“Why I hate baby boomers” is a declaration found frequently in blogs and other online essays these days, most of them written by our own kids — the dread and much maligned Millenials.
There are 75.4 million Millenials in the U.S., aged 19 – 35. And they have reasons to be angry at us.
According to Forbes, “The data is actually pretty scary: 44% of college grads in their 20s are stuck in low-wage, dead-end jobs, the highest rate in decades, and the number of young people making less than $25,000 has also spiked to the highest level since the 1990s.”
One of the big reasons given for this backup? Baby Boomers are not retiring but hanging onto to their jobs due to economic uncertainty. So, the millenials are pissed off and see us as the problem. Of course, we are also blamed for the way we raised them. They are the everybody-gets-a-trophy generation. They may indeed feel entitled, but we did raise them that way.
I am a Boomer
For the record, I don’t hate Baby Boomers. I am one. But I do find it alarming that so many millenials hate our generation. So, while this site is devoted to helping Baby Boomers build muscle as we age, I wanted to take a time out to try and understand this phenomenon.
We of the Baby Boom were born in the years following World War II and are now between the ages of 53 and 71 years old. Because we’re starting to die off, Millenials recently passed us as the largest generation in terms of sheer population.
Wikipedia sums us up this way:
In Europe and North America, boomers are widely associated with privilege, as many grew up in a time of widespread government subsidies in post-war housing and education, and increasing affluence.
As a group, baby boomers were the wealthiest, most active, and most physically fit generation up to the era in which they arrived, and were amongst the first to grow up genuinely expecting the world to improve with time. They were also the generation that received peak levels of income; they could therefore reap the benefits of abundant levels of food, apparel, retirement programs, and sometimes even “midlife crisis” products. The increased consumerism for this generation has been regularly criticized as excessive.
Meanwhile, our kids, the Millenials face pretty much the opposite scenario. Many of them are choked with college debt they may never get rid of. They can’t purchase cars or houses and struggle to get by as the world around them changes dramatically.
In addition to political upheaval, technology relentlessly searches for ways to eliminate low-paying human jobs with alternatives, like drones delivering packages.
Many Millenials see little hope in their futures. And they’re really ticked off at us. One blogger stated they were waiting for us to start dying off and as we do: “Good luck changing your own f**ing bedpans.”
It all seems so strange
Our parents — The Greatest Generation — could do no wrong in some ways. You have to give them props for saving all of humanity in World War II and all the selfless sacrifices they made doing it.
Of course, like any crop of spoiled kids, we didn’t give them a pass. They were also extremely lame in many ways. They could not begin to grasp the expanding consciousness and enlightened genius of our generation. They were an army of Archie Bunkers, hopelessly out of it: Vietnam. Women’s Rights. Civil Rights.
Many of them went to college nearly free on the G.I. Bill and bought inexpensive houses with government aid. Jobs were plentiful as the world rebuilt and the rise of unions made it so even manual labor paid well enough that an uneducated person could own a home and raise a family.
We were the kids who reaped the benefits of all that. The world would be our oyster. We have enjoyed the highest levels of success and peak incomes. We were the most physically fit generation in history, at least at one time. We believe there are no limits that can hold us back.
And perhaps we’ve taken all those things for granted. Our kids desire the same things but apparently cannot get there in many cases regardless of how much education they finance or how hard they work.
So, it’s no surprise really when our own kids look at us and see our glaring flaws and get ticked off. We at least had the advantage of opportunity and optimistic futures. The classic American Dream was attainable for us. We would be angry, too, if Hard Work and Education failed to realize opportunity.
I have no idea what to do about any of it. Except, perhaps to be a little more empathetic the next time an obviously over-qualified young person takes my order at a fast food place. They could have an advanced degree and a ton of ambition with nowhere to go.
What are your thoughts on this Generation Gap? Please leave a comment below or drop me a line: Brian@BoomerMuscle.com.