Picture of THE Burger King

I wrote this article in response to the NY Magazine article: The Kids Are Actually Sort of Alright.

My generation wants work, play, sex, faith, and money

like we want our burgers — our freaking way.

Any why not?

We waited in line for years for our chance. Salivating at that beautiful Whopper that lined the glowing menu in front — with lettuce cut at 90-degree angles and lush cheese that hung softly like an 80’s love song.

We couldn’t wait for OUR CHANCE to FINALLY take OUR bite.


Picture of THE Burger King

Photo Credit Jeff Slinker – Creative Commons


But first, we needed to learn some things in line. We had to prepare for our day in front. (And we paid good money to do so). Men and women came alongside to teach us the history of burgers, how we should hold one, and the principles in multiplying Big Mac’s so that we could eat them well into retirement (and maybe even save a few for our kids).

So when we FINALLY made it. When we held our trembling diploma in front of us like a kid with his permission slip to go to the zoo, we were in complete shock with what the cashier shouted…



“No, no…wait, I think you’re confused. I’m here for MY burger.”

“Yeah, you and everyone else.”

“No, you don’t get it…”

“No, no you don’t get it! Next! Comeonkeepemcoming…!

“No hold on for just one damn second. I trained for years for this moment. I’m 25k deep for the next 20 years for this right here. And I promise you, I’m the best person for this burger. So I plead…hell, I’ll beg if I have too. Just give me that chance. Give me what I’ve been waiting and training for my whole life.”

The cashier takes two quick looks around like a drug dealer about to make a sale and leans in close, “Well, kid, you can’t have what doesn’t exist.”

“What…what do you mean?”

“Pretty simple. We ran out.”

“Ran out? Of burgers?! But this is Burger Place. How does Burger Place not have burgers?”

“Ha…well that’s the million dollar question, isn’t kid? When you find the answer, you come back and tell me. ‘Cause honestly I’d love to know too.”

“No, no, this can’t be? Why didn’t you warn us? What about the millions waiting behind me?”

“Well, aren’t you just the stupidest smart kid in line. What, and cause anarchy? No kid, it might not feel like it now but it’s best they keep waiting. Keep them believing.

“It just doesn’t make sense…”

“I know it doesn’t. And I’m sure you would’ve given that burger hell. But you gotta go now. Next!”

“Wait…where do I go now? What do I do? All I’ve known is how to be successful in line. Don’t kick me out. I’ve been faithfully waiting my whole life to make it to you.”

“Sorry kid, everything’s changed. Just because you waited years in line, doesn’t mean I’m here to serve you.”

So yes, as we were kicked out back, we were a little frustrated and confused. Like alcoholics coming down from their buzz, we staggered through the alleys searching for survival — no blue ribbons, good grades, or accolades to warm us from our frigid insecurities and doubts. Everything feeling a lie, we yelled at God and raged against the machine – all we thought we knew, pieces of trash used to stoke the ever-growing fire.

But…There is hope.

Our story is not over. FAR FROM IT. We’re just living through the rising action.

We must cling to hope like blankets, as monster’s tried to bust through our closet doors.

We must learn the art of survival, of settling in externals without settling within (more on that later).

This too shall pass..

We must be okay with Plan F or G or V.

Yes, we sure as hell didn’t get our way.

But honestly, our way, was really no way at all.

Have you felt disillusioned in your 20’s?

What’s given you hope as Plan A’s gone up in flames? (More of that in WE WANT IT OUR WAY PART TWO)

Photo Credit Jeff Slinker – Creative Commons


  1. Josh Fuller

    So true, Paul! We were told that if we did X and Y, and suffered through B, C and D that we could get our “fortune and glory” that the Goonies and our parents told us about. It seemed like a simple equation. An economic theory of sorts.

    But no one – and I mean no one – could be certain that such an equation would be valid in 2011, or 2020, or 2060. The equation has, like so many economic theories, a * next to it. The * allows for error. It’s like saying “a $1000 down-payment and a recent pay stub will get you this car…unless something changes before you can get both of those to me.”

    And – we have to admit – that is okay. Things change all the time. I used to have biceps, and you used to have less gray hair. Nobody can predict the future! (As a professor once said to me, “anybody who thinks they can predict the future is either crazy, or an a-hole.”) But the idea is sound: Education does make a difference. It makes us better people, better thinkers, better innovators.

    And as you said, this too shall pass. The story isn’t over. The tough plight of 20-somethings today and the sucky job market aren’t anything the U.S. people haven’t seen before. But I am convinced our generation will find a clever way out of it.

    In the meantime, let’s use the intelligence we developed (and financed at 3%) to be productive and be part of the solution, not part of the problem. We will come out of this.*

    • admin

      Josh, my friend, extremely well put. I consider this comment an official addendum to this article.

      First though, you still have biceps. So that point is not valid.

      Second, love this line: “I am convinced our generation will find a clever way out of it”

  2. Amanda Abella

    Bravo! Great post! I feel like I wasted way too much time being disillusioned. I’d rather stop listening to the negativity and use the opportunity to pave my own creative way out of it. I tell my Gen Y readers to do the same.

  3. Paul

    Thanks Amanda. And thanks for helping give GenY much needed hope and encouragement

  4. Karina

    Thanks Mr. Fuller for the lighter note and insight… I was beginning to to go down the trail of “What the hell is an education good for?” I like the point of it making us better people, thinkers, and innovators.

    Also, I’m not sure whether you (Paul) were making the point that it never was really “our” plans or in “our” control in the first place, but in God’s hands. If so, I agree. Our life is not our own, trusting God to use every circumstance even the $25K or 4yrs of study for HIS glory!

  5. Karina

    Shoot! I read a good portion of the NY Magazine article and I couldn’t finish it… too negative. Geez! I heard once that attitude is everything, well what this generation needs regardless of the disillusion they’ve been led to believe is to think positively even for the little things. We (Americans) are still better off than many, many people around the world.

    • admin

      Thanks Karina for the great advice


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