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Millennial’s guide to the generation gap

Yes, I hate to admit it, I am considered a millennial. Never have I ever heard of one generation receiving such a bad reputation. Ask the former generations and they will never cease telling you how we are mostly lazy and “don’t understand what hard work is.”

I don’t know if they recite this out of habit from listening to their parents or they really believe what they are saying.

Regardless, I am tired of hearing about how lazy my generation is and how we are, for lack of better words, incapable of working hard or knowing what hard work is.

I am not ignorant to the fact there are those who take things for granted in my generation, nor the fact some of those people also feel entitled to luxuries in life without having to work. However, I am also not ignorant to the fact this type of personality occurs in every generation and it would be naive to state the millennial generation was the one that broke the mold becoming the first to feel, think and act this way.

Having lived through the recession when I was in my early- to mid-20s, I can say many of us from all generations can understand and fully admit life since Y2K and the economic collapse of the early 2000s has never been the same and has absolutely not fully recovered.

Much like our ancestors lived through the depression, millennials have had to survive and somehow figure out a way to thrive during and after the recession. A fact many should consider before placing blame. Not only that, but workers have been cut and many wages, benefits and incentives pulled back from those who are lucky enough to be employed.

The millennial generation is having to figure out how to survive not only in an economy with fewer jobs and lower wages but also in jobs that are typically underpaid and require the employee to do the work the former generation had many helping hands with. Something the older generation should perhaps stop and consider the next time they look at a working millennial.

I have worked my whole life since before I could even receive a work permit. I waited tables for more than 10 years until I had children and I then took some time off work to raise them. Although, in that time when the recession hit hard and my husband lost his job one month after we bought our first home and I was eight months pregnant with our second child, we both didn’t quit, and I proceeded to build a home business from the ground up. When my husband did return to work, I put myself through college, by myself, while he traveled and was never home and I took care of our three children. When jobs constantly turned me away, I fought and called and never relented to find work. Even if that meant taking positions where I did not receive what I should and did the work that used to be required and completed by several different employees.

I don’t ask for praise or a pat on the back for what I have done, I did it out of the respect and knowledge that if I want certain things in life you have to agree to put in the “hard work” required to obtain it.

Generations fail to understand one another for the mere reason no one will ever understand what you alone go through and walk through in the years they were not even alive. Much like me explaining a cassette tape or VHS player to my children, or how it was the only thing we had, will never be fully understood by them.

However, I would never call them lazy or ignorant to hard work simply because of the generation they were born in. To assume a generation is lazy or does not work as hard because times change, and with that so does life, is insane. The cutbacks from the recession, that are still alive and well even if the government wants to deny it, is still to this day hurting the American economy. And with that, the working millennials who are now mostly in their 20s to mid-30s.

We have all heard the story, no matter what generation your birthday lies in, about our parents having to walk 10 miles to school, uphill, both ways, in a blizzard; and were then told to stop complaining about how easy we have it.

Times change, and with that, somethings become easier and some become harder. To say any generation is lazy because of the luxuries time alone has afforded them is irrational. The millennial generation has had to fight their way to work much like our ancestors after the great depression.

In fact, many facts indicate millennials are most similar to the “silent generation,” Americans born in the 1920s to early 1940s, who eventually were the ones responsible for helping the country thrive again in a booming economy.

Some of the hardest-working, resilient and dedicated colleagues I have been fortunate to work with have come out of my generation. We are by no means lazy. We may have been knocked down by the recession, but we have stood back up and will continue to stand tall, even if the older generation doesn’t fully grasp the generation gap we live in.

Brittany Fuller is the community editor of The Jessamine Journal and Jessamine Life magazine. She can be reached at brittany.fuller@jessaminejournal.com.