line at the unemployment office, or selling everything you own on eBay, or peddling your own bodily fluids, just remind yourself that you’re broke because you’re a lazy, unmotivated slug!
V. R. Craft is the author of Stupid Humans, a science fiction book series that asks the question, “What if all the intelligent humans abandoned Earth—and we’re what’s left? She is also the author of Fail to the Chief, a political satire novel that imagines the presidential election as a reality show…er, more of a reality show…oh hell, just read it.