5 Shocking Statistics About Real “Millennial Problems” (and how we overcome)

5 Shocking Stats About Real Millennial Problems - Facts About Millennials

Most people think Millennial problems are over-exaggerated and a product of the entitled “Millennial hipster” archetype we’ve created.

Yet, the Millennial generation is facing insane challenges unlike generations before that most people don’t fully understand the implication of these real “Millennial Problems.”

Let me explain. 

I was in New York City last week pitching over 60 media outlets about my new book All Groan Up: Searching For Self, Faith, and a Freaking Job! and telling them the story of what our generation is really having to go through.

Some media members totally understood the challenges facing Millennials, have seen it firsthand themselves, and wanted to get to the bottom of these issues with me.

But then there was a slight majority of media who shot back with the same old tired stereotypes about our generation — “Entitled. Lazy. Millennials were given trophies for just existing…etc…”

One radio show host even shot back with “F*ck Millennials.” At least his opinion was somewhat original.

Yet, the Millennial generation is experiencing real, insane, challenges. Many of them at levels unparalleled to what Gen X and Boomers experienced.

And it’s a little more weighty and substantial than the fact that some of us won an Honorable Mention ribbon for coming in last place in 4th grade.

5 Shocking Stats About Real Millennial Problems - Facts About Millennials

I have statistics about the real challenges facing Millennials that might shock you. Or bring waves of clarity for all the twentysomethings out there who have felt lost, frustrated, and fighting an uphill battle.

Right when it was Millennials turn to grab hold of the American Dream, it exploded in our face. (click to tweet)

With the Great Recession happily pulling the pin.

I’m not here to whine about these challenges, I’m here to open up a real conversation about them so that we can figure out how we overcome and thrive.

5 Shocking Statistics About Real Millennial Problems


Millennial Problems #1: Millennials are the largest generation at over 85-90 million people in the US, and are the most educated generation in history.

This sounds exciting, but with the supply of educated workers much higher than the demand for them in the workforce, it has created a perfect storm for unemployment, underemployment, and a flat-out frustrating beginning to our career.

As I write in my new book All Groan Up:

The job hunt has become the Millennial version of the Hunger Games – without the cameras or any interaction with Jennifer Lawrence.”

The college diploma feels worth as much as your high school degree now, with the new tension of feeling like you have to now get a master’s or Phd to even be allowed into the game.

But I was just talking to a friend who just received his master’s degree in Biology from a well-respected state school who said that half of his classmates were working part-time jobs and still living at home.

A degree still feels like a must, but it is no longer the automatic door opener.

Millennial Problem #2: 40% of unemployed workers are Millennials. – US Census Data

This stat from PEW Research says it all.

Millennials are:

“The first in modern era to have higher levels of student loan debt, poverty and unemployment, and lower levels of wealth and personal income than any other generation at the same stage of life.”

We are stepping out of what I term The Steroid Era — just like the heroes in sports we cheered and cried out for were found to be “artificially enhancing” their success, so was almost every facet of business, real estate, and government.

When leaders, sports figures, and CEO’s say, “I’m not a Liar” it merely feels like the perfect preface for Stephen Colbert to use as a punchline.

Every generation uses the ceiling of the generation before them to become their floor to build off of. Instead, it feels like our generation is dodging the crumbling remains of the ceiling exploding above us.

Millennial Problems #3: Average college debt for a Millennial is around $33,000 with the median household income remaining the same since 1999. (PEW Research and USA Today college)

With the national college debt now at 1.3 trillion dollars and college tuition seeing a 1,140% increase since the late 70s, coupled with the longest stretch of income stagnation in the modern era, no wonder why the highest percentage of twentysomethings ever recorded (around 35%) are living back with their parents.

The college debt in the United States is more than credit card and auto loan debt combined. As Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban writes in The Coming Meltdown of College Education, “We freak out about the Trillions of dollars in debt our country faces. What about the TRILLION DOLLARs plus in debt college kids are facing?”


“Some 88 percent of minimum-wage workers are 20 years or older and 4 in 10 of those workers are college graduates.” – NPR 

4. Millennials are reporting the highest levels of clinical anxiety, stress, and depression than any other generation at the same age. (Psychology Today)

With some of the statistics above, no wonder so many twentysomethings feel like they’re going through a quarter life crisis and are looking for ways to cure this intense identity crisis.

Many want to blame Millennials’ problems on the fact that we’re entitled and lazy. Sure, we have things we need to improve upon as we re-set our expectations and timeline for how long and hard it’s going to be to find our way.

But when I look at Millennials I don’t see a generation entitled to success, we are obsessed with it.

And for good reasons.

We don’t know how to fail. And even when we do fail, we’re pretty sure we actually won…We grew up in a competitive, bell-curve, wait-list society. Fighting for a spot on the team, in a school, at a job, for the win. We don’t want blue ribbons because we feel entitled to them; we want them because we’ve been in a cage match to win them our entire lives. Now, the stakes to win those blue ribbons are just slightly higher.” – Paul Angone, All Groan Up: Searching For Self, Faith, and a Freaking Job! 

Couple that with the new disorder I’ve coined and call The new OCD – Obsessive Comparison Disorder, and you have a whirling destructive force of anxiety and depression.

We’re all struggling, yet we’re all struggling to make it appear like we’re not struggling! (click to tweet)

And there’s real repercussions to this reality like this scary statistic from Psychology Today : “The suicide rate among young adults has tripled since the 1950s and suicide is currently the second most common cause of death among college students.”

As I write in 101 Secrets For Your Twenties, “You’re not alone in this struggle…Feel no shame in seeking help from a counselor or therapist. We all have rotting junk we try to wrap and hide under the Christmas tree. Ditch it now before it smells up your entire holiday.”

5. Millennials are having children at an average age of 30 with 47% of births to women in the Millennial generation being non-marital. (PEW Research)

Buying a house, getting married, and having kids, are all being pushed back 5-8 years later than previous generations. When you can’t afford to pay rent, you’re definitely not thinking about the “typical” adult markers of achievement and progress.

Researcher Jeffrey Jensen Arnett calls it “emerging adulthood,” as young adults today aren’t stepping full-force into adulthood, we’re backing into it. We’re sliding our way through all the setbacks to try and create a life we want to live. It’s just taking a lot longer than we ever could’ve planned.

How Millennials Overcome These Very Real Millennial Problems

There is so much changing right now that I think we’ll look back in thirty years and fully understand why we didn’t feel like we could stand up, because everything was swirling beneath us.

Here are 3 things that really helped me overcome these challenges in my life.

1. Asking Myself Hard, Intentional Questions

If we want to find substantial life answers, we need to start with the right questions.

101 Questions You Need to Ask in Your TwentiesThere’s something incredibly important and profound to asking yourself intentional questions, and then actually taking the time to write down your answers.

I wrote a popular post titled 11 Questions Every Twentysomething Needs to Ask, if you’re looking for a place to start.

Then my new book 101 Questions You Need to Ask in Your Twenties (and let’s be honest, your thirties too) goes even further.

As I write in 101 Questions —

Our twenties and thirties aren’t about them going as we planned. But how we adapt, change, and grow when they don’t.”

Asking the right questions is the best way to keep adapting and moving further into your purpose, instead of further away, like most.

2. Giving Myself the Grace and Space to Fail (without calling myself a failure)

For so many years in my twenties I felt like a failure, when really I was experiencing many small successes that were leading to failed end results.

I kept focusing on the final outcome without giving credit to the amazing wins and all the new skills I was learning along the way. As I write in 101 Secrets For Your Twenties,

 “Failing is simply finding a more profound way to be successful, if you’re willing to keep trying and giving yourself the real possibility of failing again…The biggest failure of our twenties would be if we never had any.”

3. Finding my Signature Sauce

I believe we each have our own Signature Sauce, a unique flavor that we bring to the world that no one else can.

And it’s going to take time, effort, and a couple failed experiments and scars to figure out what your Signature Sauce is.

As Seth Godin writes in Linchpin, “The future belongs to chefs, not cooks or bottle washers. It’s easy to buy a cookbook (filled with instructions to follow) but really hard to find a chef book.”

Millennials Must Be Purposeful in the Process

Maybe this Great Recession will be the best thing that ever happened to Millennials because it’s forced us to learn patience, perseverance, and grit.

Many of us had the cocky slammed out of us by the Great Recession like a Pinata being smacked at a birthday party, and hopefully that will help us reap some sweet candy in the future.

Being successful in our 20s is about being purposeful in the process.

Maybe our 20s and 30s aren’t about them going as we planned, but how we adapt, change and grow when they don’t.

There’s no One-Size-Fits-All Millennial

There’s not a one-size-fits struggle that Millennials are facing. Just as there is no one-size-fits-all kind of Millennial.

We must stop minimizing the struggle. Just as we must stop using stereotypes of Millennials as their complete identity.

Want to join in the conversation with helpful dialogue about the challenges Millennials are facing? Jump into the Join the conversation below.

If you’re looking for someone to speak to Millennials at your school or organization, or speak on how to better lead and engage Millennials, check out clips from my speaking engagements to business leaders about Millennials and see what people are saying about my keynote speeches.


  1. Skye Gilbreth

    Could you forward your blog to the student loan department and the IRS? Maybe they’d go a bit easier on us if they read this 😛

    • Paul Angone - All Groan Up

      Skye, done and done. They already responded and told me that you can forgo your next three loan payments. 🙂 (I might’ve dreamt this…)

  2. Dan

    Love the stats in the post, pretty eye opening to say the least. The quotes from your book really make me want to grab a copy. Nice work man!

    • Paul Angone - All Groan Up

      Dan, please do! I was blown away by these as well, but it proves the struggle is real and widespread. I hope my book encourages and inspires you. Thanks for leaving a comment. I look forward to connecting more and being a resource for you.

  3. Bola Hanson

    I can attest to this being true. I feel as though you are describing my life perfectly. Only a few of the stats surprised me. How do we begin to overcome this?

    • Paul Angone - All Groan Up

      Thanks Bola! We overcome this by mining our uniqueness, by owning, honing, refining, and defining what I call your Signature Sauce — that flavor you bring to the world that no one else can. Leveraging the best of who and what you are creates spaces for living with purpose while meeting a need. That’s a powerful place to operate from!

  4. Ursula Andrews

    Life changes, not always for the better, or for the worse.

    In the 1960’s, my parents gave me and my brother 10-20% of my father’s annual income to finish college in 4 years. My father was a tool and die maker, my mother, the person who did all those many things a family needed. The rest of the necessary funds we earned through national merit, california scholarships and work study. Yes, we worked from the age of 15, as much as we could. We also took private loans, and paid them off by ourselves. One of us put herself through grad school by teaching…not a bad thing.

    As young marrieds, my husband and I had no furniture, no TV, magazines, frivolities, blah blah blah. We had one tiny car. We never went out to eat. We were financially and physically skinny. We were happy and confident that we could work our way up the ladder.

    As it turned out, jobs were hard to find after the oil embargo of 1974, no matter how good your scientific education was. We ended up on the other side of the US, because that’s where the jobs were. We worked hard 24/7 for our family and for our jobs.

    We had 4 kids and continued to live a frugal life, We still don’t have living room furniture. In our age group we were all broke and on our own. That was normal.

    Our goal was to give our own children a debt free college education, a computer (built by kid + Dad) and the down payment on a car. Plus all the extras we could give, educationally, since the one thing no one can ever take away from you is your education. We achieved that. Our retirement savings were held against us and our own children, so our kids did not receive financial aid from private colleges. This did not deter them from reaching their own goals. We know well-to-do families who “emancipated” their children, so their kids got endless financial aid. (Yes, they were Republicans.)We did not want to burden our children.

    Our parents helped, after realizing that a college degree was now a the equivalent of a high school degree. My own parents never had the chance to go beyond 8th grade, but they supported their own kids to achieve what was currently necessary to become independent. My sibs and I worked hard in school, because that was real life. We were happy as well.

    The motto of my husband’s and my kids was “self do it.”

    I hope that, and the desire to lend a hand up (as opposed to the endless hand out) remains “the American way.)

    • Dan C

      I think you miss the point. “Self do it” is easy in the 1970s when inflation adjusted wages were roughly double and housing was 1/2 what it is today. It no longer matters which side of the country you move to or how hard you work. You’ll always be farther behind than the older generation.

  5. Kyle Sanchez

    Did no one else think this post from Ursula Andrews — ‘Life changes, not always for the better, or for the worse’ — was tragically ironic? This is a conversation about what millennials are facing and WE HAVE ALL HEARD YOUR GENERATION’S “WALKING UP HILL BOTH WAYS” STORIES UNTIL WE WERE BLUE IN THE FACE. Your entire post was just another attempt to indirectly insult millennials by telling us how “hard” your generation had it.

    Was this meant to be a motivational story?

    Or, was it meant to belittle?

    I have a few questions about your story Ursula.

    1) 10% – 20% of your father’s income was how much exactly? What were your findings when you compared the average household income and cost of living from the 1960’s to that of the present? I’m guessing, if you ever did look into it, you would find that your father’s 10% – 20% was much higher than what a present day parent can spare.

    2) As for these comments:

    (“Yes, we worked from the age of 15, as much as we could. We also took private loans, and paid them off by ourselves.”)

    – Worked “as much as you could?” Our generation stepped into the workforce at 15 as well.
    — I, myself have held two jobs for over ten years and I can barely keep the bills paid.

    This is no big deal. What IS A BIG DEAL is that the money we’ve earned has been worth significantly less and we have never had the luxury for a single moment of think such things as, “we will work as much we can.” We just work…. Always….. And, for nothing.

    (“We also took private loans, and paid them off by ourselves. One of us put herself through grad school by teaching…not a bad thing.)

    – How much were those loans, exactly? I would venture to guess that they were but a fraction of the average modern debt for a student. Furthermore, your sister was fortunate to HAVE THAT OPPORTUNITY to teach her way through grad school. We would kill for ANY JOB.

    The most important thing to take from this post by Ursula is that it is a perfect example of how our generation is perceived by those before us.

    I say, “You want to talk turkey?” Pull out your pockets and let’s find out who’s really had it bad right here, right now!!!!!!

    I’m sick of it. Truly.

    I’ve been through things that make your life story sound like a Disney movie.

    We all have.

    • David Marolda

      Please. Statistics show your generation was far less likely than mine to have summer jobs at all. I started working when I was 13 and in Collage worked 70-80 hours a week as a mover which is brutally hard work (I loved it). I graduated from grad school with $23,000 of student loan debt (at freaking 9%) which is equivalent to about $54,000 in todays money. I paid back these loans for ten years and it was my second largest expense after rent. It never occurred to me to expect someone else to pay them off for me. Of course I did not major in Art History but got a degree more likely to provide me a living. By the way do you have any idea how lousy the economy was in the 70s and early 80s? I was lucky as I was in the youngest third of my generation and spent those years in school. It was incredibly bad. Try to imagine low growth with very high inflation and people paying 20% interest on car loans and mortgages.

      I don’t think there is somthing wrong with you guys. I think you were the victim of well meaning but misguided adults who did not let you learn how to fail…. and recover. To expect life to be hard. To expect that your starting pay might not be that great. To expect life not to be fair (this is “on average” and does not apply to your whole generation, I have hired some great millennials). I was in a position to hire people for 25 years. My preference was always to hire young people right out of collage and train them. I have hired from 3 generations (mostly Gen X and Millennials with a smattering of younger boomers). I have seen the changes from one generation to the next. My hirers were always among the best hirers in the whole company. I found great millennials but I had to interview more millennials to find the great ones as compared to say Gen Xers.

      By the way every post WWII generation was the victim of unkind comments by the previous generations. This was never more true than us boomers who were looked at as sexually immoral, radical, drug addled, pampered kids with weird subversive music. We just did not let it bother us. And so it goes from generation to generation.

      Reading your post I think you will be fine if you stop focusing on how bad it is and just cary on. You sound like you have a good head on your shoulders and understand hard work. By the way we all worked for peanuts when we were kids. I was lucky in that by college I had a very marketable blue collar skill to earn with in the summers but most of my friends were making minimum wage.

  6. Marcos Fulling

    The things that will help are skills especially labor/vocational and the ability to do the work. Owning it whether messing something up or succeeding in a project you need to take responsibility. And here is the hardest one dedication and focus . Homework doesn’t stop after college and high school so lets see a little more dedication.

    • Paul Angone - All Groan Up

      Thanks Marcos! Definitely one of the most important things I’ve learned is how much I have left to learn.

    • Alanay

      I have been working 60+ hours a week for three to four years now. After working hard and graduating with a BA and MA, I ventured out to start a company. My company is still growing, but unfortunately it is not as pacey as one would maybe want it. Having a company could definitely have an effect on the economy in ten or even twenty years, but the risks of having this company where I work at least 50 hours a week (excluding my second job to earn cash to live) are high. It is difficult to succeed as a startup in the current META.

      It’s not just me, I have peers who have not been able to find a single job (once they were far overqualified for) for years — simply settling for in-between part-time or temp jobs instead. Mortgages have become more impossible than ever and the house market is harshly in favor of sellers rather than buyers. If you sell + buy, the difference should hardly be noteworthy, but if you don’t own a house and want to buy one, you are out of luck. Renting becomes the only possibility and you can forget about ‘building a family life’ at this time of age. There are simply not enough resources available.

      Saving money is already out of the equation, although I have managed to save up some money by moving back in at my parents house. A luxury many do not share. How does the economy expect start-ups to happen that will refuel the economy at later stages of their development if there are no resources to support many startups? I am not merely speaking for myself, I see this happen around everywhere in my connection and network groups. At this point I have been working for 60+ hours a week for four years, and honestly, all that because it is a “choice to start a company?” I wish there would be more support. Is the only option not start anything and just work? Hope to find a job in a sea where my peers are struggling to find jobs?

      I feel that the entire ‘self-entitled’ and ‘lazy’ arguments being used on Millenials are ridiculous. Is it that strange to want to be able to start a more stable life at 28? One where I am not living in my parents house, can live with my girlfriend, perhaps get married and start a next chapter in life? It is not about comparing apples to pears, every generation has its struggles. But please do not simply brush off our problems with imo ‘self-entitled’ strokes of ‘wisdom.’

    • Paul Angone - All Groan Up

      Thank you Allisandra! I’m honored to be featured in your article! Keep up the great work.

  7. Sabrina

    Thank you so much for posting this and all of your other works. My husband and I are both 25 years old and we were beginning to think that we were the only ones having these problems. We both work 2 full time jobs while attending school. It seems that every month we are stressing about if we are going to make rent or if we have enough money for food that week. Neither of us like asking for help and expect absolutely nothing for free. We live in an extremely seasonal area, which can make some months impossible to pay just our basic bills. Even though we are students we are constantly wondering if we should switch majors. If the pay out is going to make our massive student loan debt worth it. We both have had our fair share of tragedies, but let’s face it, who hasn’t in our generation? Both of our parents live near us and are asking when we are going to have children. I desperately want to be a mother but I can’t even think of attempting fulfilling that dream in our current financial state.

    I would like to go on record and say I understand that other generations had it rough too. But at least there was a light at the end of the tunnel for them. A degree (just an associates) meant you were able to have a career, not a job. A career that just needed that signed piece of paper with paid on the job training. We on the other hand are not so lucky. For most good paying entry level jobs they want at least 3-5 years experience. How are we suppose to get experience if no one is going to give us a chance? When I ask people that question, they typically looked at me stunned for a moment and simply say “there are internships.” Great! An unpaid solution to go with my unpaid bills! That’s brilliant! Not every millennial is trying to become famous (not saying I wouldn’t watch if my life was made into a sitcom) and the small fraction that is really just wants to make a difference in some one else’s life so we can die knowing we made our mark.

    The truth is we are fighting an uphill battle that was left by previous generations. All the crap and dirt that was swept under the rug and forgotten about. The pile has gotten so high that the rug is touching the ceiling. We have to take it apart piece by piece. I’m tired of being called “lazy” and “self entitled” by people who know nothing of my life. I believe that our generation is going to make a difference, we just need somebody who is willing to give us the benefit of proving it. We aren’t sitting here making excuses or blaming our problems on others. We try to take responsibility, but when we do we are told we need to do more. There is only so much a person can take on, physically and mentally. We are paraded around in a society that tells us we are not enough. Blame whatever source you want, the media, family, friends, internet etc.. Take your pick. But the people in charge are the older generations. Retired, or coming close to, are the ones who are greedy, lazy and self entitled. Dues are never fully paid, even after your gone. It is your responsibility to keep the economy going as much as it is ours.

    No one on here is looking for a hand out, we all found this place because we were looking for some one who understands our struggles. We were looking for just a little shred of sanity to hold onto while we look for our light in this immensely dark tunnel.

    • Paul Angone - All Groan Up

      Thank you for sharing your story Sabrina. Love this line you wrote:

      “I’m tired of being called “lazy” and “self entitled” by people who know nothing of my life. I believe that our generation is going to make a difference, we just need somebody who is willing to give us the benefit of proving it.”

      You’re definitely not alone in this and I’m thankful that you’ve stumbled across this small piece of the internet here at All Groan Up for some encouragement and community.

      • Dahouse

        I am a little older not much. I am wondering why anyone should give you or someone a benefit to prove it. Are you willing to work countless hours for free and only expect to get out what you put in. Or are you wanting someone to hold your hand at all turns to make sure you don’t fall. These are questions you need to ask yourself along the way. I have a great job that pays well. It was always not like this. There were months that I had to choose heat or electricity. Food or ramen food. I never asked for help. I also did not start at this level I am at. I had to put time and equity in this. Nothing is handed to you. Go out and get it. Stop this attitude of geez just give me a shot. Always be on the attack. Find out what makes those you want to be like tick.

      • Eve

        I was working before I graduated school….the work ethic in my upbringing was very strong, and I really attribute it to being fully engaged socially, cognitively and creatively, while growing up.

      • David Marolda

        Spot on

    • Rob Bellomy

      Wow… that last bit about retirees being the most greedy, lazy and self-entitled is really quite astonishing given you don’t want to be painted with the same broad strokes you just used.

      The battle you fight – at least with regard to education – is one of the liberal elites; the government raises the amount of federal student aide and the schools raise tuition by the exact same amount — those responsible for “educating” you are also the same people robbing you blind — there is no reason that if you and your husband are working 40 hours a week (80 between the two of you – though if your work is seasonal, then it’s part-time and NOT full time, right?) that you should not be able to afford rent, food and your schooling (assuming you’re not also providing for children), and blaming an entire generation for your woes is EXACTLY why nobody is going to “give you a shot” – you lack the ability to think critically and to accurately diagnose the problem and then present a solution.

      • Kellie Everson

        I have four grown millennial sons, they all work hard, I notice the number one problem with 3/4 of them is self control with spending. I agree with what you said about the above person/couple being able to afford making the basic end meet if they are both working that much. 20 somethings seem to not settle for either waiting to make a purchase, or, if they do need a pair of jeans, they dont price around, or even check a friend, goodwill or ebay first. they simply just go spend $120 on new jeans. Everything seems to be about impulse control and many in this age group seem to talk themselves into poor financial decisions. I find that more than half of this age group that I interact with are also very much like every other generation in that they dont really listen to older persons wisdom, instead they think they already know and roll their eyes. This would not normally be a issue since it is an age thing, not a specific generation problem, the reason it becomes and issue for this group is that they are so underemployed (and often not employed at all). so it would in-fact be a life and generation changing solution if they got over their eye rolling and opened their ears, sooner than later. Another thought, this generation is the highest ranked in caring about social issues. each one seems to have a passionate view on some niche of injustice. Yet, they don’t volunteer as much, or look for ways to network, connect, grow or find a way to help and pay the bills while following their bliss same time.

      • Anarchy Softworks

        i am 27. i buy shitty used clothes, drive a 15 year old car with 200k miles and have to fix it myself when it breaks. my only debt is my mortgage on a shitty old house in Akron, Ohio that always has something wrong with it…. and student loans for the BS degree in computer science.

        i am a software engineer for a huge electric company and i can’t get ahead in this shithole place. if a life of hopeless debt slavery is supposed to make me grateful and enthused the only thing i’m excited about is the shotgun i am going to suck start

    • Yalldointhemost

      Just because society tells us we aren’t enough doesn’t mean we need to believe it. I think what the other generations are trying to say is that we are so busy look exterior when the true exsistence is internal. We are a very exterior facing generation. Our parents were very traditional yet society was going in the direction of asking more questions that required an external journey. We are the nomads. Questing on journeys of questions asked of the generation before us. We absorb the energy and look for ways to resolve the tension. It’s ok for us to not have everything, we just need to tell ourselves that and believe it. Life isn’t a competition, some may chose to believe that it is but that is not something we must all choose. It’s ok if we are broke we can just embrace it and know it’s a moment in time and make choices to change it. Looking at life as a hill can sound like an amazing journey, adjusting the way you embrace the struggle will help us learn to become prepared, laugh it off and keep pushin. Many Mahalos

      • David Marolda

        “Our parents were very traditional” said every generation for the last three thousand years. You have no idea what they were like at 20.

    • Eve

      Your point about student loans is moot. This has been an ongoing challenge for most generations!!! And I am dedicated to helping you guys!

    • David Marolda

      Retired people are the lazy ones? Kind of renders everything else you have to say sound like BS.

  8. Rob Bellomy

    Interesting topic and conversations. I’m from generation X and like many (maybe all?) millennials, my peers and I resented being called “slacker,” “lazy,” “entitled,” etc., so please, get over yourselves. And Gen-X received its share of participation trophies – the difference is many of us (i.e., me) didn’t keep them because they weren’t legitimate. So it’s probably no surprise I disagree with the author when he says millennials have been in a competitive cage match their entire lives. Whatever cage match or fights you perceive – they’re all (okay, not all – but mostly) imagined. Their illusory. You (and “you” is a general “you” and not the author specifically, because I don’t know him, or any of the others posting here – just keep that in mind for the remainder of my comments) – You don’t accept loss because you never learned how to lose and do it graciously – to congratulate your opponent on the field – shake hands and sincerely say “good game” when you’re really pissed that an umpire or referee made a bad call and everyone knows it. You never learned to accept the cards you were dealt and play that hand until you get a better hand (life is a lot like an endless card game and choices we make affect the hand we have after the cards are dealt – choose wisely). You weren’t taught introspection – to really look inward and give yourself an honest evaluation. Not everything you do is awesome or blue-ribbon worthy — some of it is utter crap, and that’s okay because NOBODY is awesome all the time and everybody does crappy stuff – it’s kinda part of the human condition. You weren’t taught humility – to be a gracious winner on those occasions when you DO win. You weren’t taught (or required) to have integrity; excuse-making is second-nature to pretty much everybody – but integrity – that is in short-supply and you should cling to it for dear life.

    My wife and I didn’t even own a TV until our oldest child (who’s now 18) was almost 1-year old and my parents bought us a TV. When they did that, we finally gave in and ordered some cable subscription (waste of money) and we were astonished when, while watching HGTV, couples younger than us (maybe not millennial but definitely on the cusp) would balk at homes they COULD afford, all the while demanding to find their “DREAM HOME” on the some real estate show. It illustrated how dramatically out-of-touch younger people were with reality when, in fact, there is nothing wrong with NOT being able to afford one’s dream home right out of the gate. This is a journey – and really – there are no wrong choices per se – there are just different choices. What would happen if you chose to put your education on hold while your spouse completes his/her schooling? What if you found a different job you enjoy MORE than what you’re going to school for, and you change your path? What if you didn’t buy a more expensive car? What if you bought a used car? For what it’s worth, my wife and I only buy used cars now – have for 10 years and it’s totally worth it – pardon my language, but screw the Joneses and their perfect Facebook lives 😉

    I think millennials are, to an extent, more influenced by social media than other generations. Facebook (or, as I prefer to call it, Fakebook) has created an entire artificial, illusory veneer of sheer awesome of our contacts’ lives, while ours may kinda suck, and it creates an imaginary (yet very real) pressure on participants to keep up the facade while creating an equally artificial veneer of awesome for ourselves (hence, I’m no longer on Fakebook… there’s a reason “don’t believe the hype” is a thing).

    I think many millennials also have the whole education-thing backward. Education is fine and dandy… my wife has more education than I do, but our educations do not directly play into our careers. Sure, aspects of my degree in Marketing (chosen primarily as a means of getting out of college because I HATED school) and her degree in early childhood development with additional schooling to achieve her teaching credential come into play in our current roles – but we don’t work directly in those fields. In fact, I had no idea what I wanted to be while I was wrapping up my degree – and everything turned out okay. I’m 45 and I still have business ideas rolling around my noggin and I’m constantly wondering whom I can check in with as a potential business partner and what will we do with our success… and none of my business ideas involve marketing.

    Regarding the comment that an AA would get someone into a career – maybe in the 60s and 70s… but not in the 80s or 90s – that was a jumping-off point for Gen-X. Paid, on-the-job-training hasn’t existed since the early 1980s… though Liberty Mutual has an on-the-job training program for underwriting insurance policies. Seriously – they do – and it’s in Houston (I found it this week on indeed.com) and if I wouldn’t have to start-over with a salary I had 20 years ago, I’d totally do this because I think this stuff is fascinating… but I digress…By the time my wife and I graduated, we were told we needed masters degrees if we wanted to be “qualified” to advance our careers – which was a steaming pile of horse manure. We didn’t need “MBA” behind our names to advance or move into different careers – but it also did not mean the learning stopped.

    If I could offer any encouragement to millennials – I would encourage you to practice integrity every day; it has saved my job on more than one occasion. If you own your missteps, you’re less-likely to repeat them. Practice humility every day. Practice active-listening every day and learn all you can from others with more experience. Before I had a break-through in my career and salary, I was a terribly arrogant turd. God used the people I worked with at one small bank to cut me down to size and re-build me the right way. I learned to listen… one of my mentors told me I could stay in the industry and when I was his age, have 20 years of experience, or one year of experience 20 times over. I saw the guys with one year of experience 20 times over – they were defeated, confused and usually quite angry – so I took his words to heart. Ask for those in your field to teach you or share with you (assuming you have time). Attempt to get a job within the industry of your chosen field — if you want to be a teacher, see if you can get work as a lunch-aide or classroom assistant — I wanted to be a banker so I got a job as a teller and things progressed from there because of NETWORKING and developing a good reputation. The other piece of advice I was given and I try every day to embody, is to find the least-desirable task in my current position and make sure I’m the best at completing this task – something that everyone else hates to do. Do it so well that you stand out and get noticed. It may not pay off in terms of a raise or promotion immediately, but down the road, the people who count will remember. Networking – I’m terribly introverted (though I’m better at hiding it now) and once I got to know people in the banking world, new opportunities and horizons opened for me.

    I wish you all the best – Godspeed in your journey. And remember – it’s a journey. It’s up and down and around the bend – almost never straight and level. Try to enjoy it.

    • Yalldointhemost

      Thank You,
      I really needed to read that. I find your perspective refreshing.

    • Jane Doe

      I would also like to thank you for sharing a little wisdom, Rob. Coming from a twenty-something year old woman, who lacked parental guidance and spent most of her childhood/teenage years alone, I am at a loss in my mid-twenties. It was nice to read about the topic and hear your personal view / understanding of it all

  9. Stevart

    Whether or not millennials are facing more difficult problems is not the issue IMHO. The problem is nevertheless compounded by their “Marxist” based education that tends to look at problems as purely institutional. They are taught knee-jerk bromides about how western institutions are inherently bad owing to their inability to deliver a quite fix utopian society. Marxism is predicated upon leaving nature out of the equation which is the main reason for the transgender hysteria, the belief that sexuality is purely a social construct separate from biology. We ALL invariably face the implacable wall of reality in all our endeavors, but adaptation is what makes our species unique. The Ritalin “brats” raised on anti-Regan nuclear holocaust hysteria were ill-equipped to face the loss of youth and the prospect of diminishing horizons that comes naturally with age e.g. Kurt Cobain. The completely idiotic breakdown by Laura Dern on the Tonight Show about nuclear holocaust is a perfect example of such hysteria that was rammed down the throats by our educational system and MSM. The very sad news is that things will not improve. The hysteria and growing violence exhibited by the left about Trump is a clear indication that our youth are in for a very bumpy ride.

    • Eve


    • Dan C

      So your position is basically, WHAAA WHAAA WHAA FEELINGS!

      • Stevart

        Nothing more than feelings.

  10. N Sharman

    I feel sorry for millennials. I’m a little bit older and my grandfather raised kids in a time of economic prosperity in America. It took one adult to buy a house, raise 4 kids, support a family of 6 and have a descent life. He did this all before age 30! He didn’t have a college degree and he didn’t have a glamorous job either. My grandfather worked at a grocery store. Try to do that today mind you. The truth is, you can’t do it. He didn’t have to work 2 jobs or take night classes. He worked eight hours a day and was able to drive 5 miles in order to get home in time for dinner with his family. What I can’t seem to understand is why older Americans let this dream get taken away and then call all the young people lazy or entitled for wanting the same standard of living. It is complete and utter nonsense and I just can’t believe it. Why should any young person be happy about having to work two jobs at age thirty when the average family only had to work one job just 30 years prior. Listen to yourselves. Young people didn’t create the crappy economy or society that we have today. It’s the older generations that voted against their own economic interests and ruined it for the future. Now our children have to suffer with huge bills and a crappy standard of living. You can’t survive on today’s low entry level wages, even if you can get an entry level job.
    The only things society needs to come to terms with now are that the good old days are gone. We have to work over-time or 2 jobs just to survive. We commute long distances which leaves little time for our families, we have little to no savings and very little money for retirement. There is no social security to count on and forget about owning your own home. Young people are also a lot less likely to have kids now because they can’t afford them. Where is the article about that! These people who love to bash the young folk sound like the parent blaming the kid for getting the speeding ticket when they were the ones driving the car. I rest my case.

    • Peter Verkooijen

      This is exactly right, but millennials have dug their own graves in many ways; buying into the bankrupt baby boomer worldview, choosing security over liberty, choosing wisdom of crowds over independent thought and eventually electing two authoritarian big government demagogues to the presidency.

    • Zhong Brendan

      Which is why North Korea is doing the right thing. They keep life simple, lights out at dusk, away from the destructive influence of modern-day technology. And they have nuclear weapons to protect that way life and from the pervasive powers or anyone seeking to upset and subvert that. It’s basically life in the 30s, 40s and 50s. Why isnt that good?

      • bowoosssss

        Then, Move to N.Korea. 🙂

      • David Marolda

        Wow. Dumb

    • J Falconlem

      Everyone lives in their own bubble, it lives inside of the economy we live in and that affects everything. So if you have 8 or nine good years make hay, because the lean times will arrive and you need to be able to weather the storm. Unfortunately a lot of people aren’t willing to move to keep up their standard of living. Men get tied down by family commitments and so on and believe it or not guys want kids too, even if they don’t act like it till they are 35. Of course if there is a nuclear war, it won’t matter what any of us want, cause the economy may collapse. Which it may anyway. Sorry! Welcome to capitalism. BTW Bernie won’t win this time either, so move on.

  11. Peter Verkooijen

    Here’s how it looks from another Generation X perspective:

    In the 1990s it was clear that the welfare states, in the US and Europe, were going bankrupt. You could extrapolate the trends and figure out that things would become unsustainable when the baby boomers would start retiring, 65 years after 1945, around 2010.

    To have a future, there would have to be less reliance on government, more individual responsibility and freedom, more flexibility. The internet would be a catalyst for decentralization, level the playing field, allow young entrepreneurs to compete with old dinosaur multinationals, bring down borders.

    Generation X knew the future was not going to be easy, but it was going to be interesting and with their do-it-yourself punk attitude they would make it work. We valued independence, individualism, freedom to do whatever and go whereever

    Then along come the millennials. They completely buy into the boomers bankrupt worldview. They believe globalization is a plot by evil corporations. They believe the future is a choice between economic sacrifice or ecological devastation. They believe in the wisdom of crowds.

    Millennials happily hand over online control and data to Google, Facebook and Amazon in exchange for free or cheaper stuff. The internet becomes a centralizing force and a government surveillance machine.

    Then they elect two authoritarian big government demagogues as presidents. Obama and Trump’s common goal is to make sure that the baby boomers are taken care off.

    Obama promised to end boom and bust and he did. If you had money before 2009, you will never go backwards. Government will make sure that your home values and stock portfolios are propped up, your companies bailed out, your jobs secured no matter how deep in debt your company or government is.

    If you had no money before 2009, you will get food stamps, public housing and maybe soon free healthcare, because government is ‘going to take care of everybody’. Welcome to feudalism – or “socialism” as millennials prefer. Millennials are like the Italians in the 1920s and the Germans in the 1930s.

  12. Suelark

    5 millennials in my family. All have the means and backing of family to go to college or pursue a path that will make a good living. Only ONE will make something of himself. He got a job a 15, bought a car at 16, is working 30 hours a week managing a fast food place and took advanced placement courses in high school so he’ll graduate college in 3 years; pursued many avenues and managed to get a full ride in scholarships for the next 4 years.
    The other 4 are lazy and feel entitled. One received several scholarships & her dad would have paid the extra, yet she didn’t bother to apply for university that is only 3 miles away; she works 12 hours a week in a store & lives w/ boyfriend & his family. Another married & divorced two jerks, has 2 kids & many tattoos, is driving a paper route. Another fancies herself a country girl and wears only camo…again, no attempt at education or a job. The last one got a job offer perfect for him, family business, would never be fired and would be doing something he’s very good at doing. Turned it down to work for min. wage at a farm.
    Of course these people never put their phones away and have their photos posted everywhere. They find the money to eat out at fairly expensive spots while their stupid parents drive through Arby’s.
    I am proud of the first one. Wouldn’t give a rat’s a.. for the others and they are MY family. You really think I care about any of you others I don’t even know. You aren’t interested in saving money so you can buy a cheap little house and later, sell and move up. You want it now. You cry because you went into debt for college. Why didn’t you go to a cheap junior college? You have no idea what real work is so shut the h3ll up.

  13. Eve

    I’m 50-something, and I agree with the author and Rob Bellomy. My purpose is to help this generation in the era of entrepreneurship. The biggest challenge at the gate will be having the staying power, because as Rob says, nobody learned how to fail in this generation. And what about instincts, passion and the hunger to break the code in life that calls you on your soul’s journey? I think this generation has real problems, and it’s not their fault. The digital age is to blame, more than anything.
    I will do my best to teach them how to access their hearts, and learn empathy, tenacity and to live in service to something larger than themselves, in order to succeed in business. Business failure rate is very high, even Indiegogo campaigns fail in the 90 percentile. Why? Because the balls-to-the-wall-due-paying-grit that it takes to succeed by failing over and over again, and sustaining rejection, is absent in a generation that has no idea what character requires. They need our help.

    • Dan C

      The main reason all those businesses failed is because… they were doomed for the start. Most of the successful businesses nowadays have tremendous startup costs and can only be taken on by huge corporations. In general the idea that you’re going to make money starting out today in the small business world, or even break even, seems very unlikely at this point.

  14. bluesilver

    the rather relentless oversimplifications of the author, largely posing as protesting the oversimplifications aimed at Millennials is ironic, annoying and largely way overdone. That said this is the first site I’ve seen, other than scientific and rigorous climate change blogs, where the first half dozen comments overwhelmed the oversimplification with actual experiences and perspectives that far outstrip the sales job the author makes (I’d assume to sell oversimp. which is the nature of the publishing marketing beast) He’s not always wrong, but way unsubtle and guilty of what he alleges. Ironic.

  15. Outlaw

    I’m a millennial and losing my damn mind. No matter where I go or how many apps I put out, no one cares and no one wants to hire me. I’m close to going postal or jumping off a high place. Not sure how much more I can take.

    • J Falconlem

      I suggest you watch an old show called Kung Fu. Its about building patience partly. I graduated in ’93 with a B.A., there was a huge recession on and it took 6 months to find a white collar part time job and 3 more months to make it full time and it only paid 25k. So if you are struggling that bad, you may need to just take a part time job and see if it works into something else.

  16. Millennial helping millenials

    Hard to find a job?

    Have they closed pizza places, retail stores, construction sites, and entry level tech support facilities?

    A college degree does not entitle anyone to a job or position in their long term career. Whoever told you that is your enemy. It’s a stamp of completion from an employer’s view. Parents from former generations also went to college (wow!) but most of them understood that patience and experience earned you a place in your chosen career. Put your head down, build some work ethic, and follow what drives you. It’s a proven recipe for success.

    • Miss Immortal

      College degrees don’t entitle anyone to a job or position in their career. However, I have been turned down at retail jobs for being “over qualified”, how lovely is that? I have a business degree, I’l like to be a cashier at your little retail location, yet the fear I could potentially move you out of management, you refuse to hire me. It’s lose lose.

    • Dan C

      My parents were the ones who told me that, and it seemed to work for them.

  17. Anarchy Softworks

    honestly it’s hopeless, get drunk and die in the gutter. the student loans doomed me to a life of cube rat debt slavery and that makes me one of the lucky ones. suicide is the only way out of this hell.

  18. Chris

    Fact is that generation X is the most educated and their children, Gen Z, are become the most ever educated and the most diversely able generation.

  19. Chris

    Fact is that generation X is the most educated generation to date and their children, Gen Z, are going to become the most educated generation over and beyond their parents. In addition, Gen Z will be the most diversely able generation in regards to technical skills and communication skills; both verbal and written. Millennials are neither the most educated nor the most skilled.

  20. J Falconlem

    Another thing as a gen-Xer that really pisses all of us off is that the freaking yuppies won’t freaking retire. For God’s sake get the hell out of our way you selfish a holes. You’re screwing everyone’s career up staying around till your 72, how many houses, boats and cars do you need? You travel to Europe, Asia and then come back and brag about lunch in Paris to everyone who is slaving, you have your 5 weeks of vacation and holidays, not us buddy. So to any person that grew up in the 50’s and 60’s GO HOME. Oh yeah another thing, don’t whine about the politicians you get and stop making fun of people that work with their hands. The people that built the airports and roads in this country were your great grand parents start being a little more respectful. Just because cellphones and tablets throw them out of their depth, doesn’t mean they are stupid.

    • David Marolda

      Shut up. It’s not up to you when people decide to retire. You also have this stupid idea that all the older people are wealthy and are working because they want to. Some have to.

  21. Jonathon Quentin Public

    Boo focking hoo.

    Compared with generations who grew up with wars, depressions, before the advent of modern medicines and diagnostics, my GAWD this generation is the biggest bunch of pansies and n’er do wells that’s ever been born. It bodes ill for the planet overall. This author is a prime example-but at least he’s found a way to make money and move out of mom’s basement and maybe even pay off those student loans some day.

    Can it, you BABIES. Your life is no tougher and in fact far easier than many generations before you and that and ONLY THAT is why you have the high anxiety and depression levels. SOME depression is EARNED and SOME people use it to motivate instead of excuse or get paid for failing to thrive.

    Shut the mouth, get off the asss, take less, work harder, sleep less and every other sacrifice honest people go through to earn their way. Maybe even take care of someone else, the way we spoiled you almost to complete and utter dysfunction.

    Tick tock….

  22. Josef

    Great im glad someone is stating the obvious but the truth of the matter is Millennials are having to deal with the terrorist government the previous generations have forced upon them. If they didnt end up with college debt they ended up in court debt for bull shit got their license robbed by a non government organization. So now they have reach their 30s they cant even join events and eventures or leave the country. The Nazi government put so many problems in front of them that it makes their head spin on how to even fix one simple thing but yet we’re all worried about guns. Males are one of the most depressed and have committed the most suicides due to the fact that people who think they’re better than them knows what’s best for them. It’s a sick cycle and here we are left to clean up and figure out Solutions from this bullshit Institution. Check me out on youtube https://youtu.be/wBPQ5G4H3XY

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