The 40-Year-Old Millennial Sympathizer

It’s no secret that Millennials get a bad rap – especially among folks in the post-Baby Boomer generation. This is why it was especially refreshing to run across a 40-something’s “apology” in the New York Times for his generation’s tendency to rag on us.

Op-Ed columnist Frank Bruni writes,

Among Americans age 40 and older, there’s a pastime more popular than football, Candy Crush or HBO.

It’s bashing millennials.

Oh, the hours of fun we have, marveling at their self-fascination and gaping at their sense of entitlement! It’s been an especially spirited romp lately, as a new batch of them graduate from college and gambol toward our cubicles, prompting us to wonder afresh about the havoc they’ll wreak on our world.

We have a hell of a lot of nerve, considering the havoc we’ve wrought on theirs.

Bruni’s article is a poignant piece on the many different ways our generation has been shafted, and he remarks what a shame it is that no one is doing anything to fix it. Here are some of my favorite excerpts and points from his piece:

  • He notes we’re not spending enough public funds and resources on supporting America’s youth. Quoting a former Nebraska governor, who said, “If we’re trying to figure out how to advance the next generation’s future, we need to be spending more on the next generation, and we’re spending it on yesterday’s generation. I am not the future. My 12-year-old son is. But if you look at the spending, you’d think I’m the future.”
  • “Employment figures… confirm a much higher rate of joblessness among Americans ages 18 to 29 than among the whole population.”
  • The government’s regulation of carbon emissions is nowhere near strict enough. In half a century, it will lead to disastrous consequences.

We conveniently overlook how much more they’ve had to pay for college than we did, the loans they’ve racked up and the fact that nothing explains their employment difficulties better than a generally crummy economy, which certainly isn’t their fault.

Millennials are by no means untouchable angels who can do no wrong. We are far too addicted to social media, we often demand and expect far too much, and we have a tendency to be rather self-absorbed. But that’s not all we are.

We are also the most educated generation in history, we are more adept at accepting change, and we are more connected to people all over the world than ever before.

Every generation has its quirks and its flaws. Millennials aren’t some unique generation that suddenly its elders disapprove of. It’s rather unfair that the generations that came before us (X and the Baby Boomers) are so quick to judge us – especially when those generations were placed under the same scrutiny and condemnation only a few decades ago.

5 thoughts on “The 40-Year-Old Millennial Sympathizer

  1. Thanks so much for sharing this, it’s so relevant and interesting to hear a perspective from somebody other than a millennial. I once sat at a job interview where the interviewer kept talking about how “entitled” our generation feels and how we think we can do no wrong and just kept going at it and at it. I mean, I can’t really compare how I feel to how they felt because I wasn’t alive back then, but it seems as if the generation that raised us is constantly criticizing us for our life decisions. It’s a complex situation for sure, and I’m glad it’s getting talked about. Great post! :)


    • Oh, wow! That sounds like such an awkward situation to be put in! :/

      I totally agree with you. Of course, we’ve definitely played a role in shaping our own generation, but we’ve been significantly influenced by so many other factors: parents, advertisers, school systems, culture, technology, world events, etc.

      After I read this article, it suddenly dawned on me that the generations that came before us were also seen by their elders as entitled or crazy or whatever. I’m sure pretty soon we’ll be complaining about the generation that comes after us (do they even have a name yet?). haha.


      • Yeah lots of awkward laughter ensued. And yeah, I definitely think that this problem is a never-ending loop. And I think that our criticism of the next generation has already started? They are known as the generation of the Internet and of getting iPhones before they graduate middle school and that whole sphere of existence. We can’t change who we are, so why do we criticize others for who they are? Haha and I don’t think there’s really an answer for that.


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