By: Sarah Smith
So, in my last column I discussed our generation feeling entitled to everything good in life. I mentioned that I would decide whether this feeling of entitlement was justified or not. That time is now.
Half of my brain really wants to say that we deserve to feel entitled. The other half wants to say that our entitlement is totally unfounded and ridiculous and we should just suck it up and grow some modesty.
If I’m being honest, neither reaction is correct. We don’t deserve to feel entitled; we’ve done nothing to earn the best of everything as a generation. Most of us don’t have college educations, full-time jobs, families to support, or any major responsibilities that we will face as adults. The catch comes not in what we have earned, but what we have been told we deserve. Our parents, teachers, and just about every adult we’ve ever encountered have told us since we’ve been born that if we fit a certain criteria, we can set about doing anything we want and the universe will morph itself to our request.
You might think, “Sarah, that’s ridiculous! Why on earth would our parents tell us something like that?”
That’s a really good question. I have no answer other than they don’t know what they’re doing to us. They tell us in such an indirect way that they don’t even notice what they’re saying. You might think this is still utter silliness, but let me continue.
Would you consider working at a fast food restaurant now? Okay, would you consider working at a fast food restaurant after you’ve graduated from high school? What about the same place after you’ve graduated from college? Odds are you wouldn’t dream of it. Why?
We’ve been told our entire lives that if we go to college studying and working very hard, we will be able to procure a job in our given field with a little effort but absolute certainty. Unfortunately, the world doesn’t actually work that way. Job markets are shrinking and our economy, quite frankly, sucks. The odds of us getting jobs in our desired field that pay enough to support us and our families are actually lower than the odds of us living at home for the rest of our natural born lives.
Well, why do adults tell us lies? Odds are they don’t know they’re lying. Our parents tell us these things because they hope that if we work hard and stay in school then we have a very good chance of getting a job. We add the “definitely” bit ourselves for some unknown reason. It is true: you almost have to have a college degree to get any decent job, but just because you have that degree does not guarantee you that decent job.
What we need to realize as a generation is that things are not black and white, cookie-cutter, or any other cliché term for cliché. We aren’t living a math problem: one life event plus another life event does not equal a perfect life. It’s possible that some of us could end up without jobs when we get to the age to enter the workforce, even if we all have really nice college degrees that we’ve framed and put up in our kitchen.