How millennials became the burnout generation

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Mon Feb 04, 2019

For the last decade, “millennials” has been used to describe or ascribe what’s right and wrong with young people, but in 2019, millennials are well into adulthood: The youngest are 22, like me, and the oldest are somewhere around 38. That has required a shift in the way people within and outside of our generation configure their criticism. We’re not feckless teens anymore; we’re grown-a** adults, and the challenges we face aren’t fleeting, but systemic.

But as millennials enter into mid-adulthood, that prognosis has been proven false. Financially speaking, most of us lag far behind where our parents were when they were our age. We have far less saved, far less equity, far less stability, and far, far more student debt. The “greatest generation” had the Depression and the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944 (G.I. Bill); boomers had the golden age of capitalism; Gen-X had deregulation and the Reagan Era. And millennials? We’ve got venture capital, but we’ve also got the 2008 financial crisis, the decline of the middle class and the rise of the 1%, the steady decay of unions, and the disappearance of stable, full-time employment.

Even while writing this article I am planning two trips, grocery shopping online, booking flight tickets home, studying, and finishing up school assignments. Even though I’m on top of all the important tasks, the small errands that need to be done seem extremely daunting. From 6 a.m. to midnight, our brain is always on overdrive, thinking about what has to be done next instead of enjoying the moment. Is it because we are always continuously doing things without a break? One thing after another? One chore after another? At this rate how long can we go? This is the reason we feel mentally fatigued. We are bound to break down.

To describe millennial burnout accurately is to acknowledge the multiplicity of our lived reality — that we’re not just high school graduates, or parents, or knowledge workers, but all of the above — while recognizing our status quo. We’re deeply in debt, working more hours and more jobs for less pay and less security, struggling to achieve the same standards of living as our parents, operating in psychological and physical precariousness, all while being told that if we just work harder, meritocracy will prevail, and we’ll begin thriving. The carrot dangling in front of us is the dream that the to-do list will end, or at least become far more manageable.

Link Credits: Buzzfeed

 

 

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2019 - Spring - Issue 2
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