Despite Doubt Our Generation Will Succeed


Today’s young people have technological skills that put them at an advantage in the workforce. (Ayer Chan/The Observer)


Today’s young people have technological skills that put them at an advantage in the workforce. (Ayer Chan/The Observer)

The setting is early 2000s and it’s a blistering June morning. It’s your middle school commencement ceremony. You sit alongside your peers, awkward and uncomfortable, waiting for a change. You’re headed up to high school and you’re convinced your life will do a complete 360. You imagine getting your braces off, trading your glasses for beer goggles and your bike for a new set of wheels. Your principal is giving the graduation speech, saying that you all are the future. Fast forward near a decade, and your time has come—you’re an adult.

Our generation is unlike any that has come before or after us. We have opportunities and grew up with limitless information right at our fingertips. It is a changing world, and we are in the driver’s seat. This alone should make us the strongest, most powerful generation to date. However, many people of the older generation disagree.

Robert J. Samuelson of The Washington Post was reported in Newsweek as calling our generation “generation screwed,” and Samuelson himself preferred “generation squeezed” to describe our current societal standing. Samuelson explained that this is because of the lingering effects of the recession on the job market and the economy. His concern for our generation is that we are not able to handle what is coming our way and therefore will not live up to the notion of having a “better future” than the generation prior.

My response is that our generation is not “in trouble,” because we are a mob of slackers, but because the older generation has created this doubt in us. I take the accusations about as seriously as the older generation in the  ’50s and ’60s who deemed rock n’ roll as the soundtrack to satanic worshipping—this is just the ignorance of a generation too different to understand its succeeding one. When this is changed, or more of the older generation retires, the younger generation will undoubtedly not only fill their shoes, but make room for our own growth and succeed in these positions.

Furthermore, we are technologically more advanced than generations prior, and so have a competitive edge in today’s workforce. It would only make sense that we would be in the lead in the job market, except for one problem: The ball isn’t in our court. We are out there with skills that are definitely valuable in many job markets. We’re trying. The problem, though they fail to believe so, is our elders. Many employers will not hire young people because of lack of faith in our generation to get a job done, or hire those with little to no experience. As Kat Kaze points out in her article, “Younger Hires’ Biggest Hurdle: Ageism,” this becomes a very frustrating rotation of getting denied for jobs and getting told you need more experience but no one will hire you to give you experience because of the ageism that exists in certain career pools.

Also, let’s not forget that we are a financial mess because of our predecessor’s actions, not our own. As a younger generation we sat back and watched, unable to alter the situation that would one day become our own to handle. It is bad enough that we are stuck in the turmoil that was caused by them, but then to be looked down upon for being in it…it is truly a shame. Our generation is already on its way to changing things, but navigating the financial issues of today to create a better future will take time. We are starting families later and prioritizing our degrees and careers in ways that older generations did not. The older generation should see that we have been faced with much more at a younger age than they did, and we are still working through it—only serving as proof that we are determined and strong and they should have faith in us.

Many job markets, such as those in advertising, music, journalism, public relations, etc., are actually searching for younger people because our world is becoming more and more digitalized every second of every day. Because we’ve grown up in such a technological revolution, catching on to these advances like social media and computer programs is a cinch to us, whereas it is quite complicated to someone who has to learn it brand new and isn’t accustomed to it.

In my own experience, my familiarity with computers, social media and technology has only helped me achieve in my field of study. Last year, as a freshman at Fordham, I quickly climbed the rungs of the non-profit organization Girls Who Rock to become the director of technology. I ran the website and managed many social media aspects of the organization. Girls Who Rock is entirely made up of women under the age of 30, and youth is our most valuable asset as professionals because of our familiarity and natural ease into social media. If more young people were given the same opportunities, it would be seen that we are capable of much more than what is thought.

I am a determined young woman and so far, I’ve been successful in all of my endeavors. Not despite my age, but because of it. The older generation may be afraid for us, but that is merely a parental instinct kicking in or a severe lack of faith in us. When they see how we handle all that they have left us with, maybe then they realize how strong we actually are.