Millennials and Adulthood

I think one of the most infuriating things about being a “Millennial” is the fact that the generation before us doesn’t seem to take us seriously.

Hearing comments from the Baby Boomers and Generation X like, “Welcome to Adulthood” “Adulthood isn’t all it has cracked up to be, has it?”, or the ever sarcastic, unwanted invitation of, “Welcome to the real world”. As if our struggles through finals week, in college was all just a bad hallucinogen trip.

We are put into a category of “entitled”, “lazy”, “selfish”, the list goes on and on, and yet, seldom do we fit this tight narrow minded view of ourselves. With these confounded credit cards, and the debt we had dug our way into trying to afford an education.

Not to mention the technology we are so attached to, neglecting the fact that we may, in fact, be checking work email, or comforting a friend whose parents don’t understand their mental illness.

It isn’t that we are failing expectations of past generations, or that we are somehow unsuited to grow into adulthood without past generations’ supervision, it is that we are different.

Our goal is no longer to be married with kids by the time we are 20. It isn’t that we don’t want a good house, car or job, but it has become exponentially more difficult. Healthcare prices, cars, education, housing, everything has increased in price. As Millennials, it is our decision to choose what necessities we actually “need”, and what gets cut off the list. Some continue to live with their parents, some decide to rely on other modes of transportation, we try and stay on our parents’ insurance for as long as possible.

We sit and do the math, living paycheck to paycheck, wondering what should be paid first and what can wait a little while longer. The decisions from past generations impacted where Millennials are today, but they don’t want to admit that. The fact that prices didn’t change overnight, and the adults that were supposed to be looking out for future generations didn’t screw us over….well guess what, you did.

I feel to be one of the few, one of the blessed. I graduated college on a scholarship. Got a full time job, with benefits, right out of college in the field I studied for. My apartment is small, drafty and expensive, but it has hot water, carpet, and everything else I could want. I am able to see my therapist every week, and it not costing me an arm and a leg.

This too, did not happen overnight. Baby Boomers and Gen X, you don’t get to take credit for my accomplishments, when you are the reason I had to work so hard to overcome it. I live paycheck to paycheck, I also work ~100 hours every two weeks, so it is not for a lack of trying. It is that no matter how hard I try, I can’t get ahead.

So next time you call us lazy, selfish, and entitled, I want you to look around. If you are at work, I bet there is a Millennial close by trying to get ahead. If you are at the coffee shop, I bet the barista behind the counter is a Millennial, trying to pay her rent, or car, while going to school.

 

Life is Funny Like That

Life is funny like that.

Not funny like when you and your best friend share an inside joke that leaves you both hysterically crying and red in the face. More like a funny that leaves you painfully grinning, forcing fake laughter, while you silently mouth the words, “fuck me” to the nearest person.

Yeah, life is funny that way.

First, I found myself at lunch with coworkers the Friday before Christmas. Looking around, I noticed I stood out like a sore thumb; being, I was the only female there. (Yay a job in the STEM field, AmIRightThough?….)

Today, I had a scheduled phone interview set for 9 am. Arriving to work at my usual time of 5 am, leaving me ample time to check my emails, reread methods, protocols, gather my reagents and prepare for my validation I was testing. Only to find out, half of my stuff was still frozen in the -80˚C ultrafreezer, and half of the method didn’t agree with the protocol. So, at 8:50, I found myself sitting in my manager’s office, checking my math, asking questions about the protocol, while he typed up an email.

My phone on vibrate in my lab coat. Waiting.

I made it out into the hallway quick enough to answer my phone. “Here it is” I thought to myself, and took a deep breath.

Overall, the interview wasn’t bad. Midway through a separate manager comes out in the hallway and whispers, “Do you have a minute?” He understood, and gave me a “don’t worry about it” wave of the hand and walked away.

So, you may ask, What is worse than being interrupted during a phone interview by one of your current managers?

Being told when you return to your desk that the boss of our entire department is able to hear everything people say out in that area because of how the walls were built.

Excellent.