It's Not Our Fault: How This Generation Was Set Up For Unhappiness
I'm part of Generation-Y.
We've been brought up in the most modern, up-to-date, forward-thinking culture in history. We have the Internet, live updates on breaking news and food truck conventions.
But, as equipped with modern technology as we are, Generation-Y has been clouded with a false sense of self.
A lot of us grew up being told we can be anything we set our minds to.
On career day, kids in my class lined up to be presidents or astronauts, and one kid said he wanted to be the one who made pigs actually fly.
And, our teachers and parents allowed it. They gave us praise for our horrible macaroni art, and they hung it on the fridge until the very last piece of dried up starch hit the floor.
They glorified our underachievement.
Our egos have become too big to fit through the door of reality.
We never had to really work hard to be "successful" in the eyes of our superiors as children, and therefore, we have to suffer as adults.
University of New Hampshire management professor Paul Harvey conducted immense research on Gen-Y, and in his conclusion, he stated we as a generation inhabit a “very inflated sense of self” that leads to “unrealistic expectations” and “chronic disappointment.”
Our parents come from a different generation. They were known as the Baby Boomers. The Baby Boomers were brought up in a time of immense chaos and war.
They were taught career goals and dreams were built on hard work and obtaining a stable job.
So, it may not be your dream career, but you’ll be bringing home money and raising a family. They were also brought up in a way better American economic climate.
Our generation is quite different. We were brought up with endless possibilities.
We were told to chase our dreams and chase them at 100 miles per hour. We were told we can be anything we want.
Throw in our need for instant gratification thanks to modern technology, and many Gen-Yers think they can obtain their dream careers with less work.
And when they don’t get there in a short period of time, they ultimately second-guess themselves and their dreams. They give up.
According to psychology, happiness equals reality minus expectations.
What our parents have been doing is setting us up for a false sense of reality. We enter the real world expecting things to be better than they actually are.
Therefore, we’re a lot less happy than they hoped for. Our expectations are way higher than anything will ever be.
Gen-Y has a higher rate of diagnosis with depression and anxiety, as well.
We’re so concerned with doing things that make us happy and fulfilled, and we aren’t on the right path to find stabilization, like our parents.
With college loans floating over us, other people’s accomplishments flooding our social media feeds and our parents breathing down our necks to get jobs, of course we’re going to be anxious and depressed.
Our generation doesn’t want to compromise. We have high expectations for ourselves and our dreams, and that’s okay.
But being unwilling to put in the time and hard work starting at the bottom is where the real issue lies.
According to psychology professor Jean Twenge, author of "Generation Me: Why Today's Young Americans Are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled — And More Miserable Than Ever Before," Millennials are really too entitled.
We think we shouldn’t have to start from the mailroom or the front desk at a job, we should be praised for our personality and valued for our already great work ethic.
But, that’s unrealistic. And when our expectations don’t match up with reality, we are setting ourselves up for unhappiness.
What we need to do as a generation is take a step back and realize no one is going to hand us a key to the Oval Office or a rocket to fly into space with tomorrow.
Success takes time; it takes blood, sweat and often years of hard work.
I went to college and studied media and journalism because I had a dream of being a female host in the late-night TV sector.
I wanted to be the next Chelsea Handler, and I didn’t care what I had to do to get there. When I couldn’t land an internship at a late-night show, I felt like a bit of a failure.
But, that didn’t mean I stopped dreaming and yearning to achieve my goals. Instead, I went a different route and changed my course of action.
I may be a Millennial, but I certainly wasn’t going to be part of a “Lost Generation.”