Saturday, 21 January 2017

The Millenial

Yes, I'm a Millenial. Born blissfully unaware of how my generation would be branded in 1994. At the time, my father was 22. He had a mortgage and a good wage. Now I am his age and the differences are staggering. And I am sick to death of it being blamed on me.

As a Millenial, I've grown up to believe that I am entitled, wasteful and lazy. The truth couldn't be farther from the truth.

From a young age I learned the hardships of life: my mother suffered cancer when I was four, my aunt died suddenly when I was eleven, followed by my granda eighteen months later. I witnessed my birth mother have a mental breakdown and get sectioned when I was thirteen. I was diagnosed with my own mental health problems when I was fifteen and many of those trouble me to this day. Depression. Anxiety. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I never got diagnosed with an Eating Disorder (though if you read my medical notes you would see allusions to it), but I know I suffered with them. I mean, there's only one thing they call making yourself sick to lose weight, right? When I was 20 I was perhaps the illest I ever was and hopefully ever will be. I lost 2 stone in 6 week, passed out the first day of my dream job and was the closest to suicidal a person can be.

And despite all of this, I don't expect to be given anything.

I have worked hard for everything that I have. I worked through university, through my breakdown, to give myself the best chance I could. I went to university to study something I love and worked god damn hard. There were times when I wanted to give up, when I wanted to turn around and go back home. But I would never have gone home and wasted my life like so many people I know back there.

I stepped up. I graduated university with a respectable 2.1 (frustratingly close to a 1st). Despite breaking my arm a few days after my last deadline, I spent the summer job hunting. I interviewed for a few jobs that went well. Some I turned down, the office was too far or I didn't feel comfortable with some part of my experience. Some say that's entitlement: I say it's important that you feel safe in the work place. I've experienced enough awful work environments to last me a lifetime. I even got an offer for my dream job as a social media apprentice- until they discovered I had a degree and that was snatched away from me. Eventually I went into temping, and my first role is now my first full time permanent job. It's something I love and that will hopefully open a lot of doors for me. I even won a staff award despite only being there since August.

My point in all of this is that I worked hard for where I am. Yet living is still a struggle. Money is still a struggle. For what my role is, I'm very well paid. I know people who work in the same role as I do for a different company and earn a third of what I do. Yet living costs still sting me every single month. When we complain about the cost of renting, we are not merely whinging or being entitled. We're highlighting real issues. When you are renting a flat for hundreds a month and your neighbours mortgage costs nearly half of that, is it that hard to understand why we're angry? We're generation rent because rents are so high! How are you expected to save up for a deposit on a house when two thirds of your wage goes on rent and bills?

I don't mind paying my taxes. I don't mind paying my bills. I don't even mind paying my rent that much.

But when I am shamed for spending £3 on a fancy donut on a day out in town when I could be saving that money for a house, I have to ask if us Millenials are living on a different planet. In my desired area, decent 3 bedroom houses are around £150k, so a deposit of £15k is required. Please, enlighten me on how that £3 on a donut on a special occasion- namely seeing my friend for the first time in 6 months- is going to benefit the deposit in any way, shape or form!

I try bloody hard to save money. I am living in a time when house prices are skyrocketing, where wages are stagnated and where the government is placing ever more stringent restrictions on workers rights, wages and our NHS. Where once dental care was not considered a luxury and where paying for medication didn't mean restricting the food shop, and getting a job came with secure hours, and zero hour contracts weren't a thing.

 I am doing better than most. And I am still struggling.

And every time I see somebody slate the Millenial for being lazy, look at how much competition there is for work and look at how degraded a degree now is. When you accuse Millenial of being entitled, realise that you don't know anything about that person or their background. When you accuse a Millenial of being wasteful, take a look at all their hard work, how much they're being paid and how much that compares to their necessary expenditures. Then compare all of that to your life twenty years ago.

You will see a very different picture.


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