On the outside, my life looks quite nice.
I have an enviable job in PR, I live by myself and I post pictures of pretty places.
My life looks the way most people’s does on social media, because I’m careful enough to curate it. I have control over that even when I have little control over anything else.
We entered adulthood in an age where technology immortalises every single one of our mistakes, so we’ve gotten good at highlighting the best bits.
I’m lucky enough to have a job that is creative, varied and based in a company that’s growing. I love my job, but I know it isn’t enough to keep me afloat.
I’m a single twenty-something woman with a messy list of direct debits, counselling fees and a home to take care of, and I need to be financially independent.
Realistically, a salary isn’t enough.
Before you call me a spoilt brat, I have checked my privilege on several occasions. I know that I am fortunate to be in employment, and that my life could be far worse than it is.
It’s not just me, so hold on to your Baby Boomer resentment for a second.
In April 2018, the Resolution Foundation reported that one in three of Britain’s millennials will never own a home, facing the crippling insecurity of private renting for most of their lives.
Out of approximately 14million millennials aged 20-35, it’s predicted that half will be renting in their 40’s, with a third still doing so by the time they reach retirement. Congrats to my landlord.
Spoiler alert, I’m about to sound even more pissed off.
I work full time and I also freelance, meaning I no longer get my weekends entirely to myself, and I’ve been back on the bar for extra cash. Please don’t tell me I refuse to get my hands dirty.
I’m okay with the fact that I work constantly, and when I’m not working, I’m thinking about working. How can I get more than what I have, or be more than I am?
I’m constantly searching for answers.
What I’m not okay with is people telling us we’re not doing enough.
There’s little sympathy for the millennial who hustles just to get by but excuse us for thinking a career should enable us to afford a basic lifestyle.
We’ve always been ambitious, but now we’re hungry for more than the scraps thrown our way.
They wonder why we’re so angry, but the reasons are right in front of them.
One of them being that we must work several jobs to afford basic amenities and now you want to take our away our Tesco Meal Deals by telling us we could buy a house if we sacrificed sandwiches.
Let us live, all we want is lunch that we can eat at our desks, and sometimes lunch is a questionable sachet of Cup of Soup from the back of our desks because payday is still a week away.
We’re angry that the world we live in still sees things as a battle between us and them, and that we’re pushing for inclusivity, for equality that should already exist.
We’re annoyed that the benchmarks for adulthood are bolted into social expectations, because we feel like we’re falling behind.
We’re told we should own a house by now (that’s a fun joke), have a ring on our finger (even more laughable) and that we should have our shit together (definitely not happening).
Life is a race, but we cross our fingers that slow and steady will win in the end.
We’re mad that we’re still being labelled as entitled, and the narratives still position us as a generational scapegoat and honestly, we’re panicking a little. It’s this worry that makes us vocal in our struggle, and while our intentions are good, people still see this as collective complaining.
We’ve been anointed as lazy and overwhelmingly narcissistic, and we’re used to the bad reputation. We get it, this is a rite of passage for whatever your parents called you when you were trying to make your way in the world back in the ‘good old days’, but it doesn’t mean you’re right.
The gaslighting towards our generation is undeniable. They’ve told us it’s our fault so much that we almost believe it, so it’s easy to see how everyone has wound up slapping our name on every problem.
We’re used to all the clickbait.
Petrol prices, damn Millennials for learning to drive!
World hunger, Millennials caused it!
Donald Trump, voted for by Millennials!
Healthy relationships destroyed by Tinder powered Millennials!
Millennials claim another victim with global hummus shortage!
Kanye West… Not sure, but blame Millennials!
See, doesn’t it sound ridiculous?
We’re used to having the blame, so don’t worry about us because we can take it, but it doesn’t mean we should have to. Your resentment is so loud that you can’t even hear us when we try to tell you how the world is for us.
Work and financial prospects aside, millennials are trying to be part of a change that’s bigger than one person.
Most of us are educating ourselves and each other on our own privilege and what that means for those who don’t have it.
We’re getting involved in global issues, and we’re speaking louder than they want us to. We’re fighting the patriarchy and the cycles of abuse against women. We’re demanding equality for minorities, and we’re telling our stories, even the ugly and devastating ones, so that the truth is left to find the one who needs it.
Some of our predecessors don’t like it when we disagree, or when we tell them they’re judgmental, homophobic, or racist. Not so shockingly, a lot of them are. Don’t shoot the messenger.
They don’t like that we call them out on creating a sluggish economy, meaning that we don’t reap the same rewards as they did when they entered the workforce. If we’re dishing out blame, there’s plenty to go around.
Our education was expensive, if we were lucky enough to get it. We want jobs that are rewarding, and for the most part, we’re not afraid for looking for something better than what we currently have. That’s not because we’re ungrateful, it’s because we have to survive.
The workplace looks different to how it did to those who came before us, and thank god for that. Things should evolve, and why should someone go through something just because you had to?
Why should someone else pay the same price you had to pay? Honestly, I hope the girls who come after me never have to share my own stories or wear my price tag. I hope we don’t forget, and I hope we’re better to them than our elders were to us.
Many of us are willing to work all kinds of hours and we’ll suffocate under expectation, but we need to be valued, treated well, and compensated fairly.
In return for our work, we should be getting a nice salary for people nearing their 30’s. That’s not entitlement, it’s empowerment. We should be getting what we’ve worked so hard for, no exceptions.
We’re less interested in the pursuit of perfection, and we’re not so concerned with what car we’re driving. Broadly speaking, the majority of us want a fair work life balance and we need our work to mean something to us.
We also deserve this little thing called fulfillment, and we’re hunting for happiness.
I get told its my own fault constantly. It’s my fault I have to work so much because I live alone, and it’s my fault because of where I choose to live. I should move back home, where prospects for my career are non existent but you know, I should sacrifice my lifelong ambitions or else I should lay in my own bed.
I live alone because circumstances have made it that way.
I live in a decent area because I deserve to be safe.
I live in a nice looking building, because why shouldn’t I?
Stop telling me to lower my standards, because if I asked you to give up your life, would you do it?
No, and luckily for you, you don’t need to work 7 days a week to pay rent and fill a fridge that only ever looks full on the last day of the month.
We’re not complaining, we just want you to keep your opinions to yourself. We’re tired, and we don’t have the capacity to explain ourselves one more time.
As you’ve all told me before, “Don’t bring me a problem, bring me a solution.”
Maybe the solution is to look outside of your own circumstances. No one is telling you to be on our side, but empathy would be appreciated. Until then, mind your business.
We’re trying our best.
I’m not asking for handouts, but I’m sick of defending us for trying our best to live in a world that we inherited from a generation who do nothing but blame us. Stop arguing with us and insisting there is a direct correlation between what we eat, what we do, and our inability to get on the property ladder.
For the generation that comes after me, I hope you get all the smashed avo on toast your hungry dreams are made of.
Even if I don’t like bloody avocados.