A Very Gentle PSA To Anyone Writing a Trend Piece about Millennials

Right now, there's nothing trendier than writing trend pieces about the terribleness of millennials. But if you're a journalist on deadline hoping to jump on the shit-on-the-youths train, there are some important things you should know first.

  • Not all of us live in Brooklyn! In fact, the vast majority of us do not live in Brooklyn.
  • Most of us don’t get money from our parents! Nor do we want it! Assuming that everyone has parents who could or would bankroll a life in NYC or SF is fatuous. What many of us want and most of us have are jobs.
  • Yes! Jobs! We have them! We get up and put on work-appropriate clothes and then go to work and do our best and come home.
  • We did not all study humanities! Of those who did, lots have great jobs! And even if some don’t — did you make no stupid decisions when you were 19? Do you think that maybe someone who is deeply in debt with few job prospects maybe has learned his or her lesson without your public concern-trolling?
  • Not every 20-something female who is making a movie/writing a book/running a blog needs to be compared to Lena Dunham. Lena is insanely talented and telling an interesting story. But: It is a story. It is not the only story.
  • Yeah, Boomers: a lot of us are narcissistic. Also, we’re in our 20s. 20-somethings are to narcissism as teens are to contentless rebellion, or 50-somethings are to weird, expensive hobbies that bring them joy.
  • We grew up with a model, and set of assumptions, that proved untrue. During our childhoods, unemployment was low, houses gained in value, a bachelor’s degree left you prepared for a variety of employment opportunities and investing was a sound decision. Now all of those things aren’t the case. It’s our job to deal with that, and that’s fine. Generations have faced much worse. But it’s easy to distrust a system that melted down so spectacularly just as it was time for us to buy into it.
  • Seriously: is this just a need for an older generation to feel anxious about the next one? Do you really think humanity has devolved spectacularly in the past 15 years, and there is something uniquely wrong with us? Do you just need something to rile the readership up? What is the deal?

So take heed, writers of youth-averse trend pieces. You wouldn't want to jump to conclusions about an entire group of individuals based on errant assumptions. What are you, some kind of mustachioed Brooklyn-based twentysomething with leg tats and an entitlement problem?


Kelly Williams Brown is the author of "Adulting: How to Become A Grown-Up in 468 Easy(ish) Steps."
This piece was originally published on Adulting. Republished with permission.