Why Generation Y Yuppies Are Unhappy

Say hi to Lucy.

Lucy is part of Generation Y, the generation born between the late 1970s and the mid 1990s. She’s also part of a yuppie culture that makes up a large portion of Gen Y.

I have a term for yuppies in the Gen Y age group—I call them Gen Y Protagonists & Special Yuppies, or GYPSYs. A GYPSY is a unique brand of yuppie, one who thinks they are the main character of a very special story.

So Lucy’s enjoying her GYPSY life, and she’s very pleased to be Lucy. Only issue is this one thing:

Lucy’s kind of unhappy.

To get to the bottom of why, we need to define what makes someone happy or unhappy in the first place. It comes down to a simple formula:

It’s pretty straightforward—when the reality of someone’s life is better than they had expected, they’re happy. When reality turns out to be worse than the expectations, they’re unhappy.

To provide some context, let’s start by bringing Lucy’s parents into the discussion:

Lucy’s parents were born in the 50s—they’re Baby Boomers. They were raised by Lucy’s grandparents, members of the G.I. Generation, or “the Greatest Generation,” who grew up during the Great Depression and fought in World War II, and were most definitely not GYPSYs.

Lucy’s Depression Era grandparents were obsessed with economic security and raised her parents to build practical, secure careers. They wanted her parents’ careers to have greener grass than their own, and Lucy’s parents were brought up to envision a prosperous and stable career for themselves. Something like this:

They were taught that there was nothing stopping them from getting to that lush, green lawn of a career, but that they’d need to put in years of hard work to make it happen.

After graduating from being insufferable hippies, Lucy’s parents embarked on their careers. As the 70s, 80s, and 90s rolled along, the world entered a time of unprecedented economic prosperity. Lucy’s parents did even better than they expected to. This left them feeling gratified and optimistic.

With a smoother, more positive life experience than that of their own parents, Lucy’s parents raised Lucy with a sense of optimism and unbounded possibility. And they weren’t alone. Baby Boomers all around the country and world told their Gen Y kids that they could be whatever they wanted to be, instilling the special protagonist identity deep within their psyches.

This left GYPSYs feeling tremendously hopeful about their careers, to the point where their parents’ goals of a green lawn of secure prosperity didn’t really do it for them. A GYPSY-worthy lawn has flowers.

This leads to our first fact about GYPSYs:

GYPSYs Are Wildly Ambitious

The GYPSY needs a lot more from a career than a nice green lawn of prosperity and security. The fact is, a green lawn isn’t quite exceptional or unique enough for a GYPSY. Where the Baby Boomers wanted to live The American Dream, GYPSYs want to live Their Own Personal Dream.

Cal Newport points out that “follow your passion” is a catchphrase that has only gotten going in the last 20 years, according to Google’s Ngram viewer, a tool that shows how prominently a given phrase appears in English print over any period of time. The same Ngram viewer shows that the phrase “a secure career” has gone out of style, just as the phrase “a fulfilling career” has gotten hot.

To be clear, GYPSYs want economic prosperity just like their parents did—they just also want to be fulfilled by their career in a way their parents didn’t think about as much.

But something else is happening too. While the career goals of Gen Y as a whole have become much more particular and ambitious, Lucy has been given a second message throughout her childhood as well:

This would probably be a good time to bring in our second fact about GYPSYs:

GYPSYs Are Delusional

“Sure,” Lucy has been taught, “everyone will go and get themselves some fulfilling career, but I am unusually wonderful and as such, my career and life path will stand out amongst the crowd.” So on top of the generation as a whole having the bold goal of a flowery career lawn, each individual GYPSY thinks that he or she is destined for something even better—

A shiny unicorn on top of the flowery lawn.

So why is this delusional? Because this is what all GYPSYs think, which defies the definition of special:

spe-cial| ‘speSHel |
better, greater, or otherwise different from what is usual.

According to this definition, most people are not special—otherwise “special” wouldn’t mean anything.

Even right now, the GYPSYs reading this are thinking, “Good point…but I actually am one of the few special ones”—and this is the problem.

A second GYPSY delusion comes into play once the GYPSY enters the job market. While Lucy’s parents’ expectation was that many years of hard work would eventually lead to a great career, Lucy considers a great career an obvious given for someone as exceptional as she, and for her it’s just a matter of time and choosing which way to go. Her pre-workforce expectations look something like this:

Unfortunately, the funny thing about the world is that it turns out to not be that easy of a place, and the weird thing about careers is that they’re actually quite hard. Great careers take years of blood, sweat and tears to build—even the ones with no flowers or unicorns on them—and even the most successful people are rarely doing anything that great in their early or mid-20s.

But GYPSYs aren’t about to just accept that.

Paul Harvey, a University of New Hampshire professor and GYPSY expert, has researched this, finding that Gen Y has “unrealistic expectations and a strong resistance toward accepting negative feedback,” and “an inflated view of oneself.” He says that “a great source of frustration for people with a strong sense of entitlement is unmet expectations. They often feel entitled to a level of respect and rewards that aren’t in line with their actual ability and effort levels, and so they might not get the level of respect and rewards they are expecting.”

For those hiring members of Gen Y, Harvey suggests asking the interview question, “Do you feel you are generally superior to your coworkers/classmates/etc., and if so, why?” He says that “if the candidate answers yes to the first part but struggles with the ‘why,’ there may be an entitlement issue. This is because entitlement perceptions are often based on an unfounded sense of superiority and deservingness. They’ve been led to believe, perhaps through overzealous self-esteem building exercises in their youth, that they are somehow special but often lack any real justification for this belief.”

And since the real world has the nerve to consider merit a factor, a few years out of college Lucy finds herself here:

Lucy’s extreme ambition, coupled with the arrogance that comes along with being a bit deluded about one’s own self-worth, has left her with huge expectations for even the early years out of college. And her reality pales in comparison to those expectations, leaving her “reality – expectations” happy score coming out at a negative.

And it gets even worse. On top of all this, GYPSYs have an extra problem that applies to their whole generation:

GYPSYs Are Taunted

Sure, some people from Lucy’s parents’ high school or college classes ended up more successful than her parents did. And while they may have heard about some of it from time to time through the grapevine, for the most part they didn’t really know what was going on in too many other peoples’ careers.

Lucy, on the other hand, finds herself constantly taunted by a modern phenomenon: Facebook Image Crafting.

Social media creates a world for Lucy where A) what everyone else is doing is very out in the open, B) most people present an inflated version of their own existence, and C) the people who chime in the most about their careers are usually those whose careers (or relationships) are going the best, while struggling people tend not to broadcast their situation. This leaves Lucy feeling, incorrectly, like everyone else is doing really well, only adding to her misery:

So that’s why Lucy is unhappy, or at the least, feeling a bit frustrated and inadequate. In fact, she’s probably started off her career perfectly well, but to her, it feels very disappointing.

Here’s my advice for Lucy:

1) Stay wildly ambitious. The current world is bubbling with opportunity for an ambitious person to find flowery, fulfilling success. The specific direction may be unclear, but it’ll work itself out—just dive in somewhere.

2) Stop thinking that you’re special. The fact is, right now, you’re not special. You’re another completely inexperienced young person who doesn’t have all that much to offer yet. You can become special by working really hard for a long time.

3) Ignore everyone else. Other people’s grass seeming greener is no new concept, but in today’s image crafting world, other people’s grass looks like a glorious meadow. The truth is that everyone else is just as indecisive, self-doubting, and frustrated as you are, and if you just do your thing, you’ll never have any reason to envy others.


If you liked this, check out:

Why Procrastinators Procrastinate
How to Pick Your Life Partner
7 Ways to Be Insufferable on Facebook

  • Anonymous

    Most spot on and hilarious thing I’ve read in awhile. I can’t get enough of this new “Gypsy” term! I’m definitely a Gypsy…

    • Anonymous

      It’s not a new term, it’s an ethnic slur that’s been used against Roma people for hundreds of years. You are most definitely NOT a gypsy.

      • Anonymouse

        Actually in the context of this article she IS a GYPSY.
        You on the other hand don’t get it so crawl back under that rock you came from and please don’t smell my air up with your trite male-bovine fecal matter.

        • Anon E Must

          Well, actually, Anon at 9.27pm is right; she is not a “Gypsy” or a “gypsy” as she claims she is. She is in fact a GYPSY in line with the article.

          Anon at 12.27AM, excellent point which I was attempting to make when I saw you had made it better.

      • Anonymous

        I can’t wait for next week’s article about how to be a Nice Imaginative Greatest Generation Ever Realist!

    • Anonymous

      I did enjoy reading this… I see this through the eyes of a parent and a child It is also good to read the reactions. As a baby boomer, with a gypsy generation “child”…a very hard working one, it is tough out there. , I can see that many of the younger generation has some good points.

      I do think that one should tell their own child that they ARE special to them .. not better than anyone else, but one of the most important things in a parent’s life.
      Our parents often felt that to tell a child that they were special would spoil them.

    • Anonymous

      I know! GYPSY is a great new condescending term! I mean no one has ever used it to mean anything else especially not condescending. God you know it was so original for the writer to think of this new condescending acronym that has vaguely condescending connotations to me. Hmmmmm I wonder if he ever thought of N.E.G.R.O. as an acronym? I know if he did I would use it all the time! No idea why! Lol its hilarious!

    • Anonymous

      No, you are not a Gypsy, not unless you are a member of a particular ethnic (my ethnic) background. The fact that the author chose to use the name of a particular racial and ethnic background is both insulting and absurd. Were the author to have somehow come up with an acronym that read as “JEW” would you be saying the same thing?

      “Most spot on and hilarious thing I’ve read in awhile. I can’t get enough of this ‘Jew’ term! I’m definitely a Jew…”

      No. That would have the article labelled as racist and anti-semitic right from the start. But – for some reason – the term ‘Gypsy’ is acceptable? No. It is just as unacceptable. Just as unacceptable.

      • Anonymouse

        So what pray tell is your ethnic background where you stake the claim to gypsy?
        And why do you compare gypsy with Jew? Not the same.

      • leconspiringhands

        Oy vey! Bad goyim, bad! It’s like another shoah!

    • Anonymous

      It is an over simplification of reality and hardly true, plus it uses a cultural slur as an acronym.

    • Anonymous

      Gypsy is a racial slur though

    • Anonymous

      The author is not wrong about millenials, but he (I’m guessing here) give Baby Boomers an unbelievable pass on being the most hypocritical, self-involved generation to date. And for the record, one reason why gen-Y has such over-inflated self-esteem and unrealistic expectations is because their boomer parents over-compensated for the tough love or full on neglect they felt from their own parents. The final advice is quite good and needed, but when you frame that advice around an idealized and statistically skewed notion of how great previous generations were you alienate your target audience and wind up just preaching to the choir.

      • Anonymous

        And who is the most self-important generation to date? I’m tempted to say it’s whichever one you belong too. But I don’t make stupid generalizations.

    • Anonymous

      how true, I was especially thinking about how Gen Y whinge about the cost of housing. Seems they don’t understand why a modern air conditioned Macmansion with 4 garages and a pool, 2 kilometres from the city centre doesn’t cost the same as the 2 bedroom fibro shack with no garage, or aircon and the toilet was a hole in the back yard that their parents bought for $50k (5 times their yearly salary) 40 years ago, and they feel hard done by!

      • Anonymous

        My problem is trying to afford a studio apartment while handling food costs and student loans. Even that is impossible, and it’s only going to get worse when my 12 year old car inevitably breaks down and I have to tack car payments into the mix.

    • Lucy

      Very freaked out by this: I’m a GYPSY and my name is…you guessed it..Lucy! It’s all gone a bit Truman show. I think I’ll have a sleep now. Hopefully I won’t dream about rainbow-vomiting unicorns.

    • Anonymous

      There’s some truth in all this, I will also add some images and dreams spread by TV. And as far as parents are concerned I also believe that they expect from their offspring more – you live in better world with more opportunities so you should not only get what you want, but also what we wanted but never could. So it’s not only pursuing own’s own dreams but also dreams of other generations – those depression grandparents and parents. It’s a pity it was mostly the drive for career that was ingrained, all issues concerning family, relationships were left behind, underappreciated – for our grandparents and parents family was an obvious thing, they did not cherish it that much. Now for many single and lonely yuppies this part of life is a place of endless struggle and that is sad 🙁

    • Anonymous

      NO NO NO NO NO.
      This is the reality. Our lives are not dumb cartoon charicatuires the elite want to make us!

  • Anonymous

    This sufficiently describes basically everyone I know. Fun read, thanks.

    • Anonymous

      Including you, or are you “special”?

    • Anonymous

      He knows himself too buddy!!

    • Anonymous

      The two people talking about the Oxford Comma were HILARIOUS – especially the second one: “an exhilarating sense of clarity and character to my writing IMO (sorry, I mean IMHO)”. That made me laugh out loud – thank you. 🙂 Clearly I had no idea about the change in rules wrt the double spaces after the period because I’m still putting them in there. Call me old fashioned, and I guess the publishing world would fire me, but I’ve been typing this way for so long (I don’t know Generation I am – I’m 45 so who knows what that makes me) that I’d have to retrain myself to type any differently. As for the initial post that began this whole exchange – and then veered way off topic – I hate to say this but your comment was precisely what the author was talking about. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t know you, obviously, I’m not trying to insult you, and I absolutely believe everyone deserves a chance to find a job they love. I have 2 girls – ages 11 and 9 and I hope they both work hard and find jobs that they love too. However, I also know that dream jobs, like the kind of job I suspect you’re hoping for, take years – sometimes MANY years to come along. Hey – maybe I’m wrong and maybe you’ll be one of the lucky ones who land your dream job in 6 months from now – who knows. It also depends what your version of your “dream job” is. Maybe your dream job is going to Africa to work with children in an orphanage – well then that could happen to you sooner than later. Maybe it’s to be a teacher – again a job that is not so far out of reach. However, if your dream job is something along the lines of “I want to be the Executive Vice President of Advertising for Macy’s” that’s a little less realistic. That’s the author’s point – align your expectations with what’s realistic at this point in time with both your experience and your skills. You’re young, enjoy life. Enjoy being young! So what if you don’t have your “dream job” yet – you have the rest of your life for that to happen – and trust me – you’ll look back at this point in your life and wonder why you pushed so hard and stressed yourself out so much when this is YOUR time for you to grow, learn, establish yourself and your career. Don’t be in such a hurry, one thing I know is that life doesn’t slow down – it speeds up. You’ll blink and you’ll be 45 like me – and I’m pretty darn happy. 🙂

    • Anonymous

      “Sufficiently describes”? You’re trying too hard.

    • Anonymous

      Great read…and it’s somewhat hilarious and saddening to see the excuses spring forth from all angles. Giggity, giggity…sigh…

    • Anonymous

      I don’t think this article is wrong or right, its just overgeneralizing. And if I do some overgeneralizing myself, why not just say that they grew up in an era sensitive to the dark history of their grandparents, maybe their parents treated them like they were special, but after such a romantic history of the depression, war, 50’s, 60’s, I would say they were encouraged to be dreamers. Then came the 90’s, and every other depressing generation after that. They weren’t expecting, they were seeking dreams. They were raised to believe their imaginations would make the world a better place, and look at this hell hole, do you blame them? We’re idealists, we’re depressed because we want the world to be beautiful, not to be special. But your lack of imagination shows your inflexible opinions. your gypsy kids haven’t all found their place yet, but when they do, their passion will push them to excel. Which generation do you come from where being judgemental and jealous is your strong suit?

    • Anonymous

      It describes everyone I know but me of course!

  • Anonymous

    I’ll stop thinking there’s some special exception for why I deserve a dream job when you stop thinking there’s some special exception for you using the extremely out-dated and incorrect, “two spaces after every period” rule…

    • LMAO!

    • Anonymous

      No, pretentious asshole, you should just stop thinking that you deserve your dream job.

    • Anonymous

      Actually, despite what you learned in your (likely) liberal college where you (likely) earned a degree in some kind of “Arts” or “Humanities” major, using two spaces after a period is not incorrect. Out-dated, yes, but not incorrect (much like using “telefone” instead of “telephone” or the difference between using “data” in the plural form or not). Further, if you were not a Gypsy and had ever began a legitimate career, you would realize that it is a very common practice in report writing done outside of academia, and even in academia it depends on your professor and often the location of the university.

      Keep thinking you’re special though – who needs a career when you can use your parents’ wealth or my taxes?

    • Anonymous

      Your response is Spot on!

    • Anonymous

      I love the insane assumptions you can make about an anon who points out that [unless you are using mono-space type] the two-spaces “rule” is in fact, incorrect. As literally every typographer will tell you. Thanks to the fact that computers use proportional typesetting, unlike typewriters from where the two-space rule originated, the rule has become literally useless.
      “Every modern typographer agrees on the one-space rule. It’s one of the canonical rules of the profession, in the same way that waiters know that the salad fork goes to the left of the dinner fork and fashion designers know to put men’s shirt buttons on the right and women’s on the left. Every major style guide—including the Modern Language Association Style Manual and the Chicago Manual of Style—prescribes a single space after a period. (The Publications Manual of the American Psychological Association, used widely in the social sciences, allows for two spaces in draft manuscripts but recommends one space in published work.”
      But to point that out apparently means you went to a liberal college and studied Humanities (which apparently isn’t a legitimate study according to these oh so non-pretentious commenters), have never had a legitimate career, and live off of your parent’s money or welfare. Ho-ly mother of god, did this Anon hit a nerve with you or what?
      Also your simile is wrong, it is not even remotely the same as different spellings of the word “telephone” or the plural or non-plural “data”.
      Maybe YOU should’ve studied some Arts or Humanities instead of making wild assumptions and trying to shame people who did.

    • Anonymous

      Your comment is a refreshing antidote to the acidic stupidity of the previous commenter.

    • Anonymous

      Indeed. One space!

    • Anonymous sure is a cowardly little shit, isn’t he? When he’s not here calling people names, he’s publishing the addresses and phone numbers of members of the Westboro Baptist Church. They are unpleasant little wretches, but if Anonymous really wants to feel like a big shot, why doesn’t he do the same thing to the NSA? “oooh, mommy, I might get in trouble! Scary! Guess I’ll go pick on a random bunch of strangers, that will make me feel big and tough.” Loser.

    • Anonymous

      One space only applies to typeset material (where that single space is kerned as needed.) Else, it was always two spaces. It’s a modern pretension that web content is “typeset” therefore requires only one space. Just like the “special” Gen Y babies, you think you get to make all new rules just because you say so. Reality isn’t that way.

      – Anonymous because it’s a theme here… 😉

    • Cynic

      really? you’re saying that his argument is invalid because of typesetting? why are you guys even arguing over something so inconsequential?

      P.S. Feel free to flame my lack of capitalization

    • Anonymous

      There is no rule regarding two spaces or one. I used APA and had a stickler for grammar in my 2nd Masters (foreigners seem to really apply the rules of grammar). I learned to type in a formal class way back when and it was two spaces. I’ve seen both in the professional world, but mostly two. The only time I’ve witnessed someone make a stink professionally was a manager lecturing the intern that he didn’t give two shits what he was told in college, but at this company (big successful corporation), the old rule applied.

      The only time I dared to argue with a boss over anything of this nature was to tell him that according to the American dictionary, color was spelled correctly and colour applied to the UK. He was Jamaican and raised on the “queen’s language.” He was grateful I caught that and I helped him change his English settings.

      This may where you can tell your boss who was trained with the two space rule why you are special/superior though. That is sure to get your smug ass a job.

      What the hell do I know though. I’m a gen Xer who worked my way up to 6 figures after hard work. I’m not that special. *snicker*

    • Anonymous

      I can’t say how happy it makes me that this has devolved into an argument about the two space rule. Does anyone want to weigh in on the Oxford Comma while you’re at it.

    • Anonymous

      I am for the Oxford Comma. It offers an exhilarating sense of clarity and character to my writing IMO (sorry, I mean IMHO).

      (Posting Anonymously as well because I want to fit in)

    • Anonymous

      I am a professional writer. I’d say it’s a dream job, but really it’s about five jobs I work all at the same time. I’ve written for both print and the Web.

      I assure you that the one space rule applies to AP, Chicago Manual, APA, MLA, and the various publisher specific style guides I use. It applies inside and out of academia. It applies in business correspondence, in emails, in print, and online. You may have someone that accepts two spaces out of courtesy for an old writer’s habits, but it isn’t correct.

    • Anonymous

      PS the APA guide is two spaces for manual drafts, but the published work will only include one space.

    • Anonymous

      Outside the publishing world, they don’t care about the new rules. And it it simple to find and replace two spaces for one. It isn’t as simple to do if your bosses are old school…and that includes the Xers.

    • Anonymous

      This debate over one or two spaces is hysterical. And for those with astute eyes you would have already noted I use two spaces. This is due to a couple of reasons; I have never been advised the rules have changed (perhaps this is because I live outside of America)and am not a typesetter or web page designer. The original statement that started all this seemed to be trying to use the fact that as the writer had the audacity to use an extra space somehow gives justification for the commentators righteousness. By all means strive for that dream job, never give up that dream, just don’t expect to be served the dream immediately, doesn’t matter what generation any of us come from starting at the bottom working your way up gives you skills no degree will ever give you. I have done both and am proud of what I have achieved but do not think that I deserve it more than anyone who has put in the effort.

      PS I’m Gen X

    • Anonymous

      Okay. I had no idea we weren’t using two spaces after every period anymore. Feeling a little shocked…

    • grmpf

      Putting two spaces after a period seems to be a uniquely English-language thing because I have never heard of this even being an issue in my own language. It also wasn’t taught to me in English or French class, probably because it has been outdated for a while now in English and because the French were the ones who have been using one space all along anyway (it’s seriously called French spacing vs. English spacing – I suppose the French had to win at something at some point).
      Besides, I can’t believe nobody has pointed out that there is not supposed to be a comma before the quotation marks in the comment that started all this.

    • Anonymous

      Actually to the “acute” eye you may have noticed there are no double spaces after a period in comment sections. They are automatically removed as that is the HTML standard. As well as you know, the standard in all print publications.

    • Anonymous

      The two people talking about the Oxford Comma were HILARIOUS – especially the second one: “an exhilarating sense of clarity and character to my writing IMO (sorry, I mean IMHO)”. That made me laugh out loud – thank you. 🙂 Clearly I had no idea about the change in rules wrt the double spaces after the period because I’m still putting them in there. Call me old fashioned, and I guess the publishing world would fire me, but I’ve been typing this way for so long (I don’t know Generation I am – I’m 45 so who knows what that makes me) that I’d have to retrain myself to type any differently. As for the initial post that began this whole exchange – and then veered way off topic – I hate to say this but your comment was precisely what the author was talking about. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t know you, obviously, I’m not trying to insult you, and I absolutely believe everyone deserves a chance to find a job they love. I have 2 girls – ages 11 and 9 and I hope they both work hard and find jobs that they love too. However, I also know that dream jobs, like the kind of job I suspect you’re hoping for, take years – sometimes MANY years to come along. Hey – maybe I’m wrong and maybe you’ll be one of the lucky ones who land your dream job in 6 months from now – who knows. It also depends what your version of your “dream job” is. Maybe your dream job is going to Africa to work with children in an orphanage – well then that could happen to you sooner than later. Maybe it’s to be a teacher – again a job that is not so far out of reach. However, if your dream job is something along the lines of “I want to be the Executive Vice President of Advertising for Macy’s” that’s a little less realistic. That’s the author’s point – align your expectations with what’s realistic at this point in time with both your experience and your skills. You’re young, enjoy life. Enjoy being young! So what if you don’t have your “dream job” yet – you have the rest of your life for that to happen – and trust me – you’ll look back at this point in your life and wonder why you pushed so hard and stressed yourself out so much when this is YOUR time for you to grow, learn, establish yourself and your career. Don’t be in such a hurry, one thing I know is that life doesn’t slow down – it speeds up. You’ll blink and you’ll be 45 like me – and I’m pretty darn happy. 🙂

      • Anonymous

        Right there with you 45 we are in no man land.. makes me sad…

    • Anonymous

      I agree, since when did we stop with the 2 space rule??? Geez

      • Anonymous

        There are two spaces? NO!!!! I’m still trying to cope with the idea of an infinite universe. Does this mean I have to take a second copy of my family photos for the “other” space?

    • Anonymous

      It’s amazing how many of you still insist on using two spaces after the period when it’s completely irrelevant, even after being proven incorrect and told why repeated times. You pretentious dipshits do realize that most websites will actually strip out the extra space character, right?

    • Anonymous

      You are right: print media stopped using two spaces a long time ago, probably because all that extra white space added up to higher paper costs. It is not a question of correctness. However, correct grammar still uses the possessive before a gerund; you should have written “for your using”–and, BTW, “outdated” does not require a hyphen. So who are you to criticize?

    • Check in Robert Bringhurst’s Elements of Typographic Style for the one space after a period rule!

    • Robert Bringhurst’s Elements of Typographic Style points out the “one space after the period” rule.

    • Anonymous

      Early on in computing it was the norm, then it was determined that all caps is harder for the eye/mind to process. Now, all caps exists, but has a designated purpose.

      Likewise, the ‘two space rule’ was overridden as being inappropriate to the web. Then it was determined that the added spacing did, in fact, make it easier to process the transition from one sentence to another. And now, it all depends on which version of which manual you are using.

      In the grand scheme – utterly meaningless. However, it does make a lovely diversion for those who are unable to focus their attention sufficiently to address the actual *content.* Must admit, the status of critical thinking concerns me far more than the status of the two-space rule…. But “debates” like this one *do* illuminate how some of our politicians manage to get elected despite the words that come out of their mouths…

    • Anonymous

      didn’t even know that was a thing.

    • It was a “big” moment for me when I replaced all the double spaces after periods with single spaces in my book manuscript. Seriously, it was a shift. I like two spaces, and that’s a fine reason to do it. It doesn’t matter what one or another manual says, it matters who you’re writing for and whether what you do communicates. No one ever failed to parse a sentence because it has one instead of two spaces after or two instead of one, so anyone who thinks this is an issue of right or wrong is somewhat of an idiot. But it does matter to respect the sensibilities of the people you are writing for. In my case, I wanted to shift from writing for a reader to writing for a publisher. In the case of this blog, however, folks who come here are likely to use either method, and one type “spacer” isn’t a more likely reader of this blog than the other. Since you all understood what the author was saying, you should stop whining about the spacing.

    • Anonymous

      For those who don’t know how the web works, all contiguous whitespace characters–carriage returns, new lines, tabs, or spaces–are represented as a single space. There are ways to add non-breaking spaces so that it appears there are 2 spaces together, but that’s an awful lot of work for the standard blogger. 🙂

    • Anonymous

      I’m a lawyer who graduated high school in 2000, and I also had no idea the world had moved on from two spaces after a period to only one. When were people going to tell me? I’m going to stay with two until formally put on notice.

    • Anonymous

      i hate you all.

      and myself more for reading all of your comments.

    • GNU emacs can select sentences if you use two spaces…

    • GNU emacs can select sentences if you use two spaces…

    • Anonymous

      I also was never told that we only use one space now. Since I am the boss that means the first snide Gen Y to tell me will be arbitrarily fired.

    • Anonymous

      ^^ Shocked Anonymous, I’m with you.

    • Anonymous

      I want all of you heretical two space users to unite. We (the one space after a period users) will hunt all of you enemies of the state down. We will place you in re-education camps.
      My fellow one space users, we must unite against these counter revolutionaries. We will declare an old fashioned Stalinist purge of the two space users. We wi..Anyway I was going to brain strom a funny acronym for a shadowy government police agency to identify two space after a period users, but I have a career to which I need to apply effort.

    • Anonymous

      If you use two spaces on copy that must be typeset then your graphic designer hates you.

    • Anonymous

      Holy shit. WHO CARES how much you know about typography rules? Go argue about a real problem.

    • Anonymous

      It turns out the rule for spacing after a period is not so universal as some overblown windbags would like us to believe. Incidentally, neither does the convention of two spaces after a period have any historical correlation with the typewriter. For an interesting counterpoint to the argument, see the following article: http://www.heracliteanriver.com/?p=324.

    • Anonymous

      ok, since everyone is anonymous, can we be sure this is not just one person having a conversation with himself/herself? did I use the wrong / there? Was the ? ok?
      Geesh, I have been out of school way to long to not realize the space behind .:;? have changed. Or is it only behind the . that the “one-space rule” applies? where can I find this “rule”? I want to make sure I’m doing it the right way.

      of course, I’m anon, what else would I be?

    • Anonymous

      Proven incorrect? your posting that on this board doesn’t “prove” anything except that you disagree with how folks are typing. HTML removes the double spaces huh? sure looks like a larger space between the. and the next word than between words. What if I put four spaces. Do they remove them? Does it matter? Is the NSA going to show up at my door because I used two spaces behind a .?

    • Anonymous

      I have very deep feelings about the amount of spaces allowable after periods, particularly at the end of sentences. My anonymous upbringing has allowed me significant leverage in negotiating terms for the exchange of the conditions that would allow for the space to be condensed to a single unit perpetually, but alas, my plans were nixed by some kind of secret grammatical society that I seek to learn more about.

    • Anonymous

      This is some Grade A whinging about First World problems here! The Oxford comma shiz was awesome though, and I really did LOL. I thought happiness was having lots of sex, eating lots of food and having tops friends. The whole double-vs-single space shiz is a real buzzkill!

    • Anonymous

      A little background. It was previously normal to use one space after each sentence in the early days of PCs because of space limitations. Once those were overcome, the normal practice was to use two spaces to provide a better visual cue to identify separation of sentences. BTW, in the real (business and government) world it is normal practice to do that for exactly that reason.

    • Anonymous

      The only time I dared to argue with a boss over anything of this nature was to tell him that according to the American dictionary, color was spelled correctly and colour applied to the UK. He was Jamaican and raised on the “queen’s language.” He was grateful I caught that and I helped him change his English settings.

      Okaaay, so you told your Jamaican boss that his English English wasn’t good enough for you and you’re proud of that? It’s colour, cretin, not color!

    • Anonymous

      A kid made a sarcastic remark, where his own sense of entitlement was part of the joke. People took it seriously, and came give him lessons about being arrogant. Really? Do you really think, after this article, the boy was actually being serious? Some people can’t get humor unless it is spelled out for them.

    • Anonymous

      Just for the record, one or two spaces after a period has absolutely nothing to do with English grammar! It is merely a style issue.

    • Anonymous

      I’m a Gen X’r and I’m special. I know this to be true because my mama told me so. She said “Your special just like everyone else.” -HA

    • Anonymous

      Did I just stumble into some sort of weird parallel Nazi universe? A long discussion about the rules for how much empty space to leave after a dot. Are you all mad?

    • Anonymous

      I love the one space rule and I’m a trailing phase boomer. I can’t say I think it’s particularly germane to the GYPSY discussion, but it did enhance my smile to wince ratio while reading. I’m sure you’ll all be thrilled to know that the style manual for Oregon’s Department of Human Services prescribes the one space rule.

    • Anonymous

      This is the best arguement ever. I see we have some deep lives with serious issues going on here.

    • Anonymous

      Heck with you all. I use THREE spaces after my punctuation! I’m starting a revolution!

      Really? Really?!

    • Anonymous

      Can we please focus on the real issue here? Why does a professional field in Humanities not count as a “real” job? People have different strengths. If everyone was good at math/chemistry/physics, then everyone would still be struggling to find a job. Can you imagine the world without people who didn’t have so called “legitimate” careers. There would be no books to read, no plays/musicals/operas to attend, no one would be playing musical instruments, there would be no art in the world, no television/movies, no clothes, no furniture, no nice restaurants, NADA. The world would be a dark and dismal place without creativity, and plenty of people would be unhappy living in this world whether you are a creative person who needs to go into a creative field, or whether you go into a “legitimate” career but appreciate any of the things I listed above. What would be the point of getting a degree in business if everyone was doing so? And if you managed to somehow work yourself up to the top, although you are now competing with everyone, what would you spend all that money you made on? Sorry, there’s no designer clothes to wear, nice restaurants to dine in, no tickets to any art shows to attend, no fancy furniture or art to put in your house, no fancy house to even buy, no books to fill up your library, no good looking cars to buy, no music to listen to (goodbye CDs and iPods and concert tickets) and no movies or television to watch on your huge flatscreen tv, no lawyer to draw up your will, or people to run the government etc. Sorry. (None of these things exist anymore because everyone was trying to obtain a “legitimate” degree and pursue a “real” career.) If you are an engineer, or businessman/woman or whatever is considered a “real” career, then thank you. We need people like you. BUT you should also know, we also need people who have different strengths and passions than you have. There would be nobody special if everyone was the same and trying to achieve the same thing. Just because you might earn more, does not mean that your job is any more “real” than a person who works in the arts or Humanities field. Oh, and by the way, there have been plenty of artists in every generation.

      -A Drama Production Design/History major who is going to a PUBLIC university (because it was cheaper than liberal arts colleges even with scholarships), and is working to help pay. Does that make me special? Maybe, maybe not. Just don’t assume that every arts/humanities major is living off of their parent’s wealth (or lack thereof) and your taxes, because I know MANY who are not. Do I appreciate the people who went to achieve so called “legitimate” careers? YES, thank you. The world is better place with your inventions and your skills. However, I think the world would be a lot less enjoyable and meaningful if there were no people who created art in any form, because they were obtaining “legitimate” careers. I know many people who have “legitimate” careers appreciate the arts in many different forms, so thank you to those people. What makes the world beautiful is diversity.

      • Working Man

        Simple… if it’s not work someone will pay for, it’s not a real job. If you’re really good at finger painting, but the only way you can survive doing it is to leech off the tax payers, that’s not a real job.

        Time to grow up, buddy. You can chase your dreams, or you can live a life. Probably not both. Think your great-grand-daddy really wanted to man an assembly line machine or till the soil constantly?

    • Anonymous

      There is no office or other public establishment, legitimately empowered by legislation or executive decree, that is authorized to make any determination concerning this language and the number of spaces on a period’s posterior. This ain’t no party. This ain’t no disco. This ain’t no foolin’ around.

    • Anonymous

      I’m sticking with two spaces. Just because it’s “correct” in X,Y,Z doesn’t it make it correct. A perpetuated error is still erroneous. In this instance, old is better. All you one space lovers can keep your wall of text approach. I prefer to know when a sentence ends with a casual glance.

      But I shall be liberal in where and when I use spaces after commas. One, none – watch me go crazy shaking that up. It’s how I roll.

    • Anonymous

      One space instead of two. What a typical Gen Y lazy attitude.

    • Anonymous


    • Anonymous

      A hundred years from now when a text book tries to explain internet culture in 2013, it could hardly do better than quoting this one versus two space argument. It has literally made my day (by which I mean to launch a cascading argument about proper use of “literally”). Thank you all so much.

    • Anonymous

      I find it hilarious that all of these assumptions and generalizations stemmed from a comment about double spacing after a period. >.<

    • Yehoshua

      I don’t think this is a good reason to devalue the text. But I’ve never heard of using two spaces anywhere. Besides English, I speak Hebrew, Portuguese, Spanish, French and Italian, and no teacher has ever told me about it. It seems to be a discussion exclusive to the English language.

      But there is another point of view of mine. As a graphic designer, I have learned that typesetting rules are a responsibility of my profession, and not a grammar rule. I mean, typesetting is pretty much about white space. If there had ever been a two spaces rule, we would be the first ones to know such a thing. There are “em” and “en” spaces, which are longer spaces, and they could be used between sentences. But they aren’t. So what could be the reason for people to use more than one space?

      I have a theory. For a long time, people used to write on typewriters, which used monospaced fonts. As the name may suggest, it uses the sames width space for all the characters (even spaces themselves and punctuation. So the space between the full dot and the first character of the sentence probably looked a little awkward – and two spaces looked fine.

      While some of my books define it as a “typographic crime” (along the likes of “dumb quotes” and hyphens in the place of “em” and “en” dashes), I don’t think lay persons have the duty to know it. Pretty much in the same way that I don’t have the duty to know quantum physics and the theory of relativity*. So, yeah, it’s a crime for a graphic designer or typesetter. Not for everyone – there’s no reason for you to be so pedantic, my anonymous friend.

      *I’m not saying people shouldn’t be curious. I myself am very curious.

  • Anonymous

    Very helpful. I was/am mostly unhappy because of the Facebook image crafting..thanks for letting me know that really exists!

    • Anonymous

      I’ll second that, Facebook image crafting really did contribute to my depression for a while (back when I was new to it): but in a few months, common sense kicked in and I realized everybody’s lives *couldn’t* be so wonderful as they appeared.

    • Anonymous

      Oh yeah, I think most people do it! I know I do. If I’m somewhere interesting, you better believe there will be a photo of it. (Photos of me sitting in front of my ass on the computer on a typical evening do not make the Facebook cut.)

    • Anonymous

      You are a conceited little SNOT!

    • “Sitting in front of my ass” … interesting.

    • Anonymous

      As a boomer (who has always used 2 spaces and didn’t know until now there was any debate about it) I can tell you kids that we’ve always had image crafting.

      Before Facebook it was called the Christmas Letter.

    • Seriously, internet?

    • Anonymous

      How do you sit in front of your ass?

  • Anonymous

    My husband and I are baby-boomers with 3 well-adjusted and succeeding Y-gen kids. Unlike many of our peers, we made clear to our kids that they were “not the center of the universe” and that noone owed them anything. This blog points out exactly what happens when parents fail to impart those two critical messages to their kids.

    • I was raised that way as well, however, failure to find a job and be self sufficient after college is a major blow to our feeling independent, on top of any entitled feelings we may have. I think the GYPSY model is spot on even if kids were raised right, because many of us will not be able to reach even reasonable expectations of success – and I’m defining success as being able to find a full time job (much less one with health insurance!) and being able to contemplate having a family without having to go on some sort of welfare. I will probably never reach the standard of living my parents raised me with. That’s depressing.

    • Anonymous


    • Anonymous


      You probably thought you were entitled a job with a college career in whatever field you studied. If you got a degree in a more economically useful field with more definable skills you would have much less unemployment chances (i.e. engineering – though there are many others0.

    • Anonymous

      What is amazing is I didn’t die without health insurance in my early 20s. /sarcasm

      Maybe next voting time, people will vote differently. The fact that we are overtaxed eludes many. Taxing the hell out of business hinders growth and the benefits they offer. We are one of the few countries in a free market system that has the highest corporate tax. Not to mention one of the most litigious, which of course, gets passed down to the consumer. Vicious cycle.

      I do feel bad though. I was taught in high school about economics and budgets with emphasis on how that applies. These days, kids are taught fun stuff like how to put on condoms and how evil America is and it is the “selfish” beliefs of our parents and theirs why the world and their lives are so messed up.

    • Anonymous

      So, does that make you “special” as parents?

    • Anonymous

      No it makes them good parents. Teaching reality instead of fantasy preps their kids for the real world.

      The biggest crime done to the Gen Yers is that adults give self esteem. Self esteem is earned and comes from within.

    • Back when my parents were in school they WERE taught helpful things like economics and basic living skills like how to balance a checkbook and dutifully write and edit a paper. Now kids are taugh things “like how to put on condoms” etc. But that’s because so many parents now are expecting schools to teach their children morals and life skills. That’s not the schools job. But if they don’t teach these things 1. the kids will never learn them and 2. they will lose funding. It’s ridiculous. Not to mention it’s getting increasingly difficult to teach children everything because while parents expect the schools to raise their children, they never taught them to respect their elders/superiors and thanks to that (and other reasons) the school has no disciplinary power. It makes it incredibly difficult to educate morals if you can’t discipline your students.

      Thank goodness my parents cared enough to truly teach me as a child. And while they did tell me that I could be whatever I wanted but they did not guarantee that that would be enough though they did guarantee that to succeed at what I wanted was going to take plenty of hard work and plenty of time. So thanks for that Mom and Dad!

    • Anonymous

      “…because so many parents now are expecting schools to teach their children morals and life skills. That’s not the schools job.”
      of course one sends the children to school to get a sheet of paper for beeing conform for over 10 years but just imagine what could be if (bear with me) schools actually taught children so that they wouldnt leave school completely unqualified to do any job beyond picking litter and flipping your burgers
      one sends children to school so that their education cant be isolated and politicly motivated bullshit (irony eh)
      true gen y has a fucked up sense for authority but take a look at our history and tell me you respect the cattle that till today wont accept their fuckups let alone their childrens

    • Anonymous

      True gypsy thinking: Life is hard! Ergo the system must be broken and Somebody must fix it!

    • Anonymous

      Why I remember when I was in a kid. To graduate high school you absolutely had to take a class called “life skills” where they would teach you how to balance a check book and write resumes/papers. You also had to take at least one class on how economics worked, one class on how civics and government worked, and two classes on a useful technological skill. And I went to public school in the middle of LA! They should still be doing that now!

      Oh wait I graduated high-school in 2006. Oh wait those are still all requirements. Oh wait they still had time to teach a health class too… Damn them for also trying to teach me basic rudiments of health. Glad I never listened in that class. Let me just eat my junk food and scratch my balls. I wonder why the became so itchy and green in the first place?

    • Anonymous

      So since I was born in 1984, what generation does that put me in?
      Gen X was ending in early 80’s but that’s also when Gen Y is being said to have started.

    • Anonymous

      Only; scientifically speaking, they ARE the center of the universe! …

    • Anonymous

      Csmith – you are spot on, I am 45 years old and my children are now 21 and 20 both with really good jobs. My youngest boy hated school but went all the way to yr 12 a huge credit to him. I have seen way to many times how easy it is for children now just to leave school cause they can (and they ‘think’ that they are the adult). The teachers are doing their best BUT if you have children that are going to school and face booking on their mobiles while in class – of course – they are not going to learn anything. So I would tell these teachers to get a basket ready before each class and get these children’s mobile in there. There is no respect with the kids these days, all that comes out of their mouths is rubbish (as my mum says), so is that peer pressure or is that how this generation is going to succeed (lol). I still to this day believe that if a child wants to leave school so early then they should be put straight into the Army etc. (that’s if they haven’t full time employment or going to full time study) there is just too many out in the street or getting pregnant.
      So i agree well done to our parents and to the ones that are really given it ago to the generation now……

    • Anonymous

      If businesses are so overtaxed, why are they making record profits while the overall economy is anemic? If taxes are so burdensome, how can many companies afford to spend even more on lobbying? If individuals being overtaxed is the problem, how did society ever survive the Boomers’ younger years when top tax rates were much higher?

    • Pat

      csmith123, it is refreshing to read what you wrote. I am a teacher and currently on mat leave, I’m seriously considering not returning to the profession simply because I feel like a counselor to the kids and the parents, I just want to teach kids what they need to know, & pass back the responsibility of the holistic stuff (manners, respect, understanding etc) back where it belongs, with the parent!

    • Anonymous

      Apparently no generation is immune from bragging about their kids and taking credit for it…

      (Iow you are, in fact, like most of your peers).

  • Is no one really going to mention the racially insensitive acronym?

    • Anonymous

      what is the racially insensitive acronym?

    • Anonymous

      GYPSY being racially insensitive to gypsies which i believe is a slur to Romanians.

    • Anonymous

      It’s a real GYPSY thing to do to be offended by the acronym GYPSY.

    • Ros

      It’s nothing to do with Romania. It’s a term for Romany people, or travellers and is derived from a misconception that they originated in Egypt: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gypsy_%28term%29#Gypsy_and_Gipsy

    • Anonymous

      Actual Romani person here: it’s an offensive slur. Please get your head out of your entitled racist butt. Thank you.

    • Anonymous

      Actual American here. The only thing that makes this offensive is to be called a Gypsy. I’ve had to call the police on these illegal Romani’s who refer to themselves as gypsies who tried to swindle me by messing with my car in a parking lot.

    • Anonymous

      HAHAHAHAHA. Racial slur..?!? You need to get a job. Your race, whatever it is, isn’t special. You’re not special. Nomadic, grift-centric, fringe cultures have existed and been referenced in pop culture for decades and centuries. Seriously, get a job, it will take your mind off all matters of race. Go Redskins!

    • Anonymous

      I find your face to be racially insensitive.

    • Anonymous

      So, just because we’ve used racial slurs in the past in pop culture to subtly disempower and insult racial minorities we are to continue doing so in the future? Why, because you want to and its fun and don’t want to think of any of the implications that your doing so has on these “fringe cultures?” Have we progressed nowhere in social awareness? While I would argue most of us haven’t, this is an example of the kind of ignorant, everyone’s-born-with-equal-opportunity, bullshit mindset that continues to perpetuate systems of racism in todays society.

    • Anonymous

      “Actual Romani person here” —- this is how you know you are not a gypsy. Gypsies or Romas – are a tribe of nomadic people. They have nothing to do with Romanions or Romani… wait, what the heck is “Romani” anyway?

      It is not a racial slur. It is a derogatory term. Being a Roma is an ethnic description, not a racial one – like being Caucasian, Asian, etc. A little more critical thinking and knowledge helps here, folks!

    • Anonymous

      life is not fair. get a helmet.

    • Anonymous

      Romanians are an ETHNICITY not a RACE. Romanians are Caucasians… which I didn’t realize was now categorized as a “minority” in some circles.

      GYPSY, as used in this article, is an acronym.

      Some people need to get a life and stop looking for a reason to be offended by everything.

    • Anonymous

      Trigger warning, use of racial slurs in descriptions of hate crimes.

      I am a white woman. I am the granddaughter of a Nazi. A real, WWII Nazi officer.
      Hitler spoke of the “danger gypsies pose to an ordered society”, hundreds of thousands, possibly even millions of Roma were killed in the holocaust. The numbers are uncertain due to a shoot on site policy.
      Roma were slaves less than a hundred years ago in eastern Europe.
      Roma woman were/are sterilized without their knowledge/consent.
      Neo-nazis protest and commit acts of violence against the Roma worldwide (including the Americas) to this day. Throwing bricks, committing arson, shooting into houses with children, all the while chanting “gypsy go home”
      Roma children are forced out of school because of racist bullying, even teachers tell them that their native languages sound animalistic. (Yes languages, the Roma are a collection of different groups with different languages, cultural beliefs and names. Sinta, Romani, Kale, Kalderesh.)
      Teachers don’t invest effort in the Roma children because failure is a forgone conclusion, it is assumed that they have no interest in learning, not that they get forced out by constant bullying.

      All of this is done because of the stereotype of the “gypsy” a wilfully ignorant, illiterate, lazy, dirty, beggar or con artist. The “gypsy woman” as the fortune telling witch, or the sexy temptress. The personification of gypsy as other, as less than human, so its OK to enslave, murder, beat, and rape them.
      Because of a word that is a able for the other.
      A word that means “animal”.
      A word that deserves the same respect that nigger, kike, gook, and spick have.
      A respect for the inherent pain that word causes.
      A respect for the slimy evilness.
      A respect for the dead, with that word tattooed on their skin, and a respect for the living with that word tattooed on their soul.

      I’m white. My grandfather was a Nazi. My dad is a racist. I am sorry. I know that I have benefited from them. I have no doubt that my family benefited from the holocaust. I want to be better. If anything I’m sure that I haven’t described in harsh enough terms what Roma experience, I can’t ever really understand. But I think that the acronym used in this article is shitty. My use of a slur in this post is for clarity and impact.

    • Anonymous

      Actual Romanian here. 1. Its RomaniAn not RomaniOn and never ever ever ever ever Romani. That’s like saying the English or Engli. 2. Plenty of Romani live in Romania and thus are Romanian Romani. 3. Romani are sometimes referred to as Roma. It seems to depend on who you ask which of those two terms is preferred, but gypsy is always ALWAYS an ethnic slur. Gypsy comes from a mistaken belief that the group originated in Egypt when at some point the group in fact left India. Romani or Roma is the English equivalent to the various Romani words for themselves (they speak more than one language all sharing a common linguistic ancestor that split from Hindi/Urdu when they left the Indian subcontinent).

    • Anonymous

      I’d ask how people would feel if the author referred to people as “NIGGERs” and defending it as “oh, it’s just an acronym, go get a job,” but I have a feeling that a lot of people here would still miss the point…

    • Anonymous

      You had me at “disempower.”

      Er, lost. I meant you lost me.

    • Anonymous

      Everybody has been called names before, being part of a racial minority or not, it happens all the time. Men go on with their lives. Crybabies bitch about it.

    • Anonymous

      ^Whoever posted this comment has proven the spot on accuracy of this article.

    • Anonymous

      When Van Morrison belts out the phrase, “…I want to rock your gypsy soul…”, he is not slurring downtrodden Romanians or Egyptians, you stupid, useless, 20-something GYPSY douche. He is hearkening us to the nomadic and free-spirited sentiments that are associated with groups who BEHAVE a certain way and have certain attitudes and lifestyles. Keep focused on all the wrong things – sizzle rather than the steak, and the worst slur of all will be “Millennial”.

    • Anonymous

      “The rich have worked [the system and their privileges] for all these things”


    • Anonymous

      so now racism is okay because everyone should join the homogenous mass, stop thinking, and work until they’ve earned their keep. oh wait, how about that systematic swindling of everyone, especially those who aren’t born into class and money and whiteness and the West? oh that’s right, we capitalists like to deny that society is an actual thing because it gives unfair advantages to the rich (Us) and crushes the rest (Them). oh and how about the fact that the economy and job market and forms of labor have actually CHANGED in the last few decades. oh that’s right, the above post was complete high-octane bullshit, because it was written to sound edgy and get attention, not to be an appraisal of the facts.

      It doesn’t surprise me that this post has attracted the uneducated, racist Right wing (I wonder how the author feels about this). It makes them feel better about themselves and their flawed belief systems. Bad news – the system lied to you, too.

    • Anonymous

      F’ing GYPSY Gypsy, get a job and stop selling your kids to slavery.

  • Anonymous

    Spot on. My wife and I talk about kids growing up under the “every kid is a winner” philosophy. Most get cut down once they graduate to the real world where winners are determined by effort and ability and you don’t get an award for just participating.

    • Caffeine_Enema

      Wonder who taught Gen Y that everyone was a winner? Kind of a cruel thing to do to a growing generation. Hopefully Gen Y will do better with their offspring.

    • Anonymous

      Dr Spock. The “expert” everyone followed to raise their little x’s and mostly y’s. the same one whose son committed suicide.

    • Anonymous

      Doctor Spock was also popular in the 1950’s when Boomers were being raised.

      Truthfully, the “self-esteem” movement didn’t begin in earnest until the 1980’s when they began to give trophies out for showing up for a baseball game, regardless of whether or not your team ever won.

      This flawed concept began in academia. My wife and I, both educated to be teachers, refused to allow that cancer into our home. My son once received a trophy for “showing up” and I promptly threw it into a burn barrel in the parking lot on the way to the car. At the time he was angry (and so was my wife), but later in life he reminded me of that event and thanked me for the lesson.

      Why? Because he said he had never since received a trophy for showing up and was taught that he needed to do his very best every time if he was going to be rewarded in his career or any other endeavor (including relationships). “Very best” doesn’t equate to “perfect” as no one is perfect.

      Makes a dad proud.

      And, yes, both of our kids are employed, make 6 figure incomes, own their own homes, barely circling 30. Neither one has been unemployed since graduation (2004). Why? Because I paid for their education and demanded that they have at least one degree in a marketable skill. Both have leveraged their degrees into careers while following personal interests as well. If they wanted to minor in underwater basket weaving, that was fine with me. But the major would have to be marketable or the checks stopped. I have a friend who is paying $53,000 a year to send his daughter to college to be…. a teacher. He’s going into hock and she’s taking loans. I regret to inform him that she’ll barely make enough money to make the payments as a teacher. While we need teachers, a degree in education from a state school suffices – not some private boutique college. $250,000. Insane.

      We were even considered to be “monster” parents who were bent on destroying their fledgeling “social lives”. They thought this because their friends’ parents didn’t give a crap about what their kids did and let them run wild and stay out ’til the wee hours of the morning. However, we did care and had 11:30 curfews (which included changing the door locks if they were late – only needed to do that once to deliver the message). Fast forward 12 years and now we’re considered the “cool” parents because we were invested in our kids’ lives and those, who were free to do as they pleased, found out the hard way that the rest of the world didn’t think they were special at all. Sadly, some of their friends are still living in their parent’s basement.

      The kid across the street from us is 26 and NEVER had a job. Not a summer job. Never delivered a newspaper. Never mowed a lawn (not even their own). And he wonders why no one will hire him for a “real” job. He lives with his mother. She wants to retire… but can’t bring herself to do so until he’s launched.

      We have raised a generation of people who have no concept of what consequences are.

      And for those of you so quick to judge, we maintain strong relationships with both of our kids and many of their (and our) friends envy the bonds we have forged.

      And I will place two spaces after a period. I taught typing decades ago and these old fingers know no other way. Get over it.

    • Anonymous

      It was his grandson Peter who committed suicide, not his son. Apparently Peter had suffered from schizophrenia for a while.

      I am not defending or criticizing Spock but merely correcting the factual error.

    • Anonymous
    • Anonymous

      Damned Vulcans!

    • Anonymous

      Infact, it is mainly baby boomers whe were raised on Dr Spock.
      Baby and Child Care was published in 1946.

    • Anonymous

      @Caffeine_Enema.. It all started with “participation” trophies in little league… Everyone is a winner!

  • Anonymous

    I wish the unicorns were shitting rainbows as well.

    • Anonymous

      great comment, probably the only one EVERYONE here could agree with

  • this made me warm inside, like the ending of shawshank redemption. what. a. blog.

  • Anonymous

    “Baby boomers” aren’t really the parents of Gen Y. They are the parents of Gen X. “The Greatest Generation” is full of people who happened to be working while the economy was on the upswing, and they received a healthy, living wage for the work they did, which allowed them to raise a family, to send their children to college, and to establish funds for retirement. The affluent generation that preceded the gypsies were nicknamed the “Me Me Me Generation” in the 1980s, and were frequently called terrible by “The Greatest Generation” for their self-involvement. Members of Gen Y are expected to work for no money for years after graduating college — for careers that will vanish before they ever earn Gen Y a paycheck … I don’t think the problem is just with “delusional specialness” so much as it is people loving to complain about young folks…

    • Anonymous

      I’m a baby boomer and I have two Gen Y children…my husband is a baby boomer and he has four Gen Y children

    • Agreed. Also, saying 1970s to 1990s is out of the mainstream. Most would say Generation X is the 1960s to the early 1980s, and Generation Y (more commonly the Millennials) early 1980s to the early 2000s.

    • Anonymous

      Um, wrong. I’m an early Gen X’er (born in the late 1960’s) and my parents were not Baby Boomers, they were pre-Baby Boomers, sometimes called “Depression babies” (i.e. babies born during the Great Depression). They were part of a forgotten generation smooshed between the WWII generation and the Baby Boomers, just as Gen X was smooshed between the Baby Boom and Gen Y.

      In contrast to Gen Y, the message “don’t you dare think you’re special!” was drilled into the heads of Gen X by our parents, who spent their childhoods in a time of deprivation and fear (the Depression followed by WWII). Based on my experience and that of many of my peers, our parents expected life to be hard. They were terrified that because our childhoods were easy by their standards, we’d grow up useless and helpless leeches on society. My parents were very big on forcing me and my siblings to be independent, to a fault, really, in ways that would be shocking to parents now.

    • Anonymous

      That rang really true to me. My mother was concerned that I wouldn’t learn the lessons that I needed to learn because scarcity was not an issue for us. My parents were also pre-boomers, born in the midst of WWII to parents who had married during the depression, or just before the war began. I remember as a young person, the emphasis being on practical education and being “ready to launch” when the reality of adulthood arrived (which for me was the end of my scholarship-paid-for college attendance.) I never even considered coming home to mom and dad an option.

    • Anonymous

      Adore this post and this particular thread – especially this part about the GenX comparison. I actually just started a site for we GenX women (TueNight.com) because we’re so freaking confused about these huge generations that surround us (Boomers and Y or Milennials). Yes, GenX parents were the depression babies, The Greatest (or G.I.) Generation. My mom actually slept in a dresser drawer as a baby. Her mom/ my grandmother painted makeup on her legs to look like nylons since they were in short supply. So I can totally relate to the comments about scarcity – I always got the “starving children” comments and to be a member of the “Clean Plate Club”. We were raised to be independent, latch-key kids, running around on our own and working our asses off. We still do and we’re successful as hell.

    • Anonymous

      “Gen Y are expected to work for no money for years after graduating college”

      Sigh…the whole point of this post was to tell you to set your own expectations. Can’t you see the disconnect here?

    • Anonymous

      Working for years for no money after graduation isn’t an expectation we set for ourselves, it’s the reality that’s being forced upon us. Honestly, the whole reason the entire system is broken is largely due to the allowance of interns as unpaid workers.

    • Anonymous

      This thread contains a great disproof of the theory used in the article! I really really like the assumption by Gen X that they would somehow miss criticism for not being mentioned. If you look at the demographics, i.e. socioeconomic mobility for a generation or things like charity work, generation is THE MOST SELFISH overprivileged generation in American history. The great thing is the second most overprivlidged generation in American history is the lost generation. What people in this thread think they are saying: We were raised right because our underprivileged parents raised our tiny underprivileged generation right. What they are really: We the most overprivlidged generation in history raised by the second most overprivlidged generation in history made to feel extra special by our small size our so oblivious to our position in history that we feel extra special for not feeling special even though we are special! Tough luck you already got your nickname as “The Wall Street Generation” or the “Greed is Good Generation.” Soon maybe you will earn the title of “Moral and Social Value Decay Generation” or the “remember that generation filled with absolutely oblivious libertarian assholes, I am glad we ate them in that famine they really helped cause” generation.

      Its one thing that generation 7 and baby-boomers are fighting here. They have both shown that they want to change society for the better, unlike the greed is good fuck everyone but me generation xers.

    • Anonymous

      Um, baby boomers birthed a lot of Gen X AND Gen Y. It depends on how early they started and how many children they had “spacing”. There are always overlaps. I’m early Gen Y born to baby boomers.

    • Anonymous

      Good discussion here. I consider myself Gen Y or X-Y at 36 years of age. My parents were born right before the war. I don’t have really much connection to Baby Boomers, but most of my friends are Millennials and have Boomer parents.

      A few things have happened in post-Nixon America that have caused these expectation gaps. The layoff/downsizing trend of the 1980s was a real shock to people in my parent’s generation who were in their 40s and looking towards retirement. The recession of the early 1990s compounded it. Then we had the crash of 2000 that was a big shock to people like me who had just graduated and had very high expectations after the Clinton boom period. Then we had a second blow in 2008 that has been even harder on the inexperienced Millennials.

      Life is tough because of this expectations game in 21st century America. A lot of us are looking for happiness at the bottom of a bottle or on a ski slope, rather than with family and a picket fence.

    • The problem with defining a generation is that no one can agree. It depends on too many variables.

  • Anonymous

    So you briefly touch on the baby boomers going through their “insufferable hippy” phase before getting established in their nice career minded setting. Isn’t it possible, and probably likely, that the GYPSYs you mark as “I’m special” are going through their version of the “insufferable hippy” phase? The baby boomers have had time to settle into their lives while the youngest of GYPSY’s are still sorting their lives out. I feel you comparing a fine, aged brandy to a freshly made brandy and expecting them to be the same in nature. I would challenge you to look into the future to judge this generation on their accomplishments rather than how you see them through the tinted lenses of the accomplishments of the baby boomer generation. Although its not possible to judge a generation ahead of its future so why are you?

    • Couldn’t agree more.

      I am one of these so-called GYPSYs, and am fully aware of the entitlement that exists. Your post does a great job of articulation the “why”. But at the same time, why not also look at the positives that may come from a generation that dreams bigger than punching a time card at a 9-5 every day. I’ve been so inspired by my peers that are starting their own businesses, developing new apps, inventing their own products and dreaming bigger than the “just get a job and work hard and suck it up” mentality of generations past. Sure entitlement is a challenge, but let’s not also overlook the entrepreneurialism that this “dreamer” generation has to offer, and how much better our world may be once we get past our own “hippy” phase. Give us another decade. Not all Lucys are just spoiled, entitled victims of this perfect storm. Some Lucys are dreamers too.

    • Anonymous

      didnt you know? the author is special.

    • Anonymous

      Good point, though hippies were not unhappy, or if they were, they knew what they were unhappy about.

    • Anonymous

      thanks so much for this comment. It took the words right out of my mouth.

    • Anonymous

      The difference being that the “insufferable hippies” were mostly enjoying themselves at the time, and I’ve met very few ex-hippies who regret that phase of their life even if it did set their career back a few years. One of the central themes of that lifestyle is adjusting your desires to fit comfortably within your means, usually while simultaneously reducing those means well below what they would otherwise be.

      The “GYPSY”s being portrayed on the other hand sound rather miserable, in which case a bit of a wake up call like this, drawing attention to the fact that their misery is entirely self-created, will hopefully do some good.

  • Thank you last two posts! Let me guess… the author of this article lives in one of the cities mentioned above, and is basing his judgment of Gen Y on few people he/she knows or has seen, plus the mass bitch-fest that is the internet. The checklist of “You might be a GYPSY if…” is extremely judgmental. Guess what? I have an iPhone, I think Olive Garden is trash and I would prefer a hot dog stand. I have a blog, I’m an entrepreneur and I regularly talk about writing (which is my passion). So this makes me some kind of new breed yuppie? Take the blinders off, every generation has angst, even the greatest one (go read Bukowski). We just have a medium to express it (internet). I think you are taking a limited demographic and extrapolating it to apply to the entire generation. I don’t know you, but this article sounds like a slightly more thought-out version of Holden Caulfield ranting about all the phonies.

    • You are so special and unique! Please let me be your friend or something.

    • Anonymous

      If the oldest boomers got pregnant at age 18 or so, they would have some Gen X kids, but those in the middle and tail end, have Gen Y kids.

      I am on the old side of Gen X,(old enough to have my own Gen Y kids if I started early on) and I saw the later Boomers start the helicopter parenting in the 90s, making their children and their own child-bearing seem almost sacred, and all the other special, don’t ever hurt someone’s feelings no matter what stuff, let’s sue the teachers and school, coaches, for every problem our kid has, and I’m like….well, that ain’t gonna end well, now is it?

      I can think of a ton of people who fit the description in the article. You can blame the boomers if you want, it may even be true, but adults I know/knew took the shitty McD’s jobs, bartended or waitressed at night, chugged along, moved out of the parental home even on that crappy money, and did the best they could to act grown-up, and live on their own 2 feet. I wish I could say the same for any of my friends’ adult children, who definitely don’t do that in any shape or form as they approach 30+. Yet, they still have their European vacation every year because, damn, they deserve it and…you only live once, ya know.

    • Anonymous

      Amen! I call it the “blessed child” syndrome. My parents never took us out when we were little either…why, because they didn’t want to impose my yet to be developed social skills on everyone around them. And I couldn’t wait to move out. My parents told me, “I don’t care if you are 30 and still living here, my house, my rules. You are an adult who deserves respect when you can support yourself.”

    • Anonymous

      Congratulations on missing the point entirely. The blogger wasn’t trying to create a negative connotation to “yuppie” or even imply there is something inherently wrong with meeting the criteria of the list, but rather explain a link between these characteristics and dissatisfaction. There’s no need to get so indignant for some anonymous blogger on the internet not recognizing you for the special little snowflake that you are. If you are happy there is very little reason to be upset at anything in this blog. If you are not, adjusting your expectations for what you think you SHOULD have at whatever point in life you are in is not terrible advice.

      Previous comment, are you really going to credit yourselves with how YOUR PARENTS raised you? its not like you had any say in the matter or that it happened as a result of any sage wisdom on your part.

    • Anonymous

      He never talked about how the author should acknowledge him for being special, dipshit. Go fuck off.

    • Anonymous

      I belong to Gen Y and I take tons of vacations. Too bad you decided to have kids way too young destroying your chance at a life. I work, I save 20-40% of my income AND I go on multiple vacations a year. WHY? becuase Gen Y has the belief that life is more than just working 40+hours and going home to mow the lawn and eat hamburger helper for dinner.

    • Anonymous

      Yes! I am early GenY and I find this generation extrapolation disturbing. I find that most of the “I am special” complexes that I run into are a function of wealth as opposed to generation. For example, see GenX’ers who think that they became successful because they are “special” and that those who struggle are lazy, welfare bums. But yes, I also know people who fit the description in the post who all thought they were going to be making 6 figures and working at Goldman Sachs when we graduated college. I myself graduated college with a small home worth of debt, started work as an entry-level secretary and after a decade of malnutrition and bill-juggling find I can afford cable for the first time in my life. So I’m feeling quite good about where I am in life. To my fellow younger gen-Y’ers: Hold on. It will get better some day.

  • No mention of the crushing student loan debt, huh??

    • Also, I reject the notion of the “Greatest Generation” unless they are the Greatest racists and misogynists, that is.

    • Anonymous

      This is partially a consequence of the self-esteem movement and “everybody gets a sticker” mentality in schools. We have a whole generation who were bombarded with the message that they are special snowflakes who can do no wrong. Who, when given their first real world job evaluation, get upset that they were not given perfect marks in every category. Who have never encountered constructive criticism. Who have no concept of competing for a privilege, and want that promotion handed to them three weeks into their employment.

      Parents of young children: Please, please, please don’t let another Special Snowflake generation happen. When your kids do sub-par work, call them on it even if their teachers won’t. Don’t lead them to believe in a pot of gold waiting at the end of their very own personal rainbow. Teach them that the pot of gold may be out there, but they have to work for it. And sometimes that means a career that is not what you love to do.

    • Anonymous: I am a GenYer, according to this post (born in ’81) and I do not know anyone who fits your description. And I went to a fancy, expensive school so I should. I knew some spoiled brats but they were uber-wealthy and I am sure were more a product of that wealth than of their generation.

    • Anonymous

      Nicole…This generation is not the first to graduate with student loan debt. I am 46 and graduated with a student loan debt. Was it as much as the current generation? Probably not but when adjusted to inflation, it’s probably along the same lines. Debt is debt. My $30,000 debt, when compared to starting salaries 25 years ago was just as difficult to manage as those who have a student loan now.

      Also, I certainly hope you are not mocking the generation that went off and saved the world from tyranny. Sheesh, if they didn’t go and fight the Nazis, et al then no one would be in college right now.

    • Anonymous

      Agreed. I was born in 83, and I dont know of anyone who expects to be treated like a special snowflake. You’re thinking the milennials, maybe?

    • Anonymous

      Nicole. I reject your notion of rejection. Cause seriously?

    • Anonymous

      Sorry Anon. You’re wrong.

      Tuition costs have grow and least three times the rate of inflation since I graduated college in the early 2000s. That excludes additional costs like room board and books. With a little google-fu you would quickly learn that a student today is paying way more for less education than they did when you went to school.

    • Anonymous

      Actually you’re a GenXer according to Wikipedia…

  • Yes, well, that may all be true. But the other really REALLY relevant thing about Gen Y vs. Boomers vs. the Greatest Gen is the job market, and the economy, and the price of education.

    Let’s say Lucy decides she’ll try a lawn without flowers in someplace like Cleveland and see where it gets her. Okay.

    Back when her parents and grandparents were growing up, you could go to a public college for the equivalent of $3000-$5000 in 2013 dollars per year, and get a degree and be more or less guaranteed a white-collar job with health insurance. If you couldn’t cut college, well, a lot of people could still find a blue collar job in a strong manufacturing industry like steel or automobiles. Cleveland had lots of steel and automobile jobs, great! And labor unions were pretty strong in those industries, so you still had health insurance, and in fact, you probably made the equivalent of $50,000 or $60,000 in 2013 dollars annually.

    … and really, do I have to go any farther with this? A college education for $10,000-$20,000 total. Not per year. Not per semester. TOTAL. A blue-collar job in heavy industry that brings home $50,000 annually, and has health insurance and retirement. That was 1985. Do I really have to spell out how that’s different from 2013, and how that could be impacting Lucy’s current happiness quotient, regardless of her expectations or upbringing?

    • Anonymous

      No one’s making any claims about which generation is smarter or better. This is just an explanation of why we’re unhappy and how to resolve it on a realistic, individual level.

    • Anonymous

      This is true. Good for you for noticing. Why is everyone taking it a little too personally? If it isn’t true, you wouldn’t be offended by it….right? Especially with all the high self-esteem that has been acquired all these years.

    • Anonymous

      You do mean “after graduating FROM college”, don’t you?

    • Anonymous

      The logic behind “If it isn’t true, you wouldn’t be offended by it” is downright stupid.

    • Anonymous

      “If it isn’t true, you wouldn’t be offended by it….right?”

      Ridiculous logic. By the same token, you could argue that calling a random person in the street an idiot or a Nazi or a paedophile isn’t offensive, because it’s not true. And people are taking it personally because it’s generalising an entire generation of people as delusional, mollycoddled, naive brats with an entitlement complex.

    • Anonymous

      This article is mostly bull-pucky and your post highlights the key reason why. Thank you for pointing this out. Add to this the fact that wages have stagnated, work hours and productivity have ballooned, and vacation time has dwindled. Young people are working harder for less money and they are getting less time off than the generations before them. Add to this the frustration of knowing that they will be supporting the aging Baby Boomers while they grow old. These are are the same Boomers who benefited from a period of relative income equality in our nation’s history. The rising tide no longer lifts all boats and it’s the same selfish Boomers who are fighting tooth and nail to keep taxes at historically low levels so they don’t have to pay their prosperity forward to the younger generations. These same selfish Boomers dare to criticize the younger generations for their lack of work ethic and claim they are unhappy because of unrealistic expectations? What a load of nonsense.

    • Anonymous

      First world problems!

  • Anonymous

    You know why I love this blog? Because the rainbow word has been used twice: to describe Lucy’s view of her own special career, and in a previous post, to describe the eternity of time before the Big Bang and life’s utter meaninglessness. And both uses were perfect!

  • Anonymous

    I discovered Wait But Why last month and it is my new favoritest site in the world ever.

  • Isn’t this a blog? I bet he lives in Cleveland. I love unicorns. I was born in 1982. Suck. It.

    • Anonymous

      self congratulatory bullshit — mom and dad teach you that?

  • Anonymous

    AN OPEN LETTER FROM THE BOOMERS TO THEIR CHILDREN: In closing, kids, our entire adult lives have been guided by a simple philosophy: we got ours, so fuck you. It’s hard to watch you struggle while we live off of all of the things we took away from you in the name of “fiscal responsibility.” Some people might call that greed, but we are the greatest, most special generation of people who ever lived. I think we earned it. Maybe rather that whining and blogging and drinking Pabst you should earn some of these things too. I mean, you have a Master’s Degree and you’re working as a temp! With that kind of lack of ambition, how do you expect to accomplish as much as we have?

    Everyone born between 1945 and 1960


    • A little bit simplistic, Bucko. It’s not easy being at the tail end of the baby boom, there’s that tremendous bulge of people occupying all the jobs, snapping up all the real estate. Coming into the job market anywhere between Nixon and Reagan was no treat. And while I’m dismayed my generation has turned into such a greedy, smug bunch of flag waving shits, it’s really been a handful of extremely rich shits that messed things up for everybody else. People like the guy in this article. People who are beyond the law because their servants in government are serving them, not us: http://www.gregpalast.com/the-frog-who-crushed-the-planet-did-a-french-uppie-really-create-the-finance-crisis/

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the read! The Gypsy in me needed to be reminded how un-special I probably am and that I actually have quite a good situation with my ok-job and the good, non-work-related things in my life.
    This isn’t only true for the US, here in France, we’re the same 😉

  • Generation Y

    F*** you and your pension.

  • Anonymous

    So glad to be Gen X. Low expectations, healthy skepticism, fierce independence, tenacious resourcefulness, and we have an awareness of our true inherent value rather than harboring any delusions about being more special than others (we know what Mr. Rogers really meant). We work adequately when we have to and passionately when we’re lucky enough to do something we’re either interested in or has a greater good.

    Recession schmecession. Gen X is always going to be fine. Somehow.

    • ^^^^^^^^ This guy/girl. Againandagainandagainandagainandagainandagainandagain.

    • Janis

      🙂 And to think, we were the generation that was made fun of for having crappy music and neon legwarmers.

      We were made fun of by the people whose “music” — and I use the term lightly — consisted of setting perfectly good guitars on fire (whoo, impress me again) and immersing oneself in patchouli.

    • Anonymous

      Funny how this blog entry, with its admittedly engaging voice, completely ignores the existence of Gen X. All we are is the generation that’s actually keeping the friggin’ world together right now.

    • Anonymous

      BRAVO!!! Gen Xers RULE!

    • Anonymous

      There is a book called Generations by William Strauss and Neil Howe that talks about a cycle of generational “profiles” that keeps repeating in US history. Their theory is more than a little overworked, but some of it does seem to ring true. The place of us “Gen Xers” in the cycle is basically as the pragmatic “clean up crew” sandwiched in between larger and more visible (loud?) generations. By Strauss & Howe’s figuring, the Gen Yers will actually *be* the next “greatest generation”. Just as we retire exhausted, relatively poor (and still unnoticed), Gen Y will be emerging into their 40s and 50s with everything in much better shape and themselves filled with a (special!) purpose to build a better tomorrow today (or something like that…)

    • Here’s something. I was spanked only a handful of times…but even I knew I deserved it, and tried really hard to not let a repeat happen. I was raised by parents who were in the Depression, and who taught me about actual LIFE. By the time I had my first job at 13 (lied about my age just so I could work), I already had a healthy handle on what is right and wrong. What I should or shouldn’t expect from others, and why I had to do things I might not want to, in order to get what I wanted. ( get your minds out of the gutter, I was referring to doing things like chores for my 50 cent allowance a week, etc. Admittedly though, I would have thought the same thing..lol) I was made to; eat what was in front of me, wear the clothes that were bought for me, to use my IMAGINATION (oh, the horror!), be creative, think outside the box, to know and accept responsibilities, to apologize when I was wrong, to respect my elders (swearing at my parents would never have occurred to me in a million years!), to be nice, to share and be considerate of others…I could go on forever. The most important part however, is that I was ALLOWED to make my own mistakes, screw up royally, learn things the hard way, and be as stubborn as I pleased until I saw where it got me…nowhere fast. My folks let me fall down without rushing to my side before I had a chance to hit the ground. Know what? I got myself up, and dusted myself off. How better to learn to be a productive, well adjusted member of society? continued on next post….

      • Anonymous

        ITT: someone trying to rationalize child abuse.

    • When Gen Y’ers were never allowed to get dirty, ride a bike without a helmet, climb a tree, never forced to “stay outside until the streetlights come on” etc, and instead, babysat by the computer and/or TV, and given all of the simpering attention, material things and zero accountability rules, well then, is it any wonder why their attitudes are “I deserve to have everything handed to me on a plate and paid for. Why? Because I just do.”? That is where many of my fellow Gen X-er’s, and older failed at parenting. Nothing wrong with wanting your kid to “have a better life” than you did. But, when that ideal goes so far in such a wrong direction, and never abates, well then, you’ve managed to ruin the kid’s life by giving them such an inflated sense of worth, entitlement, and expectations instead of enhancing it. Once they got old enough to know better, and maybe even sense that they should perhaps experience the real world for themselves instead of the pretty picture of laziness and protection for life…well, it was too late for them to see things any differently. Other than that, the major issue is that we have become a nation of pussies, and are causing more damage than good by doing so. We don’t stand up for our own rights, keep electing idiots into office, and much worse. “We” are afraid to offend ANYONE, or say certain words, or make harmless jokes in case someone gets pissed, and just HAD to institute that whole “everyone gets a trophy” bullshit. Why? When did we start thinking that all of a sudden, children are born without skin, and must be treated that way? So you got bullied in school. So what. So did I. You whine that you had to do something to get something. Boo fucking hoo. Education not paid for? Mine either. Bills up the yang? Me too. Job market crappy? Look harder and be less snotty about what you can bring yourself to do for work. You’re shocked when a guaranteed happy life isn’t presented to you in a shiny box with sparkles, bows and see-thru tape. Know what? Tough titty, kitty. If you wind up living with your parents until you marry (or longer) because life is “just too hard”, and because your parents are still the enablers they’ve always been, well, you can ask them to re-read your bedtime stories of amazing success without work, intellect without studying, reaping rewards for no reason, and being hand-fed the best of everything by the Success Fairy. Your choice. Stay in bed, or get up, get out, and do something for someone other than yourself. Don’t expect people to kow tow as you walk by them on your proverbial water. Time to give life a hand up, instead of expecting a hand out. Welcome to reality kiddos, and watch out for the slap on the ass as you pass by it. Love, a very non-special, non-entitled, barely “making it” but very HAPPY Gen X’er. PS, Your “music” sucks.

      • Anonymous

        Have not seen “tough titty” for a long time. I love you, whoever you are. They are totally pussies.

    • This comment has been removed by the author.

    • Anonymous

      So glad to be Gen X. Low expectations, healthy skepticism, fierce independence, tenacious resourcefulness, and we have an awareness of our true inherent value rather than harboring any delusions about being more special than others (we know what Mr. Rogers really meant). We work adequately when we have to and passionately when we’re lucky enough to do something we’re either interested in or has a greater good.

      Recession schmecession. Gen X is always going to be fine. Somehow.

      What, as opposed to the wildly avaricious, needlessly self congratulatory, riding the crest of the Boomer’s economic wave whilst shitting on the Y’ers from a professional height, desperately self centred and self regarding, smug, insular Gen X-ers I’ve had to do with? The reason you’re always going to be fine is cos someone else gave you a good economic start and you have no shame about exploiting others.

      Now why don’t you just send your unpaid mid 20s intern off to fetch you a soy latte then remind him/her how good they have it?

  • Anonymous

    I get so sick of the elderly telling me how I need to work harder for declining wages and that it’s all my fault for thinking I’m entitled to living indoors and eating food.
    I’m sure it’s not the terrible economy or the degree inflation or the staggering cost of said degrees or the cost of living even in places like Cleveland. I’m sure it’s just because everyone expects to fart rainbows.
    Working hard does not equal job security. It doesn’t equal increased wages. It just means suffering and early death because health insurance is for the upper middle class people over 50.
    And of course, when people post anything positive on social media, it’s “image crafting,” but when they post anything real, they’re accused of being downers and told to be more positive.
    So, what I got out of this is it’s good to be old and social media is useless.

    • Anonymous

      While I found this post to be spot on describing “special snowflake syndrome”, this post is missing the glaringly obvious other half of why Gen Y + GYPSYs are so unhappy.
      Personal fulfilment and the ability to sustainably take care of ourselves/comfortably move on to the next phases of our adulthood.

      College degrees, hard work, or staying with one job a long time won’t pan out for promotions like it did even 10 or 20 years ago. Not with layoffs, working poor wages, lack of healthcare, and swelling student loan debts. If you graduated high school pre 2008, it was hammered by society success equals going to college.
      The College Conspiracy documentary was a hard truth shock when I watched it – described why am I not moving up that ladder as fast as my parents or even on my own rainbow barfing unicorn grassy lawn ideal?
      Back in the 70’s you could work part time all year or full time for a summer and have enough to pay for a year of college, a car, and a place to live. Now it’s barely 1 of those 3. http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/college-conspiracy/
      So yes I get ticked off at older people telling me “when I was your age blah blah blah…” when upward mobility isn’t like that currently if ever in the near future.

      I also get ticked off when people say, “You should have gotten a degree or field that pays.” Well not everyone is talented in those respective fields like engineering, or has passion for medical specialist, law, or finance, etc. even if they wanted to go into those fields. What about social work or education? That pays sh!t but if your heart is for helping kids… by that logic then noone should become social workers, or personal care aides. Right.

      And I live in Cleveland. HA!

    • Anonymous

      Working hard doesn’t get you shit.

      Working smart and applying the proper amount of effort, intuition, and people skills while doing away with self-entitlement will get you very far.

      You do not deserve a roof and food. You do not deserve health care or entertainment. You are living an illusion if you think you deserve these things. The rich have worked for all these things and then more, but you only see the “more.”

      Earn your keep, no one else will do it for you.

    • Anonymous

      Oh wow, what a rugged individualist you are. I wish I had half of your independent, pioneering spirit. Then maybe I, too, could contribute to an anarcho-capitalist system that allows soulless pigs to spit on others less fortunate than themselves and take everything for themselves. You’re a true American. I’m proud to have countrymen like you.

    • Anonymous

      http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/ article 25.
      (1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
      (2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.
      just saying… the reason the world is remotely like it is today is because of compassion and not an attitude of ” You do not deserve a roof and food “

    • Anonymous

      “The rich have worked for all these things and then more, but you only see the “more.”” this is the mind set that keeps the “middle class” in america poor. most rich people haven’t really worked for the things they have, they were born into rich families, went to private schools, had powerful connections, and are therefore much more likely to become wealthy then someone who is poor, has no powerful connections, can’t afford to go to an ivy league school, and graduates with $50,000 in student loan debt.

      if you live in america, the most wealthiest country in the world, and you work for a million dollar company, have a masters degree, you do deserve a nice place to live, health care, and entertainment. but many people don’t, they make about $50,000 a year for example, while ceos pay themselves millions. because there is no check on the wealthy, and there is more people looking for work then there is jobs, most of the power goes to the employers. adam smith, who is credited with inventing modern capitalism if you don’t know who he is, saw this and believed there needed to be “checks and balances” in capitalism. this darwinist capitalism in the usa that came about around the 1980s is sick and isn’t rooted in any morals or intellectualism. it’s just greed.

    • Anonymous

      “Help, help, I’m being oppressed!”

    • Anonymous

      The only reason I’m wealthy is because my parents are wealthy. I haven’t worked for the roof over my head and I’d gladly admit that someone who works 50 hrs a week is way more deserving of the luxuries I get than I am. That commenter is full of shit. Our economic structure is put in place to keep the rich rich and the poor poor so the rich can reap the fruits of their labor. It’s just a fact.

  • Anonymous

    This is pretty cool… except I am special. Call me a gypsy, but I studied a real major in college, went on to get my masters, had a 4.0 throughout, got my dream job, earn great money, have a smokin’ hot wife, a big house, nice car, a muscular physique and am smarter than most people I have ever known or met.

    • Anonymous

      Plus, your exceedingly humble.

    • Anonymous

      Make that “you’re”

    • Anonymous

      So you’re “SPECIAL?”

    • Anonymous

      Sounds like you’re not real.

    • Anonymous

      And an exceptional online image crafter to boot.

    • Anonymous

      All of that and evidently still something to prove…LOL

    • Anonymous

      JImmy, are you in the basement telling stories online again? Get up here and finish your homework.

  • Anonymous

    One qualification you forgot to include on your GYPSY checklist:

    You write contrite judgmental blog posts sharing your self-proclaimed enlightenment with the rest of the world.

    • Anonymous

      SLAM! While some valid points were made in the blog post, at the end of the day, Anonymous, you nailed it.

    • Anonymous

      The author is a self admitted GYPSY.

      “You write a blog. Shit.”

  • Anonymous

    No, James and Matthew, the racial insensitivity of the acronym has NOT gone unnoticed. Thanks for noticing it, too.

    • Anonymous

      Are you taking offence to it?
      If so why?

  • Anonymous

    As a graduate student who worked full-time for three years in between undergrad and grad school, I definitely LOVE this article, and agree with the theory overall. The only problem is that one significant point is missing (as others have mentioned)- the job market. The key to the Baby Boomer ideology of “hard work = nice lawn,” was that the Baby Boomers were the beneficiaries of the “boom,” while we’re trying to pick up the pieces of the “bust.” I think that fact combined with our “unrealistic” expectations is the actual problem. I feel just as taunted by those in their mid-to-late 40s & 50s who brag about slacking off in college and still getting 5 job offers with their piss-poor grades as I do by my peers. Even an honor student with two degrees has a hard time getting his or her foot into the door of career-long job these days. You go fight for super competitive, unpaid internships, and see how lovely you feel…

    (But, even with all that said, I still find value in the article. Please just remember that our struggle is complex.)

  • As a GYPSY I found this article a little too long to read, but the pictures were pretty.
    KIDDING – This was really insightful and exceptionally true. Although I found the characteristics of a GYPSY a little narrow (there are many things I would never say) I’m well aware of the expectations our generation has and the expectations I have. Luckily my parents also told me to work hard. So I worked all through University, and continue to work hard, I put away money for retirement etc. I know I’m just like everyone else, but I also know I’ll become the president of Canada (we don’t have a president yet – I’ll be the first…)

    Elizabeth | The Undomesticated

  • Anonymous

    What is especially damaging to a Gypsy’s psyche is when they genuinely have talent, work hard to succeed, and believe they are deserving of standard respect and payment, and then everybody gets a trophy. Really kills the motivation.

    • Thank you no child left behind (read: no child gets ahead).

    • Anonymous

      You still missed the point. Talent is nothing unless there’s hard work and smarts behind it. Putting talent first is like putting the cart before the horse.

  • Anonymous

    Amen. Great point.

  • Janis

    Not sure this is because of when they were born or because they are just STILL VERY YOUNG and haven’t yet learned what we all need to learn over time: there is no endpoint to life where you achieve what you said you would, and then you hit the finish tape and there’s a bit party. As a child, you usually know EXACTLY whether you’ve succeeded or not. “Get an A” = “success.”

    As an adult, you have no clear markers that tell you that you’re smart or worthy. The goalposts might even shift on you, and illogically. Adjusting to that reality — “But how do I know if I’m successful or not?” — takes pretty much ALL of one’s 20s and a chunk of one’s 30s, for pretty much all generations.

    They’ll get their heads out of their asses eventually. Everyone does, eventually. Well okay, NOT everyone but most do even if it does take a few decades.

    • The problem here is “Get an A = ‘success'” doesn’t work anymore. Not when it is government mandated that everyone gets an A. As a child of this generation who was completely baffled by this notion, and more than baffled, angered. It did not make sense to me (as an 8 year old or as a college grad now) why no child could be left behind. That’s what grades are for. I told myself. If you do well you get a good grade. If you don’t do well you get a bad grade. If you get enough bad grades you have to go back and relearn things until we deem you have satisfactory understanding of the topic evidenced by a certain amount of good grades. Now, that isn’t the case. Now teachers can’t give students less than a 60 on anything if they turn it in. WHAT?! It completely nullifies our education system. And thus our way of teaching children how to value their work and themselves. Yes I agree that a lot of what people complain about my complaining generation is due to the fact that we’re still young and figuring out what to do with ourselves, just as every generation has done before us and just as every previous generation has complained about them. However, I worry that our generation might not break out of it, at least not in time. And if we don’t pull our heads out of our asses in time, the only thing coming after us to take over is no better than we are (in most cases worse, except with technology, there they’ve got us beat). So prepare yourself baby boomers, you may complain about us, but we’re the ones who will control your Alzheimer’s meds in a few years and that scares me just as much as it scares you. Make friends with Gen Xers. They’re the safer bet now.

  • Anonymous

    I’m late GenX, but do take issue with how “hard work” = getting what you want of the Baby Boomers. My dad worked hard. He rarely missed work, was always on time, and made enough money to take care of our family.

    However, it was also guaranteed that he left home at 7am and arrived home at 5pm. He didn’t work weekends and there wasn’t a need for him to be available 24/7. There were no cell phones, so he wasn’t getting called while sitting on boat fishing on the weekends.

    I also remember how he belittled me for quitting a job that I hated when I was 18. He thought I was lazy because of it. 20 years later, many of them working 2x as many hours as my dad, I realize I was actually sane at that moment. I hated the job, and wasn’t going to be out on the street if I quit, so I did. It’s a very logical thing to do.

    I’m also torn about GenY. I was in the same situation as many of them. Graduated college, had a pile of debt, and then had to take a job that paid less than the pizza delivery jobs I took during college. My saving grace was my dad passed away, my mom remarried, and because of that my mom paid off my college. So even though I was barely making money, I did the one thing I learned in college which was saving money early in life. That money saved, might let me retire at 65, if I am lucky.

    With GenY the complaint about the tough job market is annoying. However, with the amount of debt they are saddled with, they are screwed unless they get, well creative. A GenY co-worker of mine lived out of his car for more than a year so he could pay off some of his student loan. As a rule they will start saving late, and thus will have less for retirement than they need.

  • Anonymous

    I agree there have been ideas imposed on me (I was born in ’84) that I am special and I can do anything I set my mind to… but come to think of it, this idealistic hopefulness actually did get me somewhere, as I decided early on that I would make it happen somehow. I worked several crappy jobs along the way, learned a lot from all of them, went to school for what I wanted (music), rather than what “guaranteed” success, and now I have my dream job, playing music for a very sustainable living. Maybe I’m a dreamer but I think if you do truly work hard and keep your eye on the prize and stay humble, you can truly do what you enjoy in life. And sometimes that means “bending” your high expectations… if I can’t always play music, I’ll teach it. I think we are all meant to be happy and do what we feel passionate about, even if that means some hardship along the way. Make avenues to make it work for you.

  • Anonymous

    Thing is, we can either choose to complain and wish the world was a better and easier place, or we can accept that we’ve got to work with what we’ve got. Life can be a mofo but owning our problems is the only way forward.

    • Anonymous

      This. And ONE AT A TIME. All this “working” to make things better for everybody isn’t work. It’s wishing

  • Anonymous

    Actually, none of you or your children or your friends are “Gypsys”. You’re all a bunch of entitled twats using a racial slur to insinuate that other people are entitled twats.
    Love, an actual Rromani person.
    (Who has every right to be offended by your racist acronym)

    • Anonymous

      YES. THIS. ^^

    • Anonymous

      Romanian is not a race. It’s an ethnicity. Go be offended about something else.

    • Romani is not Romanian – and an ethnic slur is no better than a racist one.

  • Hello I am an ethnic Romani Gypsy and wanted to alert you to the fact that you may be unaware that this language is offensive. While in the USA we are a relatively invisible ethnicity and culture, associated with many stereotypes and even believed by many people to be figures of fantasy, fiction and folklore, we are actually real people with a real language, culture, etc. There are about 20 million of us world wide. We are Europe’s largest ethnic minority and subjected to horrible human rights abuses, historically 550 years of slavery, 80 percent exterminated in Holocaust occupied territories and more atrocities. This is an opportunity to learn about a wonderful people, many of whom live in the United States and around the world so thanks for that opportunity.

    • I thought the word “Gypsy” is considered a slur, perhaps along the lines of me saying, “Hello I am an ethnic White Cracker and wanted to alert…” Other people who have posted here claiming to be Romani are offended by the word, so why are you not? Why do you self-identify that way when others don’t? Tell me more.

    • Anonymous

      Shock Value appears to identify as Romani and offended just as the others have, but also appears to be smarter in presentation of the outward disapproval of the offensive slur (certainly smarter than I would have been had I allowed myself to be properly drawn into stating my opinion on a blatantly provocative slur). Shock Value simply had the common sense to not simply state on the internet that, “I am offended.” As we know saying that is worth less to most people than offering to wipe their ass with a cactus (see Matthew Limbago’s comment and the anonymous discussion that follows). Instead Shock Value offered valuable points as to why people might find such things offensive in an attempt to educate readers who have made it this far in the comments. Will it work? Of course not… even were people to read the comments this far a plea for decency has rarely changed human a history of racism (after all… you can polish a turd all you want but it will still be shit). None the less, I anonymously support Shock Value (in that while I believe it a hopeless goal… treating other people with dignity and respect is something that would be lovely to have around before I die).

    • Anonymous

      I still cannot find the “offensive” part of the acronym GYPSY. As a white person having lived (and currently living) in predominantly black cultures, all I hear is “whitie” or “white girl.” At least they’re simply calling me as I am: white. GYPSY is merely an acronym and was never intended to bring down any one people group. They are not even identifying the people group they’re describing with the actual Romani or non-Romani Gypsies. If the author had used “CALI” or “EURO,” would Californians or Europeans find it offensive? Please help me understand how using a simple word in a non-derragatory way is offensive.

      • Anonymous

        “As a white person” <— translated "as someone who has literally no base with which to comment on this issue other than my perceptions as a white person"

    • Anonymous

      You Romani idiots actually believe you are true gypsys? Give me a break. Why don’t you come to Europe and see what a true gypsy life is like. Hint: it’s not owning a home in the south and starting fights at expensive sweet sixteen parties.

  • Anonymous

    I feel this article was written out of spite. I fall into the “Gen Y” age group and exhibit none of these yuppie expectation issues.

    • Anonymous

      I suppose Gen Y is too large a demographic about which to make categorical statements. But you probably recognize some of the characteristics among members of your age group, but if you don’t, you’re very lucky.

      The blogger has given a checklist to make sure that we can identify GYPSYs. A close reading is in order.

    • Anonymous

      You might not actually fall into Gen Y. This blog incorrectly calls late 70’s as Y. Gen Y starts between 1981 and 1985 depending on the source.


  • The “greatest generation” was a bunch of ner-do well partiers coming off of the 20s with a blown up economy who were slapped by reality. Boomers sailed into a rising tide. Tide went out on Gen Y because republicans don’t believe in economic policy so those who do ate our lunch and sold it back to us. No one’s real fault, circumstances and bad theory.

    Add value with what you do, don’t expect much, don’t expect little, just carry on. Invest in friends, they correlate strongly to happiness. Memorize Albert Ellis “A new guide to rational living” and live by it.

  • Anonymous

    Is the ‘I’m so special, better than everyone else’ entitlement thing U.S specific? Speaking as a kid born smack in the mid 80’S, there weren’t any ‘participation awards’ and medals to make you think you were extra-exceptional when I grew up in Australia. The idea that an entire generation can be deluded about thier skills, self worth and abilities is very reductive and an easy excuse. Gen Y kids are suffering from economic failures and faults of older generations who let the GFC crisis happen in the first place. It is the Gen Y willingness to open their own businesses and adapt to modern careers and circumstances that is helping recovery. I find this whole unicorns and grass and cliche’s thing extremely patronising and ill-informed about the reality of being young in today’s workplace. And yes, I have a job, I work hard, I earn rubbish money and have a tonne of debt. Nothing special about that these days.

    • Anonymous

      I’m also not American (I’m from Ireland) – thank you for pointing this out. Most of my friends and I are struggling with the hopes vs. economy thing but we’re not so deluded that we can’t adjust our expectations – I’m seeing people going a lot of creative ways to find a life that keeps a roof over their head *and* makes them happy. I can’t imagine many people found the keys to happiness in their early 20s in any generation, to be honest. Working out the right attitude to have to the world in order to be both happy and to have realistic expectations of yourself and your circumstances is a process of learning in and of itself – it takes time. Those who feel disappointed are just those who have not yet completed it. If they really want happiness, they’ll get there in the end.

      I’m lucky that in Ireland, our parents tend not to think we’re ‘entitled’ but rather that we delayed the gratification of a job and a house of our own (i.e. made a sacrifice) in order to study (i.e work) and hopefully do better for ourselves and found that, through no fault of our own, we stepped out into a crumbling economy. And I’m also lucky in that I’m not tied down by a millstone of debt.

    • Anonymous

      that’s correct happiness is increasing with age. I think there is a report from Gallup?

    • I’m also an Australian born in the 80s and I think we were simply behind the US in the ‘you are special’ message. Rather than being a Gen Y thing, this started coming through with kids born in the 90s. I have younger siblings born in the early 90s and started seeing this kind of message bandied around when they were at school, and I understand it has gotten far worse – sports competitions where there are no winners or losers, teachers not allowed to use red pens to mark homework (it has negative connotations), etc. I certainly don’t know anyone my age who thinks they are entitled to be as successful as their parents by the time they hit 30 (let alone 25!). I know my parents made a point of telling us through out life that we should not expect our first house to be as big as the one we grew up in, should not expect our first car to be flash, our teachers warned us we would not get great-paying jobs straight out of uni, etc. Our teachers also asked us what we *wanted* to be when we left school, then helped us pick more realistic, secure careers as ‘back up’, or launching pads. If anything, I think the adults in my youth could have afforded to be a bit *more* ‘follow your dreams’-ish.

  • I was amused to read the Open Letter by Anonymous, above. It seems that Anonymous is a GYPSY.

    Us Baby Boomers have made some mistakes. Firstly, when we (some of us) said “You’re special,” we meant: “You’re special to me; you’re not just another statistic in this crowded world!” We did not mean: “You are truly superior in every way.” There were a few lame-brains among us, and when they saw their neighbors tell their kids “You’re special,” they probably hurried to tell their own kids the same, meaning something quite different.

    I wish I could meet the idiot who invented self-esteem, so that I can kick his balls.

    • Anonymous

      “I wish I could meet the idiot who invented self-esteem, so that I can kick his balls”.

      I love you.

  • Anonymous

    GYSY is similar to the ‘Strawberry Generation’ in Asia.

    A simple blog by a student:

  • Sarah M

    Oh my gosh, this is absolutely hilarious! Thank you for taking the time to write this! And the pictures are truly amazing 🙂 haha. I have been in Lucy’s shoes one too many times, and have peers who are in her shoes too. Love it!

  • Anonymous

    Meh. Gen Y has very little to do with this article. The real target audience for this is baby boomers, who despite having the majority of the wealth, power, and prosperity in the United States, still need to be buttered up and told that they are special snowflakes.

    Now instead of self-aggrandizing statements about being *so* much more open-minded and morally superior to the parents raising them during the 60s and 70s, they’ve graduated to self-aggrandizing statements about being *so* much more hardworking and morally superior to the children that they raised in the 80s and 90s.

    • Anonymous

      I’m not sure about this, because some of these Gen Y kids are a product of THEIR parenting and their discipline ideals, so I’m not sure if this article should make them feel good. In a way, it should reveal some of their mistakes, in 20/20 hindsight of course.

    • Anonymous

      *Applause* Got it in one. This article is an apology on behalf of those who are currently cashing out on the mountain of debt that they are handing to their children.

      The holier than thou attitude the the self satified smirk of the parents that stole our retirement.

  • Anonymous

    The writers argument although at the surface looks easy to concede with, but inside has some reflexive issues. It says that when there is a mismatch between reality and expectations, it causes conflict and pain. But this is how learning occurs in the brain. It can be a sources of changes, where to meet the high self expectations, the changes could be self oriented (e.g. i believe I can fly, but then I really can;’t lets buy a wing suit!), or they can be external changes that change the environment. Alternatively, learning can change the prediction or expectation and accept reality. If we stick with the prediction though, the updating/learning/changing could change the reality, a person might change himself to become someone special or may even change the world. So why denigrate high self expectations, and call them delusions, when they could be an important mechanism for learning in young people to become the best they can? The concept of a happy life overlaps with the yuppy dream of the baby boomers (nice backyard, shiny car) and the american dream was itself a delusion. In fact, reality checks that aren’t a cause for change could bargain with integration with the status quo. What the newer generations have rejected was a delusion and is exploring its potential with high self expectations, i think they should be guided not discouraged.

    • Anonymous

      Thank you for pointing out that the hopes vs reality thing is a learning process. I don’t think it’s some deficiency unique to the 80s-born.

  • Anonymous

    Say hi to Lucy. Lucy is a member of the “G.I. Generation.” That is a term for people born generally between the early 1900s and the mid-1920s. Lucy is also a member of the white middle class, an important group in her generation. Lucy is bright and well-read.

    Lucy’s career options are as follows: secretary, schoolteacher, nurse, housewife. Fortunately for Lucy, she has been told since her youth that she can expect nothing more than this. She might read books about heroic men but figured out early that those stories don’t apply to her. So when her intellect gets used for scraping diapers or typing up letters, she’s happy! The magazines she reads about beautiful homes and perfect wives are in no way a distorted ideal that she wrongfully compares herself to. She is lucky she was born when she was and not given lots of false hopes about being “special.”

    • Anonymous

      Thanks so much for this.

  • Anonymous

    Love everything about this article! Thank you for sharing.

  • Anonymous

    Try growing up poor, being raised by a single mother and living in various projects and moving from place to place as a child. I’m Gen Y but I sure don’t have any sense of entitlement! Living within my means, and sometimes just below my means has afforded me a Computer Engineering degree, a house, two cars, and all the gadgets my little heart desires. But let me tell you, I put myself through college, lived at home(mom and step-dad’s) to keep expenses down, rode the bus to save on gas/parking/wear and tear, ate frugally, etc. Guess growing up poor and never wanting to live in any sort of apartment gave me the drive I needed to fight against the grain. The more I think about this, the more I realize many of my friends who struggled had much more provided for them growing up. I’ve worked consistently since being of legal age to, and had a paper route before that. Ironically, thanks to this article, I’m starting to see how “special” I must be for someone in my generation! Haha! I am too practical to have any “flowers” or “unicorns” in my expectations though.

    • Anonymous

      Good for you, here’s a cookie (pats on head) you’re special and so much better than all the other snowflakes, specially since you’re black.

    • Anonymous

      Um, the person above never mentioned their race. Unless I missed something . . .

    • Anonymous

      Here’s a cookie? STFU you racist d-bag. Someone works themselves into the middle class from being born poor and you insult them for doing so?

    • Anonymous

      A nasty and unnecessary reply. Where did this person say they were black?

    • Anonymous

      I think you proved the OP right. LOL nice one you racist shit. (Also, note the entitlement “Stop talking about your childhood that does not represent my white, middle class view ow who will think of the cracker??? ;____;) The entitlement of ALL generations was baffling at one point, yet we blame the youngest each time- but that is questioned. Being racists, sexists and classists? NOT QUESTIONED AT ALL. Class, race and gender factors in peoples lives?

      OF COURSE NOT says the white, middle-aged and middle-class baby boomer couple, whilst they drink Sauvignon Blanc in deck chairs and sit beside their camper, watching the clear blue water brush the sand. The elderly woman turns to her husband “do you remember when we had to work as frycooks? It was only for six months but its was so shithouse.” Her husband, eyes half-lidded in relaxation, turns to her and replies “Oh yes, but we must remember the good times too. Remember when we started working for Dad? Those where twenty years well spent.” They sit on the beach, oblivious to how much the world has changed since then.

  • Anonymous

    I do agree with most of this (and can see myself in some of it); you are unhappy when your expectations are higher than reality; no one can argue against that; even when you make dinner if you’re really excited about it and then it turns out different from what you imagined you like it less even if it isn’t bad. But why shouldn’t expectations be high? Shouldn’t we be trying to be the best that we can be? I mean, maybe you don’t want high expectations that everything is going to be amazing right away but I doubt even the “greatest generation” was happy immediately with their careers and their lives. They are happy now that they have reached their expectations but I’m sure there were a lot of years where their reality was not at their expectations and they were thus, unhappy. A lot of college graduates right now, the Generation Y’ers, are in entry-level jobs or internships where they are completely replaceable. I know this is because they are inexperienced and I’m not saying it’s wrong, if someone can do the job better it should go to that person, but wouldn’t an environment like that make anyone unhappy? Wouldn’t feeling completely worthless make anyone unhappy? I find worth in things that aren’t my career because I know not to expect it at this stage in my life. I know I don’t deserve it because I haven’t worked long enough for it but you can’t expect me to be happy when I know that tomorrow I could be replaced by another person, or more likely, a computer. I would argue that my reality did exceed my expectations when I graduated college because I expected nothing. Maybe that is the actual moral; maybe everyone should just have no expectations because by this logic that would make everyone happy.

    • Happiness = reality – expectations
      joy = dHapinness / dt

      FACT A
      You should control your expectations, is much easier than reality where you compete with 5 billon people.

      FACT B
      Control your reality to not exceed expectation for much if it is not sustainable, otherwise, when the inevitable correction appears, you’ll suffer and past joy does not compensate present suffer.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve read through most of these comments and one thing I’d like to add, because it seems to have not been mentioned, is that the mentality of getting an economical job, the derision of academic pursuits in the humanities, the self righteous promotion of “hard work” (Ill defined but seems to mean however much work the person banging on about it did)as a virtue, ALL contribute to the growing stagnation and even decay of western culture and intellectualism.

    This article is boring and repetitive, however the arrogance on display in the comments is incredible and fascinating. The lack of curiosity, the general ignorance, the masturbatory moralizing (!) is horrific. And this pattern can be seen time and again wherever commoners gather to share their opinion.

    Surely today is the worst day in 200 years to be an artist, and tomorrow will be worse still!

    • Anonymous

      What’s a commoner?

  • Anonymous

    Good article. However, I think everyone probably deservedly is the special protagonist in their own story. I mean, why would Obama be my story’s protagonist?

    I’m the most special person to myself 🙂

  • Anonymous

    I want to go on the record as saying this op-ed is nonsense. It sounds like anyone in their 20s in any generation in many ways, with anecdotal internet-ness to make it sound insightful. First, the term GYPSYs will never not mean gypsies…but it’s a perfect analogy for this whole article…trying to shove meaning into something while ignoring all context. Like any generation, Yers have their own hurdles for happiness, but in fact most I know work hard, are entrepreneurial, dream because they’re young and their dreams are still within possibility, and are very aware of the fact that they won’t be handed success beyond our expectations due to larger global economic trends that were the result of sacrifice from a prior generation. We know demographics are against us, we know that ‘work hard and you’ll succeed’ is a delusion that is supported by larger economic trends. I sincerely hope this article was an attempt to sort out your own unhappiness and inadequacies and is not how you hold a whole generation of people in your POV. To tell people to reduce their expectations is to either attempt to convince them they deserve less so you can have more, or is your own inability to match their ability and vision, in which case you will indeed receive less. Every younger generation is told this nonsense.

  • Anonymous

    Even if all this Gen Y entitlement phenomena were true (and as many people have pointed out already, it isn’t) — why does this piece fault “Lucy” for holding an ideology that a generation of Baby Boomers taught her?

  • Anonymous

    Like most, I wasn’t exactly born with a silver spoon in my mouth and yeah, it sucks we are trying to get ahead in this day when it feels like everyone has more of everything than I do. But, you CAN get ahead and make progress if you are willing to commit to it and by that I mean all in. Can’t pay for FT college? Go PT and work or do your under grad at a community college and transfer. Get trained in a field you like and that is a career….a Communication major might be fun, but doesn’t offer much in terms of marketable skills. After college…start at the bottom. Get roomates, work 2 jobs and eat Top Ramen…stop buying expensive cocktails, new shoes and attending weekend long music festivals and Pilates class. Show up for work everyday and make yourself invaluable. If you aren’t moving up in your company after that, get the resume out and start looking. Don’t count on anyone but yourself and don’t expect help from others. Stop blaming your parents/boss/ex-boyfriend for your own shortcomings. And last: If you really hate that job and want to go out on the road to find yourself….go! You have my blessing. Just don’t expect me to pay for it.

  • Anonymous

    I think the problem is generally with humility (not the religious kind) and hyper-individualism. GenY believe success is something individual – that not being successful means the world didn’t give them what they owed; however if that same person is successful, they erroneously believe it’s because ‘they did it on their own’.

    Unfortunately GenY has been taught, as the article states, that “it’s all up to me!” “I’m special” “I need to be fulfilled” “I deserve this” “me me me” – GenY are super-individualistic. There’s nothing wrong with individualism if there is no huge ego attached. Individualism is excellent with a solid sense of self and what one can and cannot accomplish; and what one is willing to learn or not learn; akin to confidence. Besides, the world, and success, is not individual – its teams, communities, workplaces, where interactions between people of varying degrees of talent interact to greatly affect outcomes. Even the Olympic athlete is successful because of his/her team.

    “If I have seen far, it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants,” said Einstein. The world doesn’t work because ‘you’ rule; it works because ‘we’ rule.

    If GenY’s stopped competing with the proverbial Jones’ and started cultivating self-awareness, really listening to what others ask, developing some humility about their talents, were more flexible with ideas and built partnerships to solve problems at work; I think they might be a bit happier.

    • Anonymous

      I think Newton said that.

    • Frank

      Mostly, they need to learn that their lives are not their own until they get that money, and that there are a lot of unfulfilling years ahead until they amount to anything.

  • The main problem with this is that it is focused too much on careers.
    I’m not saying you are completely incorrect, but I am saying that I believe there is a larger percentage of Gen Y, compared to the Baby Boomers and those before, that put Life BEFORE Work. Work-life Balance. < -- Thing Thing, it's kind of important to more of us than previous generations. And more important at a younger age as well. So, I wish more people would focus on that part of life too, as it can make you way way way happier. Careers are good, but we focus on them way too much. We as a country need to focus on personal goals way more! Hope this makes sense, I just wish work-life balance was more common! Discuss!

  • Anonymous

    way to use racist language to prove a point.

    • Anonymous

      There’s not even a point, just an army of strawmen the author thinks are funny.

    • Anonymous

      Does GYPSY as an acronym really pass for racist language these days?? Good thing you didn’t live 30 years ago.

    • Anonymous

      Guess what Anonymous, the USA isn’t the only country on earth! There are some 20 million Roma people on the planet today, and the “g-word” is a hateful slur used against them. They are still the victims of systematic discrimination in employment, housing, and education, and enjoy the lowest standard of living of any group in Europe. So yeah, it passes. It passes with flying colors.
      Good thing you didn’t live outside your bubble.

    • Anonymous

      That is their style of life. Some do not accept it and want to change it, but the true gypsies do not so dont get all bitter about it.

    • Anonymous

      do they all 20 million have IDs?

  • Anonymous

    Hey Gen Y, most of you voted for what is happening. Even though unemployment has been almost double what is should be for his entire term you voted for the current President again. Maybe you should get a political clue and quit voting for this.


    Gen X

    • Anonymous

      I think it’s funny that so many people assume that the alternative would have put us in a better place. For all we know, we could have ended up in an even worse situation if McCain or Romney had been elected. It’s impossible to know for sure. Fixing our country is not an easy task…I’m not even sure if any of our current politicians are capable of fixing it should they become president. But that’s complete speculation on my part. I’m not pretending to know what I’m talking about, like so many (not all) people on here. Just sharing my opinion. 🙂

    • Politics is a scam. No matter who’s in office, the same people pull the strings.

    • Anonymous

      Dear Gen x,

      Last time I checked the financial meltdown happened under Bush. Last time I checked I turned 18 in 2006 not 2004.

      You will be happy to know that one thing Gen Y and Baby Boomers are lock step on is that you are from the worst generation in history. You are from the most spoiled generation in history and are the most selfish generation in history.

      Please please for the love of god take yourself and the rest of your abortion of a generation and throw yourself into the sea.

      The Rest Of Human History

    • Anonymous

      I can’t wait until the blamers have kids that grow up and put the same X#$% on their parents. This will go on forever you know.

  • Anonymous

    This explains 95% of the selfies on Instagram, and 100% of the crybabies leaving comments. Well played.

  • Expand the equation of Happiness to make it easier for some to understand this article:

    Expectations = (parenting ego inflation + misperception of peers’ success), thus

    Happiness = Reality – (parenting ego inflation + misperception of peers’ success)

  • 1. Both my grandmother on my mothers side and my grandfather on my father’s side told me basically the same thing on their (respective) deathbeds. Paraphrasing: “I wish I hadn’t spent so much time working at the office/ car dealership and spent more time painting/playing with the kids/grandkids/making music.”

    2. No matter how much you do or don’t want to work to achieve your dream career/life, there’s no reason to live in Cleveland.

    3. Maybe today’s webcomic should be about this blog.

    • I am fairly positive the word “Asian” is a perfectly acceptable adjective describing things or people originating in Asia

  • Anonymous

    ITT: capitalism.

  • Anonymous

    In my opinion, this is merely explaining a concept about the way our brains work… applied to a current and relevant situation. It is always the case that if our experience exceeds our expectations, we are happy and vice versa, regardless of generation, upbringing, etc. It’s an interesting phenomenon and can partially explain why a group of people feels/thinks the way that they do (in this case, Gen Y). We are all victims of circumstance. Our experiences shape who we are, and each generation, (which, mind you, is called a generational cohort because we went through similar experiences at similar times in our lives) has specific and personal consequences on attitude, beliefs, values, etc. We may have all gone through similar experiences, but perceived it differently because of our idea of what reality is.

  • Smug, Self indulgent and childish writing. The only good piece is the last 6 sentences, the rest is a waste of time.
    The problem is people writing shite like this and Gen Y being a lazy bunch of emotional shitbags.
    If you want to be happy in life, set goals, work your ass off, don’t sweat the small stuff and work your ass off.
    Happiness = Hardwork

    • Anonymous

      Tell that to sweat shop workers, or people who don’t succeed in spite of working as hard as they possibly can, or people who live the life of Riley because of the wealthy exploitative family they were born into.

      You’re delusional and living in a fantasy world conjured by those who want to exploit you for money.

  • Anonymous

    “-you’ve been to a therapist without any severe mental illness.”

    People like that make me want to bleed on my dog and listen as my dog turns my blood into ideas.

    Then when my deeds are done I will retire to the Olive Garden, where humanity checks its disdain at the door, and I will there break bread and revel in the neverendingness. amen.

    • Anonymous

      Gen Y Beat Poetry???

  • Anonymous

    Oh boy, this is gonna be fun.

    “•you went to sleep-away summer camp during your youth.”

    So, basically everyone, including Gen X and the Boomers? I’m sure most people did something like this at least once in their childhood. TIL the Boy Scouts, YMCA, church groups, youth sports trips, etc make one a “yuppy.”

    “•you’ve won a number of meaningless awards.”

    I guess I don’t totally disagree with this, but it’s vague and the meaning of the award kind of depends on what it is.

    “•you studied abroad during college.”

    Yeah, I did that. It may shock you to know that specializing in fields like international relations, international business, a foreign language or another related field might benefit from such an experience, and in fact, might require one in order to graduate. But still, “yuppy.”

    “•you, after graduating college, considered (or will consider) big, famous cities like New York, San Francisco, LA, or DC, or small, fancy cities like Boulder or Santa Barbara as the only acceptable places to move (i.e. you feel like too special of a person to move to somewhere like Cleveland).”

    Or maybe, you know, there aren’t that many jobs in places like Cleveland, particularly at the entry level and in certain fields (like the ones I mentioned above, for example). Maybe those jobs, to the extent they exist, are more likely to be found in larger cities like LA, New York, San Francisco, DC and so on where those industries are located. But hey, if you’re not willing to move cross-country to accept a job as a commissioned telemarketer with no benefits in Scranton, PA in order to start your career as an economic analyst, then “yuppy.”

    “•you have disdain for a restaurant like The Olive Garden or Red Lobster.”

    So not liking mediocre, mass-produced food is bad now? Most of my family doesn’t like these places either…because they suck. I’ll stick with Chipotle, In-N-Out and the delis and pizza shops around my work and apartment when I need to go out, because they taste good and fulfill my needs. But anyway, apparently this meaningless distinction = “yuppie.”

    “•you need to have an iPhone and wouldn’t consider an Android phone.”

    Okay, this one is actually kind of funny. But the overall point we often hear about smartphones is stupid. They are new tech that people are going to adopt, just like the landline and radio back in the day. Even my parents just recently got their first smartphones (Windows). It’s the future; deal with it.

    “•foodie is a word you’ve ever called yourself or anyone else.”

    I haven’t, and don’t think I know anyone who has. Also doesn’t mean squat.

    “•you’ve been to a therapist without any severe mental illness.”

    I haven’t personally. For me, Bad Religion and reading helps me when I’m feeling down about my situation. But I’m not sure how people going to professionals because they feel like they might need help, then finding out they’re fine is a bad thing. In fact, that kind of seems like the point of the system, no?

    “•you have started your own business or have plans to do so.”

    What is this I don’t even…

    “•you regularly talk or think about your passions.”


    “•you’ve ever had a blog. Shit.”

    Well, at least we both agree that everything we just went through was pointless.

    The middle sections of the article are just the same crap we’ve heard over. And over. And over again. We’re all spoiled and like Facebook too much. Thanks, grandpa.


  • Anonymous


    On to the “advice”:

    “1) Stay wildly ambitious. The current world is bubbling with opportunity for an ambitious person to find flowery, fulfilling success. The specific direction may be unclear, but it’ll work itself out—just dive in somewhere.”

    But don’t try to start your own business and don’t focus your search in locations and industries where you can utilize the training you’re essentially making a car payment or second rent on for the next 20 or so years. Remember, “yuppie.”

    “2) Stop thinking that you’re special. The fact is, right now, you’re not special. You’re another completely inexperienced young person who doesn’t have all that much to offer yet. You can become special by working really hard for a long time.”

    Right, but don’t complain about the lack of accessible entry-level positions that will allow you to build that experience through hard work and achieve the objective mentioned in point 1 and payoff the debts associated with it. Remember, “yuppie.”

    “3) Ignore everyone else. Other people’s grass seeming greener is no new concept, but in today’s image crafting world, other people’s grass looks like a glorious meadow. The truth is that everyone else is just as indecisive, self-doubting, and frustrated as you are, and if you just do your thing, you’ll never have any reason to envy others.”

    No shit. A good place to start would probably be with the author of this blog post.

    Jesus Christ.

    • Anonymous

      Woah there angry guy. The post isn’t saying it’s *bad* to be a GYPSY, just pointing out the typical characteristics. That’s why the advice at the end makes perfect sense. It’s saying, “Take those GYPSY qualities of yours and make the best of them.” Nowhere is it saying starting a business is a bad thing.

    • Anonymous

      Except those aren’t “typical characteristics.” They’re cliches or personal anecdotes at best presented as humor in the hopes they’ll be accepted as fact. They’re tiresome and help nobody but the author.

    • Anonymous

      Typical gypsy reply.

      I got my college degree, couldn’t find a white collar job or entry level position but I didn’t hesitate to take up any job that came my way be it manual labor or otherwise.

      I dabbled in construction and automotive got my hands really dirty. I didn’t think I was special or too good for a on the hand job. I just followed the labor market and their demands.

      Now I’ve got a well paying job that I’ve always wanted but I’ve had to stick my hands in the mud to pay my bills.

    • Thank you for writing this, it saves me time…..

    • Anonymous

      “Typical gypsy reply…I got my college degree, couldn’t find a white collar job or entry level position but I didn’t hesitate to take up any job that came my way be it manual labor or otherwise.”

      Typical smug, holier-than-thou reply. You have no idea what I do or have done since getting my degree. Hint: It’s not sitting at mom and dad’s house blogging until I get a 6-figure job.

  • amazing amazing amazing … never thought of this …!!!

  • Anonymous

    wow. fucking racist bullshit. thats a terrible term. lets make the n word an acronym and apply it to some idiotic bullshit. give me a break. choose a new bullshit term and leave my culture out of this.

    • Anonymous

      You’re an actual gypsy? Cool!

  • Anonymous

    Not mentioned (I believe) is that Generation Y has something against trade skills. It seems that they don’t want to get dirty or are above manual labor. There is a shortage of skilled trade workers right now. Kids who attend High School and take things like Auto mechanics, Welding, and Machinist type jobs are walking out of High School after graduation right into $20.00 + an hour jobs. I am seating here with 4 aircraft mechanic jobs paying $28.00 an hour and no responses to the positions. It took six months to fill a machinist job here. I am just thinking this might be related to that “I am special” attitude.

    • Anonymous

      You said it. I can place almost any number of electricians, if you’re smart enough in 5 years your looking at $50 and hour about $20 to start out of high school. Go up to Dakota for a couple of years and you’ll be making 6 figures now. But if you want to sit in a nice office in NY or DC well, enjoy the basement.

      The other trades are the same, we can’t hire anybody that’ll show up the second day. For that matter there’s a hell of a lot of truck driving jobs going empty, railroad the same, most of the above if you make it through your probation have pretty good benefit too.

    • Anonymous

      I’m writing from a New Zealand perspective so I don’t know if this applies elsewhere, but we have the same problem here with a lack of skilled tradespeople. I can only say this: if Gen Ys think they are too “special” to do trade/manual jobs it’s only because that is what they have been taught! I would be willing to bet a lot that any negative views of trades are almost entirely a learned attitude from their Baby Boomer parents and teachers.

      I was born in the early ’80s and my teachers, parents and career advisors never presented practical trades as a good career path while I was in my teens. Trade skills were what you did if you didn’t do well at school and certainly not to be considered if you were at all “academic” – oh no, you were destined for far greater success in life by going to university! So because I was “academic” I dutifully got my law degree and now work as a solicitor… which my parents’ generation think must mean I earn an above-average living and am “doing well”. They are all unaware that entry-level salaries for legal graduates have not increased here at all in the last 10 years!

      Meanwhile my friend who was never very “academic” is on double my salary as a builder – without having 12% of his income deducted to repay a student loan (which is compulsory here) and with 5 more years earning fulltime in the workforce than I have had due to studying. Another friend is a motorbike mechanic, has had a career working around the world and recently returned able to buy both a home and a rental property – a position I can only dream about being in.

      I don’t think I am any more special or entitled to success than they are – and we have all worked very hard as everyone constantly told us to – but we were led to have very different expectations about how successful we would be career-wise. And the so-called yuppies like me are the ones left feeling frustrated & disappointed because it feels like the advice we got was a load of b-shit… no one ever told me or my “academic” friends we might be a whole lot better off financially by gaining trade qualifications.

      So for all those preaching to university graduates (who were told they were doing the right thing to be successful but are now suddenly expected to feel incredibly grateful if they can get any kind of job at all!) that they should have done something “useful”… consider that what is deemed useful or the path to success seems to have changed virtually overnight on us, or more accurately if you didn’t graduate pre-2008!

    • Anonymous

      Boo hoo.

      You can’t find qualified applicants, raise the salary. This is basic high-school level economics.

    • Anonymous

      No one wants to train for these jobs in the US because most of them already have been shipped overseas by Generation X and earlier, and this will only continue. Though the coming collapse of the USD might make establishing a manufacturing base in the US viable again.

  • This is what happens when you spend 30 years giving people trophies for being born.

    That said, the “angry white man with nothing to be angry about” generation really needs to end. It was amusing at first, now it’s dominating pop culture and is freaking sad to watch.

  • Anonymous

    Amazingly creative article and right on. Need to go lie down and think about this for awhile.

  • Anonymous

    Buck up and get on with it kiddos… you got nothing on the G.I. generation and their parents. And yes, we (Boomers) know that we are “holding all the cards” and not retiring to Florida as you wish. Stay focused on making ends meet a few more years, we will die off and you will inherit the wind.

  • Anonymous

    I believe Facebook and social media is a huge part of the problem… Seems these days that many people (of all generations, but mostly the one that was born into the internet and know no other reality) think that, truly, they are so important and special, that everyone needs to know every minute of their day, what they’re thinking, the traffic they’re in, what they just ate, what their cat did, and the list goes on. In fact, many people seem to have no clarity about where reality ends and the elevated reality of their online social life begins. This does make it easy to compare your own life progress with those people from high school you haven’t seen in ___ years… and I think it’s an excellent point to make that it’s all for show and it really needn’t apply.

    While I agree that there are definitely those who have everything handed to them and don’t know the value of hard work or realistic expectations of their career path, just like all generations before us, they’ll eventually learn the hard way that the world doesn’t revolve around them and that happiness comes from doing something worthwhile. I do not think this applies to an entire generation, however, maybe just the part of life this generation happens to be in. Or maybe it’s just the author’s personal situation.

  • This post is brilliant. Great work!

  • Anonymous

    Lucy will obviously never succeed, that’s the point of this article. Keep believing in the American dream, ha, !!!

    • Anonymous

      Actually, that’s not the point at all. The point is that Lucy’s will never be happy, regardless of her success, so long as her expectations remain unrealistic.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, and anyone who believes Facebook is the answer will obviously spend their free time posting articles like this…how unhappy is the author with their life..send me a pic.. you are definitely not overweight.

  • my husband is Roma (ethnic Gypsy) and I find this acronym highly offensive. You wouldn’t make an acronym to JEW or ASIAN. The same applies here. The Gypsy people are an ethnic grouping not some silly acronym to describe lazy Gen Y’ers.

    • Anonymous

      Justified E-enabled Whiner? American Sociopath Idiot Artisanal Nagger?

    • Anonymous

      Yeah, I don’t think using a racial term as a cute acronym is all that funny, either.

    • Seems like the problem is yours and not your husbands. I doubt you would have found the acronym so “highly offensive” if it had been JEW or ASIAN. Btw what’s wrong with Asian? That is not an ethnical slur. Wasn’t that the point
      (to some extent) of your argument?

      People, grow thicker skin and stop with this race bs anyways (it’s never attractive wether you’re boasting it or doing the opposite). We are one species. Stop whining, stop fighting and too many of you stop thinking. It’s making the world worse.

    • Anonymous

      For the record, I come from Roma decent and take no offense to this acronym.

    • Anonymous

      Yes, Flora. Yes.

  • These responses are hilarious! This article seems like a deliberate trolling.

    Look it’s obvious that wealth disparity between the top 1% and the rest of us plays a big factor in the decline of “comfortable sustainability”, but we live in a capitalist society. The benefit of that is we earn based on what we’re worth. If you feel like you’re not being paid enough, forge a path in the industry that you’re targeting. Be a trailblazer. Use that sense of entitlement to motivate you to burn the competition. That’s how you fight for better pay. Sometimes you have to plan and plan and plan, but once you gain the confidence to execute, you can make conditions better. Let’s F**king Do This People!

    • Anonymous

      The unfortunate reality is that most people DON’T earn based off what they’re worth because capitalism is a convenient shield for those most benefiting from the income disparity you yourself conceded exists–otherwise CEOs would make significantly less and the average worker’s wage would have remained commensurate with cost of living and their increases in productivity.
      What the author of this incredibly short-sighted blog post is neglecting to analyze however, is the reason that so many ‘Gen-Y’ers want to start their own companies is for a lack of other options. Adding insult to injury, the truly disheartening reality is that while many want to start businesses, the weak economy only exacerbates the general lack of necessary start-up capital for young people to do so barring most from “blazing their own trails” (due to high levels of debt caused by student loans, lack of collateral/professional experience, etc.).
      Furthermore, “forging paths” in one’s respective field is increasingly a delusion in our modern society because as specialization has increased over generations so too has increased bureaucracy and the need for professional credentials to have even a basic level of autonomy within almost any industry. The age-old problem of the “catch-22” resurfaces once again in that one can only obtain access to professional autonomy in most careers by having already obtained those increasingly elusive “entry level” positions and preliminary years of experience (that ‘Gen-Y’ers are apparently too “special” for according to the author even though every recent college grad would beg to differ).
      In my experience “entry level” for most companies actually means at least three years directly-applicable, prior, professional experience these days. Being highly trained (even with a master’s/professional degree) but then being simultaneously told that you possess no value to the real world until you are somebody with a prior resume of ever-more unrealistic professional experience (despite possessing a wealth of up-to-date knowledge which alludes most experienced workers) is depressing.
      Having our professional potential disregarded while prior generations (which already got their start–some easier than others) bitch about the stagnant economy and degrade us for not accomplishing anything or putting off “starting our lives”—THAT above all else is fundamentally why Generation Y is listless and victim to a general sense of hopelessness not because we were told we were great as children.

    • Anonymous

      you’re still saying it’s somebody else’s fault – “prior generations” is the catchphrase you used.

    • Anonymous

      Anonymous here has it on the money. And I may be chronologically Gen Y, but I’m not a yuppie/hipster. The author of the post, lumping us all in as yuppies because he himself is one, actually makes things a lot harder for those of us who had nothing, were good, went to college and/or grad school, and then can’t, as Anonymous here says, get the entry-level positions so we can shut up as everyone allegedly so deeply wants us to do.

      Believe me, when I make an okay living I won’t be complaining. Until then, though, I don’t think it’s entitlement to complain about having to work something totally unrelated to my skillset — which, to add insult to injury, doesn’t allow the stability to save, spend, or retire.

      If Gen Y is at all “entitled” at this point in time, it’s because we know we got the short end of the stick and will have to work til we die– every social safety net has been dismantled, or is in the process of being dismantled now, and we’re doing the best we can with far less than even the Gen Xs (who they themselves had not much to work with either). If it seems like every subsequent generation ‘has it worse,’ that’s because we still continue to concentrate wealth, power, resources, and opportunities at the top, rewarding those who already have it pretty well while the rest of us compete for the remains. That’s why “entry-level” jobs require so much “experience” and yet pay so little. And have the actual job duties and expectations of mid-level (or managerial) positions.

    • Anonymous

      As a baby boomer and the parent of three Gen Yers, I thought I would jump in here and offer another perspective on “specialness.” The first is that my children were brought up to believe that everyone is special in some way. (You can thank Dr. Spock, Mr. Rogers, and Barney for that.) That makes them appreciate diversity in the world and to treat people as individuals with unique attributes. The effect of that is that they have a more natural sense that, whatever intelligence or marketable skills someone many have, they are entitled to a basic amount of dignity and freedom to be whoever they want to be. Therefore, same sex marriage and interracial relationships are not the big deal that they were in the 30’s or 50’s. President Obama makes that case by his own success. So I love that aspect of Gen Y.
      The second observation, which is skewed by several of my children’s friends and the fact that two of my kids live in San Francisco, is that some Gen Y folks think that the rules don’t apply to them. In some ways, every generation rebels against the rules of the generation that raised them. But the hipsters seems to take it to another level. Not unlike the hippies in the 60’s and 70’s, the hipsters seems to believe they just invented freedom and self-expression regardless of out-moded social conventions like tying your shoes or regular work hours. I don’t know if that comes from feeling special or something more like the observation above; that is, that the conventions and stereotypes are just stupid for everyone and therefore have no moral force.
      Anyway, go Gen Y! I love you guys.

    • I love this discussion. It is so funny to see the difference. I do think kids expect protection from Mom and Dad longer now than ever. I had a mom call me at work once to talk about her sons job performance.

  • Anonymous

    The only thing more pathetic than the Gen Yers who fit this description and are truly delusional about their abilities, and there are a lot of them, granted, are the pretentions Gen Xers who rode the wave of an economy artificially inflated by things like derivatives and bundled subprime mortgages just to the point that they’re fairly secure now while the Gen Yers struggle to break into to a world economy in the midst of painful corrections and think they’re doing better because they’re harder working with more realistic expectations, i.e. they’re better people. That’s fucking delusional. Get over yourselves Gen Xers. And honestly, Gen Xers who have time to comment on articles like this, or hell, write articles/op-eds like this (I don’t know who wrote this but I’ve seen a lot of Gen Xers give “tough love advice” to their lazier younger counterparts in recent years) must not have anything better to do and are engaging in a little image crafting themselves.

    • Anonymous

      im a gen xer and i just like to smoke pot and jerk off still–so i guess I’m somewhere in there i guess wherever. but whatever. at least i still havent gotten it up the butt hole like the most of you: woooop wooooop!

      i guess.

  • Anonymous

    If you’re offended by ‘GYPSY’, you’re definitely a GYPSY.

    • Anonymous

      Or, you know, not a racist…

    • The Engineer

      As I’ve understood it they prefer to be refered to as roma. Now go back into your time-machine to nazi Germany where you came from, oh strange timetraveller. Kudos for your flawless english though.

    • Anonymous

      You’re more than a little bit ignorant. Try looking it up.

  • Anonymous

    I find it hard to feel sorry for all these GYSPYs when I chose a college major that required me to put in extra work every week. I’m about to be compensated for the extra work with a $70,000 starting salary at the age of 23. Not to mention my soon-to-be wife, who will bring in a similar amount.

    I know I’m smarter than most people (not being a GYPSY, IQ tests and stuff…) but in my experience if someone not as smart as me wanted to pursue the same major, they could. They’d just have to put in more work. It’s just hard to feel sorry for someone who majors in ‘business’, and can drink 4 nights a week in school, yet cant find a job upon graduation. I think the article is spot on. If people thought more about whats best for their future instead of following their “passion” they’d be a lot better off.

    • Anonymous

      thanks smarty pants.
      I got a 51 percent in last year highschool Math. I stayed after class every day to learn from my teacher. I have had an A average going into University. However, I never understood Math. Yet, I can recite Shakespeare in front of 300 students.
      Just because we don’t have the skills in “Math/School” as you did.
      Doesn’t mean we don’t work.
      Please, don’t get off topic here.
      It’s not about being lazy. It’s about our affect of Society via our upbringing.

    • Anonymous

      And your and your fiancé’s majors would be in the fields of…?

    • Anonymous

      This guy is spot on. I attended a state school and pursued a major with economic value. I’m all for pursuing a degree based solely on intrinsic value, however you must be able to provide for yourself and your family. If your “dream degree” is in alignment with one that is perceived as valuable in the market – awesome and you’re lucky. You should not do what you love to do, but do what you like to do that affords you the opportunity to provide for yourself. You create your own happiness (google it for a good TED talk about it) – so that degree that you started to get that adds economic value that was so-so, turns out that it’s actually pretty awesome. Moreover, it gets better when you get out and already have a job lined up while others are squandering their time away “finding themselves” and then moving back in with Mom and Dad.

      To those who blame student loan debt, there is no reason in attending top dollar (not necessarily name) schools if you do not possess the economic mobility to afford one. You don’t need to move out of Mom and Dad’s house to go to college. Find an affordable school within commuting distance – it might not be ideal, but you can save a significant amount of money by not paying high rent, electric, food that your roommates eat, etc.. And commuting distance can be pretty far. This will prepare you for the real world when you have to do things that you do not want to do but the end goal is greater than the current opportunity cost. For example, commuting to that new high paying job you just landed out of school.

      Being fortunate enough to earn a comfortable living right out of college and having many friends years later still trying to land that first job to start their career we had very different college experiences. Those who are still trying to get started traveled abroad, frequented college football games and bars. Their college experiences are something that I admire and envy to a degree. Who doesn’t want to travel Europe? My college years were spent in the library pulling my hair out as I tried to learn how to understand a new programming language or complex logic. If you have the capacity to do both, awesome. While we had very different college experiences, theirs better than mine, we are having very different life experiences post college and graduate school. I’m planning for trips abroad – not just 1, starting a family, and a comfortable retirement. I’d give up 3 years of a good times for 40 years, Christ even when they do figure it out, 10 years of a more stable future.

      It’s still a race that none of us win, but I’d rather be comfortable while participating.

    • Anonymous

      Very well said. In fact I’d go so far as to say that you SHOULDN’T make “what you love” your day job. You know why? Because that is without question to the fastest way to suck all the joy out of the thing that you love most in this world. Having to depend on something to put food on the table is a great way to make that something mundane and stressful.

      Don’t get me wrong, if you love baseball and get signed to a multi-million dollar MLB contract, go for it! If you toil in obscurity for years and finally publish that novel of yours and it becomes a bestseller AND it allows you to support yourself and/or your family, go for it!

      But the hard truth about life, the most bitter pill that we all have to swallow (and the pill that for some reason Gen Y keeps spitting out) is that this rarely happens.

      For the most part we work to live, then take whatever “disposable” income we can muster and spend it on the things we love (fishing trips, building a ship in a bottle, woodworking…really it doesn’t f*cking matter).

      If everyone could fund themselves via their “dream job” then the entire world would be filled with nothing but astronauts and ballerinas.

      The unfortunate truth is that we need far too many accountants and customer service reps and dental hygenists and cops and flight attendants and crossing guards etc etc for that fantasy world to be even remotely attainable.

      And so…we all wind up doing the most sensible thing that we’re pretty good at that brings in the most reasonable income.

      Deal with it people, work frequently sucks. That’s why they call it WORK. Get it?

    • Anonymous

      There are many of us who majored in ‘business’ and worked 70 hours a week running our own marketing departments in order to put ourselves through school. Get over yourself. Your smugness will not serve you well in the future. YOU are not special because you majored in computer science.

    • Anonymous

      Excuse me, EVERY major has economic value in a society where EVERY PERSON is valued.

      Not all of us have mathematic aptitude, so, actually, you, who society is in this wave of affairs blessing you for having chosen a “practical,” moneymaking, degree, should be thanking those of us who are bad at math who didn’t clog up your life with our ineptitude…more competition for you.

      My major was valued–before everyone decided they were a writer and that writers didn’t need to be paid…

      Folks, not everyone is a writer and words do not write themselves. Composing and editing are actually still verbs and do not pour out of machines. I am being a bit pointed here, I know, but only because in my daily life I am told by people who know they can’t write how wonderful it is that I am a writer… except that they have jobs and I’m barely surviving. And no, I’m not about to drop everything and enter medical school. Maybe if medical school didn’t require calculus and physics, which no doctor uses in practice anyway…otherwise I’d actually be an extraordinary doctor, knowing quite a lot about real applied medicine (all self-taught, of course…many, many hours a week–but apparently worthless without some external validation of that).

  • Anonymous

    I understand what everyone is saying…

    The fact is, this economy since 2008 has suffered.
    We’ve been through war and recession for a while now, and our job force has suffered. We’ve all been through this before…we will get through it again. We go through decades of prosperity and depression. It’s a balance.
    What we need to do is change. Make new businesses, vote and speak out during elections.
    It’s not the people (we are not special) It’s our human nature and Society that fluctuates.
    What can we do? What all want more than we need.

    • Who has been through war ????

  • Anonymous

    Around midnight tonight, I stumbled upon this article. I then spent the next 3 hours reading every post on this blog, and this is honestly the best blog I’ve ever read. Whoever is writing this, please please don’t stop!

  • Anonymous

    A part of me hopes this phenomenon actually exists in the USA. Not because I want the generation about to take over the running of society to be as naive and self-entitled as this article suggests – please no. A part of me wants this to be a phenomenon because, otherwise, what we have here is a group of people (I’m including the supporting commentators) who feel justified (read: ‘special’ and ‘entitled’) in ‘correcting’ and slandering an entire generation whose reality they’ve, apparently, completely failed to understand. But who is this group? Members of Generation Y who’ve failed to understand their peers, or baby boomers bemoaning the attitude of their children? Either way it’s not good. In reality, of course, I don’t want this to be true anywhere in the world; it’s certainly not true here.

    Incidentally, most of the people I know who’re obsessed with material possessions and any implied sense of worth they imbue – people who’ve built their lives around the acquisition of certain types of houses, cars, TVs, and holiday packages – are all baby boomers. Their children develop a taste for ‘stuff’ after having being spoiled with gifts during childhood. In my experience, people today (by and large) get bored with having access to endless material things in their mid-twenties – that is, once other priorities take over. Is this really very different from the idealism of youth and transition into adulthood present in any other generation? I don’t have any data to support this; I’m using the same conjectural approach taken by the article’s author. I’d be intrigued to see some data, though.

    This article is very funny and nicely written. But the message at its heart is confused, poorly researched, unbelievably hypocritical, and comes across as bitter and resentful. It’s all a bit sad.

    I don’t usually comment on articles like this. But I’m curious… how many people are now going to try and unpick my life, my motivations, and my ideals, offering advice and sweeping statements to suit?* If anything THAT is the problem with society today.

    *Before anyone accuses me of doing the same thing note that I’ve been candid about my opinion, which I’ve published alongside the material I’m reacting to allowing for direct comparison. I’m also not offering ‘worldly advice’; I’m not that condescending and self-important. What I’ve written here is just my opinion, whatever that’s worth.

  • Anonymous

    Wow, splitting birth years into generations arbitrarily is a really good idea to create blame groups. It’s just what we need on top of all the other isms we already have, now the generationism! Sarcasm aside, one hopes all generations learn to be fair, respect others, and criticise when valid arguments and points exist, not for social media ‘populism’.

    • Anonymous

      Much of GenX has the same problem. As Tyler Durden said, “You are NOT a special and unique snowflake”.

  • The Army is hiring; it pays pretty well, too. Just a thought.

    • Anonymous

      The army is actually downsizing, genius.

  • Anonymous

    To the author: Hey, nice read – spot on in my opinion.

    Question: why are Gen Y parents all persuaded that their respective kids are “special”?? Because along with that comes a completely different discussion: the expectations from the parents, that they never admit to have.

  • Anonymous

    As a proud member of Gen Jones (Google it, bitches) I have to agree that as a general rule it’s NOT in our collective best interest to bash other generations.


    The reason this article was written is because it desperately NEEDED to be written. While I personally appreciate many of Gen Y’s accomplishments–bringing “artisanal” back into vogue, fomenting the “slow company” movement, emo/folky/psyche revival music, etc–to their discredit they have been the most ageist generation since the older Boomers and their megalomaniacal‎ 60’s mantra to “never trust anyone over 30”.

    To Gen Y, everyone older than them sucks…HARD. They have ZERO interest in listening to anyone from anywhere that has anything has to say about anything. Except themselves of course.

    Mind you, they are not the first generation to behave this way. However, they might be the last.

    Unless we can all get together as one big dysfunctional global family and fight for economic equality and the environment TOGETHER, REGARDLESS OF AGE, we’ll all be dead before there will be a Gen Z, or whatever super cool, “ironic”, trendy, pithy, “made in Brooklyn” name you ascribe to your kids’ generation.


    • Anonymous

      I love older people (Gen Y here)…what I don’t love is when they give me impracticable, unrealistic advice. Here’s one example on my mind: my family is abusive. So? I hear often. “Just get roommates”– when wages are so low that’s why I can’t move out to begin with (aha, a lot of people assumed I don’t have a job. I do). A rented room in NYC is –on the lower end–*at least* $600 a month (anyone who says they can get something for less than that is signing you up to live in a place full of crime/ or some kind of shady sex-housework situation/or 2 hours away from anywhere). And now even those $600 rooms are in the so-called “bad” places. That’s more for a room than a lot of places in the US charge for an apartment.

      “So then leave New York.” Uh, older folk, I’m not cognitively challenged. I have no family and no license, or I’d be out of here and not complaining.

      So I’m all for intergenerational unity. My beef is I don’t think older generations really understand how hard it is to do basic things that *in actuality* WERE INDEED EASIER back then: * renting a room, * getting a job, * applying to school, etc. Everything now *is* harder, *is* more competitive, *is* more of a big deal. When not everything needs a credit check, background check, deposits, references, mission statements, statements of purpose, test scores, etc. etc. etc…

      those rented rooms? Yeah, they want security deposits now. For a *room.*

      When my parents were able to move out from their parent’s at 18, they didn’t have to save for a deposit on a rented room.

      It’s a rented room. Not an apartment.
      At some point there must be some blowback from this ridiculousness.

      Cui bono from making every roommate pay a security deposit? How is it that generations managed to survive without doing it, but now it’s becoming another hoop to jump through? A hoop to jump through that we’ll consent to and force on later generations with “I had to go through it, suck it up.”

      Things don’t have to be this hard. We humans make things far harder on eachother than they have to be.

      You don’t need a security deposit on a tiny little room. And you don’t need $600+ a month for it. New York needs to get over itself, but the rest of the country’s getting just as bad.

      You can’t take it with you, so I don’t understand this desire to screw others over so that “I get mine.” Because when basic things are this hard, saying “well, I did it, why can’t you” is screwing others over. Not everyone has the boundless energy to jump through every hoop and hurdle just to survive. What happened to things like housing, food, healthcare being human rights? “I was miserable, so you have to be too” has never won me over as an effective social organizing mechanism. We need another paradigm. It could be as simple as not giving people such a hard time to do stuff.

    • Anonymous

      Too bloody right. Great last paragraph.

    • Anonymous

      You do have to wonder if that’s only because “Gen Y” were effectively lied to by their parents, teachers, and so on, about the world they were likely to join and have a productive and wonderful life in?

      The expectations Gen Y were endowed with by the previous generation are going to be a massive point of contention in any debate of this nature, especially when the previous generation is the primary culprit in regards to the change in the social and economic climate.
      Gen Y have to sort out their delusions of grandeur, most of them are old enough, and hopefully intelligent enough to realise that they were betrayed by their fore-bearers, and deal with it.

  • Anonymous
  • There’s a lot of accuracy in this article, but I don’t think it’s productive to take such a judgemental, condescending tone with those in this generation group. Dissatisfaction and status anxiety can be so intense, and can be so heightened by social media and the constructed lives of peers, that people suffer great mental stress to the point of suicide. It’s not always about greed and desire on the part of the dissatisfied party, but about a hammered-home message that is as real as the advertising with which people are bullied every day. And right now, thanks to an economy ruined by despicably wealthy pre-GenY bankers, younger people are being exploited for free labour and denied fulfilling work options (I do not mean high salaries).

    I’d also like to pick up on the ludicrous checklist idea. So spending a year abroad as part of your studies is to be disdained as much as being snooty about restaurants and slavishly loyal to the Apple brand? To me it suggests bravery, curiosity and a healthy interest in the rest of the world. Further down the page, you suggest learning a language is a positive thing. Perhaps if more people spent time abroad in structured visits, we would be able to better explore alternative ways of finding satisfaction.

    You also seem to equate calling yourself a foodie with going to “a therapist without any severe mental illness.”

    Define ‘severe’, please. One in four Brits experiences mental health problems, and since the recession kicked in, this has risen steeply. Men, who are under far more pressure to attain status and wealth than women, are three times as likely to commit suicide, and far less likely to talk about it or seek help. Belittling mental illness in any form is lethal.

    • Anonymous

      Right on, Kirsten. And therapy needs to be mandatory in every society, actually.

      We are in a very sick society because of people without compassion with the implicit “why can’t you just suck it up” attitude toward people who do question the way things are.

      The sickest people in our society, those who consume and rob the planet of its resources and take us to the ecological brink, are the ones who are seen as “mentally healthy,” because they feed the capitalist machine.

      Clearly the author of the post has never been to therapy or knows what therapy is– if he did, he wouldn’t belittle it. Very often those who belittle therapy are the ones who need it the most. Therapy is not about ‘curing’ some pathology. It’s to (in part) heal oneself to live a better life and to learn how to not inadvertently hurt someone else through your own unresolved pain. The author’s unresolved pain at the people he’s encountered in his own generation he think entitles him to make broad, snarky, glib generalizations… and, then, if anyone calls him on it, he can say it’s “humor.”

      True humor -including parody, satire, and social observation–doesn’t need to take anyone down to make a joke.

  • Anonymous

    Most of these comments present an “either/or” choice: either the article is right and GYPSY’s are entitled, or it’s wrong and crushing student debt and lack of jobs is the problem. Actually both are right. There is a huge feeling of entitlement among the GenY’ers I work with, and also there’s a really tough job market right now. A bad coincidence.

  • Anonymous

    nice! i figuered out i#m not a gypsy of the type youre talking about here, on the second line of your criteria classification judgemental content BS. thanks for laughing though. i’ll continue reading when i have time

  • Anonymous

    Way to assume that anyone who wants and strives for their dream job early in their life is a Gen Y Yuppie.

    Stop generalizing people who have high aspirations and work hard and diligently towards them while pushing the status quo into this bucket of entitled assholes. I am a Gen Y, 30 years old, working in a job that I truly believe is below my capability level, but I push hard every day to get to the point where I want to be. That includes pushing on previous generations to continually improve themselves as they expect out of every individual of younger generations. There were plenty of assholes and “GYPSY” type people back in the 60’s and 70’s too. The biggest difference is that they didn’t have to take on a crushing student loan debt and a generation of people before them trying to hold them back because they are only looking out for themselves. For every “GYPSY” you find, there is a really good chance you find a young person who works hard and helps others to be able to achieve what they want out of life. Entitlement is not a generational thing, it is a personality trait. I know plenty of Generation Xers that come off as entitled because they’ve “…put in my time, and until you do, you don’t deserve anything…”. Entitlement isn’t generational, it comes to people who refuse to understand that good things and success come to those who work hard for it, and there are plenty of Gen Y folks who know and exemplify that trait.

    • Anonymous

      There are also plenty of Gen Y folks who have learned that working hard DOESN’T mean success. I’m a 32-year-old lawyer and I most definitely worked my ass off to get where I am. I went to a top 5 school because I had the grades for it (working hard!!), and I put in my 80-hour weeks like a good little grunt, giving away most of my 20s to a profession that didn’t deserve it. What do I have to show for it now? A middling law job where I’m making less than my non-degreed roommate makes providing customer service for a do-nothing tech startup because that’s where investors throw money nowadays, regardless of results. Funny thing is, I’ve applied for countless better jobs. I can’t get them because (1) competent, hard-working 20- and 30-somethings are a dime a dozen in my industry (HOW ABOUT THAT, TONS OF GEN Y’ERS WHO WORK HARD) and (2) the economic crash (thanks Boomers!) got me laid off and fucked up my resume, making me a “risk” in the eyes of hiring managers who don’t have to take risks.

      Any asshole who dares suggest to me that Gen Y hasn’t learned the value of hard work and we only fail because we’re lazy better be ready for a fight.

    • Anonymous

      Well said. And the yuppies of prior generations didn’t have to endure the fishbowl of constant, immediate scathing judgment that we pour on eachother for really no reason. If someone made a mistake in the past, it didn’t get instantly archived and be available for blackmail fodder for eternity. It didn’t get made into a viral meme and in front of everyone’s face.

      It’s not as easy to start over now as prior generations think. Between the unforgiving way we deploy technology now and the debt we all face, Gen Ys work hard but get blamed for not being able to pull ourselves up by the bootstraps out of our holding pattern. And lord help us if we make ‘the wrong’ ‘career’ choice…can’t just make an honest living with a job anymore. It had better fit into some kind of ‘career’ picture or else your existence is not legitimate, because food, shelter, and healthcare aren’t rights. When does this get ridiculous? There needs to be more entitlement, in a certain way– the entitlement to stand up and say, “You know what, this doesn’t have to be so hard. You don’t lose from my winning. I don’t win if you lose. We can all have a piece of the pie. There’s more to life than work, and I’m going to claim my life before I won’t have time to live it.”

      If that’s “entitlement,” guess what, I’m “entitled.” Funny that something that possibly threatens endless wasteful consumption is seen as a negative thing!

    • Anonymous

      Well said. And the yuppies of prior generations didn’t have to endure the fishbowl of constant, immediate scathing judgment that we pour on eachother for really no reason. If someone made a mistake in the past, it didn’t get instantly archived and be available for blackmail fodder for eternity. It didn’t get made into a viral meme and in front of everyone’s face.

      It’s not as easy to start over now as prior generations think. Between the unforgiving way we deploy technology now and the debt we all face, Gen Ys work hard but get blamed for not being able to pull ourselves up by the bootstraps out of our holding pattern. And lord help us if we make ‘the wrong’ ‘career’ choice…can’t just make an honest living with a job anymore. It had better fit into some kind of ‘career’ picture or else your existence is not legitimate, because food, shelter, and healthcare aren’t rights. When does this get ridiculous? There needs to be more entitlement, in a certain way– the entitlement to stand up and say, “You know what, this doesn’t have to be so hard. You don’t lose from my winning. I don’t win if you lose. We can all have a piece of the pie. There’s more to life than work, and I’m going to claim my life before I won’t have time to live it.”

      If that’s “entitlement,” guess what, I’m “entitled.” Funny that something that possibly threatens endless wasteful consumption is seen as a negative thing!

    • Anonymous

      Well said. And the yuppies of prior generations didn’t have to endure the fishbowl of constant, immediate scathing judgment that we pour on eachother for really no reason. If someone made a mistake in the past, it didn’t get instantly archived and be available for blackmail fodder for eternity. It didn’t get made into a viral meme and in front of everyone’s face.

      It’s not as easy to start over now as prior generations think. Between the unforgiving way we deploy technology now and the debt we all face, Gen Ys work hard but get blamed for not being able to pull ourselves up by the bootstraps out of our holding pattern. And lord help us if we make ‘the wrong’ ‘career’ choice…can’t just make an honest living with a job anymore. It had better fit into some kind of ‘career’ picture or else your existence is not legitimate, because food, shelter, and healthcare aren’t rights. When does this get ridiculous? There needs to be more entitlement, in a certain way– the entitlement to stand up and say, “You know what, this doesn’t have to be so hard. You don’t lose from my winning. I don’t win if you lose. We can all have a piece of the pie. There’s more to life than work, and I’m going to claim my life before I won’t have time to live it.”

      If that’s “entitlement,” guess what, I’m “entitled.” Funny that something that possibly threatens endless wasteful consumption is seen as a negative thing!

  • Anonymous

    This whole post is pretty much reductive, knee-jerk bullshit. Gen-Y is unhappy not because they think they are special and refuse to work hard. They are unhappy because since they were born (early 1980s) the institutions that had held this country together for the previous 50 years have been systematically dismantled. The boomer (and now X) generations ‘worked hard’ by enriching themselves and chasing speculative bubbles for the past 25 years, squandering the what had been the most prosperous era in the history of the world. And they continue to do so through entitlement programs that will be broke by the time we qualify. Wealth inequality is the biggest it’s been since the gilded age and economic mobility (especially for young people) is worse than any other western democracy. And you think it comes down to ‘feelings?’

    Well, at least you got to use that picture of a unicorn vomiting a rainbow so I guess this post isn’t a total waste.

    • Anonymous

      What an absolutely PERFECT GYPSY response. Couldn’t have written a better one if I tried.

      You see, you’re “special” because, um, all those damn Boomers and Gen-Xers “dismantled” all those things that would have been rightfully yours if only they hadn’t f*cked you over blah blah blah. GET OVER IT.

      Every generation has had its own unique brand of bullshit to deal with, whether it was the dotcom meltdown, Desert Storm, the dawning of the AIDS era, Reagan, Vietnam, McCarthyism, Korea, WWII, The Great Depression…the list goes on and on. The fact that you think it’s somehow different now, that YOUR circumstances are somehow uniquely conspiring to thwart your boundless, amazing awesomeness only serves to prove the author’s point.

      Well done. Consider this reply to be your trophy.

    • Anonymous

      I agree, not to mention the generation before had the chance to succeed. If they lost their job they could find another on the walk home. We have to pay for our education, we enter the work force (if we are lucky) with debt, then have to face a housing market that has been ridiculous inflated by the very people wondering why we are still living in their home paying off our debts and wishing we had our own independence.

      Not to add they screwed the planet and expect us to pay their retirement.

      The graph would be more realistic if that unicorn was covered in the shit of the last generation.

    • Anonymous

      Among “those things” that the Gen X-ers and Boomers dismantled is “a well functioning economy.”

      That’s kind of a big deal.

    • Anonymous


  • Anonymous

    Meh. I’m going to keep on being egotistical and pompous until someone proves me wrong.

    • Anonymous

      In a sea of self-righteously indignant comments this might be the single best reply on this thread.

    • Anonymous

      Just a heads up saying meh is the cause of all cancer period so have fun with that

    • Anonymous

      Clearly, you will fall harder than others.

    • Anonymous

      Your wrong

  • Anonymous

    Very well!! really good article which shows the reality of today’s world !!

  • Success is finding that money isn’t important, a fulfilling career isn’t important, as long as you like who you are.

    • Anonymous


    • Anonymous

      Well said! I agree with you entirely….

      And look how simple your point is compared to the lengthy rants some respondants have entered here!

  • What about GYPSYs with boomer parents born in the 1940’s from other countries, who saw their parents struggle and never meet their expectations? I don’t connect at all with this analysis. Every year my social class has grown, and it has really taken off since my late 20’s. I’m far better off than I or my parents have ever been, and I know it will only get better for me. Guess I’m one of the lucky ones, after having grown up with so much worry about money?

  • Anonymous

    Funny — as I was reading this I was struck by how much it sounded like my narcissistic Boomer father trying to manipulate me, yet again, into feeling guilty for daring to question why things seem unfair. The guilt is his, of course; how was I supposed to figure out as a *child* that his generation was collectively destroying my generation’s opportunities? Do you know why Gen Y has such a hard time dealing with criticism? Because so many of us had narcissistic Boomer parents who were more interested in using us to fulfill THEIR unfollowed dreams, and who were quick to quell any threat of emerging independent identity that conflicted with those dreams. Criticism cuts to our core because that’s how our Boomer parents controlled us. We only seem entitled because our parents felt entitled to succeed *through* us, and we don’t know how to fail because our parents taught us that failure was unacceptable for THEIR child.

  • Anonymous

    The baby boomers fell blindly into appreciating property values which allowed most of the to supplement their income while treating their homes as an ATM machine. When this behavior collapsed our housing market who was left with the aftermath? Of yes, gen Y.

    This article also fails to mention the undermining of trust between corporation and employee due to large scale outsourcing, lay-offs, and shit to only thinking about profitability. As gen Y I saw what corporate America did to my Dad, why would I want to participate?

    • Anonymous

      Second this.

  • You cannot resolve systemic issues on an individual level, dumbass. You can, however, blame the victim in an attempt to make yourself feel smarter.

    Here is a REAL LIFE CHART with EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE supporting it, rather than half-cocked assertions dreamed up after deciding to idolize cranky old men:



    • Anonymous

      You’re dumb, read the article. It’s not BLAMING anyone, it’s simply pointing out why Gen Y’s might be unhappy. Because their reality doesn’t meet their expectations.

    • Anonymous

      The article is kind of blaming because implicitly it’s like “and if you are this person, unless you ‘adjust’ (lower) your expectations, you WILL be unhappy, and if you know this and still do it, you must WANT to be unhappy,” (bringing in someone’s comment above that if Lucy doesn’t change she’ll *never* be happy),

      when the fact of the matter is 1) people’s happiness does have a little something to do with the larger society they’re in (i.e., the parts of life lived in sunlight, not in front of a screen) and 2) people are unhappy when they are sold on this “work hard and you’ll be successful” trip and that success via hard work, in reality, turns out to be the exception rather than the rule. People are, oddly, unhappy when they know they’re being shafted. That’s why education is often under attack: “keep them smart enough to work the machines, but too dumb to know they’re being screwed”–paraphrase of the late, great George Carlin.

    • Anonymous

      “I’m not BLAMING anyone! I’m just pointing out that I think a lot of people who have lots of valid reasons to be upset with the state of the world for themselves and their peer groups are GIANT CRYBABIES.”

  • Warren Cass

    author misses a few key points. GenY’s expectations gap isn’t just “I feel more special than I’m treated.” The world has become a harder place to get by than we were brought up to believe it would be. Boomers brought up GenY to expect job/economic conditions like they had enjoyed. Instead, GenY is in process of inheriting a hobbled economy from Boomers who spent everything, deregulated financial markets and took enormous risks to turn paper profits, lost everything, and now won’t vacate top jobs. They get to pay the growing cost of paying for healthcare/pensions/etc. that Boomers bestowed upon themselves but never adequately funded. They get to compete for work against an exploding world population (where outsourcing hasn’t already sent the jobs abroad). And so on and so forth.

  • Anonymous

    Dear Gen Y,

    Want a job and/or credibility? You can start by taking this simple test:

    1. demonstrate that you know the difference between there, they’re and their

    2. demonstrate that you know the difference between you’re and your

    3. demonstrate that you know the difference between to, too and two

    4. demonstrate that you know the difference between loose and lose

    5. demonstrate that you know the difference between then and than

    Then we’ll talk.

    Those Asshole Boomers And Gen-Xers Who Took Shit Seriously And Didn’t Blame Others For Their Shortcomings

    • Anonymous

      QED ^

    • Anonymous

      This is quite typical behavior from self-righteous elitists who believe that they are somehow removed from the current society. Over-generalization of every person into a stereotypical norm, and the idea that everyone has to qualify themselves to you personally. This is what is annoying about “non Gen Y”. The judgy judginess. The idea that self-discipline and personal responsibility is about being able to do the same things that you did in “your generation”, that young people now should follow your footsteps and then they too would understand what it means to be “credible”.

      Retirement age has gone up, production jobs have decreased, and young people entering the work force do need to find new and creative ways to stand out. That’s just a fact. Just as you can point to our worst of the worst, we can also point to the worst of the previous generations. Warmongers, war profiteers, wall street corruption, racial segregation, AIDS discrimination and of course all that self-righteous bull crap.

      There are shortcomings in every generation, but for this one the desire for the establishment of a unique personal identity and to think differently is not one of them. You’re better off attacking us for overconsumption and paying too little attention to politics and social policy in favour of pop culture, than attacking us for not bothering to read a dictionary which is a frivolous complaint at best.

    • 🙂

  • Taqasim

    There are a number of annoying things about this article, but most annoying is co-opting the word “Gypsy.” Gypsy has a variety of meanings in the English language, some derogatory, others not so (depending on context), but none even remotely close to what this article is about. And before I get too much heat from sticklers out there, there are many Romani people who self-identify as Gypsy for convenience without considering it a slur. A person with a fair amount of ignorance would have to come up with this acronym, so let’s not throw the word “entitlement” around too much, Pot.


    • Anonymous

      Oh for f@#$’s sake.

      Really? You’re going with the “gypsy as slur” angle?

      I have no doubt that my European great-grandparents would have considered this a slur a hundred years ago, but you’re going to make that claim today? In 2013?

      Acronym Construction for Ironic Dissent (ACID) is a field that frequently requires tweaking language in such a way that the resulting acronym fits an existing word, regardless of that word’s connotations. So to read anything more into GYPSY is a colossal waste of time IMO.

      For example, I’m sure the acronym of a group called Christians Understanding Nothing Technical would raise the ire of many on this thread, as would a group called Forensics Advocating Geomancy.


    • Anonymous

      Thank you. I just went off on another post and saw yours.

  • Anonymous

    The only reason GenY hasn’t plundered the economy’s coffers yet is because they haven’t been given the opportunity. YET. But once they have, they will. You can count on it. #potcallingthekettleblack

  • Anonymous

    “God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need. We’re the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War’s a spiritual war… our Great Depression is our lives. We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won’t. And we’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off.”

    • Anonymous

      Well said!

  • There’s some article floating around about GYPSIES or some other such shifty group of foreigners. Apparently, these wandering nomads demand proper deference to our sensible elders and for once, I agree. The self described “most important generation in US history” and the “Greatest Generation” take umbrage with our exceptionalism and really, they have a point. They consider our ambition undeserved and would like us to focus on more realistic goals.

    Fair enough. I propose the creation of a new organization along the lines of AA. In fact, it will share the same appellation. We’ll call it Aspirations Anonymous and I propose to be the president; this being a sacrifice on my part to relieve my fellow members of the burden of hoping to lead. Such ambitions would obviously be against the goals of the group.

    We’ll gather weekly to review our nonprogess towards nothing really special. Any person attempting to rise above their current station will be singled out and savaged mercilessly like a rat in a pack of terriers.

    As those older than 35 have obviously earned their elite economic and social status, we’ll have no need to bother such illustrious people. After all, their drug fueled shenanigans and reckless real estate speculation are hallmarks of the kind of excellence we’ll never achieve. No half sober risk, no gain or loss or whatever was achieved by our elders.

    So why bother really? That’s our motto at the new, less ambitious AA. Used car dealer is good enough for someone, so it ought to be good enough for everyone.

  • Anonymous

    By the way, get the hell off my lawn, all of you.

  • First, this “generation theory” comes from a badly used study in the area of History. The authors wanted to show that economic cycles (4 specific types) repeat them selves and youth´s expectations in these cycles are quite similar.

    This study used somewhat 200 years of American history to validate its theory. So, both the theory and its “sample” are limited to a US perspective. Also, it´s used wrongly as a determination of generations rather than a cause-effect relation of economic perspective and expectations.

  • Anonymous

    I usually have zero expectations. So what does that mean for me?

    If reality is actually negative and sucky, then the only way to be happy is to have extremely negative expectations?

    • Carl

      This article is quite funny and does include many interesting observations. However, thinking that in one page you could summarize three generations is obviously more than a long-shot. For example, this article doesn’t deal at all with plain cynical ass-holes, among other things.

  • Anonymous

    This is a very good description of “Relative Deprivation”, which was first recognized by sociologists in the 1940’s, but has probably been part of the human condition throughout the history of mankind.

  • Anonymous

    it’s not just our expectations of ourselves, it’s also the expectations society seems to have of us Gen Ys. Because we all grew up pretty comfortably and probably went to college/uni whatever, all the older generations expect us to do better and have better success. Little do they take into account the high standard of living also expected of us. Like, we’re expected to own a house and have a family by our 30s. but housing prices are so out of reach these days (in my country at least) no one can afford one without getting a massive mortgage that we’ll be paying off for the next 20-30 years. having a family is hard because to achieve any sort of substantial career, a decent amount of hours have to be spent at work, and getting maternity leave is getting harder and harder. so the expectations is not just what WE want, but what everyone else expects us to want.

  • When I was teaching an advertising class at a public university a decade ago, I had a student who was determined to become a graphic designer. Trouble was, he was LEGALLY BLIND. I kid you not. I could not convince him – nor could I convince his parents – that a graphic designer needed to be able to see rather well in order to work. His mother cried and wondered why I didn’t like her son (I did – which was why I was trying to make him see the problems of his career choice). His father said that they had always taught their son that he could do anything, and who was I to spoil his dream? Some people!

    • Anonymous

      you were a friend for some people in denial

    • Dirk

      It is more than that: there exists a religion in American called The Church of Positive Thinking and you sir were being *negative* in pointing out that a graphic designer needs to be able to see.

  • I’m a GYPSY. However, here is the interesting part: I’m 28 years old and I’m rich (100% self made – no family wealth). When my friends were leaving for college, I decided they were fools for doing so, and I started my own business instead. After doing sales for a few years, I began investing heavily in real estate (buy-and-hold apartment buildings, not this “fix and flip” garbage that seems to be so popular). Before I knew it, I owned a million dollars in real estate. From there, it just kept growing. I have a $120,000 limousine while many of my peers can’t even afford a car.

    I’m smug. I post pictures of my $700 shoes on Instagram. Why, you ask? Because I knew I was better than my peers, and I was right.

    • Anonymous

      It’s gonna smart when your luck changes and you realize human beings actually need each other.

    • Anonymous

      Good for you. But realize that nobody cares. The point of the freedom that previous generations fought for us is that we can do whatever we like as long as we strive for what we believe in. I think we all forget that sometimes.

    • Anonymous

      One flaw there, I doubt you have any real friends to compare yourself to.

    • Anonymous

      “Better” than them? And you’re a smug real estate investor who doesn’t produce anything tangible and wastes money on shoes and limousines that could actually be used to improve the world and transform the lives of peoples less fortunate than yourself?

      No wonder you didn’t go to college. You think that a pair of shoes can be worth $700. You think that being conned out of enough money to sustain you for ten years for a stupid car makes you better than your peers. You’re pathetic.

    • Anonymous

      You’re right. You’re “better” at being a douchebag! Congratulations!

    • Anonymous

      How sad that this is what is important to you! Don’t you ever stop and think about what might be important about your sad little life on this earth?

    • Anonymous

      lol i don’t believe you. and if you’re telling the truth, honestly there’s luck involved too and statistically people with college degrees make many more times the money then someone without a college degree. even if you got to be wealthy, you still turned out to be a fucking piece of shit, stupid, arrogant, and you lack humility.

    • Anonymous

      Having more money does not equal being better. Arrogance will cost you more than you can make up for in money. Your attitude will change or you will die bitter and lonely (and don’t say you have a nice family, they will either leave you or walk the same bitter road).

    • Anonymous

      Holy shit Jon, photos like http://instagram.com/p/WakBhGvlkM/ and the comments by your Instagram friends remind me of that scene in American Psycho where the psychopath is comparing business cards with his colleagues. Man, seek some help. Seriously. Your narcissism is pathological.

  • Anonymous

    This is pretty funny and makes some decent points, but it leaves out that whole part about how Boomers systematically dismantled the social safety nets they directly benefited from, deregulated and privatized almost everything, plundered the economy and drove it into the ground, demonized pensions in favor of 401(k)s, deflated wages while driving cost of living through the roof, overspent rather than saved, drove up college tuition costs while increasing demand for degrees by outsourcing manufacturing jobs, etc.

    Feeling special and entitled is the narrative Boomers would have us believe that we believe about ourselves (I’m right on the cusp of X and Y, so I guess I’ll include myself here) when it actually seems more true of them. Classic case of projection. And, sure, “building a career takes time,” patience is a virtue and all the rest, but the trend now is that, in this economy, it is increasingly impractical to stick with one career for the course of a lifetime.

  • Anonymous

    Sounds like the author (male or female) was turned down by Lucy (male or female) and this is the longest sour grapes rant to date. Total fatuous nonsense. The gross generalization of previous generations and the pseudo-anthropology of these statistics are staggering. As if the “Greatest Generation” and Baby Boomers weren’t unhappy. Christ, doesn’t anyone read anything by the Lost Generation any more? This article is so cynical. Let Lucy dream a little. I think someone pissed in our author’s cornflakes . . . it was Lucy.

    • Anonymous

      LOL! I thought the exact same thing.

    • lol, well said and i think lucy DID piss in the authors cornflakes!

  • Anonymous

    Excellent post. I have two quick comments for those complaining about the job market and student loan debt. Herein lies part of the problem, as previous generations would have been happy to be able to afford the bare basics, Millennials consider themselves poor, unfairly poor, if they do not have every luxury of an affluent 50 year old.

    Also, if you have a mountain of student loan debt, you probably aren’t the main target of this article. There are plenty of Millennials whose parents paid their way through college and they are still complaining.

    I’m a late Gen-Xer who was raised with the “don’t you dare think you are special” attitude, and I know many Millennials who fit this exact stereotype. It’s sad because there are loads of people only 5 years younger than myself whom I can’t stand because of this fundamental difference in attitude.

    • Anonymous

      “Millennials consider themselves poor, unfairly poor, if they do not have every luxury of an affluent 50 year old.”

      GROSS generalization.

  • Anonymous

    I guess I am part of Gen X (very beginning). You guys can argue all you want about this stuff. I would be happy to dump my lazy wife for a hottie Gen Y gal. She can do what she wants for work as long as she lives within “our” means. I am happy to do the same.

    • Anonymous

      Please do. The Gen Y guys are lazy and unambitious!

  • There is a good point in this article. I was told by my mother that I was special. My teachers told me I was special. Until one year in late university I ‘failed (got a B-) and thus couldn’t get into Masters even though I worked just as hard as I always had. Realized how high my expectations had been. Realized how many people were better at me in various areas and was extremely unhappy. I do wish I didn’t have this “you are the best person in the world” mantra put on me by family and teachers. Though I still did Post Grad and got a high enough mark to finally get into my masters in Science, my expectations are lower, (i.e any entry level science job versus nobel prize) and I am much happier

    • Anonymous

      Well a Nobel prize isn’t exactly a legitimate goal. Not because it’s too big, but because it is too vague. People don’t win the Nobel prize for simply being awesome, they win it for doing very specific awesome things.

      Good on you for adapting to your situation, but if no one aimed to be the very best (even if that is misguided), society would be full of unfulfilled potential.

  • Love it – really great article!

  • Anonymous

    I love how this whole post totally ignores all the economic factors that make the modern career system the way it is after the recession.

  • Anonymous

    Fuck, Lesean, did you not notice that this generation who’s so unhappy is out to make less money than their parents doing the same jobs? That they’ve lost superpower status? That sex isn’t safe for them? That their college degrees don’t mean shit? That their country gave away thousands and thousands of their lives to meaningless wars longer than Vietnam?

    • Anonymous


  • Anonymous

    Great and true article. Envy is certainly a bizarre thing, and I see career envy on a regular basis. When folks ask me how to get my job my reply is always, “Work 100 hours a week, don’t complain, don’t ask for raises, smile, and every time someone asks how you’re doing tell them that life is wonderful.” For some reason that advice is pretty similar to someone telling me, “if you’d like to lose that extra 20lbs, just run and eat a better diet.” Yep, that’s what I need to do… noted. I sometimes think that those of us who grew up with loving parents who had to worry about things like, “Do we have enough money to pay bills and eat this month?” are lucky. When you’re a kid, lower middle class and upper middle class is the difference between Payless shoes and Nike… basically no difference at all. Yep, I knew we didn’t have a ton of money, but that really helped me to be poor during the most important times to be poor in life, college and early career. I was practiced enough at being poor that when my boss finally said, “Look at that guy, we should pay him more so he doesn’t leave to work for a competitor” that I didn’t take the time to adjust to a new income. Bills were paid, and my $26k of student loans finally went away. Other posters have a point though, that $26k was instate, working full time, with scholarships and grants. Paying one’s way through college is not an option for everyone these days, and unless you’re heading into engineering, applied math or planning to pickup a graduate degree… basically folks should be counseling HS seniors to really consider all options. I say that as a hypocrite with a social science degree. Want success as a social science degree holder? Follow my above advice. Want success as an engineer? Study, maintain good grades, reap reward as you are both well paid and have free time. I feel quite fortunate to have had parents who both encouraged me to go to college, but also cautioned me by letting me know I would be paying for it and that college was expensive. People like to treat college like it’s the only thing in the world one shouldn’t have a budget for… yeah right. If your rich aunt Elma isn’t paying for school, then take a long hard look at what school is going to cost you.

  • This is exceptional.

    If you are a Millennial and want to understand Gen X (a subset of the 13th generation) and why they are screwed up by their Silent generation parents and in conflict with the Baby Boomers, go find a book from the early ’90s called “13th Gen.” It’ll really open your mind regarding generational conflicts.

  • Anonymous

    How about helping out one of these GYPSY’s and prove that it’s possible to be special and that societal change is possible. http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/water-you-going-to-do-about-it/x/4730503

  • Anonymous

    I think that it’s understandable to be unhappy when you have a Master’s degree and a good resume, yet applying incessantly to dozens of full-time jobs (including entry level, minimum wage) has yielded no results because of decisions made in the labor market by the people who came before you, and you end up barely able to pay your bills (atrocious student loans, food, gas, cheap cell phone, and rent to parents) on your part-time salary at a grocery store. I’d think moving out of your parents’ house by the time you’re 23 is an understandable expectation. I think it’s more than fair to be disappointed that I, nor most of my equally hard-working friends, can catch enough of a break even to do THAT.

    Some 20-somethings are unhappy because they’re entitled and spoiled and they think they could’ve been Mark Zuckerberg if life had dealt them a better hand. Some are depressed because all they want to do is be autonomous adults, and no matter how hard they truly DO work, it isn’t happening.

    One more thing. “Working through college” in 2013 isn’t the same as “working through college” in 1995. Working through college used to mean that you attended school part-time and worked full-time, and struggled to pay your tuition. Working through college now means that you attend school part-time and work full-time, and struggle to pay what’s left after all the loans and scholarships… and the loans, and the loans, and the loans. Show me the generation Xer who had to “work off” $100,000+ when they were in their 20s. And that’s being generous.

  • Anonymous

    Anyone who doesn’t realize that this is how advertising works really needs to sit down and think hard about what they are doing with their lives. People who need more validation consume more.

    Its a model, an economic model.

  • I’ll sum up the difference from generation Y vs. others. The internet.

    The internet has opened the WHOLE world to us, to find more opportunity much easier, and for us to create something out of small investments…starting with the internet, now mobile.

    I grew up in this transition period. As a kid, I had no internet. Eventually dial-up came around and I did very little browsing. Now with high-speed, accessible internet, I now can find jobs, network, and create projects online. I can basically start a career over the internet if I really push for it.

    Back then, the means to finding a job was much more difficult. A college education is necessary, it shows that you’re educated. Now, you can literally educate yourself through the internet and life experiences. Content is king, and it’s everywhere online.

    Internet. That’s all this is, this is why our confidence is at an all-time high. We have access to the entire world. We know what’s going on, all the time, we know how companies are doing, all the time.


  • Anonymous

    Seems to me our problems run much deeper. There are so many factors that play into the healthy and happy development of an adult. Not just education and employment. More than ever in our life we face trials and tribulations and from what I’ve seen of the world in my little time people do not deal with their problems. A good example is this conversation, out of all the paragraphs written virtually none offer any solutions. Just a bunch of finger pointing and assumptions. These sort of problem solving skills demonstrated by politicians, parents and role models are passed down.The problem grows and grows until one day the bubble bursts. I believe one solution to our problems is raising our kids and training ourselves to find constructive and proactive approaches to facing our problems.

    As for the article I do not accept it nor dismiss it until I’ve done some research. But feel a lot like when you read a horoscope. Picking traits, feeling and characteristics that almost every human being shares.

  • Anonymous

    All I can say is Holy Cow! Not related to any one comment above, but… Sensitive much?
    The point of the blog was totally missed by so many focusing on what Gen they think they belong to and why or why not life is hard or not hard for them. If you were offended by it, you should probably read it again after you take a break. If you really think about it, everyone can see themselves in this article. My point is: What can you learn from this about yourself? What value can you glean from it? See yourself in a new light if only for a moment.

    • Anonymous

      I am offended because this article comes from a typically uninformed “adult” who believes that to be happy, all young people need to do is to do their jobs, lower their expectations and keep their heads down. Be ambitious but don’t set your goals too high – how are we supposed to know whether we can fly if all you ever let us do is jump? That’s not what anyone ever did, and we shouldn’t have to do the same, just because that’s what the previous generation thinks they did.

    • Anonymous

      No, the article says the opposite. It says “Stay wildly ambitious”—i.e. don’t settle for jumping, try to fly. But it also says, “Don’t expect to be able to fly right away because it’s not realistic and not how flying works.”

  • E Fish

    Is there really any value in designating particular generations? By reading this blog post, I’ve been informed for the first time that I’m part of this Generation Y. What does that even mean? Currenly, I’m underemployed (and I admit that I chose the wrong field for grad school, but it was a good field before 2008), living with my parents because I don’t make enough money to both pay rent and eat food. It’s disappointing, but all I was ever told by my parents growing up was that I needed to find a job that would allow me to support myself. I wasn’t told I was special or deserving. Does that make me Gen Y? I certainly don’t feel that I fit with the supposed characteristics of any “generation”. Sure, there probably are people who fit the characteristics, but there are also people whose only relation to a generation is the year they were born.

    So…really, what’s the point of Gen X, Gen Y, Gen…whatever is next. I don’t even know. Does a blanket description of an entire group of people born in the same span of time really do any good?

  • Anonymous

    Next up: How to have 2.2 kids, buy a gym membership and stay at a plump BMI of 29 (healthy of course, i could slim down but i don’t want to and a lot of it is just maternal weight), and do nothing interesting with the only life that you have but be perfectly content being boring instead of stepping out of the safe, warm box.

    please stop using google because the people you hate invented it.

    • Anonymous


      The author is simply saying they’re unhappy and inflated expectations and impatience might be the reason why.

    • Anonymous

      Neither did the person you replied to. The poster is trying to flesh out the attitude that this article takes – there is a right way to live and a wrong one, which is the very attitude we attempted to dispel when previous generations fought their wars and drove out laws derived from unfair discrimination.

  • Anonymous

    Very well done, however one Minor Detail forgotten – the growing impact of climate change, which we are doing very little to address – it may or may not be in time, but what we all need to get ‘wildly excited’ about is moving asap from fossil fuels to clean energy, and saving our water, air, environment and animals – and if it’s not in time (SEE increasing toll of drought, wildfires, flooding, famine, bee colony collapse, ubiquitous toxins, extinct species, etc.), the universal career will be Survival –
    Good idea right now to focus on learning how to grow and cook and preserve food; build,sew and mend things; and live well in community.

  • Anonymous

    I wonder if this doesn’t tell the whole story, though. For example, perhaps a “Secure Career” has gone out of style precisely because “Secure Careers”, as we once knew them, are no longer available. That doesn’t mean Gen Y doesn’t work hard, only that they do so with different expectations than their parents did. As for fulfillment, well–early-career options for Gen Y and Millenials are very different than those available to people just 5 or 10 years older. No one anticipated beginning a career in a climate this economically stagnant, and plenty of Boomers felt plenty unfulfilled as they, too, faced unemployment, foreclosures, and salary cuts. It’s been tough on all of us. To demonize Gen Y because they are struggling through unpaid or underpaid internships, much lower relative salaries than their parents had, temp jobs, and skyrocketing rents is to forget this truth–the Boomers had their struggles, too. To forget about Vietnam and the social unrest that went with it, the growing pains of the civil rights era, and the “Me” generation is to paint the same sorts of rainbows and unicorns outlined in this piece. Every generation has its struggles, and has easier and harder times, and every generation pans the one that comes after it–this is just the newest version of a long-standing pattern. In my experience, Gen Y is ambitious and motivated, hardworking, socially and ecologically aware, and doing the best they can despite some very hard times. The happiness will come, just like it came for those before them. Love, Gen X.

  • Anonymous

    Poignant post. This reminds me of a poem (untitled) I wrote a couple years ago. I’d like to share it – perhaps some readers who identify with this post will also identify with the poem.

    I was raised as a glorious story
    the only future I know is the kind
    down in history
    they taught me to need
    an easy yet profound
    shining speed
    like the next pearl on humanity
    so I leaned on their words
    that classified me
    as the best
    this dressed me empty
    and I was left
    “we deserve” – that’s all I ever heard
    “we can do anything”
    “you are everything”
    “nothing halts your iron-clad sad destiny”
    never me

    and now I see
    that the stories
    weren’t for me
    a parent’s glory
    vicarious extraordinary
    “don’t you dare fail me”

    seems to me
    my dream
    is eye-to-eye

    • Anonymous

  • Anonymous

    I’m also part of Generation Y, and while I recognize that these are difficult economic times, there are solutions for some of the complaints about not being able to find a job immediately after graduating. I’m a full-time student in my fourth year in a psychology PhD program and have been working about 30 hours per week while also completing my coursework and doing research throughout the time I’ve been in school. I have three part-time jobs in addition to an (unpaid) degree-related practicum, and am still maintaining a 3.9 GPA. While I agree that it’s difficult to have to work so much without much merit or pay, the combined experience that I’ve gotten from all my part-time jobs and practicums completed while in school, will total to about 10 years of clinical, degree-related experience by the time I’ve graduated from my program. Someone who graduates from a similar PhD program with little to no experience, I suspect, would be immediately passed up for someone like me who has chosen to work while in school. I can’t afford to wait for someone to hand me a job because I’m “special” or even because I have earned my PhD. As much of an accomplishment as that will be, I do not think that alone necessarily entitles me to any job. For those who complain about not even being able to get the part-time job, I encountered this while in my bachelor’s program and chose to volunteer with developmentally challenged adults, teaching art classes, for 10 hours per week while also working at the school catering company and working at the school library (getting paid $5.50/hour when I first started). When I couldn’t find a job teaching at a community college after earning a master’s degree (at University of Chicago, yes, a prestigious school, but not enough to guarantee job placement), I started teaching part-time SAT prep classes before moving up to a job teaching online and then moving up to teaching live classes at the university level, each of these while also working full-time as a social worker. I can’t say this system applies to recent graduates in all fields (my friends with art-related degrees really struggle), but instead of lamenting about how other generations had it so much easier, just learn to get by within our current structure. As you waste time complaining, people like me are whizzing by trying to gain experience wherever we can, with much higher chances of getting hired directly out of school. I am grateful to be able to “follow my passion” but at the same time have managed to be practical about it.

    • Anonymous

      I bet you have a car.

      I bet you have a lot more open doors than you think.

    • Anonymous

      I do not see how having a car is relevant to this, but yes, a car that I bought five years ago, and paid the down payment on, using money that took me two years to save while working two jobs (50-60 hrs/week). And actually payments that I continue to make using money from the 3 part-time jobs I work while studying full-time in a PhD program. I was raised in a household well below the poverty line by immigrant parents who do not speak English. I went to a public school in a large city, where fewer than 50% of the students went to community college, let alone university. College was paid for using merit-based scholarships or student loans that so far have added up to $200,000, and are now insurmountable. I have as many reasons to complain as others do, but I’ve chosen to make the best of my situation and do what I can to make things work.

      Needless to say, I have no pedigree whatsoever, and based on my history, was much more likely to end up as a low-wage worker than where I currently am. I would say the only open door I’ve had is being born in this country.

  • Anonymous


  • Anonymous

    I think the generations need to be straightened out for this conversation to be understood. The “Greatest” generation were those adults who fought in WWII. The generation that were children during WWII are called the “Silent” generation. Greatest gen came back from he war and had the Boomers. Silent gen grew up and had Generation Jones, what some here call tail end Boomers or early Gen X. Gen Jones were too young to fight in Vietnam so their growing up was vastly different from the Boomers. Boomers had Gen X and Gen Jones had Gen Y and some Millennials. Gen X had some Gen Y and some Millennials depending on how early they had kids.

    Silents raised their Gen Jones kids with huge expectations because Silents had that “good jobs, good medical benefits, good retirements from companies” lives where you could raise a family on ONE income. Their kids, Gen Jones came of age during the tail end of the gas shortage 70’s and the de-regulation, pink-slipping, downsizing of Reagan’s 80’s. Gen Jones thought that if they worked hard they would succeed but instead they found themselves competing with 500 other people for service jobs while all the steady, white collar and blue collar jobs went outside the country (de-regulation allowed that) or to immigrants (like from Arabia or India) because Gen Jones’ parents didn’t prepare them for the new “a bachelor’s degree is the same as a high school diploma” ideology. Boomers raised Gen X with that “you are special” crap because Boomers thought of themselves as special. The truth is, if you subtract Gen Jones from Boomers, Gen Jones is 27% of the population and Boomers are 23% Gen Jones was quieter because as they came of age, they were the assassination generation; they grew up as kids living in the time of the Kennedy brothers assassinations, MLK assassination and Malcolm X assassination. Gen Jones learned that being in front and out loud in any protest or group for change gets you killed. They grew up under Watergate and came of age during the Iran hostage and Iran Contra issues.

    Gen Jones is protective of Gen Y and teaches them not to be loyal to companies or bosses because Gen Jones lived through the 80’s when companies were not loyal anymore to their employees at all. So yes, schools taught Gen X and Y kids that they are all “special” but Gen Jones taught their Gen Y and Millennial kids that money isn’t as important as being happy with your family and your life so they don’t go to jobs thinking they are special; they go to jobs thinking “how happy am I? Better to live with less but be happy than to sell out and be miserable when the downsizing comes.”

    My Gen Y and Millennial kids have no illusions about being special or getting the flowery unicorn grass. They and their peers KNOW their lives are F***ed and that they will not get social security or any social safety net. They know there’s no employer loyalty, that government in America is bought and paid for by the 1%, and that they will have it even worse than their unrealized expectations Gen Jones parents did. Trust me, Gen X and Y and Millennials are not all the pampered, lazy, entitled people the self-centered Boomers and Silents think they are. They are realists and they know they have been sh*t on by the Silents and Boomers who got theirs but who were not willing to make sure their kids and grand kids had a chance. Silents led the way with the Me, me, me BS and it has gone down hill form there.

    Let’s also remember that the Silents were the ones making school policies when Gen X and Y were in school; they set that self-esteem crap and Boomer parents ate it up. After all, Boomers see themselves as important so their kids are by extension.

    I hope this helps put some perspective on it all.

  • Anonymous

    Hello, internet. My name is “Tara” (not really but let’s just pretend). After reading this article and all these comments I felt compelled to respond. I am 23 years old, I graduated with a MA in public relations and an BA in journalism (I know, nothing “worthwhile” or in demand, but I did it because it is what I like to do ((and really, I always just wanted to be a famous actress))).

    I was raised as an only child in an upper-middle class family. I realize I am privileged in that aspect, but my father earned his wealth by starting his own business later in life without any family funds (his dad was a coal miner). Because of this, I was instilled with a work ethic and started working at a fast food restaurant at 14 and haven’t stopped working since. Yes, my parents paid for my college and car when I was still under their wing, but I am not so lucky anymore and I felt very touched by this article.

    I am extremely unhappy, and I can totally relate to this article. I don’t think I feel entitled at all, but – thanks to Facebook – I feel like a failure. I have a job making 39k with benefits but I can’t help looking and thinking that everyone is happier than I am. My best friend who is an analyst is making 60 plus working in a big city that paid for her relocation but then here’s me working in a marketing department in a small town that I hate. I have sent out 100 plus applications in NYC but I have only gotten one call back. They didn’t want to hear it because I wasn’t local.

    Why can’t I be unhappy? The life that was sold to me isn’t possible until “I am older”. So what I have to stick around in a town I hate, single and alone until I have enough experience to get hired in the city I want to live in? B.S.

    I realize that I have more than other people but I am unhappy. Basically, after that long rant, I wish I had more interest in something more “useful” to society.

  • Anonymous

    Why are we allowing for the premise “Gen Y is unhappy” at all? How is this a good argument when the author spends the whole article dumping on an entire generation, providing no data to support this, and overgeneralizes across cultures and individuals, and even generations. This article just does the same old blame game that’s always been going on – “it’s the liberal society’s fault for coddling these young people” “it’s all this social media and peer pressure that makes these kids behave badly” “kids today don’t believe in hard work and results”. Yawn.

    Notice that the Y axes in this argument are not real numbers. It could go the opposite direction for all we know. If it were that easy to quantify happiness or frustration, we wouldn’t need an entire field of positive psychology to deal with it. And you are so carefully vague about what “success” is, that it becomes meaningless.

    I always get extremely annoyed when people who have little training in psychology try to understand what people are thinking and feeling because they use non-scientific methods and tend to overgeneralize. And then make up words to further confuse people. Management is NOT psychology. They are very liberal in borrowing psychology terms which is nice, but forget to do their research which is not so great, and end up with something that sounds vaguely psychological but is lacking substance. For example, “sense of entitlement” is ridiculously anthropomorphic and any good psychologist would stay well clear of that word unless they clarify it very very carefully, that is without resorting to anthropomorphic explanations. Furthermore, this study was done on a management and business basis. People tend to derive happiness or frustration from things other than work. This is where your article falls short as a whole, and if you meant to imply that a successful career is tantamount to happiness, then this article reeks of the preachy, old-fashioned talk that we have had to endure throughout our entire lives.

    You know what though, maybe it’s just part of growing up. This has been written about over the centuries. Wild expectations, suffering setbacks, settling into a comfortable rhythm and figuring out who you are and what you want to do with your life. It might just take a little longer in this generation because many people tend to go to university and also spend longer exploring before settling down or starting a family. It’s not a novel concept, and you are doing everyone a disservice when you suggest otherwise.

    • So I was born in 1978, and always thought I was in Gen X and my younger brother 1983 was in Gen Y?

      I really don’t care either way. I decided long ago not to listen to my parents and their ideas of how ppl should live and join the far race. I have long stepped out of the rat race and enjoy a simple life without the needs of Maya, or the illusions that surround us, such as s the concept of money.
      I don’t need to explain myself or say any more. I think this article was written to generalize a group of people as being disillusioned bc of social media being beamed into our faces dull of falsehoods and fake information thrown in with some truth, and in turn, social media has made the generation now being born into it very as elf xoncious and even vain due to how many photos are now so digitally easy to be taken by any electronic handheld device and cell phone and beamed directly to the Internet without having to be a computer science major or web programmer. Photos of people all over that are simple normal ppl as are creating photoshopped images and streaming video of their lives and it is hard to compare oneself to what the average person really is doing at this point in life.

      I don’t think any of this has anything to do with our parents or the Boomers. It has to do with the excelerated rate at which technology is being created, packaged, and served up to anyone of consumer age or gifted by all the new fads of electronics and media that is aimed to put each person the center of designing their own reality right now in front of themselves.

      How could the Boomers have seen it coming? The Internet didn’t exist in their days, nor Skype, video conferencing thru cell phones and tablet PCs… Now they have Internet connected video watches to wear on one’s wrist. It is hard to stay at the forefront of it all.

      Many Boomers did spoil their children with video games and cell phones but they never could see just how advanced and time consuming these advancements would become to each participant, particularly when the Net was invented and created to become a reality in addition to concrete reality. This forces Gen X/Y/Z to deal not with one life, but at least two and sometimes the ambitious lead three or more layers of lives thru exhausting their time on all the apps and plugins and design features and operating systems, all featuring direct connections to social media and blogging and generating new uploads of what we experience.

      The time on earth now is unlike any experienced by any other generation so cross comparison of the two or more are really moot points.

  • Patrick Bateman

    Sorry, but there is no way Gen Y reaches back to the 1970s – otherwise according to you someone who is 43 today could be a member of Gen Y. A more conventional definition of Gen Y is people born in the early 1980s onwards.

  • Anonymous

    My first job paid me $2000/year (not per month). While working at this job 40 hours per week, I went to college. I started off in a community college. When I got to university, it took every penny I made to pay my tuition and living expenses. I worked part time at a restaurant and the days I worked were the days I ate. I graduated from college and got a job that paid me $10,000 per year. I worked for a few years and then went back and got my master’s degree. I got a better job. I never worked only 40 hours/week. If you wanted to get ahead, you worked longer hours. I worked 50 to 60 hours per week. I was promoted and started making more money. By the time I was in my late forties, I was making six figures and working 60 to 70 hours per week. I got promoted to general manager and I was making lots more money and working 70 to 80 hours per week.

    I marvel at how entitlement and privilege are sweeping the country. GYPSYs spend more time complaining about how much other people are making and how little opportunity they have than they do working on getting better. They want healthcare paid by somebody else. They want to be paid more money than they are worth. They want their free time. You have to add value to an organization in order to be valued by that organization.

    There were lots of individuals who were more successful than I and many who were not as successful. The point is my generation did not spend their time worrying about how well somebody else was doing and worrying about how others had more opportunity or were richer or were better looking or any other excuse. We just worked at making our lives better. I will let you in on a little secret: “LIFE IS NOT FAIR.” School was less expensive when I went; however, minimum wage was $1.25 per hour and I was paid $1.00 per hour at the restaurant where I worked.

    Many GYPSYs are still idealistic and think a utopian world where everybody lives in peace and we all share everything can be achieved. I hate to burst your bubble, but that is exactly the same thought shared by baby boomers when they were young. If one actually takes the time to study Karl Marx and socialism, they will find it is untenable. There has always been and will always be a ruling class and everybody else. The advantage capitalism has is that one can actually move in the social class. History is full of examples: Carnegie, Rockefeller, Jobs, Gates, Bethos, Zuckerman. Each of these individuals became wildly successful at a time when no one thought it was possible. However, they had a great idea and implemented their idea. Success is always out there. To achieve success takes hard work. Nobody will hand you success.

    One last point about two spaces after a period. If you follow composition writing and the guidance standard (American Psychological Association) for scholarly writing, one would know that two spaces after a period in a sentence is standard. One space after a period is used in references.

  • Anonymous

    The real problem isn’t a Gen Y vs Gen X etc which is a false debate. Rather, we have lost an important set of skills to live of the land. Instead, we get caught up in working for a wage through some arbitrary job that most of us don’t even enjoy performing in the first place. What I am calling for is an archaic revival of traditions and value systems that mimic those of small scale societies. The turning away from the alienation that one experiences in the city where everyone secretly despises the success of even their closest friends. What is required instead is the learning of practical skills that hunter-gatherer societies always were in possession of. Yes this may be a regression, but one is much needed.

  • Alex

    I read hundreds of comments and all kinds of BS equations.

    Here’s a real equation for you.

    Success = your ability to provide value to OTHER people looking for solutions.

    The greater the value you can provide, to the more people, the more money you can make. None of your customers / clients / bosses gives a crap about what you want. They care about what you can do for them. So shift your focus. Start focusing on providing value, especially in a form that can be tapped by a large number of people, and you can make a lot of money, you can get promotions, etc. Anything you want. All this other stuff is just weird emotional nonsense. Leverage is the magic word in careers and you get some by your ability to provide massive value.
    There are tons of problems in the world that need solving, and you can make a ton of money solving them. Opportunity falling off trees for those with the right mindset. I kid you not.

  • ‘it is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional’ – Vladimir Putin 9/12/13 New York Times

  • Anonymous

    I am not completely sure what to think about this article… I guess it raises some good points about feeling unhappy, which are very likely true.

    BUT I know that most of the people I know from my Generation Y, are far more reflecting , ambitious and visionary than my or their parents!

    While my parents Generation was working hard to get all the things that promised security for their individual lives, me, my friends and former classmates dream AND work hard to get in a position where they can make a difference for the society, country or even the whole world. We skip all this security things -houses,cars,having kids- to have more time and financial flexibility to do the things we think are necessary to boost our knowledge and skills. Among others this means also read and study in our free-time in the field we want to succeed, we travel to expand our knowledge and perspectives on cultures and political systems, we work on Sundays and late night to get a bit closer to what we think we want to become…and yes I think this is a very special thing compared to the generations before, because the incentives and goals are completely different!

    By the way from my own relatives I can tell, that all this security stuff did them not make happy either. Even though they have houses, cars, etc. they complain, divorce, get seriously ill and after realizing what really matters to them, nothing is left of their material prosperity.

    So I suggest we generation Y people just keep on going and try to compare a little less to everybody. Real happiness is and was never guaranteed and also baby boomers barely achieved it. I know too many sad family stories!

    BTW: I am PhD student from Europe, I was blessed with free University education, but to finance my life, I worked throughout my studies, I financed myself and my former partner a car, a rented house filled with expensive TV etc. out of this little income, but I was not happy! I felt I need to do something bigger and more important for the world. I broke up, moved to another country with 2 suitcases and restarted. And even though I am far from what I want achieve, and even though I can not afford to live in an apartment on my own and take the bike to save money from the non-used bus tickets, I am much happier than before!

  • You never got into what makes people actually happy.You’re using a stereotypical point of view of society.How do you know what makes billions of people happy from a north american point of view.I wrote this article about pursuing what makes you happy.We’ve all seen Alan watts “what if money were no object”.All those baby boomers would have done the same thing as us if they had the freedom.So many people are jealous of the lifestyle I live, simple free and fun.Who wants to go from crib to cubicle?Not too many but it’s such a frequent occurence.


  • Anonymous

    Nice try, Boomers, but “Americans don’t see them as an oppressed proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires” has been a thing in America for quite some time, and the way Boomers accept state intervention to help themselves get wealth but oppose taxation because HURF A DURF THAT’S THEFT is special snowflake syndrome of the worst kind.

  • Jolla

    Have to agree with critics here. There i way more to this than feelings and expectations only. Lot of people have harder times getting their ends to meet. More stress and less love. As the capitalism does not care about people other than means to produce money for the upper class.

    Now if you pair the economic material analysis with with the points in the GYPSY analysis I think we might have a picture. So the GYPSY generation, full of expectations, dreams, hopes, self-esteem, thinking they matter, thinking they can change things, full of abilities, full of education. Now they meet western capitalism in decline (AKA “democracy”). Their dreams does not matter and their opinions does not matter and they have no power. So the worthless GYPSY becomes sad and dies.

  • Angry Brit

    What a load of utter rubbish. I know this article is written for an about Americans – but this simply does not apply to vast majority of the rest of the world. I’m from Britain and this doesn’t work for me at all. My grandfather chose the rather radical path of art school – went into a good graduate job, prospered early, retired early and has been focused on getting his golf handicap down ever since. My grandmother (on the other side of the family) got a cushy admin position in her local pit, retired early and has been shopping and going on exotic cruises ever since. My parents were devout hippies – eschewing ‘stable’ and ‘prosperous’ careers, for ones that made a difference and were ‘fulfilling’. I am currently better off than my parents were at my age, but worse off than my grandparents.

    This article uses no actual evidence based on socio-economic research. Don’t even get me started on how it is PREPOSTEROUS to use this explanation when examining the career paths of women – the right to equal pay is only just being properly enforced in most western countries. How galling to assume the fictional ‘Lucy’ has no right to assume she should have a better career than her ‘baby boomer’ parents when her mother could legally have been forced from her job when she got pregnant with Lucy.

    I refuse to acknowledge that discontent in my generation is due to us wanting rainbow vomiting unicorn careers. I rather think it has something to do (in Britain) with rocketing costs of living, the biggest relative drop in average wages in 20 years, unemployment in under 25s rising every quarter despite falling for every other age group and the fact we are paying for baby boomers who ran our economy into the ground – and will continue to pay for it for the rest of our lives. How the last generation can go to Uni for free, earn enormous wages, benefit from cheap housing and abundant job opportunities and early retirement and tell us it’s OUR fault we are unhappy for wanting anything CLOSE to what they had, is morally reprehensible.

    They sold our futures to pay for a golden retirement – don’t try and sell me this crap as well.

  • I’m a high school teacher and a boomer. I just got home from a school fundraiser (on a Sunday) in which everyone was nice, generous, and the kids worked hard. I sit down at the computer to read all these whining and BS comments. I grew up in a poor family and commuted to a state school to get through college. Despite graduating magna cum laude, I spent 15 years teaching lower level courses before I got to teach things like calculus. I still work 10-12 hours a day. Through all of this I was/am reasonably happy and appreciate what I have. This article is spot on, but leaves out one thing. These “special” young people were given this impression by their parents, which was the generation AFTER boombers. These parents were trying to make their kids happy and instead ended up making them just the opposite. Current parents are doing the same thing. I feel bad for these “unicorn” kids. Until they get over these unrealistic expectations they are going to continue to be miserable. Props to those parents who raise their kids with realistic expections.

  • I disagree. I believe that every one of us should not only reach for a future with unicorns, but to achieve that. We need a million new innovative minds working in start-ups and out of their garages. We need an explosion of talent to push us into a new future where we can better equip the next generation to continue rising past us. Our education, healthcare, and transportation systems are all relics of a by-gone era established throughout the past few centuries. But now we have what could possibly be a revolution that could rival the industrial and agriculture combined. Technology is progressing ever faster, and it has opened so many doors that we must explore. We must reinvent ourselves to succeed in this new world, radicalizing the ways we do many things.

    I believe this is possible. I also believe we must. Mankind is doomed right now. We are already just one bad day for extinction from any number of comsic events, and that’s not to mention our own man-made graves. If we don’t start reaching for the unicorns, and grabbing those bastards, soon, their won’t be the green grass future to fall back on for anyone.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, I worked hard. I studied engineering while working in a poorly paid job at a grocery store. My studies went great and I graduated.

    My expectations were to get an internship at some company and start to work my way up to be able to buy a house some day. I just wanted the normal thing: house, family, safe income etc.

    I have failed at even getting an unpaid internship. I guess my expectations were way too high and I should just go back at working at a grocery store. I studied for nothing, only got a loan to pay.

    I guess I was stupid to think I was so damn special that education would give me a better job. How foolish of me. 🙁

    • Anonymous

      I also worked in a factory as a freelancer in production. It was better paid than the grocery store job and I would have been happy to just stay there when I didn’t get the internship in my own field. But they couldn’t extend freelancer contracts after some layoffs so there goes the safe and steady career.

      I will add that I’m not from the US.

  • Anonymous

    A Gen-X’s Anecdotal Look at the Implications of the Causes of Gen-Y’s Unhappiness on Our Children and Our Future

    I am not a member of Generation Y, which is the subject of this article, and as a result I cannot speak about the accuracy of this articles assertions regarding the unhappiness felt by members of Gen-Y. I was born in the early 70’s which makes me a member of Generation-X but I too found this article fascinating. I am on the younger side of Gen-X so I could easily related to many of the ideas and conditions that are mentioned as contributing to the current malaise felt by many in Gen-Y which stems from according to the article their inability to meet their own expectations for their life. But, I guess I approach the world with a different attitude then Gen-Y simply because I am just those few years older and as a result a Gen-X. So, it is from position that I have been afforded solely because I have survived for a few extra years than a member of Gen-Y, that I now contemplate the impact on our youngest generation of the trends and ideas that serve as the focus of the article, “Why Generation Y Yuppies Are Unhappy” which can be found on the blog Wait But Why, http://bit.ly/15Q8X5l .

    I was raised by parents that understood the value and importance of hard work which they learned from their parents that came into adulthood during the Roaring 20‘s and then started families during the Great Depression. However, my parents were still young enough to embrace the feelings and ideas that helped to transform the country during the 60‘s. Some of these are that everyone was special by which they meant a unique individual rather than a faceless and nameless stereotype. Also, the idea that everyone could accomplish anything if only you worked for it. This is best exemplified by the Race to the Moon. It is this dichotomy that probably helps explain what I interpret to be polar opposite parenting styles that are currently being used by the Gen-X and Gen-Y parents to the approximately 150 6th and 7th grade students that I teach each year.

  • Anonymous

    Continued . . .

    One group of children come from adults who believe they should befriend (to become the friends of) their children. Webster defines a friend as a person who you like and enjoy being with or as a person who helps or supports someone or something (such as a cause or charity). Whereas, the other group of children are being raised by adults that are choosing to parent their children. Again, if you refer to Webster, you will first find that parent means simply one that begets or brings forth offspring and for an unfortunate many this is where their responsibility ends to the absolute detriment of the child. That is not the definition for parent that I believe qualifies as choosing to parent. Instead, it is Webster’s second definition for parent which is a person who brings up and cares for another person that is yielding children that feel success and recognition are not among the basic entitlements of life. Rather, success and recognition are for them things that stem from hard work and that these things are not guaranteed simply because an individual drew in their very first breath. These children also tend to be much more understanding the bell curve of life that not everyone is gifted in the exactly the same manner, one maybe the next Jordan or LeBron, another the next Einstein, another the next Renoir or Monet and that another maybe the next fry cook at McDonalds and this does not make any individual better just different. It is this understanding that translates into children who are more empathetic and sympathetic towards their peers who succeed or struggle and these children are also more prone to appreciative of their own hard earned successes.

    Unfortunately, I have observed that the opposite is true for those children that are “friends” with their parents. These children tend to believe that they are automatically entitled to rewards and adulation simply for breathing. These children are also much less willing to look for anything other than for what they deem to be the best for themselves. This translates into a prima donna in the classroom that should they choose to do anything more than breath while in class that I must celebrate their “extra effort” and give them the A to which they believe they are entitled. Unfortunately, these children fail to realize that what the deem to be “extra” is simply what I and in fact most teachers consider to be the basic requirements of a class. My hope is that these requirements will lead them to the understanding that no matter what you may believe you are entitled to there are certain basic requirements for life in our society. If they bother to bring in an assignment they believe they are entitled to an A no matter how far past the deadline that this happens to be. They feel the mere act of submitting the assignment has earned them this A and this regardless of the quality of their work which is more often than not shoddy, full of errors and omissions of required elements. Yet, each year these children will move on to the next grade regardless of if they have successfully mastered the basic requirements for their current grade.

  • Anonymous

    Continued . . .

    Regardless, of your feelings about the current state or the intended endgame of our K-12 education system, which are both huge and hotly debated issues, I ask you to consider the following:

    How does it continue to make sense to socially promote students that have not mastered basic skills in their math, language arts, science, and social studies classes?

    Does it continue to make sense to push these students onwards with a singular goal of a college education for all?

    How can we continue to ignore the fact that colleges are being forced to water down curriculum and offer an ever increasing number of remedial classes caused by a desperate need to address the gaps and holes in the knowledge of the incoming freshman students that stem from our current policy of social promotion?

    This policy is impart based on the idea that everyone is entitled to everything regardless of merit or ability, which has come to include a college degree for all, is really what the world we want?

    Would you trust your life to a lawyer that only got a 50% on the bar exam, or a doctor who managed to muster all of a 50% on their boards, because right now that is all it takes to pass many of the high stakes tests that are used each year to assess our children’s learning?

    How did we get to a point where “entitled to” has replaced or has become synonymous with “equal opportunity to”?

    I guess that I should not be surprised then that I am seeing a growing number of people for whom there is only a sense of entitlement to and for everything and that these people then take offense to the idea that there should be logical and proportionate repercussions for not only a person’s actions but also for their inactions?

  • Anonymous

    Conclusion . . .

    I know that in my own childhood I was thrilled to receive a small token of recognition for the time and hard work I given and the improvement I had made at the end of a long athletic season. I was truly appreciative of any time my effort was recognized given that the reality was I may not have achieved individual glory that season and that the team may have ended the season with a losing record. But, I never assumed that I was entitled to this recognition or that I was guaranteed anything other than a chance to compete IF and ONLY IF I was the best person for that spot on the team or in the lineup. I also understood from a very early age that there was only going to be this opportunity if I was able to pair my natural abilities with hard work during training. It is for this reason that I still cherish the memories of those moments when a trophy, certificate or some other memento came my way because I knew I had earned it through my own effort. This is then what saddens me about the behavior of many of my students who have grown up believing themselves entitled to everything they desire and that have become so used to getting certificates, medals, and ribbons for nearly every aspect of their life that when they receive the next round of accolades they simply discard them as worthless pieces of trash as they exit the building at the end of the day. Of course, if you earn something for every A, B, C or passing grade on a benchmark assessment and if those rewards are indistinguishable from one another for fear of offending someone, then how much value should I expect my students to draw from their instantly discarded rewards. Of course, this also sadly assumes that they even manage to locate and correctly use a trashcan because they believe that they are entitled to not clean up after themselves.

    Again, I appreciate that this article helps to explain to me “the how” and “the when” of this shift from when children had feelings of gratitude and appreciation to children that are now being raised with an overwhelming sense of entitlement. I am alarmed that a sizable and expanding segment of our population believe in this sense of entitlement. This sense of entitlement is often being instilled by individuals who have great intentions and want simply to help a child avoid some of the bumps and bruises of life but this does little to assuage my fear that we may be dooming many kids in the current generation to a life of even more disappointment than that felt by Gen-Y. They currently and I fear will continue to struggle to keep up with the ever increasing demands of their lives. Those mundane demands that each adult assumes simply by being an adult and that will seldom be celebrated let alone even recognized by anyone but by that person in the mirror each morning. I fear this will then force a shrinking segment of our society to struggle to pay for continuing our collective and self imposed burden of satisfying everyone’s sense of entitlement for everything and anything. Might it not be better to instead force us all to step up and be held to be accountable for our actions and inactions with rewards only coming from hard work rather than simply continuing to dole them out to the masses who having been deluded by their own sense of entitlement so that they now scream for someone else to provide everything and anything their heart desires.

  • Anonymous

    Um…actually I’m one of the last ‘Baby Boomers’. I was born in 1963 and my parents were born in the 1930s. They were born after the Great Depression; too young to have fought in WWII, and too old to have experienced the 1960s from anything but an adult perspective. They worked hard, had pensions, and retired comfortably. The New Deal and Great Society were very much part of what helped to make their lives good. By the time I finished high school in 1981, the politics of the US had shifted to conservatism, and has continued in that direction for the past 30 years. Obama would not have been considered a Democrat when I was a kid, he would have been considered a conservative Republican; the idea that somehow Obama is a liberal shows how politically deluded this country has become. Americans have decided that it is not the governments role to create jobs, and have left the fate of their lives to corporations. Unfortunately, corporations no longer have to hire Americans to make money. Although I managed to get a PhD, I have not done nearly as well as my parents, who had Masters degrees. The notion that only people in their 20s and 30s are worse off than their parents is nonsense. This trend began in the late 70s with the supplanting of common sense economic policies with Reaganomics, and a shift in wealth and resources away from the middle class to the uber-rich. The major problem is the absolute refusal to allow the government to influence the economy via promotion of industry, R and D, and infrastructure development; something like ‘the stimulus’ of Obama’s first administration was literally a thousand, or even a million fold too little to do the job. If Obama had behaved like a traditional Democrat he would have nationalized the banks and taxed the rich to 70%. The money would have been used to promote industry vital for growth of the country in the 21st Century. This model has been continually rejected in favor of Reaganomics over the past 30 years, and the result is that a modern American elite makes money selling Chinese goods, while paying no taxes, controlling every aspect of politics, and creating zero jobs. Close to 50% of Americans thought that Mitt Romney, the poster child for what America has become, should have been elected President in 2012.

    • Liberals R Eunuchs


  • Anonymous

    Thans for the discouraging remarks. Its great to hear another ass chime in on Gen Y.

  • Anonymous

    this has got to be one of the most inappropriate uses of the word “Gypsy” I have ever seen. it’s not enough that we endure racism, appropriation, oppression, abuse, and general misunderstanding on a daily basis, but then you come out with this…(expletive deleted) nonsense and set our scholars and activists work back 20 years. next time, check to make sure your acronym doesn’t insult an entire ethnic group by inappropriate misuse.

  • Claire Bauer

    I’m part of Gen Y. I am successful small business owner. Many Baby Boomers have come up to my husband and I and told us how much they support our business – they say that they’re happy we are doing what they never could.

    Sure, there are some struggles that this generation has, as did all of you when you were this age. Who am I? What am I contributing to the world? What do I want to do with my life? It’s not a bad thing that these questions are being asked, and I don’t see what the big problem is if Gen Y takes time to figure it out. I took my time and I lived 100% on my own. These days you can make more money in a restaurant than you can sitting on your butt in front of a computer. So why the judgement?

    Also, do you know what comes of all of this? A different world. Maybe those of you who had to suck it up and start working for the man can’t see it – but Gen Y sure can. We want small, local economies, interesting neighborhoods, independent businesses. And we’re succeeding in creating them. It’s taking time, but we’re creating a makers economy – that includes organic foods, artisan products, handcrafted clothing. Maybe Gen Y just has different values than some of you. You know, that’s okay. We are making a difference in a completely different way than your generation did. This world works in cycles. I think we are swinging away from the big business cycle now – many value the small. We still care, but in a different way. Stop judging people that are different from you – it isn’t a bad thing, it creates more diversity. Maybe some Gen Yers will have to suck it up and work at an office job as a means to an end, while they get their small business going. But let us figure it out. You might be surprised at what comes of it.

    • Claire Bauer

      Also, forgot to say…”success” in this article refers to wealth. And this article equates wealth with happiness. There’s some serious delusion going on if that is the only way to measure success and happiness. There’s more to life than money. Gen Y knows this. I’m happy my peers are so down to earth, though I also want them to be able to support themselves. Don’t care how they do it though.

  • Anonymous

    As a GYPSY, I find this hard to process but deep down know it’s true.

  • Anonymous

    Well… I don’t know now, but something tells me that the main reason why “Gen. Y” feels unhappy, is due to the fact that by the time they’ve completed (or at least, were in the middle of) their education, the entire economic system has been sent down swanee with matches for a paddle.

  • Anonymous

    I can’t help but wonder if this GYPSY theory holds up if looked at through a multicultural lens or the Gen Y-ers socioeconomic status/upbringing. From my personal experience, I have found that this phenomenon is one mostly prevalent in those of middle/upper class upbringing and the racial majority (Caucasian). I work with clients in this age range across a wide range of cultural backgrounds and living situations and have found that this theory does not hold up with most of the individuals I see who are living below the poverty line or in the racial/cultural minorities. Looking at whether or not Gen Y-ers parents attended college, were immigrants, etc are important factors to consider as well.

    I’m really eager to hear other thoughts about this.

  • Anonymous

    Amazing… I thought this was a problem that only Stanford students of the early 2000’s suffered from. The “Entry level job? But I went to STANFORD!” problem. And I’m saying this as one of the few Stanford grads who’s been working my @$$ off for the past 10 years towards a major goal because I don’t ever feel entitled to anything like my classmates did.

    This chick I knew quit her job at a huge national newspaper (which she got as a minority scholar, even though she’s white) because she was sick of covering the beat after 6 months. Entitlement, entitlement. Threw away a job other people would kill for. Why? Well, aside from the fact it was handed to her, she wanted to be doing features a year out of college, acknowledging it was the most sought-after job in the newspaper business. She literally said “I mean, they want me to do an entry level job? But I went to STANFORD!” She has since been unemployed and profiting from her marriage to an employed person.

    This article really nails it.

  • Anonymous

    I thought this was really irritating and insulting to my generation in general. Although this may be a problem for many people it didn’t take into account the fact that, for example, no one in “Gen Y” can stand out because we ALL are getting college degrees, whereas the “hard work” from earlier generations was getting higher education etc.

    Also, the jobs we have today have diversified exponentially because of technology. We GET to pick a fulfilling carrier and you’re an idiot if you don’t. Back in the day it was mostly industrial, and options were limited, so it was a matter of picking a reliable, good job.

    This was clearly written by someone who is a baby-boomer, or I suspect based on the condescending note, a great depression era writer who is looking at this issue from an outside perspective and has NO idea what it’s like to be on the inside of it.

  • Anonymous

    Lucy = Michelle S. Keller

  • Anonymous

    It would be helpful if the baby boomers could hurry up and retire. I understand that the economic downturn ate into their 401K’s such that they may not be able to buy a second yacht they always dreamed about but they’re taking all of our jobs. Never before have Americans survived and worked as long as they have.

    That should count for something. Is it so unrealistic that we expected to have JOBS available after we were released into the real world??

  • A few thoughts:

    There are additional factors at play – because Lucy’s parents didn’t have crippling education loans to deal with, and an economy that was on the rise, not stagnant or down. Even the same career paths that got her parents economic security are no longer secure. Screw the flowers, we’ll take the lawn – only now it’s been broken up into time share part time sod carpets, without benefits.

    Sure expectations need to be adjusted, but sometimes, it’s ok to be a bit unhappy about things. Just as long as you don’t let that define you.

    And – could we find a term other than GYPSY? As a romani man, I feel obligated to point out that this term has been thrown around as an ethnic slur for centuries – it is not at all hyperbolIc to state that many roma would equate this to writing an article with a group whose acronym spells out NIGGER. Regardless of whether the slur and the intent here are related, the use of the term, and chance it will be picked up and used elsewhere, is problematic.

  • Anonymous

    This article was very well thought out! It has been a long time since someone reminded Americans how good and accurate gypsy is as a condescending term. Please in the next article talk about the J.E.W. as well then all my eastern European heritage will be covered!

  • Being a Gen Y’er myself, AND having worked with many people who fit this mould, I can say that there are plenty of people out there that fit this mould. I love the advice you gave, you are right, we are not special (in context of our careers) until we have earned the credo, respect, and results that make us so. I loved this article, I think you’ve done a fabulous job at hitting the nail on the head! I look forward to helping more people tap into their passion, work hard, and stop making excuses for the state of their lives. Passion is fueled by the pain we experience in acknowledging our shortcomings and dysfunction! Thank you for your wisdom!

  • The generation born between the late 1970s and the mid 1990s.

    Where? XD
    In the world there are many countries with different culture and history.
    It is more than generalizations and stereotypes.
    It is a frustration 😉
    Why? ask yourself…

  • I agree with everything but the “stop thinking you’re special” thing. On the one hand, it’s absolutely true and it’s really hard to take disappointment, psychologically. But it has been my experience that it is very hard to get the job in the first place if you display a run-of-the-mill attitude. I suppose my opinion of myself was fairly realistic when I went into the job market and I took my rejections (some of which were well and truly harsh, even unprofessionally cruel and insulting) pretty hard. But what I had to keep telling myself I was special and projecting that to potential employers because why the heck else would someone hire a recent IT grad with no industry experience just south of Silicon Valley when thye had a crop of folks who were fully capable knocking on their doors and entire teams from overseas on the phone, ready to work? I’m sorry, but an unrealistically rosy picture of one’s abilities may be hard on the ego when confronted with the fact that you actually know squat, but without it, you won’t ever get the opportunity to know any more than that.

  • Anonymous

    Terrible, for (at least) two reasons:

    1) Absurd, racist, derogatory acronym. The Romani people do not need this acronym to add to all the shit they already have to deal with.

    2) Based on assumptions and limited experience — many Gen Yers are happier and more fulfilled than the Baby Boomers above them, who chose to work hard and make a lot of money instead of trying to be happy.

  • Anonymous

    Why label people? Are we lab mice? Rats in a race? Some days we are happy/sad, other days those memories make us happy/sad.
    Hopefully us mice read this and feel more like people who make less assumptions and focus on living well for all selves in balance.

  • Anonymous

    You could at least get your generations correct. Generation X is up until the mid 70s (so 1975, I guess). Generation Y starts in 1980; not “the late 70s”.

  • i born in 50s and i have a daughter around the age of lucy and i say you hit the bulls eye.thank youuuu.i requested my daughter to read the article.

  • Anonymous

    Just as we were trying to enter the workforce as teenagers, a recession hit. Unemployment rates never recovered.

    Then, as we were trying to enter it again as young adults, another financial crisis hit.

    As generation X was entering the workforce, wage rates were INCREASING. When we were entering the workforce, they were DECREASING. And unemployment was rising. There are definitely some spoiled Gen-Yers, but Generation X just won’t admit how effed over we were by political decisions over which we had no control. ANY economist will back me up. Yes, some of us tend to be “poor me” about it… but you can’t argue that we were dealt a bum hand when it comes to becoming an autonomous adult. And more than depressing, that is scary.

    Gen Y won’t stay spoiled. If anything, Generation Y will pick itself up by its boostraps and stare life down with that same “when life gives you lemons” outlook of “The Greatest Generation.” We will work hard, harder than Generation X ever had to. And eventually, we’ll earn our spot next to the older generations which think us so terribly spoiled.

    • Anonymous

      Also, I’m not talking about Gen Yers who are mad that they can’t get a $40,000 salary right of college. I’m talking about Gen Yers who can’t get a job at fucking McDonald’s, even though (or maybe BECAUSE) they have a Master’s degree. Depending on where you live in the U.S., that is the case right now. And don’t you dare not have a car… it’s even worse. Most of my Gen Y friends in this area (people with college degrees, by the way) ended up working full-time in factories and warehouses, and I’m jealous, because I would be working there to if I could fucking GET there.

  • Anonymous

    Awwww. you took down the condescending, inflammatory list of GYPSY “qualifications”?!!?! I call shenanigans! I was just coming back to see who else (besides myself) I could assign shame & blame to.

  • Nathan Dale

    I am extra special, like a the tiny minority above, who chose to post with our full names.

    Or did we?

  • One of the really good things GYPSYs brought into the workplace was the expectation that they would be treated well and fairly without having to have a union behind them forcing the business class to do the right thing. I think that’s a great plus. They never would have had the moxie to do that without an inflated sense of entitlement.

  • I agree that the expctations of Gen Y are higher than previous generations. I also wrote a blog on how I feel they should deal with it http://ning.it/16cKRfi

  • I’m a boomer. Funny, I don’t remember having the world handed to me on a platter.

    I remember leaving home at seventeen and working several really low paying jobs. I remember scrimping and struggling to support a family for an education which I paid for for a long, long time. I remember not getting a job in the field I educated myself in due to restrictive hiring practices by the time I got there. I remember struggling again on multiple jobs to continue to support my family and it wasn’t until my late 40’s that I again re-educated myself and finally had a job that required less struggling only to end up disabled from cancer and waiting out the last few years on a modest income again. I worked hard for every step up and put in my time to get there ~ I don’t recall a lot of privileges along the way.

    My daughter (I suppose she would be Gen X) also worked long and hard at entry level jobs and educated herself along the way. She has gone farther than I have by working every damn step of the way and I’m proud of her for that.

    If everyone is focused on the clean, white collar jobs, just keep in mind that there are only so many of them. Unprincipled world economics, rapacious social manipulation, skewed cultural perceptions of wealth and power dangle some pretty intriguing fairy tales in front of the gullible who believe that fame and wealth come without price. Good luck in the rat race.

    You want the benefit of me looking back over six decades of observation and experience? Take a trade. There are not enough tradepersons ~ the need to meet the demand for the trades is being met by immigrants.

    If you’re not afraid of getting your hands dirty, having to put your back into it and learn constantly, there’s work. *Somebody* has to do it.

    Lucky little boomer that I am, I’ve done my share and look forward to you doing yours.

  • Anonymous

    Please tell us more about how we can instantly judge the entirety of a person’s character on the basis of nothing more than the year they were born.

    Having to actually think about individuals is so tiresome.

  • Don’t know if anyone will read this, but I just want to leave it here because it’s important to me.

    The first and last points are very true. We (yes I fall into Generation Y by this definition, though when I was growing up we were more like “the people right between Generations X and Y”) were definitely given INCREDIBLY off expectations about what we could grow up to be if we just got good grades in school and went to college. And yes, we definitely live in a(n Internet) social culture that is FULL of a sense of indirect and sometimes direct sense of COMPETITION that’s just disgusting. It’s not just career comparison. It’s even worse for us moms– you feel relieved that you managed to get a peanut butter sandwich on the table for your kid’s lunch, and then somebody’s posting a cutesy lunch plate sculpture of a teddy bear made of fresh organic produce and obscure whole-grain crackers. But yes, it’s true what many commenters say, that the market is terrible and this article and some other people’s reactions DOES make assumptions about what kinds of resources everyone in this generation has access to. The gap between the well-off and the living-on-ramen just keeps getting wider, and it’s NOT from a lack of work on the ramen-eating folks’ part.

    But the part I REALLY take exception (HAH HAH I JOKE) to is the YOU ARE NOT SPECIAL thing. I’ve written about this in my blog just recently: http://rockinlibrarian.livejournal.com/358756.html “Special” does mean UNIQUE, and that DOES make everyone special. Special does NOT equal “entitled.” Sure, there are lots of people out there who feel ENTITLED to getting things handed to them, but there are LOADS MORE people who don’t even believe they have a right to exist. That’s what the phrase “you are special” means– there’s only ONE of you, and you are NOT expendable. I HATE when people tear down the “you are special” thing, because there are too many people for whom this is their only life-line… ESPECIALLY among people who are not leading successful lives. Success does take hard work, but hard work doesn’t guarantee success, and we shouldn’t let people’s worth as human beings depend on their ability to Succeed.

    Sorry. I just can’t let this issue go.

  • Anonymous

    You’re starting with “Generation Y” and you need to evoke a word that starts with “Y” and you add four more letters. My generation was more resourceful

  • Many of Generation Whine’s jobs were sent to Asia. Perhaps because they didn’t want them in the first place, or were incapable of showing up to a boring job every day. The nuveau riche of China say xie xie to them, to their parents, and to mostly white mostly GenX American executives.

  • Anonymous

    Uh, you are aware that gypsy is a racial slur right?

  • Many of Generation Whine’s jobs were sent to Asia. Perhaps because they didn’t want them in the first place. Perhaps they were incapable of showing up to a boring job every day. Nonetheless, they didn’t get a chance because they couldn’t compete with a billion+ people who would work for dollars a day. The Nouveau riche of Asia thank everyone who made that possible: from Nixon to Obama and every rich white male executive in between.

  • Anonymous

    i once took a crap on a gen yer and it was not only exhilarating and extremely satisfying, but also quite stanky.

  • I’m a Gen-Y person on the cusp, born in 1980. I was fortunate to be artistically inclined by nature and had a good idea of what path I wanted to follow by the time I was entering grade 9, either graphic design or computer animation. As a teenager the web was just starting to catch on and I was fascinated by the idea of coding websites, and took to learning everything I could about them as a teenager. I ran many sites before I even went to college. Since I already had a good grasp of websites I opted to beef up my graphic design skills in college. I took a 3 year program, got my first job as a graphic designer as an extension of my co-op term. I took to heart something a professor said to me, that I should stick it out for 5 years at my first job, which I did almost to the day before moving onto what would be my second career as web designer. The lesson was that sure you can bounce around from job to job, but first and foremost show that you can stay in one place for awhile and that you are in fact employable long term. By the end I hated that job. I worked in the small town I lived, stayed living with my parents until 25 and worked towards paying off my student debt while working a job that paid me about $30k by the time I left. While I would have much rather move to the city, get a high paying agency gig, go to concerts all the time and live the party life, I opted to get my foot in the door, prove my skills and bide my time.

    Once I moved onto my next job I got paid substantially more, I got the respect I was looking for as I was no longer the “new kid” in a company that didn’t have high turnover and I was able to branch out into new respects of my job. The skills that employ me now are barely things that I learned in school anymore. College is just a footnote on my skillset because I just keep perpetually adding to my skills in an ever changing field.

    I do think that Gen Y is predisposed to being impatient and antsy when it comes to everything. Instead of being present a lot of the time we’re plotting our next move and have one foot out the door. So really the lesson here is just to be patient. There is life after 25 and sometimes being patient pays handsomely.

  • Anonymous

    Eh, interesting and somewhat true, but you’re ignoring that all but the richest segment of society has seen a decline in earnings, and unemployment is higher than it has been in decades. And I’m Gen X with a great career, so I’m not saying that because I have an entitled mindset.

  • Anonymous

    One year ago I would have agreed with you.
    Cause my secure, fantastic, unique, special career hadn´t happened yet. Now it has, it is very unique, very safe, well paid, high status, I get to use all my talent and brains, and it exceeds every expectation I ever had for a career.
    A year ago I would have bought this explanation for unhappiness, and the equation of happiness = reality – expectation. Get me right, I am not so very unhappy,just … not so happy and sometimes very sad. A year ago I would be ready to take your story to explain it, cause I don´t really have any other issues. It would have felt true.

    Now … this out of all proportions amazing, creative career just happened! (true, I work my ass of, but I never expected THIS to come of it)
    Can you believe there is no real change in my state of happiness? There isn´t.
    To tell you the truth, my happiness seems to come from keeping my body happy (nice food, healty food, comfortably exhausting workout, sex, keeping warm and getting einough sleep. And also getting a new experience now and then, and of course close relationships)
    When I dont do physical part of taking care of myself, I am unhappy. When I do it, I am happy. In my very fantastic and oh-so-exhausting career, that I am completely passionate about, it is hard to fit in. And the career really makes no great difference to how happy I am on a dayly basis. A euforic blast now and again it all it provides moodswise. Those other things make me happy on a daily basis.

    Just saying … that is my happiness advice. You don´t need the career for THAT. You might need it for something else, but not for your daily happiness.

    • Kim

      Loved this comment! Very true!

  • Anonymous

    Reading all the comments here is like watching an interminable, American version of “The Four Yorkshiremen” sketch…

  • Meg

    Wait, but aren’t you doing the same thing you’re criticizing in this piece? Thinking you’re somehow more outstanding than someone else (in this case, Gen Y)? Are you sure this piece is really about Gen Y and not about your own experiences in working with others who might be coming from a different paradigm than yours?

    It seems there may be room for individual differences in the happiness formula.

  • Meg

    To everyone who started your comment with “I am a Baby Boomer with Gen Y kids”:

    May I suggest you talk to your kids directly about this instead of to some blog?

    Your projection of your children’s generation

  • Meg

    To everyone who started your comment with “I am a Baby Boomer with Gen Y kids”:

    May I suggest you talk to your kids directly about this instead of to some blog?

    Your projection of your children’s generation

  • I Know this feel

  • Great post! I’m one of those stuck in between Gen X and Gen Y (born in the few overlapping years between late 70s and very early 80s). I usually identify more w/ Gen X, but I have def been that Gypsy at some points… In college, I was older than most of my classmates (changing majors 4th year in, eek)! So many of them thought they were God’s gift to everything they took on. I quickly realized that they were not, neither was I, so I lowered my expectations to a realistic level.

    I’m not in a fulfilling career, nor am I doing anything special. However, I have a stable job, decent income, and I am relatively happy with this b/c my career isn’t my life. I see former college classmates who seem miserable (and unrealistic), still living the life of a college student b/c they could never “settle” for a less than perfect job opportunity!

  • Anonymous

    We are the BABY BOOMERS and yes….guilty of raising our children as written above. Special. My husband and I did JUST what this article refers to. We are the guilty ones. We worked for 30 years and retired to get what little we have and have given and given to our children. Now in Costa Rica they have learned to depend on themselves…but it required us to remove the teat so they would learn to depend on themselves rather than us. We love them with all our hearts.

  • Anonymous

    With all of the anonymous reply’s, it looks as if one person is arguing with themselves, doesn’t it? Perhaps it was me all along.

  • Anonymous

    So… this article amounts to old people complaining about kids these days. With all the lawn analogies, it’s hard to miss the underlying subtext that there are kids on the author’s lawn and he would like for them go get off.

    Fundamentally, the article fails to prove (or even attempt to demonstrate) its fundamental premise that Gen-Y-ers are unhappy or unhappy in greater proportion than previous generations at the same stage in their lives. Its argument is essentially anecdotal, which is bad enough, but it provides not a single instance of an actual example case. Thus it relies on the reader knowing (or believing himself to know) some disaffected Gen-Y person who is also unhappy, and then assumes the reader will extrapolate from that case to all other Gen-Y persons. This is a fallacy of extrapolation. Many individuals of each generation are happy. Likewise, many are not. I call BS: This is a dumb argument, badly made.

    Also, if anyone ever presents you with a chart, they are probably lying. No exception here. The charts have been chopped and massaged to distort the truth. The start dates were selected to present outliers as the start of trend lines. Smoothing factors were selected to exaggerate the truth (the opposite of their intended use). An old data set was chosen because more recent data leads to different conclusions. An extra ‘a’ was added to the search terms, presumably to further distort the data. And a very non-standard term (‘secure career’) was held up as empirical proof that Gen-Y-ers don’t care about job security any more. The article demonstrates an unfamiliarity with what the Google Ngram Viewer actually presents; it has a lot more to do with shifting preference for synonymous terms (e.g. career vs. work vs. job) than shifting values. It’s also a reflection of printed books, very few of which were written for or by Gen-Y-ers, so to suggest that their content would disproportionately reflect or affect the values of Gen-Y-ers rather than Gen-X-ers, Boomers, or others is wholly unsubstantiated.

    Here’s a more extensive Ngram comparison to demonstrate relative occurrences of various relevant terms: http://goo.gl/NmsuIK (1945 was selected as the start date because of WWII.)

  • Anonymous

    I disagree… Yes Gen-Y’s expectation is high, but if we take the ‘American dream’ as a basis. The Depression WW2 generation was recovering and trying to build their families to have something close to the ‘American dream’, they could build their own house with little constraint and cost of property to yearly wage ratios made buying land or houses affordable on a 30yr mortgage. Life was simple, a high school year 10 graduate could hold a job and earn a decent wage that could eventually support a family. Yes a lot of work was required but they worked hard and got the job done. Many families at this stage gained the ‘American Dream’ and managed to send their children off for a better ‘easier’ life that they had, and this was the aim. Then the Baby boomers were sent off still looking for the ‘American Dream’ an exponentially higher number of people attended college and the separation between rich and poor was expanding. However the cost of property to yearly wage ratios were still low and most people could buy property of some sort. There were still few restrictions to DIY house building projects, and there were still plenty of run down houses that with some work could be done up for substantial profit. They could easily expect to gain a great career after graduating from year 12 in high school and as their parents did they once again had ‘greener grass’ that their parents. They enforced what they learnt into their children, but didn’t want them to be bogged down in the slum they were in until they succeeded, so they said go off you are special, you can do what you want and succeed, because they realised that that is exactly what they should have done. but time changes economy suffers and expectations rise. Gen-Y the GYPSY generation goes off with the highest ever rate of college graduates and for the first time in history a college degree will not in the slightest help you get a job. a college graduate today is the year 10 graduate of the baby boomers, not quite good enough to get a job. not only this but there are less jobs and there are people from other countries who we can bring in illegally to work for nothing (not obeying min wage laws). so not only do we not have jobs until we’ve spent 6 years at university and are thousands of dollars in debt. But we cannot afford to buy a house. Yes yearly average wages have gone up since our parents, but even with two peoples salaries we are in the position (for the first time in america) that we could and most likely will be passing on our extremely large mortgages to our children. These days it is and would be cheeper to rent for the rest of our lives further separating the rich and the poor as we pay off their mortgages of their 4th or 5th investment property. Then you say why not build your own, and we find serious restrictions and server building codes. so maybe we as a GYPSY generation are hopeful and believe we are special, but I believe that for the first time in generations we will not be more successful than our parents, we can work as hard as they did and still not get even close to the grass that they had. good luck with flowers and unicorns but the Gen-Y people I know and hoping to have a job that pays the rent and one day allows them to put a down payment on a house. some grass is better that a pile of dirt. Good luck with the ‘American dream’.

  • Anonymous

    You know what? I am special. I am an award winning photographer, I have published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, am self taught and fully employed in what I love, and have kicked two nearly fatal substance abuse problems. I also have a Bachelors of Science in a completely unrelated field because I thought it would be fun. I am in a ton of debt, sure, but I really don’t give a flying fuck about that. The premise of this article is similar to the premise of someone from the early 20th century saying that the modern kids are all full of themselves because they want weekends. This is just yet another example of the lowest common denominator, reductive and logically flawed crap that passes for writing on the internet these days. Thanks a lot for the GYPSY moniker too. I am sure that the millions of Romani people in the world thank you too. I am going to go back to living my dream and working at what I love.

  • Anonymous

    Gen Y weren’t the ones that moved the bulk of American manufacturing overseas, eliminating many living wage blue collar jobs.

    Gen Y aren’t the ones that blew our first surplus in decades on overseas adventurism and killed thousands of promising young men and women in the sandbox for corporate and foreign interests.

    Gen Y aren’t the ones that created a housing bubble and then generated a collapse, further wrecking the economy.

    But yeah, let’s blame that generation anyway.

  • Anonymous

    Oh for the love… Each generation has their own set if issues to deal with. Each generation has to figure out that the picture that was painted for them isn’t exactly as it is/has to be. Each generation has to suck it up, pick it up, and move forward one step at a time. The longer any one in any of those generations blamed it on someone else, the less likely it is that person will come anywhere close to achieving what he or she can/wants to achieve in life. Yes, things are hard now in some ways. Guess what, things were hard in my parents day – in some ways, they were hard in my grandmother’s day, they will be hard in my children’s day – each in some way, probably different from the other because change is the one thing that is guaranteed in life. If you don’t like where you are, MAKE A CHANGE. That sucks. It really does, because then we’re all responsible for who we are and how we got to where we are and we admit that there is no one else to blame — and regardless of the generation you’re from, that’s true across the board as well.

  • What a crock of shit piece that completely disregards the outsourcing of jobs and opportunities by the baby boomer generation that took away their children’s future along with less funding for post secondary and a host of other programs that the boomers’ parents established for them, the boomers used, then took away from their kids. I will pit a 22-year-old from 2013 against one from 1965 any day of the week because the former would SLAUGHTER the latter. Gen Y work twice as hard for half as much. This article is complete shit.

  • Anonymous

    I am not sure where the author gets off thinking its okay to say things about a group of people like they are delusional. Lets play a game, try reading this again but replace GYPSYs with women, African American, Jewish, or any other group of people. I am not sure when being ambitious, having confidence and having dreams became a problem. The way this reads suggests that the author has found a group of people they think to be inferior to themselves for some reason and have decided that they will try and ‘fix’ them. I guess the author thinks they are special…

  • Anonymous

    I only just made Baby Boomer status: almost Gen X. I have three gen Y children. When I was young we didn’t have anywhere near all the stuff that is around now, computers, mobile phones, ipads, etc. We didn’t shop all the time and have all these cheap clothes. I got a job at seventeen and lived in a one bedroom flat with my husband in the cheapest suburb without a phone or a car so I could save money. My children have never done that. They have had at least two bedroom flats, in nicer suburbs with nice cars, phones, computers and etc, and they have fully furnished them. They have gym memberships (gym was for a few sweaty would be Mr. Universes when I was young), eat out all the time (when we felt that was an extravagance) and two of them regularly travel overseas (I had my first trip overseas when I was 45). My friends and I would drop by at each others flats to socialise not the local cafe or restaurant and they sometimes slept four to one bedroom to save money. And yet my children are cross that I managed to buy a house while they ‘will never own one because they are Gen Yers’. Sure, the price of houses are comparatively higher than when I was young but when I sat down with them and did calculations on it, it was pretty obvious they could have owned a house years ago if they weren’t so busy spending their money on other things. They all have jobs, so the no jobs problem doesn’t effect them. One of them I trained myself and so he by passed having a college education but still works in I.T. and is paid better than my two kids with educations, who are nonetheless on higher wages than I get. I do think there are a lot of problems today that weren’t there when I was young but there is also a lot of things that have improved also. We had the strap when we went to school and I never went on a school camp or had any of the extras that my kids got at school. If a woman got raped it was ‘her fault’ for wearing skimpy clothing and the sexual harrassment at work was unreal. I didn’t get driven to school even when it was two miles away with no bus service as a child. I drove my children to school every day. I did more to help set up my kids than my parents did even though they were financially better off and never divorced as I was. They were brought up in the depression and went through a war so felt we had never had it so good. Maybe you will feel the same way about your children. Oh that’s right: two of my Gen Y children are not going to have children–children destroy the planet, I forgot. The other one will probably not get around to having one until maybe when she is 40. It was so insanely selfish of me to have children in the first place, how dare I spend the majority of my earnings supporting them for so many years to bring them a world this terrible. Yes, it seems I am single-handedly responsible for global warming even though I have solar cells and a solar hot water service and recycle everthing (they don’t) and I am the greedy one who caused the stock market to crash when I don’t even own shares. My children could be so much better off than me if only they would invest in their futures.

  • Anonymous

    All you need is love

  • Anonymous

    Seems to me that people have too much time to think, analyse, discuss and debate. Just get on with life and make it happen.

  • Anonymous

    Wow, what a lot of angry and disillusioned people! Is this what 50 years of US prosperity has produced? This is very much an American problem. The US establishment has dominated the world’s economy by ensuring that the US Dollar became and remained the reference currency for all world trade. This was all very well when the US Dollar, the US industrial machine, US business and the US politicians could be respected and trusted to have the right moral fibre and justify the leadership role placed upon them by the rest of the world by virtue of their being the strongest nation on the planet. Every time the shit hit the fan in the last thirty years the world should have questioned the worthiness of the US as a nation, and the US Dollar, to maintain their respective positions of world dominance and a reference point for the world economy. The US has ducked and dived, conived and contrived, to maintain its position of dominance over this period despite shockingly poor performance and despicable policies at home and abroad. The US Dollar maintained its value each time not because of any intrinsic value it held, but because, hell, it is “the US Dollar” after all, and we all knew that there could never be anything weak or wrong about the US Dollar! The net result was that the other currencies of the world had to adjust, unjustifiably, each time to accommodate the perception of value that the US held for it’s own currency relative to it’s own self-appointed frame of reference based on what it wanted the USA to be.

    Welcome to the world’s reality you guys!

    Unfortunately a frighteningly and disproportionately large sector of the US population thinks that the USA is the world! The rest of the world have been dealing with these issues for the last hundred years, regardless of which catch-phrase category some sociology professor uses to describe a generation of people.

    If the US still wants to be the big kid on the block it better re-earn some international respect. Every bully-boy eventually meets his match….

  • Just a quick comment regardless your generation “Be Yoursel,Everyone Else is already taken”
    Oscar Wilde.

  • Anonymous

    I think the point is… Facebook is stupid, nobody cares what you have to say, and shut the fuck up.

  • Kind of a long description of individualism..

  • Anonymous

    The whole article is based on intergenerational myopia. The most successful people I know from this era use a different yardstick to measure success; just as things in the world are less tangible now, so are measures of success.
    The people from this era who boost their profiles with bogus Croatian yacht photo’s are generally the ones without enough imagination to craft their own ideas of success, and so replicate those of the baby boomers. I admire the generations above me, for the most part, but we live in radically different, ephemeral circumstances that emphasise the ‘individual’. Crafting ourselves in the shape of posterity is no way to adapt to the new.

  • Anonymous

    Cute article containing a lot of truth. But of course as a late Gen X person (mid 1970s) it applies to people my age just as much as the notional Gen Y kids! I have more in common with the Gen Y kids than I do with the people at the earlier end of the Gen X grouping (who are more than 10 years older than me)…

  • Anonymous

    This article missed a couple important generations. It does not go Great Gen to Baby Boomers to Gen Y… and Gen Y is most definitely not born in the 70s– that’s Gen X. Generational divides tend to happen about every 20 years or so:

    The Great Generation- born around 1900-25
    The Silent Generation- born around 1925-45
    The Baby Boomers- born around 1946-66
    Generation X- born around 1967-1982
    Generation Y (Millennials)- born around mid-80s to 2000ish

    Some of the stuff mentioned in the article (disillusionment of the hippie era) is a Gen X issue, but Gen Y tends to not have the same disillusionment as Gen X and are more hopeful, however also more entitled than Gen X. A main, but important, difference between Gen X and Gen Y is the rise of the internet and technology which altered Gen Y perspectives quite differently than Gen X. The Gen Xers tend to be somewhat nihilistic, skeptical, and highly independent, whereas Gen Y tends to be more idealistic and dependent.

    It seems this author confused a few generations together into a big blob which makes me sad.

  • It’s not all about who dies with the most stuff — for their heirs to fight over.

    Expect to be DISSATISFIED… if that LOW goal is your dream.

    You can drown yourself in narcissistic power grabs…or in narcissistic dreams…but remember…Narcissus stared at himself in the lake. Ignored the voice of someone (Echo) who loved him. Narcissus later fell in the lake and drowned. That ever potent Greek story is STILL used by psychologists to describe certain SELF destructive (and OTHER destructive) behaviors.

    And Narcissis’s too-obsessive self absorption damaged someone who loved him…ECHO.

    People count on you even if you can’t necessarily tell that–now. Your decisions DO matter. Your life choices MATTER. Your treatment of others MATTERS. Wait till a few people come up & tell u. YOU will be surprised who has noticed your bad/good/wonderful decisions and actions.

    Do you act in a way that you don’t mind that young nephew copying?

    You ARE special, but that does not entitle you to a free pass to Life. (Unlike so many books–TV shows where the SPECIAL person gets it all…including the unicorn and the “girl” and…makes the shot/goal/hit that wins the championship.)Don’t define your self worth by the Disney/Nick TV dreams.

    Are you helping other human beings? Or is your idea of helping ONLY limited to “planet earth”?

    Too small. You will be frustrated. Too small of a dream. You WERE meant to do bigger things, even if they don’t make the “fashionably successful” list.

    Yes…take care of the Garden (Earth) but don’t forget your fellow Gardeners/Caretakers.

    Want a bigger view of the World and even of your heart??? Want a glimpse into REality? It will help you “trim your sails” and steer yourself into a more productive life course.

    Look at biblegateway.com and start reading the book of Mark. Our whole calendar turned (stll turns) around that one Jewish bluecollar guy.


    Find out.

    the answer can transform your world, your goals, everything.

  • Anonymous

    What about generation X?

  • JRQ654

    Dr. Spock was my parents’ generation’s guru. He/his advice was outdated and reviled as too strict when I had my kids in the ’80s. Personally, I blame “no cut” sports, trophies-for-trying, and constant placating as the cultural culprits.

  • The author is mixing his generations. Baby boomers are those born between 1946 and 1964. Generation X are those born between 1965 and 1983. Generation Y is from the mid 80s to about 2000. So, the author appears to be either skipping a generation, or trying to combine two of them.

  • Dad

    A lot of interesting and thought provoking ideas. But I think, as with a lot of “persuasion” treatises, you get people to buy into a faulty premise to start with and once they are nodding their heads up and down, you have them eating the whole thing up.

    “It’s pretty straightforward—when the reality of someone’s life is better than they had expected, they’re happy. When reality turns out to be worse than the expectations, they’re unhappy.”

    Was Heath Ledger “happy” after he got more successful than he ever could have imagined? Lisa Robin Kelly? Cory Montieth? the list goes on.

    As a baby boomer I realized at some point, thankfully not too late, that the one most responsible for my “happiness” or “unhappiness” was looking directly at me in the mirror each morning.

    I only hope I can convince my beautiful, gen Y daughter of that before I leave this earth.
    She is a pisser, and the love of my life.

  • Anonymous

    I was just thinking on this lines just yesterday…of making a new index of peoples happiness based on their dreams and reality….nice read….

  • Anonymous

    A bunch of Gen Y’s reading this article at work making comments about how this is wrong and doesn’t accurately represent us as a group is HILARIOUS, and further drives the point home that the author was trying to make. Dear lord. We should be called Generation D. D for Delusional.

  • Anonymous

    This is an incredible article. Spot on everywhere. According to this I am a Gen Y’er and my parents are Baby Boomers. My dad has always told me though that the grass might be greener on the other side but you have to mow it too.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t understand the controversy between the “two spaces after a period” rule. For those of you, like me, who would fall under the GYPSY category should know that is not “incorrect”. That is exactly how I was taught in high school and I have been using that format my entire life. Currenly 26, been working at a law firm since age 15, never once have I been told that was “incorrect”. Yet we wonder why we are put into this category? Seeing that out of the entire article you point out spacing showed the audience right there that you define the term “GYPSY”. Deluded seems fit for a response like that. I will first hand admit that our generation is exactly like that! May hurt a bit to let the truth sink in. Sorry that I am not sorry!

  • I am with someone who is a teacher. She is now teaching the children that Gen X has created and set loose upon the world. And let me tell you this… the coddling, the fawning, the over protectiveness, the “everyone is a winner, so here is your trophy” –centric parenting. Bringing lunch to the kids everyday. Even one of these was even still breastfeeding. You think Gen Y is bad? You think Boomers were over protective? Oh man, with what Gen X hath-wrought upon this world, I am going to have a hell of a time dealing with these kids when they enter the work force and have to work under me.

    (so maybe this is all a cycle, and maybe we all need to relax)

  • Anonymous

    The dates of this article are actually wrong. Gen X was early 60’s to early 80’s. Gen Y is later. Not to mention the massive generalizations and soap box posturing, all the assumptions of this “article” are just that, assumptions.

    Maybe if the poster had done some actual digging they would discover that the reason why X’s and Y’s are unhappy is because essentially the Boomers fucked the world with their greed and stupidity.

  • Hi!

    When I read about the GYPSY and her feelings of entitlement, it reminded me of some people I’ve come across in the workplace. Perhaps, these people didn’t exist before Generation Y. That I cannot speak to. However, to paint a whole group of people with the same brush is not only unfair but inaccurate. I work at a university and find that a lot of our students are impressive with how hard they work, how strategic they are, and their commitment to service.

  • Anonymous

    Wow, really HuffPost? This deserves to be on the front page? Yet another sneering, self-congratulating exercise in millennial-bashing?

    And then, it has the nerve to say that Lucy’s real problem is not being as concerned with financial success as her parents and not sacrificing enough of her life upon the altar of modern capitalism, completely ignoring how the opportunities for the baby boomer generation are no longer there? I have a sneaking suspicion that this article was written by one of these boomers – notice how it pretty much portrays baby boomers as perfect exemplars of American exceptionalism?

    Oh, and nice little dig at “Insufferable hippies” there. Because anyone who questions the cult of capitalism must be an entitled, lazy child, am I right, oh glorious mid-40s-white-male-businessman? It’s no wonder medical costs in this country are rising, considering that most middle aged white people regularly break their arms continuously patting themselves on the back.

    • Anonymous

      Don’t let an article infuriate you! That’s exactly what the author wanted. How are the opportunities for the baby boomer generation no longer there? I disagree. They are there, maybe not as much as they were for the baby boomer generation, but to say the least they are. The world has just evolved, there are different laws and guidelines that employers have to follow in today’s age. Look up how many employment laws have been enacted since Gen-Y’s timeframe, most of them were developed by these so-called “baby boomers”. Well boomers, although you may be right to some extent you fail to realize that the world is 100% different today and until they realize that (which GEN-Y does understand) then I will just on with my day being as arrogant as ever! To blame it on our parents makes me laugh!

  • Anonymous
  • nailed it… but I’m a little unsettled by the fact that there is no byline… who wrote this?

  • I feel sorry for all the women called Lucy who are Gen Y. (And maybe a little more sorry for any men called Lucy.)

    I like how the article associates trends and puts things into context, it is brilliantly done in my opinion. I think other convergent factors have contributes to Gen Y. Access to information!

    Gen X was the last generation to be raised in a society that had landlines and encyclopedia brittanicas etc. When we wanted to find information we could ask mum & dad, or go to the library. Now, if you want to look something up you can pick up your mobile phone and google it within 5 seconds. I think this ease of use of information has made many Gen Y impatient, and in some cases judgmental of other generations who don’t know the same affinity/access to information and analysis.

  • Massive difference between Gen X (65-84) and Gen Y (85-04). And the author gives way too much credit to the Boomers’ work ethic.

    Gen Y’s characteristic self-delusion is largely an inheritance from the Boomers’ self-declared exceptionalism. In contrast Gen X, though cowed by Boomer numbers and power, are much more cynical in part because of their close proximity to Boomer hypocrisy.

  • Another GenY bash. It was fashionable to bash GenY a few years ago, didn’t think it was still in vogue. There’s now a broad understanding that the GenYs are facing some big challenges, and Boomers (who often do the bashing) are responsible for manufacturing those challenges. Boomers have been amazingly lucky to live & work through a period of sustained growth and economic stability, but overlook that and attribute it to their work ethic, or some other such bunk.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t give a crap what anyone thinks about whether i use 1 space or 2 after a period. I am a baby boomer and can get over any meaningless issues like that. Only special people even make it an issue…Get a grip on reality and MAKE something useful in this world!!!

  • the grass is only greener cos it’s covered in shit

  • Anonymous

    I’m a gypsy who got the flowery unicorn on my lawn straight out of the box with very little effort. I was just extremely lucky. I’m not sure i qualify however, as we were not well off as kids and my parents toiled to give us the best upbringing they could.

  • Clevegal42

    Technically, I guess I’m Gen Y (born 1978). My parents told me that I’m special, but they also taught me the value of a buck and that you should do an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay. I started working the minute I turned 16 and had two jobs in high school. I went to college and grad school. I have a job that I like and I make enough to pay my copious student loans, my living expenses, and save the rest. And before you say I must be making a ton of money, I’ll probably never see a $100k/yr salary in my career at my current employer, so clearly I’m not making a ton of money.

    I work with a bunch of Gen Ys that are exactly what this article describes – a sense of entitlement with nothing to back it up. Anger that they didn’t get a “better” job or a “better” position because they thought they deserved it when they don’t have anything in their history to back that up. They complain about how unfair the job is, when what they really mean is “why aren’t you just giving me everything I ever wanted just because?”

    It’s a pity that the people this is directed to will either not bother to read it, or will read it and say, “That isn’t me – life really is that unfair to me, it isn’t about my over inflated expectations, it’s about my worse than average reality!!!”

  • Anonymous

    I’m a Gen Y who is much more successful than my parents. My education was never valued and I was certainly never told I could be whatever I wanted. I got to where I am through hard work and yet I still feel depressed and unsatisfied. Why? I think because I have had cancer and felt that shock of ‘Am I going to die? Is my life going to be cut short? Will I not see my daughter grow up?’ And I can tell you that during that terrible time while I was kicking cancers arse, I never thought once about all my hours at work, how much money I’ve made, how many things I own. Its society that tells us these things are important…they aren’t. I’m depressed because I know this and I’m still stuck in the rut, being a tax paying robot.

  • Anonymous

    I am a Gen Y’er, born in ’81, and I thought this article was spot-on! I wish I had read this when I was picking out my college major (though I’m not sure it would’ve made a difference to me at the time). I don’t think the article is meant to be offensive. In my opinion, unless you have an overwhelming passion/talent for a less traditional job (and you know what that passion is when you sign up for college), you should choose a career that will at least provide a steady paycheck until you can mature a little and discover what truly fulfills you in life. Also I think what has affected Gen Y is that so many of us were told that college is the only path to success. Not everyone is meant to go to college, and there are many different ways to find success/happiness in life!

  • This is actually very Buddhist

  • Anonymous

    The dates given for Gen-y is a bit wrong.

    Gen Y is seen as born in the 80’s, to 2000 (even as late as 2004 in some countries)

    What does the author class as late 70’s? My wife is born in 1977, and she is not a gen-y !


  • Anonymous

    Its an analysis of exorbitant privilege, not ALL of Gen Y

  • Anonymous

    Make women stay at home, fewer people in the job market, will drive up wages, and women will be happy because they won’t be suffering in cubicle land.

  • Anonymous

    How do you figure you can lump together those born from the late 1970’s to the mid-1990’s??

    I was born in the early 80’s and it’s obvious to me that those born in the 1990’s, heck- late 1980’s even, have nothing in common with those of us born before about 1986 or so. We grew up without cell phones, without the internet, etc. We played outside for entertainment and considered a Nintendo to be a luxury that few kids had.

    Late 1980/s/early 1990’s kids grew up in an entirely different reality as a part of the “information age.” They used the internet and cell phones in elementary schools, for goodness’ sake.

  • I must admit I used to be a lot happier when there wasn’t the wonderland of Facebook, in which everybody is allegedly happy, well succeeded, popular, loaded and currently travelling to a very fancy country.

    I must admit I used to be a lot happier when people didn’t tell me what to do to be happy altogether, when I could pursuit my own happiness no matter if society would endorse that.

    I must admit I used to be a lot happier when there weren’t people advising me to always “follow my passions” as if it were easy and obligatory to have a good life.

    I must admit I used to be a lot happier when “carpe diem” was just a beautiful but unintelligible latin expression that didn’t mean anything to the “happiness hunters”.

    I must admit I used to be a lot happier when happiness was just a personal and pure concept in which only yourself were able to understand and reach it.

    I want to thank to the writer of this article, it really relieved my mind.

  • The see-saw of Expectation-Reality ←→ Social Media-Reality can be balance if one is able to maintain a “dream” but stay truth to oneself and accept the fact that he/she is moving toward the dream, step by step.

    If one starts to lose oneself, no matter how close the dream is, it’s seem light years away.

    Coupled with the current social behavior of shining spotlight at great achievers, without seeing how much hard work they have been toiling create a false image what I coin as a “instant achieved persona”

  • Anonymous

    Gen X’er here. I tell Y kids about life when I was their age, and they look at me like I was Neil Armstrong or something. Minimum wage where I lived was 3.25 and hour. Rent was the same. Car insurance was way more. Food was the SAME COST. No one I knew had health insurance unless they were in the military or had a ‘real’ job. My peers and I had a good time. We worked hard, played hard, and were generally pleasantly surprised not to have died in a fiery apocalypse, which was what WE had been raised to expect. Gen Y kids have been fed a LOT of really, really bad information during the past 20 years or so. I keep waiting for them to get collectively pissed off about how badly they’ve been played with the whole ‘Everyone gets a Trophy’ thing. But then that would require they acknowledge not only that they are not special, smart or savvy, but that they are in fact LESS so than any generation in a long, long time. And admitting that would suck. So, expect more excuses and less performance. Oh and also, they have shown over and over that as a demographic they can be bought off cheap with flattery and shiny things. They are a generation of suckers. I feel bad for them.

  • Anonymous

    I am 25 years old and am part of the generation being talked about in this article. When I was in college I wanted to go into public relations. I even did 2 public relations internships while I was there. However, when I graduated in the midst of the economic crisis, I found that despite the internships under my belt, the few “entry level” jobs available required 2-3 years of experience. I sent my resume out anyways, hoping for the best, and never heard back from anyone.
    I was offered a full time job as a receptionist in a doctors office. Even though it was not my ideal job I took it because I figured it was better than no job at all and took it. Two years down the line I was offered a promotion to become the surgical coordinator. My job is mainly to counsel and advise patients that need to have surgery. The majority of the patients I work with are part of the baby boomer generation. Now don’t get me wrong most of the patients I work with are very pleasant. However, since starting this position I have received a few negative comments about my age and how because of my age I must be very inexperienced and couldn’t possibly know how to help or advise them. I’ve also received received negative comments about my education. I’ve been asked why I have a degree in marketing and not biology/chemistry and was even criticized once because I am not a certified medical assistant (which is not a requirement for the position). I guess in their minds on the job training isn’t good enough.
    WHAT ANGERS ME THE MOST ABOUT THIS ARTICLE is that the baby boomers think that my generation is entitled, that we think we are special, and that we think we could start at the top and don’t need to work our way up there. I started at the bottom and am slowly working my way up the ladder yet the baby boomers are the ones refusing to give me a chance because of my age or the fact that my college degree is unrelated to the field I am working in. How is my generation supposed to get in the workforce when the people with the power are walking around with this kind of mentality ?

  • Anonymous

    It is easy to say that the flaw come from the Y,while it is probably not entirely false, there are other factors to consider.

    – The cost of living went up while the average wage did not follow it. A worker from 1950 could get more from his buck than a worker today.

    -Precarity of employment is the norm today. While you could find a good job in a cie, spend the rest of your working life at the same place and receive your gold watch at your retirement, a worker today would have to go through a lot of jobs in his working life before finding a stable one and even there is no warranty that he is going to work there for the rest of his life.

    -In 1950, when you got a university degree, you were from an exceptionnal class sought after from the employers. Today, a university degree is almost the norm and there is even unemployment in university graduate.

    -The working field is saturated. When I was young, I was told that when I’ll go into the working field, there would be plenty of jobs and opportunity because of the retirement of the boomers, but reality is quite different. The boomers cling to their jobs (for a lot of reasons) and the field is saturated.

    -There is also an exponential increase in debt.

  • yes it’s true. that’s the way how i’m feeling right now. Feeling want to be success super fast ever. But I hardly accept the truth it is uneasy to become that success so fast. And aside from that, the limit to become success is very subjective (there is no limit). So thanks for posting this blog. i will try my best not to think that i’m “special”.

  • 1) I’m no sociologist or historian, but I’m pretty sure our grandparents thought our parents were pretty “special” (queue unicorns and rainbows) too, just like their parents thought they were pretty great. This being said, I do wonder when the phrase “self-esteem” became trendy, and I do feel like I remember it being something I was told in primary school that I needed to have. Maybe the Self-Esteem that was pushed on us as kids in the 80’s/90’s has actually backfired and given us an inflated sense of entitlement?

    2) I do sometimes feel envious of others’ lives as they appear on facebook, but it seems extreme to suggest Generation Y-ers are made continually miserable by their friends’ “crafted” images. I think occasional pangs of envy only make us human… but in general, don’t we like knowing that our friends enjoy their lives?

  • Anonymous

    once we ignore that this article is a patronising and baseless slight on a disadvantaged generation, we still face this huge assumption that the (western) Gen Y world is an unchanging & even playing field in which we have the same opportunities presented to us as our parents. (it ain’t.)

    while ‘happiness = reality – expectations’ is fair as a rough principle for day-to-day living, it’s bullshit to project this on us as if it’s OUR fault that we have high expectations. the reason we have these high expectations is because it’s _reasonable_ to _expect_ that those who benefited from a socially progressive + economically prosperous time might bestow the same privileges to their children.

    but nope, the ladder was kicked and the PR department of Baby Boomer, Inc. only adds insult to injury here by presupposing that we should be rational, calculating machines capable of tackling their fuckups like some mighty sword in the stone. we might’ve been raised by machines, but only because machines care more about our future than they do. fuck your individualism, hippies, because it’s getting us to none of the places that it got you.

    also, fuck you? as if our generation can be instantly characterised by the ‘yuppie’ stereotype, like we’re all gleefully rolling around in our bachelor-pad queen beds, in nothing but our cleanest socks while enjoying our white, liberated sex like you are/were? nope, we’re back in the 1950s, and their heads are back even further. THAT’S what i’ve come to expect.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t think your equation “Happiness = Reality – Expectations” is expressed correctly. There are several ways to express this in more accurate manner using more advanced forms of algebra, calculus, or simply using formula options in MS excel. You could easily create code in Visual Basic that plugs expectations and realities of a certain party and automates the end result of “Happy” or “Unhappy”. I’m sure you could learn these skills yourself, but you’ll probably have to depend on a Gen Y “yuppie” to improve it for you instead. Just some advice based on my observations of your abundant use of MS Paint.

    • Anonymous

      You will find down the road that people who try to over complicate teaching are insecure with themselves. The teachers that are secure with their knowledge and oversimplify are the brilliant among us.

  • Anonymous

    I was recently hospitalized and the first night I listened to the nurse complain about student loan payments. I asked the nurse if you stop payment on your student loans are you giving your RN degree back too? This nurse is in the age group GYPSY and they all want something for nothing. As a older student I made lots of friends with the “young kids” while going to school for 11 years just for an Associate Degree (which we paid cash per quarter and while speaking with one the other day he mentioned that he was filing bankruptcy for the THIRD time. Losing homes, boats,cars and numerous toys over a 15 year period. BUT he is proud that he went scuba diving all over the world on a credit card he never paid the bill. Living in houses and never making a payment. Do they no read the loan agreement that they sign that says they will make payment and on time. Heaven help us Baby Boomers because this age group is going to take care of us in our even older years. For the life of me I can’t see them taking very good care of us like we are our parents.

  • Anonymous

    We’re crippled with student loan, facing a horrible job market, and almost guaranteed to make less than our parents while being one major sickness away from total endemic poverty.

    Fuck you.

  • There are many parts that are wrong with this analysis. Let’s take the years of economic growths, for example. Those years were from the end of WWII to 1970. The 70s saw world wide stagnation, and the 80s had world wide high inflation. In the US there was high unemployment among young people. This stagnant economy continued until the late 90s, which saw a brief period of prosperity between 1996 to 2000.

    From the 1980s forward is the period of time when the income and wealth disparity began to widen. People’s income has remained stagnant or dipped during these years.

    Many boomers thought that they were going to destined for early retirement. It sounds silly today, but looking at covers from financial magazines from the late 90s, and you will see that it was a popular notion. The crash in 2001 followed by 2008 has meant that most Boomers can’t retire because the market erased the wealth that they had gather until that time.

    So the foundation of the analysis, that Boomers raising children during those years had a wonderful ride, is incorrect.

  • It is also popular to blame young people for being unhappy today. It must be some personality vice that they have. But the real reason is simple: the economy.

    No, there are not enough opportunities out there. If there were, we wouldn’t have high unemployment. Many of these kids have a more impressive collection of accomplishments than some people who have lived a full life. Their schools were more competitive. They look for jobs having several internships under their belt. There are simply not enough jobs out there.

    Sure, their expectations of wealth were probably incorrect. But that is the case with most American kids who graduate from college. They expected being able to get a job and pay off their school loans, at the very least. Instead they can’t find jobs, they must take service jobs to somehow pay off their student loans, and they must move back with their parents.

    Regardless of what you expect in life, being unemployed, heavily in debt, living with your parents, and being blamed for your fate is not what anyone wished for themselves.

  • Anonymous

    New generations expect success to be handed to them. Previous generations know success needs to be earned.

    This is the same reason why Gen Yers love superheroes. Superheroes become awesome by accident (granted powers, bitten by radioactive spiders, powered by the light of an alien sun, etc). They expect instant success and reward. They think they are the superheroes of the workforce. “We are awesome, just because!!”

    Previous generation heroes earned it (storming the beaches of Normandy, curing Polio, stepping on the moon). “We don’t think we’re awesome, we just worked hard.”

  • ha ha ha ha, too funny, and true. I alway though I was special, turns out we all do :). LOL. Generation Y problems

  • ks

    This article has some real truths in it, but I see a lot that is still missing from this picture. Consider the fact that if our parents were, in fact, hippies, they would have been teaching us values that are very removed from the worship of money. Simultaneously, they were making money with no problem. A lot of us don’t want much to do with it, but don’t really know how to live without so much of it. Some of us are still buying into our grandparents’ idea that more of it is always better, and the less money you have, the more of a loser you are. I think at least some of us are still conflicted about our values, confused about the role money plays or should play in our lives, and feeling alone in this struggle, which is quite unlike what our parents experienced at our ages.

  • Anonymous

    It is true that some members of our generation have entitlement issues, but it’s also true and fair to say that Gen Y is getting screwed over. Growing up, the messaging and example set from my parents–two people who grew up in the slums and worked for everything they had–was that you would be rewarded if you worked hard. The same message came from my schoolteachers and professors. There was a lot of talk about how our generation had “such great promise and opportunity” because we would be entering the workforce when the Baby Boomers were leaving. Welp, the latter was a lie.

    It turns out that my graduation date fell just a few months after the stock market performed its famed 2008 nosedive, creating one of the worst case scenarios for someone with $40,000 worth of educational debt. I left college fully employable, but had no job prospects whatsoever. Then I started having medical problems. With medical problems came medical debt because I had no insurance because A) my parents were both in their 60s and retired and B) the “26 and Under” rule had not kicked in by then. Great. Soul crushing debt and daily collection calls with no returned calls for positions. Just what I wanted. To pay for all of that, I freelanced for 3.5 years, networked, and worked my ass off to find a job without any vacations or breaks. It took 3.5 years before anyone considered taking a chance on me, and now I’m finally able to do something that your generation has been able to do all along: Rest.

    My peers and I never felt entitled, we just felt screwed over because our mouths were stuffed with false promises and bullshit from previous generations:

    “Go to college and get a degree,” they said. “You’re guaranteed a job if you have a
    college degree.”

    “Your generation is graduating at a time when the Baby Boomers are retiring,” a
    professor said. “There are going to be so many opportunities available for you.”

    Oh, and by the way, I was never given any awards, nor have I ever felt superior to anyone. I have no idea where that messaging came from, but it certainly never happened when/where I grew up.

    Perhaps you ought to consider the aforementioned before you write bunk like this.

    Also see: http://aweinstein.kinja.com/fuck-you-im-gen-y-and-i-dont-feel-special-or-entitl-1333588443

  • Helen Perry

    Love this article and it is spot on true. I see this entitlement amongst many of the young people today. Even when they do get a job they still feel like they are entitled and have no qualms speaking their minds to their superiors. And if that job doesn’t work out they think “there’s another, better job out there for me because I am “specialer” than this shit job” even though they have no skill set. I do understand that it is a tough world out there but ambition and education will always get you one step ahead of everyone else. It’s just common sense, which by the way, is sorely lacking in our society as well, regardless of what alphabetical generation you come from.

  • Love this post ! I really enjoy reading it !
    signed : a french GYPSY

  • Anonymous

    Great article. I have to confess to really screwing my kids up. I have offered them both the option to live with their parents. It’s the least I can do. Honestly.

    Thanks to all the other comments for some good laughs. As I’m sure all the grammar police have noticed I am using two spaces after the . Probably some other screw ups as well.

    Being offended about the term gypsy? I actually laughed out loud.

    For all the special kids out there – don’t despair, there is hope. Just don’t set your expectations so high and you’ll be fine. Getting an alarm clock and working every day will help too (and if you’re unemployed, you should be working 9 – 5 to get a job).

  • Anonymous

    This article is way to generic. I managed many people in this age group, and they were harder working than I ever was at their age.

  • The author needs to check into how offensive the term “gypsy” is to people who are Rroma, or ethnic “gypsies.” It’s ironic that an article that pokes fun at the entitled and privileged would encourage the use of an inappropriate, racist label reserved for a population that is systematically marginalized in many countries…

  • Not that I would agree with all of it but there is some truth about Gen Y or us GYPSY’s…. there is no harm in being wildly ambitious and feeling special from time to time as sometimes in the world of Facebook image crafting it is easier to get lost and daunted , however the top tip that we all miss out on is patience!! Regardless of what generation you are , patience has always paid off.
    We can’t keep differentiating one generation to another and compare which is better than the other. The similarity and truth is every generations end goal is similar=Happiness, every generation has goals the type and intensity differs.

  • Anonymous

    Take that, you righteous childless yoga-at-work-goers. I have children who have needs and make me so happy. And I eat dinner with them every night, no matter what! Schadenfreude, used sparingly and with care, can be very therapeutic.

  • Anonymous

    Whoever likes this piece of crap article which completely misses the point about WHY things are so bad now (college costs up, general cost of living way up, working more hours for flat or less pay, smaller # of jobs due to more international competition) should read this response on Deadspin; http://aweinstein.kinja.com/fuck-you-im-gen-y-and-i-dont-feel-special-or-entitl-1333588443

  • Anonymous

    Ah, another self-indulgent baby boomer projecting his shortcomings on anyone else that comes along.

    I kept waiting for the part of this over-long, information-free story where the author points out that the baby boomers:

    • Hollowed out the economy.

    • Elected a series of treasonous presidents who funded terrorism, violated the Constitution with aplomb, broke unions, and massively attacked the free market with subsidies and giveaways to the rich, all while screwing over the poor by claiming they had to because of “free-market principles.”

    • Increased crime so much that we’re seeing a decrease now that the boomers are finally dying off:


    • Voted in leadership that increased the cost of college by more than an order of magnitude more than what the boomers paid for it.

    • Voted in leadership that simultaneously increased the cost of living for their own children and drove down wages with illegal labor practices and illegally-established pro-investor, anti-democratic treaties (like NAFTA).

    • Created the modern War on Drugs (a.k.a., the war on the poor and minorities).

    And proceeded to do so by deliberately creating an acronym usually used in a racist fashion.

    Actually, that casual racism is pretty important. One notes that the author lumps in every single person in the generation in that group, which is only natural because the term “baby boomer,” if we’re going to be honest, only really count whites among their number. The other ~35% of the U.S. can pound sand. That’s a good thing, too, because as soon as the baby boomers start reveling in their own disgusting sense of self-worth, they make all of their number look terrible. But the upshot is this: all of “generation Y” — a name baby boomers made up because, hey, why let another group of people name themselves? — basically consists of selfish white people, just like the boomers.

    That’s why the racial struggles of the “greatest generation” don’t count. Sure, grandpa is a racist sack of human waste that, by his own religion, should burn in Hell for just half the nasty things he’s said and done to people of other races, but he was alive during the Great Depression, so nothing else counts. This, of course, is more self-indulgence: now the boomers have the best parents ever! If self-indulgence were rocket fuel, the boomers would have launched themselves to Jupiter by now.

    Yes, the author mentions how his victim thinks of herself as special, but does so in such an arrogant manner that one would be forgiven for mistaking this for parody. The author clearly believes that he’s special. And, insofar as his head is further up his own ass than one would think is humanly possible, yes, he is special. But the specialness he attributes to his target, here, is the projection of his own vice.

    All that said, this article is a useful reminder as to why we should be ecstatic that the baby boomers are finally dying off. Sure, the funerals and old folks homes are expensive, but let’s take a page from their playbook: they’ve voted in rigorous “cost cutters” who hoard the wealth of others and cut social spending, so, out of respect for our elders, let us do the same. Cut any subsidies to them and let them pull themselves up by their own bootstraps. If we can avoid the costs of having to keep monstrously destructive individuals like this alive, by the time they’re all dead we might have the resources to finally start cleaning up the wretched mess they’ve made of the world.

  • More than a tiny bit of truth in this and very funny. My advice is slightly different to their conclusion. Don’t ignore other people. Ambition is fine but do what you do best and do what you love, and do it the best way you possibly can, and know that you are special despite setbacks. We are all here for a reason – its no accident you just happen to have this moment of time in this small part of the universe. Use it.

  • Try using facts next time. This is an actual fact-based article that disproves everything you said:


  • geinteeeee
    ja tinha lido sobre isso mas a arte grafica eh incrivel!!!
    AMEIIIII tentar me entender kkkkk

  • Anonymous

    Interesting dilemma: encourage your kids to pursue something practical so they can make enough money to support themselves and a family or let them follow their dreams. (How wonderful when the two intersect!) On one hand you want your children to be stable and prosperous and on the other you want them to suck the marrow from life and fully actualize themselves. I think (and am still thinking this over, so I am not 100% confident in my thought) that as parents we need to arm our kids with information so they can make considered choices. Being a English major is fantastic, you will actually be able to write sentences, paragraphs, perhaps even stories and what you write will likely be readable and enjoyable to your readers and fulfilling for yourself. Ah, but what will it pay? It depends on what you do. If you can persuade people you could make a lot of money in sales. If you can lead people you might make a modest or great income in management. If you want to write books, it is likely to be very challenging. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it, just that you need to be prepared for the potential results and be ready for them – many years of struggle – financially and perhaps financial success later and perhaps not. Compare this to the accounting major, who is more likely to find a stable if not at some point prosperous position. She may love accounting or she may have picked it because she felt compelled to pick something that pays decent wages. If she chose because of the latter, she may be bored to tears and be unfulfilled. Do what you want, do it well, and know that it will have certain benefits and tradeoffs.

  • Stop arguing. It rings the bell of truth and you know it. Some of you bickering berks need to get a life. life’s hard, and short, enjoy it and be thankful for the rewards that your life gives you.

  • Anonymous

    So if happiness is life meeting expectations, I guess people born into slavery and servitude can only be happy, then?

  • Katarina_YYZ

    This is really great. I only wish you hadn’t coined the acronym “GYPSY”. Not because of any “cultural sensitivity” considerations, but because it simply muddles the argument. Should have just stuck with “GenY”. You’re not talking about “gypsies” (or Roma, or whatever) here so why bring it in to the readers’ mind? It’s not quite a mixed metaphor, but something like it.

    There are a few people I’d like to pass this on to (not GenY people; older people struggling to understand ‘kids these days’), but I’m afraid the constant image of “gypsies” (and whatever baggage that word carries for each individual) will keep intruding into their minds even though it is completely irrelevant here.

  • On the other hand, there is no one with a successful career who didn’t believe he was special. Especially for those not special. One would not be motivated enough to do what it takes.

    To accept that you are not special and be happy with that is called wisdom and does not come in your 20s. It’s … not normal.

  • Anonymous

    If you are offended by this article, this article probably describes you perfectly. So just relax and reflect.

  • Maybe I don’t belong here … I’m European and end of BabyBoom and have two wonderful kids who might be GYPSY’s. What strikes me is that most posts are referring to outside factors which might make generationA different from generationB. “It’s not our ‘fault’ (whoever said it was ?) it’s the economy (or something else)”.

    Maybe we forget that the ‘babyboomers’ started their jobs around the time that we had the great oil crisis in the 70ties. Inflation ran up, so did the rates, house prices plunged, I had many a colleague who got stuck with a house he couldn’t sell without extreme loss … yes … looks like now 🙂
    We were, and still are,paying for retirement of our elders who never had to pay for them their whole life …. and we probably will never fully benefit from it ourselves …

    This is not a complaint, just an illustration. Every generation get’s it’s pleasures and it’s burdens.

    It’s how you act, and mostly experience, what you are served that determines how ‘happy’ you find yourselves to be. I believe that is the central message in the original post. And it is absolutely correct.

    Why I believe the post hits the mark for it’s timing at this time is that it appears that a lot of our kids are getting burn-outs before they are 30 … that seems to be something new.

    One might argue that this is because they have to work so hard for such low wages … I don’t know about America … but this is certainly not the case in Holland … most of the burn-outs occur while doing a perfectly applicable and nicely paid job.

    I’m not sure how to the point the original post is, but they obviously hit a nerve.

    As long as people look at their environment to blame their happiness (or lack of it) on … they are never going to be able to do something about it themselves …

    The message is : you(and I) can do a lot ourselves to influence how happy we are about were we are and what we are doing.
    And maybe as an extra : Don’t blame it on the environment, don’t blame it on yourself .. just don’t blame … It is what it is … and yessss your are one fantastic part of it 🙂

  • Anonymous

    So show me a college degree that can be obtained for less than $50,000 and doesn’t require 5+ years of after college experience to start paying off, and then I’ll stop feeling “entitled.”. The economy, especially within the USA, is broken to all hell. If your parents fucked up like mine did and didn’t set aside money for your college education, you’re boned. So my options are work behind a frier for the next 25 years to MAYBE have enough to afford a degree, assuming I can save every penny mind you, or crime. Yeah, I sureeee do feel special.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, every baby boomer was raised to have practical, secure careers. No one studied the liberal or fine arts before Millenials. No one. No one studied journalism. Not anthrology. Nor women’s studies. Millenials invented all that sh!t! It was leaked into our brains from the formula we were fed in infancy. Our loving, practical mothers refused to incovenience their bosses and workplaces with silly requests like time to pump breast milk in privacy.

    Boomers and “the Greatest Generation” were simply smarter and less selfish. That’s why they did not have their jobs exported across the country. It was their selfless, practical ingenuity. Period.

    Generalizations are always true! Especially for entire generations of people!

  • Anonymous

    Seem to have left some people out in your Gen-Y-atribe

    Think hard.

    Its us aging X’ers, silently holding the economy together while you boomers continue to use more than your share, and you Y’ers continue to be the precious little snowflakes you’ve been all your “everyone’s a winner” lives.

    We hold the jobs, we hold the responsibilities, we continue to quietly do the jobs none of you entitled folks will ever consider doing. As usual the narratives skip right over us.

    You’re welcome.

  • You win the 2013 Thomas L. Friedman Journalism Award. “Journalists” who attain this high honor are kindly advised to never publish another piece of writing. Ever again. Thank you.

  • Anonymous

    The Unicorn is puking rainbows!!!!

  • Anonymous

    I wonder if all the problems of Gen Y and others are because so many are loosing their jobs for the people in China, because in China they are so poor, so hard workers, SO MANY and work for so low salaries that no one else can compete with them.
    Perhaps the root cause of the issue is that the world population is increasing all the time, consequently, as happens in any market, when the offer increases the prices come down. And as everyone wants to pay less, just what comes from China sells.
    China was closed to the world when Lucy’s parents were working, which probably assured them well paid jobs.

  • Anonymous

    “The world doesn’t owe you a living.” A phrase I heard often from my G.G. father, and I thought it was complete nonsense, too. Until he died when I was 26 and hadn’t yet come to realize that he was right. A of people are still struggling with that uncomfortable reality and many will never adapt. Some of their comments can be seen above.

  • Anonymous

    I agree with the main column…..im an I imigrant born in early 70’s in a comunist country. Moved to Canada in my early 20’s on my own. I had nothing to lose….worked 2-3 jobs at times while going to college. I had no help no suport….in contrary, I had to help my family back home…..18 years later I own a succesfull business (over 30 employees)and 3 properties (real estate)……yes, i do think Im special. But only because I was proven that by all the people I encounter on my journey. It is a combination of brains, charisma, looks……but most importantly HARD WORK……REALLY HARD WORK.As a business owner on my late 30’s… I have a huge problem witth Y generation work etichs. …SPECIALLY THE Y GENERATION born in this country….I know I will offend some of you but really this is based on curent, today’s reality circumstances.There is work, so much work…for all of you that complain there isnt…you just have to work ur way up…WITH LOTS OF WORK. Hmmmm…I can go on and on…but my basic message is if you think ur special….prove it, show the world why and do it NOW…DO NOT SIT AROUND and WAIT FOR THINGS TO HAPPEN….Its possible. If I did it…anyone can.And remember:GOALS R DREAMS WITH DEADLINES.

  • Anonymous

    Okay, a few things here. Let’s stop this whole “Gypsy” crap, as I’m 100% convinced that term is seen as offensive to more than one person, in or out of the context in which you’re using it.

    Second, this is unrealistic in the extreme. I neglects to take into account the feudal system of economic slavery upon which our society is propped. Things aren’t worse for me because reality doesn’t match my expectation. Things are worse for me because no one will hire me. On the rare occasion they do hire, they don’t pay a living wage, never mind what it will take to pay for my education.

  • Anonymous

    although i like your last three points, i must agree with dude who accidentally posted his comment to the north korea post (agree with him more than you anyway) liked your blog at first. now i think you are scum. it is up to you to redeem yourself.

  • Anonymous

    As a generation Y-er let me tell you what I’m excited about. You see, currently we don’t represent a significant portion of the voting population. Despite what this blog author might try to make you believe it has very little to do with voter participation rates. Even if voting participation rates had remained constant from the year 1972 to 2008 voters aged 18-34 lost 6% of their voting power. Why? Because in that time frame voters aged 35+ gained 50 million new voters while 18-34 gained only 10 million. The baby boomers have enjoyed political rule for quite some time and have gotten so used to it they can’t imagine a world where they don’t make the rules. One might say they’ve become entitled to this political reign they’ve enjoyed for so long.

    So let me tell you what I’m excited about: I’m excited for the day when you all lose that political power. You know that social security money you had planned on? Well we can’t afford it anymore. Let’s see how you scream “me, me, me” when the money you claim to be entitled to stops flowing. I can’t wait to see you all at 70 and 80 years old homeless on the streets begging for my spare change as I walk by. I’ll print out pages from this blog and pass them out. Hope they keep you warm at night you spoiled fucks.

  • Very interesting and almost spot-on, other than I challenge the initial equation.

    Surely Happiness = Expectations – Reality

    There equation Happiness = Reality – Expectations means we are only destined to be happy if we think are everything is going to be rubbish.

    I’d rather be a depressed GYPSY! I’m not any more special than anyone else, but that doesn’t mean I’m any worse either. I’ll encourage our kids to keep on dreaming. Noone ever became great by believing they were destined for failure.

  • So your country is exceptional, and you are special. Riiiight. No wonder you guys take so many antidepressants. You would need a whole shitload of drugs to cope with having been lied to that much.

  • Anonymous

    This is full of holes. Gen y’s live in an entirely different world than their parents did! Technology, the economy, the access to information. The problem is that some people think Gen Y’s are apathetic, when in reality they are paving the way to something new. Living in a world where the pathways of the past are no longer available to tread and then calling them “yuppies” because they find it challenging to create new pathways is ridiculous. Feeling like they are “entitled” is a mentality of something else, not a product of the generation. That is an attitude that is taught. Mostly Gen Y’s just want to get an education, fully accepting the fact that their loans are insane, the BA is decreasing in value, and entire cooperation structures are changing. Every generation has unique challenges just as each has unique strengths, and yes I said “Unique.”

  • Anonymous

    This is corporate propaganda bullshit. Don’t let the man beat you down.

  • Anonymous

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  • Anonymous

    BLAME BLAME BLAME. If we all took responsibility for our own behaviour instead of making excuses by when we were born and if we all respected ourselves and others for who we are and not what we do or what we have it would be a far better world. Sadly somewhere along the way we have all lost sight of what is important in this life.

  • Is happinez really reality minus expectations? There is only 1 reality that we cannot change much, then setting expectations < = 0 is the only thing we can do to become happy? Or may we hope to change reality? O, btw I am generation X, experiencing ever declining reality, but still very happy because having a negative expectation, until I drop dead. I wonder if there will be a generation after generation Z. I suppose not.

  • Anonymous

    You Gypsies are being raised to be slaves for the New World Order…Why would you need jobs?

  • This author won’t sign his or her name. Is full of him or herself. Is projecting his or her own arrogance onto a generation of sincere hard working young people struggling to survive in a world that he or she fk’d up and won’t take responsibility, but rather sits in smug judgement. This is a pathetic out of touch piece, by an arrogant, judgmental wannabe loser, with nothing better to do than hide behind anonymity spouting nonsense.

  • Fairly accurate but misses the important element of the incredibly terrible economy that we’ve experienced the last 12+ years. Even those willing to work hard aren’t seeing the same results that their parents saw.

  • Anonymous

    Blah blah blah said the generation that racked up 9 trillion dollars in debt because they couldn’t bare to not have all those social safety nets AND nice hefty tax cuts for themselves. Talk about having your cake and eating it too, then blaming the next generation for not being happy with the crumbs that are left.

    How about we stop with the cyclical generational blame game? It only lets those who financially benefit from keeping different generations disenfranchised rack up the cash in those offshore accounts.

  • dom Kaos

    So it’s okay to use ethnic group names as sociological acronyms now, is it? In that case, I’m going to start using the phrase “NEGRO” as shorthand for “Newly-Educated Generation of Ranch Owners”. I’m sure nobody will object.

  • Anonymous

    What…there isn’t enough rancor and egotism these days, so we have to find another way to divide, ridicule, stereotype, and disparage entire generations (yet again pitting one group of people against another)?

    And why do we allow ourselves to be divided so easily?

    There are some really talented young people today engaged in some amazing projects (across the disciplines).

    One might even wonder if there are some who intentionally want to quash their potential to have a meaningful impact; or to lead the way to making intelligent and relevant change. This generation has been bemoaned by the media practically from the moment it left the womb(I remember hearing pundits complaining about kindergarteners getting ribbons -and predicting these children’s future demise. Then they talk about cell phones and the negative impact of technology). Now they simply call on their listener’s confirmation bias.

    The truth is that this generation is packed with innovators, leaders, entrepreneurs, artists, teachers, farmers, defenders, and people in many fields — who are socially responsible, creative, intelligent, collaborative, talented, and technically savvy individuals.


    • Anonymous

      See – another one who thinks EVERYONE can be a leader. Who is going to do the work???

  • Anonymous

    This is a stereotype – not all boomers are anywhere near as monetarily “successful” as their parents, or anywhere near as selling out and accepting the national greedy standard. And of course, not all Gen -Y’s are this delusional, some are really down to earth kind people. But in general – I have seen this phenomenon a LOT! This generation was all told that they should be the leaders! But you can’t have all leaders. It leaves no one left to do the work. I saw a man give a presentation to 6th graders about how they all would be leaders in their careers. It was sad to see someone intentionally creating this delusion. I have had to work with a lot of people in this generation, who also were not taught English, writing, punctuation, and – most importantly – were not taught ETHICS. It is really sad… but I’m trying to help them.

  • Anonymous

    The GYPSYs are not unhappy. What they see is that their future is harder and more uncertain than it is now.

    As such they seek gratification NOW.

    This is only rational as delayed gratification will simply result in no gratification. I say to all those under forty : GO ON THE ONCE IN A LIFETIME HOLIDAY. BUY THAT JET SKI. GET AS MUCH AS YOU CAN NOW.

    After all if you can not get it now, you never will.

    Live fast,live now, there will never be a better time than NOW.

  • Smart article, but the end is a bit of a letdown: “You can become special…” Huh? The desire to be “special” is the problem underlying the whole mess that you have described above. Some really smart people have pointed out that this springs from something called “ego-preservation”, which is the best tool we have at our disposal for denying death. Narcissism, entitlement, delusional thinking, mimetic desire, envy, rivalry and the rest are linked to this fundamental problem, and so to the entire human race, not just to GYPSYs. They happen to be the clearest expression of it at the present time, but that is all they are: A magnifying glass on the rest of us.

    If Lucy follows your advice, remains wildly ambitious, ignores everyone else and eventually “becomes special”, she has only extended her wake-up call somewhat. In the bigger scheme of things she will still be a nobody, having gained little more than a nicely decorated cell on death-row. The real solution has obviously to do with something deeper than what you have suggested. Nonetheless, an extremely insightful article.

  • Anonymous

    I believe every generation has a certain number of those who believe they are entitled. It just seems to grow with every generation and getting even worse since over 51% of people in the US are supported by the remaining 49%. BTW my daughter, an extremely successful Gen-Y’er, sent this to me and completely agrees with it.

  • Anonymous

    this is really dumb.

  • I love all this conversation. So I wrote a post about it. http://itsallintheblanket.wordpress.com/2013/09/23/why-you-are-unhappy/

  • Anonymous

    2008 threw a wrench in a lot of peoples plans not just Gen Yers but some Boomers and Gen Xers on the low end of the scale as well. I’m a Gen Yer and yes now is not a great time for us struggling to find a better job or any job at this point. My Boomer parents didn’t say I was special all the time, but my teachers in elementary and junior high did a lot and most were Boomers and were parents themselves. They instilled the “your special” and “your can be anything you want” all the time.
    I also don’t think that most of the Boomers didn’t realize that they help destroy the middle class since the 80’s, some of them were a part of the Occupy Wall Street protests too.

  • Anonymous

    I’m a GenXer so I’m caught between this inter-generational sniping.

    My sympathies actually go to the GenY types, much more than the Boomers, the older brothers and sisters of my friends growing up. 1st of all, the Boomers and us Xers had the fabulous luxury of time to “find ourselves” throughout our 20s. We could backpack thru Europe, Asia, Latin America or goof off with crappy dead-head jobs (I worked as a graphic designer and illustrator – it was the most fun I ever had in an office filled with alcoholics and drug addicts!), quit what ever we were doing, re-invent ourselves and hit the rest button up to nearly our mid 30s. This crowd, the Yers and even more tragically, the Millennials, are simply boned. Higher Ed is WAY more expensive per credit hour than for us, Student Loans are bowling balls hung round their necks in the Mile Swim Race and the competition to enter the job market has never been fiercer. Kids (nearly children) today are forced to make decisions that will chart the rest of their lives (in INK, not pencil) at the same time that they can legally drink. Choose a bad major or degree, saddle up with huge debt and they’ll find themselves trapped for decades. There are precious fewer do-overs for them than for my cohort who got college degrees in the mid ’80s. It was even better for those who came earlier.

    I’m not talking about those people who are 4 or 5 standard deviations from the norm; those folks will ALWAYS succeed and more power to them. I am much more concerned about the lower 98% of us. There should be plenty of stop offs between Insanely Successful and Wretched. I’m not much of a fan of All or Nothing.

  • Anonymous

    You smell like dog buns.

  • sabine

    I really wish people would stop pigeonholing a bunch of people or even worse – a whole generation. Dear author how do you know how I grew up or my parents? Why are you so f… condescending about how people live and think? Go and get a hobby and stop writing klischee shit about a generation when you just know a handfull of people.

  • Great read. Thank you so much…

  • Anonymous

    Lucy should suck it up. I’m very unhealthy officially since 20 from a birth defect and failed surgery on ’02 when I was 16. At 20 I realized I may not live after the next 5 years, but even after successful surgeries I’m in severe pain. People in poorer places who are healthy are happy just with family and friends. Sure you may not have a career that you were told by the baby boomers but do people know how lucky they are to just be alive and healthy.

  • Great post! Totally agree. It’s very similar in tone to an article I wrote on LinkedIn last week: The Economics of Happiness (http://linkd.in/15SmDKR ). There, I lay out 9 economic arguments why people are unhappy – and why happiness will not be found at work. There’s also a part two in the works on where to look for happiness…

  • Anonymous
  • Here’s the thing. We are all special in our own ways. We all have talents that we were born with – and I don’t see why we are letting a ‘career path’ determine our life. A career is a career. I think what is wrong with not just our generation, but society as a whole is that we put too much emphasis on career. Sure work is important, I mean it’s where we spend the majority of our day – but what about family, friends, and simply being a good person. If we base all our importance on financial gain, material things, ect. then that is pretty sad.

    We’re in a weak economy sure. It’s hard than our parent’s generation. Sure I’ll give you that too. But life is not easy. They are bad days they are good days – EVERY SINGLE PERSON, successful or not has gone through that. Nobody goes through life unscared. Just because it’s bad now doesn’t mean it won’t flip around. So instead of hanging our heads feeling sorry for ourselves, we should get off the internet and ask our selves, what have I done to make this day a bit better for someone else?

    If we didn’t have struggle to get to where we want to be – it would be boring. There would be no climb, no hey I “overcame this and this” or I “changed this and this” to finally make it to where I want to be. I mean look at celebrities whom get everything they want at a young age – majority of them have drug issues…the top isn’t always so glamorous. Appreciate your life and those in it.

    Meanwhile don’t stop dreaming, don’t stop believing. You’ll get to where you need to go. Just keep persisting.

  • Anonymous

    “…entitlement perceptions are often based on an unfounded sense of superiority and deservingness. They’ve been led to believe, perhaps through overzealous self-esteem building exercises in their youth, that they are somehow special but often lack any real justification for this belief.”

    Yep. And the vast majority of comments here illustrate this point to perfection.

  • Anonymous

    Wait so she comes up with this crazy garbage 2 times a week?! She should work for the new york t— oh wait i just remembered… The only part of this that didnt “hurt my brain” to read, was the quote from so-an-so from the university of whatever. lol At two times a week, if well all ban together, and urge her to learn more adjectives; so she can structure her sentences in tighter more linear and to the point pieces. she too will achieve her special dream, of a fulfilling career, that is one hundred percent the effect of her parenting.

  • Such a sad point of view on Millenials. It all depends on which side you are looking at. I don’t agree with this article, starting with the statement at the beginning saying that happiness is equal to reality – expectations. Depends on the kind of expectations… if they’re only money and power it will be of course like that. Better watch this video to understand our generation: “All work and all play” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=faYL6b4-vqQ
    Enjoy it.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for writing this. It is something I knew deep down but needed to see it in print. It applies to my life less in career and more in relationships. I was told I was special. I believed it. And I grew up watching 80’s romance. Patrick Dempsey were going to ride off in the sunset on a lawn mower. I deserve a handsome, sexy, exceptional, well endowed and generous lover, good provider willing to see it my way. Reality – expectations= Very unhappy Lucy. We’re told follow your heart, if you’re not happy, leave. You are awesome and special and you deserve the very best.

  • http://www.upworthy.com/the-best-response-for-when-anyone-calls-young-people-lazy-today

    This video sums up my response to this very flawed article. I am Gen Y. I went to college. I worked my but off to get the best scholarships so I could do that. And STILL had to pull out loans to afford it. Today my loan debt is almost HALF of what other Gen Y’s is. I work 40+ hours a week, no vacation, health or dental insurance. I’ve had a job since I was 13. I have continued to crawl slowly up the ladder from 2.00 dollars and hour to 13 an hour. And I work with women who are well into their 50’s and still doing the same entry level job as me. So tell me exactly how that image is supposed to give me hope about moving further up the ladder. Especially since the entry level jobs are being snatched up by older people because they’ve been let go at other jobs. I do not own a smart phone, I do not have cable. I still can’t afford to live on my own or be financially independent because of my loan debt. But you’re totally right, we are a selfish unrealistic generation. I mean clearly I am lazy. Clearly it is unrealistic for me to want to have a happy, secure life. Be able to help my mom with her bills as opposed to continuing to be a burden. Or even one day be able to support my own family. Our apologies.

  • Anonymous

    Really interesting article, and given the level of responses, has touched an itchy matter. For reference, I was born in 1981, so I’m not really sure if I would qualify as late Gen X, or early Gen Y. In any case, never mind. I think it is true that there is something about the “special one” attitude about this new generation. In particular, it is really notorious how this generation lacks the concept of “delayed gratification”: as a general rule, it is a we-want-it-all-and-we-want-it-now crew (I think media has something to do with it).

    On the other hand, it is true that the market is more difficult than -lets say, in the 70s, or even in the 90s-, that the educational costs have skyrocketed and that education does no longer take you that far per se. Housing is also more expensive. And the burden of the social security system will probably impact this generation more than any other generation before. So yes, some may feel short changed.

    Guess what? You still have plenty of opportunities available. Maybe you will have to review a little bit your expectations, and learn that it will take some time to get where you want, but with hard work and luck you can still make a good living – maybe not as easily as before, but you can anyway do it.

  • Anonymous

    This article lacked credibility from the start when it labeled Gen Y as starting in the mid 1970s. Most respected sociologists and social psychologists put the generational “dividing line” between 1980-1985, not 1975 and beyond. There’s a reason for that – the same reason they’re called “millennials” – because a hallmark of Gen Y is coming of age at the turn of, or just after, the new millennium.

  • Anonymous

    George Carlin said it best when he described the Boomers back in 1996 as “whiny, narcissistic, self-indulgent people, with a simple philosophy: ‘Give Me IT! It’s Mine!, Give Me That! It’s Mine!'”. I can’t help but notice that members of Gen Y have the EXACT SAME philosophy only at a much younger age, as evidenced by many of the comments here. I guess the term “Echo Boomers” – also a label for members of Gen Y – could imply a double meaning.

    “We’re angry because we’re not getting what we were promised!” What, pray tell, were you supposedly promised, and by whom? I was just graduating high school at the start of the Clinton Administration and I was more politically aware/savvy than most so I can tell you that there were never any political “promises” of a job for every person and a chicken in every pot. The Clinton Administration – along with a bipartisan Congress – did expand college opportunities, but that was never a “promise” of a guaranteed education, let alone a promise of guaranteed employment.

    In reality, no one of any generation has been promised ANYTHING in regards to a livelihood or education. These supposed “promises” are your misinterpretations of being coddled by misguided parents and teachers who repeatedly claimed that you could do anything you wanted to, be anything you wanted to be, and were utterly unique. If you believe you were “promised” these things, you failed to critically examine what you were being told.

    “We were lied to about the importance of college!” Again, you weren’t lied to, you misinterpreted the claims and failed to critically examine them. You went to college because you bought into the whole “you’re special, follow your dreams” rhetoric without considering reality. If you put yourself in six figure debt for a degree with minimal job prospects, that’s on YOU because you failed to do your due diligence.

    Also, your generation isn’t the first to be shoved towards college. Gen X is. Look at the rapid rise of the profit-driven educational model and you’ll see that it started in the late 1970s, early 1980s. I remember when some respected public colleges in California were tuition-free for ALL California residents. That changed in the early years of the Reagan Administration as colleges started “expanding” their programs and the entire educational-industrial complex began pushing the concept of college down all students’ throats. Regardless, the onus is on you to determine the legitimatcy of college for your future plans; Don’t just go because you have people patting you on the head telling you that’s what you are “supposed” to do.

    “We’re all special because we’re all unique.” Your DNA might be unique but you, as an individual, are not. You may think your skill set is unique but consider this: with 7 billion people on the planet, if only one-half of one percent of people on the planet share your skills, you’re just one of 35 MILLION people. Your accolades aren’t unique, either. I’m an Eagle Scout; in 2012, 57,976 fellow Boy Scouts became Eagle Scouts. Between the time I earned Eagle Scout and now, over three quarters of a million Scouts have also become Eagles. Thousands graduate from high school every year with a diploma and thousands graduate from college with a degree. Millions of us have the same skill sets as you, whether it be in computers, politics, mathematics, engineering, literature, fine arts, or anything else. None of this makes you unique or special and it certainly doesn’t make you special enough to leapfrog into the real world. In other words, I don’t expect anyone to give a damn that I’m an Eagle Scout with multiple degrees, what matters is how I use those experiences to make myself stand out to employers.

  • Anonymous

    Oh hey: http://www.upworthy.com/the-best-response-for-when-anyone-calls-young-people-lazy-today

    (If the point wasn’t stressed enough, we are SO SORRY. Ugh, we are a lazy bunch of unicorns, aren’t we. Let’s just get our shit together already…)

  • This article is very negative at best and puts a whole generation of people down at once. What some people don’t realize is the old notions of working hard for a company for twenty years and moving up the ladder are slowly coming to an end. You better believe that you are special and be willing to prove it in each new task you undertake or you’ll be going nowhere fast. Working for someone else’s goals is outdated and leaves you with no control of your future or your potential. Only old people still believe in the paradigm of loyal employees getting rewarded by their corporate masters.

  • I think it’s really challenging being a young person. Neverthless, I am under constant pressure from myself and my family to do well! “Your cousin Jeremy has a Masters degree and is married. Why can’t you give us that?” my parents ask.

  • I’m what they call a Gypsy but I’m very happy even thought I don’t have the career that I like to have. I think it’s the same way about my friends, we don’t have what we wanted but we still work on getting it. Like everybody I am sometimes sad, I nerver heard someone calling special, I rather say that my sadness comes from my mother who is from the hippie gen, she’s the most unsatisfied person I know. I feel like most of the hippie gen are the unsatisfied one, they are mainly unsatisfied by our generation.

  • Anonymous

    Dear Author,

    You got Gen X and Gen Y dates mixed up. Oops!

  • this essay is bunch of unicornshit.

  • Anonymous

    That describes my problems throughout the first three years after school pretty well! I was arrogant and my effort didn’t fit my high expectations. I must have seemed an idiot. My co-workers, my fellow students and my family brought me back to earth. Only the latter chose a sensitive approach.Thank you very much for your entertaining analysis!

  • John Basham

    Yeah I totally agree in some senses. Expectations are the burdens we impose on ourselves. I think the author is somewhat flippant here as it’s not simply some minor issue of yuppie malaise, but a bigger problem of mental illness. Previously it was obvious why one was unhappy, you worked 6 days a week 12 hours a day down a coal mine and you were stuck in loveless marriages with 11 children set to die at 42. If you felt unhappy there wasn’t really much to analyse. Now we have all the material wealth we could hope for, and yet in our societies we’re still suffering high degrees of depression.

    This is a consequence of our upbringing. We were led to believe that we could and should all be extraordinary. Now we’re grown up that’s not inspiring anymore, it’s crushing and we don’t have any excuses for why we haven’t got there yet. We’re well off and we can have anything we want but we want everything.

    On a personal note, I’ve been sufferer of depression for many years and lately I’ve been using something called Spruce (http://www.spruceapp.net?mtu=cos) to help me deal with the issues I’ve faced in my own life. It’s been quite a relief to forgive myself for just being average. I’m certainly not all the way there yet, but it’s given me a certain degree of freedom, and I can enjoy the things I do more.

  • John Basham

    Yeah I totally agree in some senses. Expectations are the burdens we impose on ourselves. I think the author is somewhat flippant here as it’s not simply some minor issue of yuppie malaise, but a bigger problem of mental illness. Previously it was obvious why one was unhappy, you worked 6 days a week 12 hours a day down a coal mine and you were stuck in loveless marriages with 11 children set to die at 42. If you felt unhappy there wasn’t really much to analyse. Now we have all the material wealth we could hope for, and yet in our societies we’re still suffering high degrees of depression.

    This is a consequence of our upbringing. We were led to believe that we could and should all be extraordinary. Now we’re grown up that’s not inspiring anymore, it’s crushing and we don’t have any excuses for why we haven’t got there yet. We’re well off and we can have anything we want but we want everything.

    On a personal note, I’ve been sufferer of depression for many years and lately I’ve been using something called Spruce (http://www.spruceapp.net) to help me deal with the issues I’ve faced in my own life. It’s been quite a relief to forgive myself for just being average. I’m certainly not all the way there yet, but it’s given me a certain degree of freedom, and I can enjoy the things I do more.

  • Anonymous

    Lucy will remain feeling miserable and unhappy because their values ​​are based on an infinite system of consumption and “new goals” that the media brings to her. It is the “culture of unhappiness”. When you think you’ve got everything you wanted, having and being, the system creates something new for you to “differentiate” yoursef of the others to make you “special”. This system, needs peolple to be unhappy, to try to find out their happiness some where, usally consuming something. The basic access to goods has been achived by Lucy’s parents, so, what would she is looking for? a better car, better clothes? The unhappiness is somewhere else. Her fustration maight be based on this theory, but her happiness, definatly isn’t.

  • lol, what an over generalization! I see the point it was trying to make, but still to generalize at this extreme is pretty ignorant stance from the writer and i would classify their writings as ‘generational racism’ in my opinion. There’s nothing wrong with wanting and striving for a better life, ALL generations do it, not just Y. To make some sort of claim that Gen Y are all ‘yuppies’ , ‘delusional’ and have this ‘over expectation due to them thinking themselves so special’ and not working to make it happen themselves is just wrong in so many ways. I think the writer was looking at rainbows and unicorns themselves!

  • Anonymous

    Stay wildly ambitious. LOL. Ambition can be great when its personal. When its imposed to others, could be dangerous. These days we have young traders wildly ambitious who are deciding price of rice and crop and stuff on the big market… Maybe they are not GYPSY I dont know, but damn they make the world suffer… Careful with ambition ^^
    Happiness = Reality – Expectations. Hahaha. Is there One reality ? There is and there is not. If you can see The Reality, then you are God or something almighty, and you no longer care about happiness and GYPSY unhappiness… Maan everybody looks reality through filters. Call them fears, education, expectations, life level and so. Equation is not that simple. But it sounds quite cool cuz soooo simple… it sounds gypsy in fact ^^
    Youre theory is quite interresting in some ways, but let consider another one for that unhapiness syndrom : our parents from the 40’s and 50’s came out from nothing. After the mid-end 60’s trip, they literrally built an enitre world from nothing. They wanted a better comfort than the older generation. They worked hard and succeeded in a way. Now they transmitted their ambition and dreams to us… but the model is outdated. We have reached something… we are beyond something, we live in a overcommunicated world, but have lost contact with the source, the nature. We have lost our ways. For a lot of us, this has no more sense. But still it is quite hard to invent the future. We are feeling helpless. This is one of a source of the unhappiness syndrom of the (still) young generation of the 80’s.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t think you’re fair, in fact many GYPSYs truly are “special”… 😉

  • Anonymous

    More generalized BS. Person ‘x’ was born during ‘this’ time frame so they must be or act like ‘that’. Person ‘x’ must be seeking one of the preset criteria for success in life or they will fail. Minority rules in our world and the few people belonging to this generation who act as GYPSYs misrepresent or distort the whole.
    The whole, i.e those massive amounts of individuals born between the late 1970s and the mid-1990s vary greatly. Their happiness is dictated by a great many things and they also define their success very VERY differently. I know of friends who hold a passion for travel and some who dream to explore nothing but the small country they live within. They own nothing but the bikes they use for transport and have no desire for relationships, children, property etc. They feel that they are at the top of your ‘success/years’ graph and have done it in little time. Another, more simplistic and common example is the person who desires a simple job and a good time on the weekend. I know of many of these people. When you ask them of their future career plans they shrug and say that they are happy where they are. Their first job will be their last and the friends they made there at work are the people they watch television with on the weekend. They ‘expect’ no more and are happy.
    Others who I will not detail here ‘expect’ other things a,b,c,d,e,f,g etc. Their happiness is not defined solely by a ‘House’, ‘Career’, ‘Marriage’ and perhaps a ‘Baby’.
    At the end of the day, defining a population as yuppies and unhappy just because they were born in a certain time period, SO they must be and act a certain way is pretty idiotic. People are defined by more than a few variables and that’s why we aren’t all the same. When a similarity is spotted between sub populations certain people like to jump on it like they have found the cure to all disease in the known universe when all they have discovered is that some people act the same or do things similarly. Woah.. Big Deal !

  • Anonymous

    Bravo! Well-written and true. The 3 advice is good. But I would rename it. Because “Ignore everyone else” is the wrong head line and not a good motto for a social animal at all. When I am talking with friends about that topic then I rather say: Stop comparing yourself with other people. Because comparison is a proper way to make yourself unhappy.

  • Leila has somewhat of a point. This article, though extremely fascinating, only covers a short range of people. Quoting from her comment: “What about GYPSYs with boomer parents born in the 1940’s from other countries, who saw their parents struggle and never meet their expectations?”

    I grew up with parents born in the mid 1970’s. While still classified as GYPSY’s their parents pushed them to work till they wanted to give up, then work some more.

    All this did was put us in a financially tight corner with nowhere for me to go but study and work hard to get out.

    I don’t see myself as “special”, but rather as different. As in the sense that I’m not like the person beside me, so why should that persons affairs bother me.

    I obtain my goals by working my ass off for it.
    And thats all that matters. No one elses opinion. Because that is all an opinion. Someone elses views and thoughts on a specific subject. It has no value to me if I let it bother me.

  • Anonymous

    You do an amazing job of glossing over in one sentence the parents’ role in creating entitled, “I’m special” Gen Yers. Gen Y kids didn’t just create on their own the thinking that they can do whatever they want, they were told that repeatedly by their parents, coddled, given trophies, etc. And yet this nice long story about Lucy places all the blame at her (and her Gen Y peers’) feet, instead of sharing it among the parents generation, which because they had to overcome a lot to succeed, didn’t want their kids to have to work as hard as they did for it, and yet are surprised and angry when their kids aren’t working as hard as they did.

  • Anonymous

    I am possibly a “gipsy”. I am 30, single,living with parents and with great dreams of great career.
    But wait! Yes, I have been told I am special! ALL the time Even Now! People tell me (and accieved, special people as they are) after speaking to them: you are special! I am a future fan of yours (do you want to see a CV of the person who told me this??) And hey how do I come out of this dead zone? Work?-yes, I am not afraid of it, difficulties (god I had many), stable life-is easy life and that is not for me!
    By the way anyone crazy enough here who want to start a business together? 😉

  • Nothing new here. Prince Charles noted this in 2004 – and got an earful from our then politicians – See http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/talking_point/4024115.stm

  • This article has been destroying my brain ever since I read it yesterday and I have to speak up against what I think is some pretty horrible advice given at the end. The article made really valid arguments for why gen y kids feel the way the feel and it also hit the nail on the head in so many ways but I really want to talk specifically about the 2nd piece of advice the article gives.

    2) Stop thinking that you’re special. The fact is, right now, you’re not special. You’re another completely inexperienced young person who doesn’t have all that much to offer yet. You can become special by working really hard for a long time.
    Firstly, you are special just because you are a gen y kid. Let me ask you this, if 10 gen xers are in a room arguing over a question and 3 gen yers get on their phones and google the answer to the question they seek then take a screenshot, put that screenshot in their google drive then display the answer on a projector on the wall, are any of the three gen yers special in particular? No not really but that’s not what matters.

    When your high school math teachers told us, “You can’t use a calculator on this test because OBVIOUSLY you aren’t going to carry a calculator with you all the time every day.” They were wrong. My smartphone can beast through any math problem like a ti-89 which makes gen y kids 1.4 million times better at math than the average gen xer at our age, and we aren’t any smarter.

    The way we communicate is unlike anything the human race has ever seen. We can find the answers to over half the questions someone could hypothetically ask in the amount of time it takes to send a text. “Oh but Ryan, its not just gen y kids that have these tools, obviously older people can use any tool a younger person can use.” True, but there is a difference between living into the information age and being born in it. While gen xers are banging violently on their blackberry keys and giving all they have to manage their facebook accounts, our fingers are dancing eloquently across the surface of our touchscreen interface effortlessly managing more media and information than any generation ever to exist.
    “You can become special by working really hard for a long time.”

    No, we are fundamentally different than our parents who worked as hard as they could to achieve because as a whole we would rather find the most simple and direct solution for any given problem. So don’t be disappointed when you expect us to slave away on a project for months and we respond with there’s an app for that.

    My analogy is this: when Lucy was a kid her parents kept a unicorn tied up in the backyard and told her “One day when you get older you can ride this unicorn around and its gonna be great.” When Lucy went out to apply for her first real job the unicorn was let lose into the wild. The advice this article is gives is “Just because that unicorn has always been in your backyard, doesn’t mean you are worthy of riding it right away. Make it your life’s work to slowly tracking it and things will work out in the long run.” My advice to you is to chase that thing down the second it is cut loose and ride it like a rainbow Ferrari into the sunset.
    You ARE special and different because you were born to be creative and resourceful in ways that are truly a mystery to people who still own sets of encyclopedias. Don’t ever forget that you are special, in fact let it be the engine that drives you through hard times.

    Finally, the article states the definition of special is “better, greater, or otherwise different from what is usual” and follows up this definition by saying, “According to this definition, most people are not special—otherwise “special” wouldn’t mean anything.”You may have a hard time differentiating yourself from your gen y colleagues but believe this, as a whole we are most definitely better, greater AND otherwise different from what is usual.

    • Master255

      My biggest problem with everything you said is that Generation Y will just google the answer. That is the biggest issue today as it is. Too many of us rely on technology to be our bank of knowledge rather than actually learning it ourselves and when it fails us (and it has and will) you are up the creek without a paddle. I told my college math teacher what would happen if we lost technology (the calculator) and she simply replied “don’t say that.” She’s afraid of what would happen to us without it. We need to learn things and keep that valuable knowledge rather than throwing it away hoping google can answer all of our test answers for us. I’d rather deserve to ride that freaking Unicorn rather than ride it without the knowledge necessary and destroy it. The information age has not created a practical generation with common sense but young people who have no common sense or practical understanding about their lives (you can blame alot of that on the parents and society telling parents to literally stop actualy discipling their children and all this “your a winner even if your last” crap). I have dealt many of the next generation coming who have these issues even worse. I’m not saying the generation before us was without flaws (God knows they had many). I am saying we just need to grow up. Become masters of the technology we have and not letting it master us. We would rather look up the newest trend and pair of Jordans or games coming out rather than look up how to become debt free and ways teach ourselves discipline when it comes to making it in this hard life. That’s technology for you.

  • I especially like the unicorn bar graph. If I’m honest with myself, I definitely know the inner feeling of thinking I deserve some fairy tale life. And I know the pains of the constant inner comparison to everyone on Facebook. I got to this article based on your other piece in the Huff Post about asinine Facebook behavior, which was spot on. And as a father now, I see the temptation to fill my kids with lines like “follow your dreams” and “you deserve the best.” The best part of this article is that it’s just damn funny–whether you agree or not–and the second best is the real advice at the end. But what would you suggest for the next generation? As a public school teacher, I’m facing this problem with high school kids right now. Everybody seems to want to be a star, not work very much unless it’s fun, and live in a mansion (including my kids). How can we encourage kids to see through all this and find the core meaning of being alive?

  • Anonymous

    “The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers.”

  • Anonymous

    First, I am captivated by the art and presentation. I also applaud the formula about happiness, that is genius.

    Like some of the comments, I do think that obvious things like a seismic shift in education prices (even since we got out) combined with steadily declining earning power that peaked somewhere about 1970 (so I’m told) does mean life is really different for 30-somethings than it used to be.

    Today I visited with one of our employees who works full time and sells plasma to make ends meet. Yes she has 4 kids, and yes she’s had some bad luck, but still I found myself thinking: it seems impossible that somebody could have worked full time job with benefits in 1960 and still be poor….. Today’s reality does seem different, and I wonder how much of that might not make it onto this particular analysis. I also know some young doctors who are crippled with debt–medical doctors. Two really different kinds of friends, but I worry they bear witness to a similar truth. Finally, while I hesitate to generalize and entire generation– I think the boomers are getting off light. I love my own parents, and at 41 am technically too old to be gen Y anyway, but really I have to ask: what the hell happened there? The boomers really wrecked things: A materialistic, self-oriented, shallow, vapid, consumerist tidal wave pummeled our society for the better part of 20 years, it seems unfair to blame the victims who grew up in that moral desert.

    Still, I love this piece if for no other reason than that is truly delightful, witty, and smart. The unicorn barfing a rainbow is funny as hell.

    I will forward it to many, and at the same time pray we all go slower in making our minds certain about things–esp as regards large groups of people! Thanks for the treat. Honestly I don’t know how I feel about the real issues here–but I really did like the piece, thanks a lot.

  • [rant_mode] As a loud and proud baby boomer who is not embarrassed by my “insufferable hippy years” I think the author misses a number of pertinent points here. The “Greatest Generation” (FU for inventing this cliche Tom Brokaw) didn’t make boomers successful by instilling them with the principles of hard work and education; it did so by paying for their educations, and by building (with _their_ parents) the infrastructure that boomers eventually inherited.

    Boomers went to public schools that were new, clean, well-staffed and well-funded, they attended great public universities that were all but free, they didn’t have to spend their middle years taking care of their parents because of well funded pensions, Social Security and Medicare — benefits that were also passed along to boomers, BTW.

    When boomers stopped being insufferable hippies, they began complaining about paying the taxes that paid for all of the infrastructure they benefitted from, and began voting for politicians that would cut their taxes.

    The author’s GYPSYS, whatever their expectations, was born into a world where college costs rise exponentially and a freaking bachelor’s degree saddles you with several annual salaries worth of loans at usury rates, where economic collapses occur every decade, where two professional incomes plus a large credit line plus bubble-level home equity is required to live a middle-class life, where income inequality can only be compared to the Gilded Age, where their grandparent’s infrastructure is actively crumbling, and where the company you work for feels less loyalty to you than it does to its corporate logo.

    So, the greatest generation complained about their kids, but paid for the world they grew up in. The boomers greedily refused to pay to maintain this world for their kids, and complain that the problem is their kid’s overly high expectations… [/rant_mode]

    • Allen

      I was about to post a similar response but you pretty well nailed it.

  • Excellent article! I think it is very true that our generation needs to understand that in order to be succesfull you have to start somewhere. You can’t rise to the top without time and effort. In this day and age you need to work hard and not be eluded by failure, then success will follow.

  • Foolish parents spoil their children and reap what they sowed.

  • Anonymous

    When will Americans realize the key to happiness and success is helping people who need help, and that the love of money is the root of all evil?

    • Anonymous

      If everyone lived a simple humble life, the world would be a more loving, peaceful place. Too bad there’s always a handful of greedy heartless people who think they’re special and deserve more than everyone else.

    • PapaBR

      Your concept of happiness is severely limited.

  • Six

    This article is ridiculous. Our country (and the world, apparently) is being thrown into the shitter by people older, ego driven people. Look at the achievements of Gen-Y ambition… an explosion of human innovation. Entitled attitudes don’t win in the marketplace. You have to be tough, and willing to get your teeth kicked in over, and over, and over again. I have no degree, no debt, and make over $500K a year. If you don’t like the fact that someone half your age is twice as competent as you, get out there and do something about it.

  • Anonymous

    Well, in typical fashion, Gen X has been totally ignored in this thesis. We were raised to have lower expectations, merely by the experiences that molded our psyches. While our older siblings, the Baby Boomers, had the entire world cater to them (new games and toys, programming aimed directly at them, new schools built for them…) we got the hand-me-downs. We got the reruns, the nostalgia, the retro everything. Schools were closing for us. Public services like free post-secondary education, welfare, home ownership incentives, etc., were slashed. Ours was the first generation in the 20th Century that was told we wouldn’t do as well as our parents (or even our older siblings). We inherited a service economy, one in which job security was nonexistent. We were the first since the Great Depression to learn to live without guaranteed healthcare.

    Gen X and the Millennials (whom are referred to in this article as Gen Y) would be much more happy, IMO, had we been taught about the state of the world. If we carried forward the mantle that the Baby Boomers had abandoned. While “insufferable hippies” eventually sold out and embraced the “greed is good” mantra, they did, in their youth, use their power to change the world for the better. They single-handedly changed university policy to stop prohibiting free speech on campus. They worked to end discrimination on the basis of color or gender. Though they didn’t actually end the war, they did rally around that issue and brought the horrors of Vietnam to the mainstream. Those are just a few examples.

    However, once they “grew up” (remember, they used to chant, “never trust anyone over 30,” and then proved that point), they focused on having it all: a high-paying career and perfect nuclear family. This is the agenda that seems to have been passed down to the Millennials. Remember, Gen X was irrelevant, due to our meager numbers [http://bit.ly/1djeu3S], but the Millennials have the numbers to dramatically change the state of things. I wrote a piece [http://on.fb.me/1djeGA8] about this three years ago. But because they kept being told, over and over, that it’s too late to save the world, Millennials took a decidedly nihilist approach to the world (I mean, look at the hipster phenomenon).

    I guess the message that each of us is special can lead us to believe that we, as an individual, are more deserving of happiness than others (thereby we’re miserable because it turns out we’re not) leads us to be dissatisfied might be a contributing factor to this generation’s disaffection, I place the blame much more squarely on the message that we are not a part of our community. The lesson those of us who grew up in the suburbs learned was that it’s normal to be completely disconnected from our neighbors–the people who live mere feet from us, whom we witness (but don’t actually see) walking from their homes to their cars and back just about every day. The idea that our educations, our careers, our social lives take precedence over our community–that’s what causes us discontent.

    As an aside, to the question, “Do you feel you are generally superior to your coworkers/classmates/etc., and if so, why?” I answer “No. While I am incredibly talented in many areas, there are skills that my peers excel in which I struggle. For instance, though I’d like to be a stage performer, I lack the drive and confidence to be a success in that arena. But as an organizer, a writer, a planner [whatever talents are relevant to the job I’m applying for], I am more qualified than many of my colleagues.”

  • I thought we were all unhappy because of staged terrorism, drug war is a civil war, rapid inflation, unaffordable college, unaffordable health care. I think Lucy demands rightly that broken systems be fixed. Everyone has a right to be special; life is very special. Realistic employment expectations, yes, but denied basic happiness at the expense of an economic imposition…no. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Some change embarks our generation beyond the scope of your wit.

  • Anonymous

    The text is very interesting and seems to describe well some of the cases in which are most of the people who identify themselves with the Y generation profile.

    But …
    Studies of this type are usually commissioned by institutions very interested in the proper functioning of an economic model that depends exactly on : 1 ) the ambitions of people ( to compete with each other reducing the costs of contracting their services / work hours); 2) that they do not feel special ( when they are feeling very good, it generates a big problem for the big companies because it is more difficult to find professionals willing to do what they’re told and, instead , insist on doing what they prefer to do); 3) the lack of knowledge about the other people in society ( it is not economically viable for the maintainers of the current system that its operators realize that other people can live happily without having to kill themselves by low wages and without having the opportunity to perform their activities with greater freedom) .

    It is essential to think that we are all special, and the result will be a leveling up … when everyone feel really special , even to the point of not having to live a life based on an inflated image of himself to try to catch up with the others (who may also inflate their self image too) , then the word “special” ceases to have meaning! Or, the word “normal (regular)” will be replaced by the word “special”… when we live in a society that does not depend on wild and unfair competition among people; that does not accept producing “marginals” to justify the word “special”, in current patterns; and does not encourage us ignoring about other people life (the opposite: shouldn’t we be encouraged to know ourselves better as a society in order to try to respect and tolerate more each other?) … then the word “special” will not make sense any more… it will be the regular, the normal… and we will live in a fair and egalitarian society.

    Of course the text is very interesting , but it is also clear that there is a concern embedded in it in order to warn the Y Yuppies that they are harming the functioning of the current “society ” (actually they seemed to mean “Economy” )…

    Nothing prevents Yuppies to continue to pursue their dream of being “special” in the traditional meaning of the term, detached from the rest of society with garden, flowers and unicorns spewing rainbows… but be aware … as fewer and fewer people are willing to face higher working hours without freedom of choice or autonomy should charge more for increasingly being overwhelmed by the system proposed by large corporations and their subsidiaries (governments?)… and that’s what seems to scare the great economic institutions, some hired professors, researchers and universities… There may not be sufficient specialized people to operate a system that is not yet fully automated and computerized – because people are out there trying to be special in the new term of the word, with less money and more personal fulfillment – sometimes frustrated because they could not pay their bills – but happy for doing what they like – and this is perhaps one of the most revolutionary attitudes that the world has ever seen. Maybe even bigger than postulated by Marx , Bakunin and other thinkers of diverse hues and ideologies… because what is happening now occurs more organically, making the task difficult for his opponents who wants to disqualify, defame or attack it…

  • Anonymous

    Maybe it is just a high fever that turns into a convulsion, in agony and that culminates in the reestablishment of the traditional model or in a collapse of the current model generating something unpredictable… but there will be resistance, because it goes against the avoiding the unpredictable: something that defenders of the current system – administrators and planners – fights every day… It will not be easy … probably there will be increase of poverty (especially if people who feel very special keeps most of the wealth in their hands)… there will be also the reduction of the increasing, or decreasing of the economy – as seen in parts of Europe and other Western countries (where many people are abandoning the system), and certainly the poorest will suffer more if all this logic remains as it is. If you do not get used to a simpler life without luxuries, without letting go a goal that includes a minimum common dignity and comfort for everyone, the result tends to be the increase of extreme actions and reactions that can be performed by any of the involved parties. (as Russell used to say) In the end, maybe not much about the world we know shall remain… the rest of the universe will continue to expand, new stars may arise from the accumulation of energy while some other may collapse into some black hole… without any concern for the desires and wishes of different groups – special or otherwise – of which humans once longed for.

  • Anonymous

    Lol… GYPSY and proud… The only exception is that those of us that DO succeed don’t talk about it for not wanting to hurt the others’ feelings… (Is that another GYPSY trait?). While I’m on the topic *Inhales*… Arts is not a real degree!! *Exhales* (Been wanting to say that for years :)).

    But see, the thing is; this whole topic of conversation is a very first world problem. I have travelled relatively extensively we haven’t got a shit show on how some people live. Think about this: If you are reading this, then chances are very high, that you get to enjoy weekends… and also get to go home after a relatively short (8-10 hours) working day. You may also get annual leave, the internet, THE ABILITY TO GET A STUDENT LOAN IN THE FIRST PLACE and free healthcare (Unless you’re unlucky enough to live in America) so LUCKY YOU! The whole of the “First world” are GYPSYs after their own fashion. None of us compares to the developing world for dedication, hard work and (A lot of the time) pure motivation to succeed. 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year peddling crap to overpaid foreigners with a sense of entitlement would give me the shits. But they do it cause they have to, so get over yourself.

    The world revolves around me, and from my point of view, I am very aware that I am super lucky. I have a truly kind and clever fiancée, a fulfilling career (With Unicorns shitting rainbows), and I am super conscious that the only thing keeping me ahead of the pack is my determination to be better and continuously improve.


  • The millenialls voted themselves our of a job and in some cases into a lesser job. Period.

  • Anonymous

    Even though I think this is a really funny piece.. I must say, I’m a little offended, since I was born in 1981 and clearly a GYPSY. Let me tell you though, I’ve worked a job since I was 15 and studied hard in college in order to get a degree to start my career. I’ve continued to work hard and am still working hard. I do NOT feel entitled to ‘the best of the best’, but I get recognition and respect for my hard work, which makes me happy to be where I’m at. Maybe I’m the exception (yeah, I’m special still! giggle!) to the rule, but I feel that this GYPSY might be more applicable for age-groups a little younger than mine… As in, most of the kids that are growing up right now, little princess this and amazing boy that… It is depended on the parents and it’s up to the parents to instill to their kids that you have to work hard to get respect and recognition, that being able to pay the bills on time can make you happy and that yes, sometimes good things will happen to good people… and sometimes you’ll be passed over by a colleague for a promotion because they kiss the bosses a.., or maybe they just worked harder and they deserved it. Happy is a state that you’ll find yourselve in when life is good on multiple levels, not just work. If that’s the case, that’s a little sad…

  • Generation X are the people born from about 1978 to 1982. Generation Y is people born after 1982.

  • This could not be more incorrect. First of all, “Gen Y” is insulting. It’s like saying we aren’t even worthy of getting our own generational name, we’ll just be the next iteration of the last one (which messed a lot of things up, I might add). We’re Millennials.
    Second, who says you’re bad at everything at 22? That assumes you’ve graduated college a year ago, if that. There are plenty of 22-year-olders who have already been in the workplace for 5 or more years. Of course, this number, 22, is outdated. We’re staying in school longer and at later ages because THERE IS NO WORK.
    This is my third point. Where do you get off with this “buckle-down and be a grunt” mentality? Do you mean minimum wage jobs, which our parents and their parents said were beneath them and which won’t pay the bills nowadays? Or do you mean office jobs, which just plain aren’t there? The rate of un- and under-employed kids coming out of college is extremely high and has been since 2008. We don’t affect the numbers because we NEVER HAD A JOB TO BEGIN WITH, so we don’t count. The economy is “recovering” really means that there are more part-time jobs at lower pay with no benefits and fewer actual careers for anyone who isn’t already established.
    You want to know why the Millennials are not happy? It’s A) because of misconceptions like these that paint us as all lackadaisical layabouts with an entitlement complex and B) we are starting off life with MASSIVE debt, NO way to pay it off, very few programs to help us, NO trust in the government programs that are there (such as social security), nothing in savings or retirement (so we’re playing catch-up), and no faith that our degrees will actually help us in any way, shape, or form. THAT is why we are “unhappy.”
    As a Millennial and stay-at-home dad, I would say this is not unhappiness, but righteous anger.

    • Josh

      There are jobs. If you get certified in welding and move to North Dakota, you can make good money. If you don’t have certain medical conditions you can join the military, they can even get you through school debt free. You can apprentice as a plumber/electrician/other trade work, for a while, and then make decent money. If the only thing you’re willing to do is an office job, then you might be out of luck. Also, if you go to a community college or state university, or went to the-college-you-didn’t-really-want-to-go-to-but-they-offered-the-best-scholarship, then you don’t have to accumulate massive amounts of debt.

  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous

    This phenomenon also affects Generation X.

  • Anonymous

    Great article, all you need to do is add an iPhone 5 and pair of designer jeans to the Gen Y stick figure who is complaining they cant pay their bills or find a job and you are spot on!

  • Anonymous

    “Depression Era grandparents were obsessed with economic security and raised her parents to build practical, secure careers. They wanted her parents’ careers to have greener grass than their own, and Lucy’s parents were brought up to envision a prosperous and stable career for themselves.”

    This articles seems to gloss over the civil rights movements and social activism of the late baby-boom generation while they were in the equivalent period of their life-cycle as the GYPSY’s are now. They weren’t ‘happy’ and content, they felt the had an entitlement to social equality. They made efforts to effect that, and around the 1980s they progressively started to feel they had achieved their goals.

    GYPSY’s have social goals revolving around the epistemological basis of work and capital. Late boomer’s may not understand it, in much the same way their parents did not understand their own efforts toward change. In the grand scheme of things, 20 years from now GYPSYs will be posting on web sites about how the proceeding generation is totally screwed up too.

    This article is redundant as it simple illustrates that previous generations do not understand later generations.

  • Anonymous

    Very simplistic and does not even cover the kids who are taught to be good, honest, decent people. Children of parents who continue to work hard. When the kids know their parent can not take off work to be with them since they don’t have school, they learn value in a work ethic. They learn responsibility. They learn something other than self-interest. They don’t have to wait to find a career to determine their self-worth and be happy. “Because wait until the world sees how amazing I am” sounds like something a junior narcisist would say. They are already happy within themselves for doing their best in everything they do. This GYPSY thing seems very egocentric and while may explain some children of this age, it most certainly does not explain all.

  • Anonymous

    best read ever. explains my ex to a T. stop being an arrogant gypsy…you’re not special. get to work!

  • This video about the generations BBoom, X and Y adds to this nicely:

  • Anonymous

    Nothing to do with boomers growing up in times of growing equality, while gen y grew up in times of increasing inequality?

    Yes, it does kind of piss me off that my previous landlord could afford multiple properties from the proceeds of selling pirated tapes in London in the 70’s / 80’s, yet as an educated knowledge worker on an above average wage, I could barely afford the crappiest flat there.

    I guess I must be wildly ambitious like the article suggests.

  • Anonymous

    I’m a Gen X bloke and I like the Baby Boomers lots, especially their music and youthful nature….

    But I’m pretty annoyed by the state of things now. We’re all so tied up in eco crap and health and safety regulations that we can barely move. Just doing a simple task takes so much longer now due to all this stuff. Everyone is having to cover their butt to avoid being sued. No wonder developing economies are forging ahead as they are free from much of this. Is it really progress? I blame the hippies…;-)

  • Anonymous

    All the blame and hate this article spurs and people who indulge in it makes me sad.

  • Anonymous

    An entire article all about me and how unique and special I am…so glad everyone else is able to see it 🙂

  • Thank you for your unicorns, grass, and the ugly flowers. Really painted the picture and clarified a lot for me and many of my friends. I wanted to let you know that you made some really good points… except I actually am one of the few special ones. Thus, I feel somewhat unaddressed by your otherwise awesome post. You asked, “Do you feel you are generally superior to your coworkers/classmates/etc., and if so, why?” And then you addressed the candidate that struggled with the “why” part. But what about people who don’t struggle with the “why” part, for people who are unbalancedly talented and snobbish, like me? For example, it only takes me 2 tries to draw a normal looking head circle. Ok, so unbalancedly isn’t a word. But you know what I mean.

  • Anonymous

    I would let you know how I really feel about this article, but I was born after 1980 and before 2000, so I’m too lazy. Time to go play XBOX and wait for mommy to make me hotpockets.

  • Anonymous

    Excellent piece of writing! Spot on and an eye opener! Thanks

  • Anonymous

    dont worry about the gen y x or q…..its just a ruse so you DONT blame the systems/people thjat have made it so hard….we are all getting shafted…..waaaake up for farks sake

  • The interior of Don Quijote is spacious and simple, using a lot of yellow paint, brickwork wallpaper and dark wooden furniture, giving a earthier and grounded feeling. This creates a very homely style of dining which is what the restaurant wants to convey Food Marketing Consultants.

  • There’s another point which ads to our (yes I’m one of the above described people) frustrations. You said “you can do ANYTHING you want!”, you failed to mentioned the bit about “pick one.” … our world has far more OPTIONS than our parents, we can go to almost any place in the world and learn or do almost anything we want, including nothing at all!

    But having so much CHOICE leads to paralyzing fear of making the WRONG choice!

    And similarly to the taunting mentioned above, everyone tells us their choice was the best they ever made, even if (and probably) they secretly long they’d made our choice!

    Its also a lot easier for us to spend more time being selfish. 30 IS the new 20. Our parents were married and having kids in their early 20s. We spend our whole 20s travelling, raving and complaining. Then we’re 30 and time hasn’t actually stood still! Panic time! Clocks are ticking and couples are settling. Suddenly we’ve done far more than our parents ever did, but have far less to show for it!

  • Anonymous

    I may have been born in 1984, but this term “GYPSY” does not apply to me. The reality is, every new generation is going to have some smoke blown up their behinds leading them to believe that they are more entitled to better things than the generation before them. I have never been one to buy into this type of thinking though. I have always believed that if you want something out of life, be it happiness or wealth, you need to work hard to get it. The phrase “nothing is free” is no more true today than it has been in the past. Beyond all of this, all I see when I go to different websites is how Generation “so and so” is better than Gen Y, or How Gen Y is ruining something. I’m tired of being lumped in with a bunch of self-righteous, egotistical, unrealistic group of people who have no sense of what hard work is. If you take this as me being anti-social, well, you’re right. I’m part of a group that makes up the 0.45% of the American population that has carried the burden of multiple wars and multiple deployments. Don’t lump me in with the rest of those entitled, spoiled little brats.

  • I agree with most of this, I just have one question “Generation Y, the generation born between the late 1970s and the mid 1990s” this would suggest that the average Gen “Y”er is between 18 and 40 years… and the article seems aimed at the lower bracket (18-25 years). Also, those of us born in the 80’s (at least) grew up being told we were Generation “X” …. no one talks about Generation “X” anymore and no one told us we were being absorbed into Gen “Y”….

  • Anonymous

    This is perfectly stated!!!

  • Anonymous

    A thought: Maybe you don’t want a fulfilling career – you just want a fulfilling job. So no climbing up the professional ladder in terms of status, money, responsibilities, power etc. but just a regular job where you are not bored and do something worthwhile that fits your personality, gifts and interests. You don’t want to be special, you just want to be yourself.
    I think this thought might change the arguments in the article a little bit.
    And: I don’t think it is wrong to pursue something fulfilling as long as you have patience and are also pleased if you have something less fulfilling in the meantime. As sombody told me: When you are playing darts, what do you aim at? Well, you aim at the middle, at 100% so to say. Do you think you will hit the middle? No, but you try anyway, and try and try again. You might get better and closer every time you practice – with each new job, project, task etc.

  • Generalizations are always wrong.

  • I knew it, I knew it, I always knew it!!! I pronunced it yesturday and now I read it clearly and detailed. Nice article…and pushes me down:D

  • Anonymous

    This post is crap. Our generation is not unhappy because we don’t have good jobs or career. We are unhappy because we have to live in a small overpriced flats where you can pay a mortgage for a whole life for a studio even when you have a decent job (like £35k in London). Just for an explanation: the house near London is £225k in advert (2 bed terraced), the same house was sold for £77k in 1997. The mean salary in 1999-00 was £19,600 (can’t find older data), and in 2012-13 was £29,900. Other examples: 3 bed flat in 2nd zone in London, now offered for £290k, but sold in 1997 for 52k. Or 2 bedroom flat sold £157k (already quite expensive I think), but now offered £275k. Do you still think we are a lazy generation?

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  • Kareles

    Interesting view point, WaitButWhy. Thanks for writing! I think you have just explained a phenomenon I have noticed this past year in college. It seems my peers cannot handle a critique from a professor that doesn’t like their project. The “gypsy” response is angry and disrespectful. I find it greatly appalling and was initially quite shocked.

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  • Gen Y Yuppie
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  • Happy Being Delusional

    Has any demographic in the history of the world experienced such wild abundance and instantaneous opportunity as ours? The answer – NO! Well, there you have it. We really are special. The economic “decline” we’re in is nothing compared to how people in foreign countries have lived for centuries. The economic success of our parent’s Boomer generation was leveraged on the disenfranchisement of those other cultures. The “bubble of delusion” the author talks about is just the remnants of imperialism and racism left over from the period of Western conquest and domination. I’m happy that my Gen-Y peers are letting the bubble of Western superiority burst. I do consider myself special, part of the first generation to admit that I care about community and sustainability more than saving my own skin at the expense of others. According to this author’s assessment, my desire for a fulfilling career will leave me unhappy, and by the standards of my parents, it would. Too bad many Gen-Y “yuppies” have abandoned those standards. Some people just don’t get it. WE MAY BE DELUSIONAL, ARROGANT, IDIOTS, BUT WE ARE GENUINLEY HAPPY! I would never, in a million years, trade my era for a past era. I love my generation and I love my world. When you’re done being jealous, you can go – have a nice day! ( :

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  • Giulia Blocal

    Thank you for this analysis, you saved me years of Therapy! 🙂
    What you write is sadly so true, I hope to lower my expectations and start being happy!

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  • Annoyed person

    Great observation!! My husband and I deal with young adults and its soo sad and freaking annoying that most or better yet all of their “issues” stem from them having the entitlement mentality. Sometimes i wanna smack them but then when we deal with the parents, you wanna double-slap them as well for spoiling their kids!

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  • Neil

    Over-generalized confirmation bias.

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  • Alberto

    Brilliant. really.
    You should also talk about the generational GAP between boomers and Y generation…parents scared about sons spending all day on internet and using smartphones, etc…This is a moment in history where most of the young people literally can’t talk with their parents. There’s no communication…


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  • nora
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  • Exekiel

    This is an absurd and inaccurate article. This ignores the economics of the situation throughout. The cost of living is risen exponentially, and decent, stable jobs are impossible to find because job security evaporated during the past 25 years, wages have stagnated. Even if people born in the 80s, 90s work substantially harder for longer than the previous generations, they get less in return.

    The career path of modern highly trained individuals is slower and has a lower peak than it did for previous generations, even if our expectations were lower than our parents (which, due to the economic downturn and years of economic stagnation, high unemployment, and flat wages since 1998, is a reasonable expectation that many people share), they would be disappointed. Even the most blunt and shitty expectations haven’t been met.

    On top of that, the investment to get such a career is higher than ever. While somebody could have paid for college tuition and the cost of living working part time in the 1980s, today you can’t even pay college tuition with 2 full time jobs. Many, if not most, who have invested in finding good, stable, fulfilling careers since the mid 90s have put in far more than previous generations. The new generations have had to work harder, take on more debt, and do more to achieve these careers. All the while getting far less return with far slower promotions.

    The author of this article is out of touch, ignorant, blatantly and eagerly ignoring the realities that modern people live with. They are the making the same complaints of every generation for the past two thousand years, all of whom wrote and complained about young people. The author needs to reconnect with their younger self and take time to understand and comprehend the conditions people faced when they were young and the conditions faced now. Until they have done so, they are an asshole.

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  • Anonymous

    So, Baby Boomers
    1) create the expectations and 2) create the system (education, corp structure, etc).

    Now, Gen X/Y (Late 70’s = Gen X not Y) are
    1) upset they haven’t met the expectations and 2) pissed off the system is messed up.

    And, Baby Boomers
    spend their golden years complaining that Gen Y/Xs are upset/pissed off and tell them to shut up because they had it sooo good


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  • J. Vennett

    Lucy’s parents are described as graduating from being “insufferable hippies”. Let’s see…hippies wanted peace, love, honesty and equality for all people. That sounds like another “insufferable hippy” named Jesus.

    • mysticaltyger

      As Shakespeare wrote “The road to hell is paved with good intentions”. That sums up the hippies.

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  • Wayne

    This is a very interesting article that manages to blame shift our entire generations generalized lack of commitment and motivation to our parents and the media. Well done. This seems like it was written by someone very “special”.

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  • Gen X

    Get your Millennia’s right moron! Baby boomers gave birth to Gen X dick head!

  • RR

    there are some real gems of ideas in the article and the collection of thoughts – given that everyone’s main purpose or wants is to be HAPPY in a general way, this article shows how things have changed over the 3 generations we are all used to – however the ideas are very AMERICAN and western – probably some similar trends are there in the other societies and continents – and what is considered WANTS and needs may be grossly different and heavily debated – Overall this is decent work – and makes people think about the possibilities by introducing some new ways to look at things – and yo people stop fighting and arguing over your own situation and prejudices – just read, listen to your thoughts and move on – NO one is SPECIAL

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  • Objectivist

    May you be forgotten you second-hander.

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  • ancient_advice

    Here’s an interesting quote from Aristotle:

    They [Young People] have exalted notions, because they have not been humbled by life or learned its necessary limitations; moreover, their hopeful disposition makes them think themselves equal to great things — and that means having exalted notions. They would always rather do noble deeds than useful ones: Their lives are regulated more by moral feeling than by reasoning — all their mistakes are in the direction of doing things excessively and vehemently. They overdo everything — they love too much, hate too much, and the same with everything else.

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  • real name

    Gen Y would include veterans of foreign wars and the founder of Facebook. I’m not sure what good your sarcasm and patronizing advice is to them, much less to anyone. I would bet 2 unicorns vomiting rainbows that whoever wrote this is a gen y baby or not far off, but a clever capitalist no less.

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  • seed

    If you are going to write an article at least do some homework. Why did you include Generation X in with the millennials? Don’t associate my generation with the “Me! Me! Me!” entitlement generation. My generation was and is nothing like the whiny “everything is hard” generation that is Gen Y and Gen z.

    1927-1945 – Silent Generation or Traditionalists/The Greatest Generation

    1946-1964 – Baby Boomers

    1965-1983 – Gen X or the Busters

    1984- 2002 – Gen Y or the Millennials

    2003- Current Gen Z or the Digital Generation

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  • Wait No Email?

    I never comment on blogs but this is by far the best page I have read on the internet in a long long time and it resonates with the way I think. Thank you 🙂

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  • Nic

    “You can become special by working really hard for a long time.”

    Bullshit. Being special doesn’t equal working hard. It’s “being” and not “doing”. In fact, everyone can be special if they live with passion and try to be the best person they possibly can. This looks quite a bit different for everyone.

    I’m shocked about the message of this article. I guess most of us are more unconfident and uncertain than ever – not because we were told that we’re special, but because we WEREN’T.

    You can’t stress out enough how special everyone really is … everyone in a different way, because “being special” isn’t the same as building a career.

    If everyone knew how wonderful they really were, the world would be a better place. For sure!

    • Josh

      Exhibit A, everybody…

    • PinkyAndNoBrain

      To be fair, don’t you think learning what your passion is and how to live it out is hard work? I agree that the whole “bootstraps” mentality is just dumb, but “work,” just like being special, can look different for different people. (For example, my STEM-inclined siblings are baffled at how much literature I have to read for school, but to me that work, while hard, is the not insurmountable impossibility it is to them. At the same time, I don’t know how they survive in their jobs without dying of stress or boredom.)

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  • Anonymous

    ITT white folk at least 4 generations removed from immigration.

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  • Anonymous

    I think this blog has made it. My math teacher has this whole post printed out on the classroom wall…. I live in rural Australia 🙂

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  • Maria Maryse

    And there goes the auther’s point proven. Shut up everyone. You are not SPECIAL! Stay humble and wise. A still tongue keeps a wise head.

    • Anonymous

      Well said. This is good advice!

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  • G Man

    Great read stuff right here! Though you forgot to include several groups under “Taunting”.

    – The BB Gen (handful of super braggers) itself
    (the irritating uncle and auntie taunts at family gatherings and gossip sessions)

    – The Transition Gen (bwt BB & GYPSY) who inherited the best handed down while having the over inflated self worth of the GYPSY
    (these folks are in most senior positions now by chronological order and they contribute to a significant amount of the taunts. Most well known for “I did it back in the day, why can’t you”)

  • sychedelix

    Really nice post x)

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  • Becky

    Howdy! This post couldn’t be written much better!

    Going through this article reminds me of my previous roommate!

    He always kept talking about this. I most certainly will forward this post to him.
    Fairly certain he will have a very good read.
    Thanks for sharing!

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  • Beavis

    Gen Y, your music sucks

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  • Anonymous

    This has to be the most patronizing load of BS I’ve ever read! FACT!

    • Josh

      Actually, not a “FACT!” It is an opinion. So…

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  • Kevin

    Hello there! This post could not be written any better! Looking through this article reminds me of my previous roommate! He continually kept talking about this. I most certainly will send this information to him. Fairly certain he will have a very good read. I appreciate you for sharing!

  • Charley

    I’m not that much of a online reader to be honest but your blogs really nice, keep it up! I’ll go ahead and bookmark your website to come back later. Many thanks

  • Beverly

    Hmm is anyone else encountering problems with the pictures on this blog loading? I’m trying to figure out if its a problem on my end or if it’s the blog. Any feed-back would be greatly appreciated.

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  • zina (yes…real name and NOT hippies!)

    Stop insulting Gypsies with this garbage. Gypsies have been an intelligent and resourceful people since thier beginning – actually taking CARE of our families and making a difference in a positive manner in many generations of civilization! Spoiled little sh**s have no reason to be whining that their lives haven’t been perfectly handed to them…GenY are NOT Gypsies – it’s an insult to Gypsies! Our American generations are dumbing down every cycle of life…so be it. The smart ones are going back to reality & then these small-minded generalizationists like yourself are all going to cry and scramble when the sh** hits the fan and blame your woes on the government your parents and society instead of pulling your head out and looking at the real world the way it is NOW.
    don’t mean to sound “grr” – but GRR! And yes – I am a descendant of Czech Gypsies…much more intelligent in the 1700s than today!

    • Boxman

      Pfft… that must be why your ethnicity is most noted for stealing, murder and organized crime.

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  • Nameless Shoe Salesman

    As jobs and careers become more and more specialized, mind numbing, and useless in itself (outside of the great corporate machine), as workplace become more unbearable and backstabbing, young and not so young people expect to fulfill themselves in every way imaginary through careers generating all that worthless junk around me to boot. That’s what I call a delusion.

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  • General Healthy

    This is an important post. Period.

  • Rachel

    So….the author is saying that if reality perfectly matches my expectations, my happiness will be zero? Because maybe I never had to work for anything, but I do know how to do basic addition and subtraction and what the word “equation” means.

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  • Anonymous

    Article is spot on. Holy cow that’s alot of comments. Short version is “Gen Y kids are douchebags – The End”

    • Joy Brown

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  • Naomi

    When my mom bought her first house in the mid 70s, she paid 30,000. When she bought her second house in the mid 80s, she paid $200,000. When the former owners of my house bought it in the mid 90’s, they paid $219,000. I bought it off them for $475,000 in 2004. Houses identical to mine in my neighborhood are now selling for a $700,000 to over a million dollars. And you think the reason my friend can’t afford to buy a home is that she doesn’t work hard enough?

    • 99FeelsLike110

      Where is your house located? If your house is located “in town”, it’s a well known fact that real estate has gone up exponentially in big cities. Sometimes the price has nothing to do with the house itself, but the land it sits on. There are affordable houses out there, they just won’t be located in prime real estate. I’m in my late 20’s and live in the suburbs. My husband and I commute two hours each day to get to work. It’s not fun right now, but our plan is to move into one of those older homes inside the city one day. I guess you could say it’s unfortunate that real estate has gone up, but that’s the reality of things. You work with the reality given to you, not the one you expected.

      • Master255

        Exactly. Couldn’t have said it better myself.

      • Antonio

        But that’s the whole point! You work with the given reality, but the given reality is terrible! Housing is expensive and tweens may live by a worse standard of living than its parents. There is something wrong in today’s society that needs to change. And that’s why this article is so bad, and the author should reply, either apologizing or replying with facts that support his thesis.

        • vita09

          i have no intentions of buying a home. i’ll inherit my parent’s place one day.

          this is what will happen. baby boomers have 20 years tops (sorry to sound so negative). they’ll pass their possessions to our parents

    • Efreet

      let me guess… you live in new york, san fran, toronto, vancouver, sidney, or melbourne?
      i’d throw in london too but you listed the price in dollars. there are indeed some ridiculously overpriced SFD homes in the modern economy. the youth are leaving these cities.
      oh, i forgot to add hong kong to the list.

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  • Hank

    LMAO! Freaking hilarious, no wonder this is the top post from the site surpassing “The Fermi Paradox” piece! Loving the illustrations, keep up the great work Tim!

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  • Anonymous

    The key ingredient missing is discipline. I was born in the mid 1970’s and guess what, we got our butts spanked when we were out of line just as our parents did by their parents in the 50’s. The whole, “Don’t hurt their feelings” and “Don’t stress them out” approach to parenting has made a bunch of touchy feely useless young adults that are just not valued today. They procrastinate and are afraid to take risk because they have already used up all of their anxiety prescriptions for the month.

    I see my own Gen X raising their kids via Internet and Video Games and they say stupid things like, “Oh, he’s going to be the best computer wiz there ever was because his life at 12 revolves around the computer” which means he will lack all social interaction and will have many conflicts as he tries to make his way through life avoiding any and all contact with living beings. Way to go absent Mom and Dad. Now you have a child that won’t be able to take criticism nor objectively review his or her performance both personal and professional.

    Now, I am not a holder of a 4 year degree…but I had instilled in me the drive and discipline that my Grandparents and Parents had and as such, I hold a professional position and receive a salary that is generally reserved for someone with a Master’s Degree. Do I know someone…NO! What I have done is demonstrated that I have the aptitude to learn and execute complex tasks and see them through without whining and complaining. I don’t spend every waking moment on my phone texting my BFF or on Facebook telling people what makes me so special.

    Nothing, and I mean NOTHING, is guaranteed in this life and you are not entitled to a damn thing! Get out there and show them what you got and if it’s worth a damn, someone will pick you up.

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  • Jeffrey

    nope. they’re unhappy because of their age. so were their parents *at that age.* and their parents’ parents *at that age.* and so on, and so on, and so on.

    unless you, y’know, ignore the unrest of the late 60s. and the Depression/WWII.

    “Rebel Without A Cause” did not exist in a vacuum. neither did Bob Dylan.

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  • WebsterCat

    Let’s not generalize too much. I’m baby boomer, so what? Not a person on this earth is being affected by any of my actions other than myself. Some of us had it good, some not so good. Some lived good productive lives some didn’t. I’ll tell you this much at 65 I now realize that many of the things I believed were true, when I was in my 20s were outright lies. I’ll be dead and gone and if you don’t wise up and realize you are played by both political parties, well your choices will have consiquenses. In a few years many of you will know that “We are the ones we were waiting for” was a total nonsense bullshit along with hope and changed. You got played big time, better wise up and grow up. I’ll be dead and blaming me won’t solve your problems.

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  • Anonymous

    What makes Mr. Urban an authority on this subject? The only half credible source of his seems to be the research by Paul Harvey yet instead of a peer reviewed paper the link leads to some article which also doesn’t cite his actual paper. This looks like a journalist taking some statistics, lumping them together and pulling the rest straight out of his own arse.
    Sure a lot of “Generation Y” have been fed a skewed picture of their own abilities by their parents, but thats as far as I will go in agreeing with this article. The graph about Lucys carreer expectations is based on what again?
    Sorry Tim but your article looks like someone is completely out of touch with the younger generation and is taking a piss at them because he thinks he is something better. In fact the entire tone of your great article suggest that you are one of those who think they are “spe-cial| ‘speSHel | adjective” (<- really, was that necessary? Good job looking like an arse Tim).
    Another thing calling them "GYPSYS" is not a good way to seem reasonable. You do realise that "Gypsie" is an derogatory term for a group that calls it self "Roma". Now you can just blame my critique on “a strong resistance toward accepting negative feedback,” as I'm sure others will do/have already done to other comments.
    So Tim you and the majority of the commenters really think an entire Generation is delusional while you yourself are firmly rooted in reality, beeing so convinced of your superiority? Or let me rephrase that question:"Do you feel you are generally superior to y̶̶o̶̶u̶̶r̶̶ ̶̶c̶̶o̶̶w̶̶o̶̶r̶̶k̶̶e̶̶r̶̶s̶/̶c̶̶l̶̶a̶̶s̶̶s̶̶m̶̶a̶̶t̶̶e̶̶s̶/̶e̶̶t̶̶c̶̶ everyone born between 1970 and 2000?"
    I for one don't know a single person who thinks his career is just going to shoot up to the stars because he is something special or better than all the others. There have always been lazy people and there will always be, same as there will always be hardworking people, but let's stick with the "kids these days" attitude. Makes everything easier and surely boosts your self esteem.

    Why do I even bother writing this? Judging by the atittude presented in the article Tim would dismiss anything I have to say anyways, just on the grounds that I'm an entitled, delusional little princess living in my cloud castle.

    • Its awesome to admire Tim’s articles and then read comments that completely destroy them – and admire again.

    • Disqo

      I realize this is an old post and an old comment, but I just had to point out that Tim is himself in the same Gen Y category (he’s early thirties from what I gathered online).

      So, no, he’s not passing judgment, just hypothesizing about his generation like all of us do, and sharing it in an entertaining fashion with the rest of us to contemplate.

      There’s no need to get all defensive and hostile, he never claimed to be an authority, just sharing his musings, which I for one found entertaining and worthy of consideration.

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  • Owing to the fact that this article is written in a lighter note and the tone is utter hilarious, I can ignore the minor errors in economic calculations and situations. But YES, thanks for sharing a delightful article, I am already in love with yuppies. The quest for happiness shall be rewarded 😀

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  • Owing to the fact that this article is written in a lighter note and the tone is utter hilarious, I can ignore the minor errors in economic calculations and situations. But YES, thanks for sharing a delightful article, I am already in love with yuppies. The quest for happiness shall be rewarded. 😀

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  • Hmm…as a former teacher, who did teach those of Y, though I admit Tim doesn’t offer a whole lot of supporting evidence for what he’s concluded, I do have to say there’s a whole lot of common sense in play.

    Regarding raising children and educating children (of a socio-economic class sufficient for there to be any discussion about raising and educating children, at all), much of what was discussed and did develop during the 80s and 90s, going into the 00s and 10s is very much in line with theories regarding how one might develop (foster) a Narcissistic Personality Disorder. There is and was a preoccupation among pedagogues concerning “self-esteem building ” that was certainly ill-conceived and was more likely than not, horribly implemented.

    There’s no dispute (unless you attended more-or-less ignored inner city schools) that children were not only taught (but straight-up conditioned) to believe that a) I’m special. b) I can do anything that I put my mind to. c) I should express myself with conviction regardless of whether or not I have any conviction(s).

    From an educator’s perspective, there was also a “positive reinforcement first, positive reinforcement only” directive that teachers had to adhere to regarding classroom discipline. Negative reinforcement was not tolerated (is not tolerated even now). To foster “appropriate” behaviors among students, teachers relied on praise and rewards, never criticism or punishment (with the exception of detention, punishment and criticism, if it ever came at all, could only come from counselors and administrators; and in many cases, even detention had to be approved by counselors and administrators).

    If a teacher wished to correct a student’s behavior, that teacher would first begin by praising and rewarding that student for something done well, before a teacher could mention a concern about what that student might not be doing well. (Taken into the real world…a colleague had his windshield smashed by a student wielding a brick. Before taking the student to task for breaking the windshield, my colleague had to come up with sincere, non-ironic praise to offer the student, before mentioning the windshield. Also, the student’s act had to be treated as though it were a reasonable consequence of legitimate emotional stress on the student’s part…in other words, the student was special, more special, for having broken the windshield.)

    Sources (about the Narcissistic Personality Disorder and its causes):
    1. Narcissistic Personality Disorder – Causes — http://www.psychologytoday.com/conditions/narcissistic-personality-disorder
    2. Development and validation of the childhood narcissism scale — http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18584447
    3. Narcissistic Personality Disorder — http://www.halcyon.com/jmashmun/npd/dsm-iv.html
    4. Narcissistic Personality Disorder: Rethinking What We Know — http://www.psychiatrictimes.com/personality-disorders/narcissistic-personality-disorder-rethinking-what-we-know
    5. Narcissistic Personality Disorder — http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narcissistic_personality_disorder

    • Andrew

      It’s a common misconception that negative reinforcement is the same as punishment. The “negative” refers to removing something, so negative reinforcement is removing an unpleasant stimulus. For instance lengthening a curfew to reward good behavior. It is absolutely not the same as punishment, of which there are two kinds: positive (e.g. spanking) and negative (taking away privileges).

      • Absolutely Andrew. Positive and negative reinforcement, as concepts, do kinda live in a cloud of confusion. Reinforcement does come in both negative and positive flavors; and in turn, Punishment also comes in both negative and positive flavors. Unfortunately, pedagogues don’t like to associate with B.F. Skinner (as I imagine, if represented accurately, operant conditioning wouldn’t sound so attractive, politically). Consequently, they avoid the word punishment all together, and jargon-wise/rhetorically use “positive and negative reinforcement” only, implying the former to be reinforcement in general and the latter to be punishment in general.

        (“Operant conditioning diagram” by Studentne)

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  • NorCal

    Wow, I can’t believe the insanity of the comments. Is there anyone out there that doesn’t judge every freaking word like it is some gospel? Is it possible this is supposed to give us all a place to “CONSIDER” something different than we have allowed our pea brains to believe because we are right? Just amazing. I am 64, so all of the pieces and input are real for me. I enjoyed the post and hope Mr. Urban continues to toss out opportunities to FEEL different possibilities in viewing some things. My personal view is that if we humans doing life’s journey as residents of the good old USA can’t get a little more connected to why we are given the chance to spend a few years living as a human, this experiment is pretty much a waste. How about we take a breath and not be so freaking serious about making sure everyone agrees with our position and brain thunking? Maybe the other way does work? Hmm, imagine that, someone else or something else might actually be OK? Wouldn’t that be a novel concept. Keep up the great work “WaitButWhy” team. We are gonna need a whole helluva lot more like you as we travel through this new adjustment to the Digital Economy and Digital Age of reality.
    Namaste and Mucho Happiness

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  • Anonymous

    Wouldn’t the first piece of advice cause a desire to do better than lucy is potentially able thus adding to the misery if none of her ambitions come to fruition? I mean yeah there are a lot of opportunities around but specific ones that may not interest Lucy’s ideals.

  • Bruh

    Lot’s of bruised anus happening in the comments. Which I can understand, I mean, my anus was pretty bruised by this article, it certainly doesn’t pull any punches. I think there’s definitely a lot of truth to it though, one of my earliest school memories was of a teacher telling me that I could be literally whatever I wanted to be when I grew up, and I totally took it as gospel. I mean, I kind of feel like millenials as a whole are a lot more spoiled than any previous generation, and I feel like that has a lot to do with the fact that we were raised with the idea that we can do anything we set our mind to. I don’t even think that’s necessarily a bad thing; I still very much do believe I can do anything I set my mind to, not because I think I’m special or destined for anything, but because I feel that hardwork and determination are totally unstoppable forces when channelled correctly. Sure, a lot of people aren’t going to succeed at there goals, and a lot of people are going to end up dissapointed, and I could very well be one of those people, but I feel for every ten people who set the bar to high and don’t make it, at least one person does, and that person definitely couldn’t have achieved there goals if they’d never tried. I don’t think dissapointment is that bad, definitely not so bad that one should give up on finding fulfillment for fear of failing.

    • carl

      as Camus said “the road to the top is enough to fill one man´s heart”.
      Its entirely posible you will not make it, but not trying should not be an option.

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  • lonelypete

    The reality of an expectation is defined by one’s capabilities, the contingencies of the expectation itself, and on the human condition. I would argue that the underlying problem is the regrettably popular pursuit of happiness and the excessive emphasis which many place solely upon one spectrum of life: their careers.

    This plight isn’t peculiar to millennials, no, people in general are not only susceptible to having their expectations unmet, but to unwittingly setting themselves up for disappointment from the outset by having unrealistic expectations—in a comprehensive sense—aside from their personal merit or objective value to society.

    Even the great are capable of self-inflicted suffering, perhaps even more so in a certain light, considering that the expectations others place upon them—given their greatness—may overshadow or magnify those expectations they happen to already carry. At minimum, such expectations entail the possibility of influencing what the individual expects of him or herself for better or worse, however great they may be, so it is not only those with an exaggerated regard for themselves who are plagued by inner turmoil.

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  • Good article, but I question the premise that Happiness = Reality – Expectations. If that were true, then to be Happy, all you’d have to do is set extremely low Expectations. Reality is bound to be better, on average, than the worst you could imagine, but that is a sucky way to be “Happy.”

    • Olahn

      Happiness is temporary, its when we fulfil our desires…however Humans (a lot) have unlimited desires…

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  • Brilliant!!! Very well explained …

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  • Olahn

    I grew up from a 3rd world country, where food, shelter were not guaranteed. My parents have always told me that what’s important is family and having friends to be there when you need them.
    Then after years of hard work and living from room to room, not houses, with 3 kids, my parents were able to save enough money to migrate to a first world country. That was 20 years ago.
    Growing up in a first world country, you notice everyone around you wearing nice clothes, eating lots of food, even having deserts. At the start, owning a safe comfortable pair of shoes to wear to school was a luxury, but none of my friends understood my point of view. I was usually one of the top grade earners and most obedient kids in all my classes, not because I was competitive, but because my parents have raised me to work hard every time, there was never an easy way. It still makes me tear up thinking about my dad waking up 3 am every morning so that he could prepare our food and things for school and walking with us (kids) to the bus stop for about half an hour to drop us off to school, then come back to our rented room to prepare for work. This is what my siblings and I grew up with for our childhood.
    Now, 20 years on, my parents have their own house, their own cars and my siblings and I have college educations. Our work mates and friends view us as extremely hard workers or so they say. But in reality, we were just doing our best impression of what we saw as children from our parents.
    So this article hits me directly at the heart.
    I do understand that today’s cost of living is much higher than a generation ago. But the attitude of entitlement? How do you explain that?
    There are close to 7 billion people in the world, 99% of them don’t have the same luxury as most people here posting on the internet on their free time. A little perspective and consideration next time you complain that you cannot afford that sports car, or that latest mac book, or get that promotion… lower your expectations, do not think you are entitled… be content with what you have… because happiness is temporary, you can never be permanently happy, human’s desires are limitless.

    • Andrew

      Quite obviously, the number of people on earth with internet connections and free time far exceeds 70 million. It’s probably around 30 times that amount. Is the average commenter on here more economically privileged than the average inhabitant of earth? More than likely. Do your poor math skills make your comment look silly? Absolutely.

      • Max

        Andrew….you’re special too

      • Ungie

        Andrew, your disdain and contempt towards Olahn’s comment is as misplaced as it is misinformed.

        One billion is a thousand million in the US (in the UK, it is still sometimes one million million).

        That would mean 7,000 million, not 70 million.

        For future reference, just in case the pedant in you is craving up-to-the-second data: http://www.worldometers.info/world-population/&gt;

        Or, you could also rely on Generation Y’s trusty servant, the calculator – or Google, if the former proves too trying for you.

        • Andrew


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  • Rae

    Just have to take a moment to rant on my generation… I am from Gen Y, and I am embarrassed by my generation on a regular basis. Most think they are special and SO capable, but then proceed to live in their mommy’s and daddy’s houses until they are 28. I can’t believe the parents put up with it. I come from a well-off family, but it was made very clear to me throughout my childhood why we were well off: hard work and a healthy sense of reality. It was also made clear to me that I was on my own after college. So, I chose a real major (i.e. not art), started out at 21 living on my own with an annual salary of $30k, worked my ass off, paid off all debt, and now at 28 have a salary of $150k with a great house for which I saved the down payment (together with my husband, who is similarly inclined to hard work. That’s another point – my generation is terrible at choosing a partner, as pointed out in another good waitbutwhy.com post). So, ironically, maybe I’m the special one now? But that would be committing the “specialness” fallacy, and I want to avoid that… So let’s just say that to my generation, I’m “strange.”

    • Sergio

      Rae, you really think you have the right to judge those who live with their parents, when your parents financed your education from start to finish, letting you enter the work force at a higher skill set than those who had to work THROUGH college? You’re in no place to judge compared to someone like Olahn.

    • Andrew

      While you may have the external trappings of adulthood, I know more than one young adult living with “mommy and daddy” who are not so emotionally juvenile as to cast blanket aspersions on people who, for any number of reasons (not least of which the state of the economy and the price of real estate), choose or are compelled to live with their parents into adulthood. A cursory study of history and anthropology shows that your early independence is rather anomalous from both an international and historical perspective. You are welcome to feel proud of your accomplishments, and it is true that some people are just lazy and unmotivated, but overall the tone of your response is quite ignorant.

      • Perry Mason

        Your post has as much assumption built in as the OP’s. The OP made generalizations. So what. It is implicit exceptions exist.

        You made a generalization that there is always an excuse like the economy. I sympathize because the growing level of State control has made it harder on the young. But the young are flocking to the decadent pursuits of life as a result.

  • Sarah

    I’m a Gen X’er (remember us, anyone?) so I kinda see both sides of this debate. This is my observation, for what’s it worth. The Baby Boomers are the most entitled, self-important generation in American history, so for them to castigate Gen Y for being the same way is, well, a bit ironic. (I’m from Gen X so I had to throw in something about irony.)

    Eh, whatever. No one listens to Gen X’er’s anyway. Some guy in an earlier comment even obliterated our existence by talking about the “cusp of the Baby Boom/Gen Y generation.” Story of our lives. I think I’ll go read “Fight Club” or something now while you guys argue.

    • Sam

      LOL. LOVE IT!!!!!

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  • Andrew

    Generalizations about people who share nothing in common but having been born in an arbitrarily defined span of decades are generally silly and indicative of a mediocre intellect. Having said this, “Gen Y” has been coming of age in an era when globalization, third world immigration and automation (to say nothing of plutocrat-friendly tax policies) have all added up to a permanent labor surplus and its attendant negative consequences for the working classes. The cherry on top is American hyperindividualism and vestigial Cold-War-era antipathy towards any policy reeking of “socialism” that the “conservative” elite are more than happy to exploit for their own gain. The “left”, for its part, has splintered the working class with its endless and inherently divisive identity politics. While not currently politically viable, the solution to our problem must include an immediate end to all third world immigration, repatriation of the bulk of the Mesoamerican and African populations to their ancestral homelands, protectionist trade policies and a guaranteed basic income.

    • The_wonder_boy

      You should cross check your immigration statistics. More people have voluntarily immigrated to the US from Europe and Asia than from Africa.

      • Andrew

        I’m talking about repatriating the descendants of the Africans who were involuntarily brought here.

    • Sam

      You had me until the first three of your four solutions.

      Upvote denied.

      • Andrew

        I am saddened and dismayed by your disapproval.

    • Efreet

      good post.

    • subbied

      Best fecking post ever.

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  • K33pK4lmKaizen0n

    Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.