1. “You shouldn’t have taken out all that debt.”
What even is this as a criticism? You go up to just about any 18-year-old and be like, “Hey, kid, look at these sweet-ass college brochures that promise jobs, status, opportunities, and four incredible years of hanging out with your peers and discovering yourself. All you have to do is sign this flaming contract and give up your soul.” There is not an 18-year-old alive who would make the rational, boring, smart-in-the-long term choice on that one. Maybe you could talk to their parents who were capable of understanding financial ramifications and reading fine print, and ask why they weren’t a little more hesitant about co-signing on that monstrosity. Yes, they shouldn’t have taken out all that debt, but there were enormous academic institutions and banks bearing down on their teenage minds with a bunch of pleasant lies about how great a decision it was at the time. It’s not exactly a fair fight.
2. “Why do you feel like you’re entitled to anything?”
I don’t know, bro, I just feel like being told all your life that you’re gonna some day get a job and contribute something to society — and maybe even save a dollar or two while you’re at it — might give you the impression that those are reasonable life goals. We’re not gonna go all baby boomer on you and demand an awesome retirement package, but it would be cool to be able to live independently.
3. “Why don’t you put your money into something real, like a house?”
You know what kind of real things that 20 somethings would be able to put their money into? Food. Clothes to wear on job interviews. A place of their own. Reliable transportation. The idea of going up to the bank and being like, “Yoooooo, I know that I am about 20 years away from a zero balance, but can you give me a bunch more imaginary money to put into some real estate? I’m totally good for it” is just a little ridiculous. In an ideal world, everyone would love to be able to invest in their future and make big, life-changing financial decisions, but that requires a lot of foundations that most of us simply do not have.
4. “Ugh, they’re all just moving back home to mooch off their parents.”
No one is pumped about moving back in with their parents. No one is like, “Sweet, after all of this time developing myself as an individual and getting to taste the rich luxuries of having people over whenever I want, I can’t wait to go back under the passive-aggressive rule of my parents at the ripe old age of 24.” That just does not happen, not even to the assholes who you wished were incredibly selfish. The reality is that people, even people with “good” jobs, who are holding massive debt, are likely going to be scrimping and saving wherever they can. If they don’t have a job because they can’t find one, well, you do the math. Either way, it’s no one’s ideal situation, and most people are human beings who attempt to help their parents out and do chores and accept the inherent embarrassment of the situation with dignity. Don’t dogpile them.
5. “They don’t want to settle down and have a real family.”
KIDS COST FUCKING MONEY, BRO. WHAT PART OF THIS IS ESCAPING YOU???
Also, even if some people don’t want to have kids or a spouse, why is that a bad thing? Why are we going to suddenly shame people in living out the dream of the late 1950s just so that we can feel like the nuclear family you have invested your identity in is the only viable option? Get out of here with this absurd need to define humanity by how neatly we fit into a Barbie Dream House.
6. “They don’t take dating seriously anymore.”
I’m not going to say that people of more sexually repressive generations are resentful that we get to experiment, be picky, and take our time without paying the piper, but I’m totally going to say that. Whether it’s being opposed to universal access to contraception, or dissuading women from having multiple partners to decide exactly the kind of person she wants to be with, it’s all about creating consequences for exploring sexuality and romance. If everyone isn’t living in constant fear of falling prematurely pregnant, or of breaking the deeply-embedded codes in society and thus shaming yourself out of your circle, well — they might become fully realized, sexual human beings! And we can’t have that, it’s ridiculous!
7. “They’re just not willing to work hard for a good career.”
I am really interested in seeing the response of the person who has spent the last two years relentlessly sending out applications, following up on leads, working his network, and getting every door slammed in his face (when he is not completely ignored altogether). I’m really curious to see how he feels about being told that he is simply not willing to work hard to have a good career, especially when the career he has made out of being disappointed is something he does in his spare time, when he’s not spending 50 hours a week busting his ass as a server at a restaurant (a job that you don’t respect, by the way, because it’s not a “real” job).
8. “Taking an unpaid internship is just a terrible idea.”
PLEASE TELL THAT TO THE COMPANIES WHO EXPLOIT THEM AND THE SYSTEM THAT MAKES THEM NEARLY-MANDATORY. Please direct your inept criticisms to the people who are putting this shit in place, and not the people who are forced into indentured servitude in order to get nebulous college credit for a degree that no one is going to care about anyway. Please don’t pretend that anyone is gun-ho about taking on a full-time, unpaid job.
9. “You should have majored in something useful.”
Without even addressing all of the people who majored in something “smart” and still found themselves very much jobless two years out from graduation, and there are many of them, let’s talk about the colleges that will literally, blatantly lie to their prospective students about the kinds of job prospects and hiring rates they boast for whatever particular thing you’re looking to study. Did we suddenly forget that colleges make money, and it is in their best interest to convince people that studying some liberal art is going to be a “totally malleable skill set” that will lead to any number of opportunities? The fear is instilled from the get-go that not having a degree will make you something between a leper and a toothless yokel, and all of the false information about how great of an idea every major is is more than available, so the path was always an obvious one.
10. “They are just so lazy, our generation was never like this.”
Lol, okay hippies, you keep telling yourselves that.