Why Generation Y Yuppies are Unhappy (a response)

Huffington Post is, as I claim, the only website I visit daily.  This is more or less true, but mainly so because I read it on the weekends, where my other favorite sites tends to drop off.  That being said, I came across an article titled, “Why Generation Y Yuppies are Unhappy.” (note: I linked the website of Wait But Why because they are the original authors and, thus, I feel the need to support their website even if I disagree with their thesis).

Before their thesis, Generation Y are designated as people born roughly between the late 1970’s and mid-1990’s.  I fall at the beginning of this spectrum, having been born in 1982.  Essentially, this article argues that GYPSY’s (Generation Y Protagonists and Special Yuppies) are unhappy because our expectations do not match with our realities.  In short, what are expected to get is less than what we are actually receiving (sounds like a horrible Christmas story).

The Baby Boomer generation, our parents, worked hard to establish secure careers in order to get us that “green grass,” that expanse of lawn in a safe neighborhood, traveling together to family vacations we can afford because we’ve worked so gosh darn hard to get these luxuries.  And, in a very strong way, I agree with these statements.  However, back in those days, mom could stay home.  Living was affordable, weddings and child rearing were not the big money industries they are today.  There were no student loans to pay (and workplaces gave jobs – meaningful ones, too, where people used their brains and stuff – to people without college degrees), no credit cards, no cell phone bills, no internet bills, no DVR, and no cable.  Erase all these bills from my generation and we’re doing really well.  Also, at the risk of sounding whiney, let’s not forget who put us in the situation.

To secure their thesis, Wait But Why offers three facts about GYPSY’s like me.

#1: We’re wildly ambitious: The key word here, I suppose, is “wildly,” meaning something along the lines of “unrealistically.”  We don’t want the American Dream, we “want our own personal American Dream.”  We eschew using terms like “secure career,” in favor of “fulfilling career.”  We have the audacity to want to like our job.  We want to make statements like, “I don’t make a lot of money, but I am really happy with what I’m doing,” rather than, “I hate my job but at least I can afford Disney World every spring.”

I don’t think this qualifies us as wildly anything, other than wishing for a life more, well, fulfilling than the previous generation had.

#2: GYPSY’s are delusional:  Here is where I’m going to begin to agree with the writer at some points.  My generation has been told, over and over, how special we are.  We’re given trophies for everything.  I do believe this will come back to bite us in the ass.  A good effort ribbon will get you very little in life, and just trying something to the best of your ability doesn’t mean anything.  That being said, the frustration the writer outlines at not reaching our expectations is a product not just of our high expectations (set forth by the preceding generation aka the generation of whomever wrote this article).  It’s a frustration that moving up in the world is a product of furthering our education (with little help from our employers) which pushes us further into debt.  Multi-national corporations send their work overseas, so the work my dad did, in person, is a job that no longer exists here in the states.  Who runs those multi-national corporations?  Not a GYPSY.

#3 GYPSY’s are taunted: Another point I agree with here.  Social media is a projection.  People post only their best pictures, deleting the unflattering ones.  Very few people post their miseries.  They post their successes (professionally and personally) and this taunts people who aren’t doing so well.

One thing about Generation Y is that we’ve been encouraged to look within, to explore our feelings, to delve into a deeper understanding of events.  And so while this article raises some interesting discussion topics, I feel the need to mention that maybe the writer of this article should take a cue from us, look their self in the mirror, and self-assess rather than project their unhappiness (to borrow their term) on us.

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3 responses to “Why Generation Y Yuppies are Unhappy (a response)”

  1. Jim Giarrusso says :

    Here’s the problems with our generation:

    1.) Yes, we are highly delusional. We were raised on Danny Tanner, believing that everything will turn out alright, we’ll all get the popular girl and we’ll all win at the end of every episode. Life doesn’t work that way.

    2.) We were raised on the “There’s Only One You” mantra. Everyone believes they’re special, and they’re not. You hear you’re special so many times, you start to believe it, and then have a tough time dealing with life’s various failures.
    There’s always somebody better than you, sorry for the disappointing lesson.

    3.) I never considered the taunting theory, but that’s a very good point. How many people post pictures on Facebook to bring on a perception that they’re life is better than it is?

    4.) We blame our problems on those before us, and we Occupy Cities. It’s all stemmed from self-failure and jealousy. It’s disgusting. Work harder and stop blaming others for your problems.

    “We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won’t. And we’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off. ”
    -Tyler Durden

  2. matthewmosgood says :

    Well said.

    My point, Mr. Giarrusso, is that others should leave their generational criticism to themselves, especially if they shouldn’t be casting any stones. Our previous generation did some great things, but they put handcuffs on the next generation because they felt so satisfied with themselves.

    • Jim Giarrusso says :

      Correct.

      But you can say that about any generation. The next one is always looked down upon by the previous one.

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