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Millennials are the worst. I should know — I am one.
At 26, I’m stuck in the middle of the world’s most maligned, mocked and discussed age group. And I hate it. Imagine being forever lumped into a smug pack of narcissists who don’t just ignore the past, but openly abhor anyone and everything that came before them.
“My boomer co-workers get paid more and they have no clue what Reddit is!” drones the millennial victim as the tiny violin plays. Meanwhile, baby boomers gave us, um, computers, and our major contributions to society are emojis and TV recaps.
2016 hasn’t exactly been a banner year for the Lousiest Generation.
irst there was Talia Jane, the dopey, 25-year-old Yelp employee who was rightly fired for whining about her low salary on social media. Next came the 27-year-old Mic writer who told his boss he was taking time off for a funeral when he was actually building a tree house.
And then entered the Sandernistas, Bernie Sanders obsessives who preached reform and inclusion by berating their closest friends and family for daring to think differently. (One post on the “Bernie or Bust” Facebook group reads, “I don’t want to be friends with you if you support Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump.”)
Johnny Oleksinski, at The Attic Rooftop bar in Manhattan, is fed up with his generation of millennials.
This is what happens when parents slap their toddler’s headshot on a birthday cake.
Recently, a comment from a colleague hit me like a stray selfie-stick. She said, “In some ways I love being a millennial, because it’s so much easier to be better than the rest of our generation. Because they suck.” It was jarring to hear the truth so plainly stated. But she’s right. We suck. We really suck.
Like a member of Alcoholics Anonymous, I must admit that I’m powerless to my biological age. Nonetheless I fight back every day against the traits that have come to define Gen Y: entitlement, dependency, nonstop complaining, laziness, Kardashians.
People like me are called “old souls,” or “26-going-on-76.” We’re chided by our peers for silly things such as enjoying adulthood, commuting to a physical office and not being enamored with Brooklyn. Contentment has turned us into lepers. Or worse: functioning human beings.
My millennial friends want me to be hopelessly nostalgic for the ’90s, obsessing over which “Saved by the Bell” character I’m most like, while ironically purchasing Dunkaroos and Snapchatting my vacant expressions for 43 pals to ignore. Or flying home for the weekend to recover from office burnout by getting some shut-eye in my pristine childhood bedroom. Thanks, but I’ll pass.
This is my number one rule: Do whatever millennials don’t. Definite no-nos include quitting a job or relationship the moment my mood drops from ecstatic to merely content; expecting the world to kowtow to my every childish whim; and assuming that I am always the most fascinating person in the room, hell, the zip code.
Millennials are obsessed with their brand. They co-opted the term from Apple and Xerox to be — like so many other things — all about them. “What’s your brand?,” millennial employers ask. The trouble is that a young person’s brand rarely extends beyond a screen: Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube. When you meet them, they’re never quite as witty, attractive or entrepreneurial as they seem on Facebook. They’re fiction authors, spinning elaborate yarns about their fabulous lives: “The Great Cathy” or “Asher in the Rye.”
But the truth is more like “A Tale of Two Cindys.” She’s the life of the party online, dull as dishwater in person.