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PARKER: Rolling up her sleeves for the millennial generation

Image Credit: Compilation/Jennifer Stahn
July 22, 2014 - 6:55 AM


When was the last time you put in a hard day’s work?

Like, I don’t mean you busted your ass at CrossFit and did 57 kettlebell swings. I mean, when was the last time you put in a hard day’s work for someone else?

Millennials seem to have a bad reputation when it comes to this whole concept of work — and I’m here to clear the air.

I’ll admit yesterday was the first time in about two years I have — by definition — put in a hard day’s work. I “punched the clock,” as they say. I worked “for the man,” as they say. I “did my time,” as they say — and it wasn’t pretty. (Actually, it was pretty. I was waiting tables and that’s part of the job description.)

I have spent the past couple years as a student and the past three months travelling and blogging in my pyjamas. Sometimes, I would have the audacity to announce I worked hard that day — as if hitting publish on a Wordpress site and re-writing the personal manifesto in my dearest diary was akin to hammering the last spike of the Canadian Pacific Railway.

I’m not delusional as to where our bad reputation is coming from.

There I was, however, at midnight on a Thursday, covered in ketchup (or was it blood?), mopping my brow below the bar counter, close to tears because I had just splashed hot sauce in my eye while en route to table No. 54.

There comes a time in every new graduate’s life at which there is a plate that requires stepping up to. We take three jobs — one of them to pay the bills, one of them to gain experience in our field of study and one of them because we love it. We recognize that the free ride is over, we prepare ourselves for battle and we suck it up.

The more I thought about the situation I found myself in, the angrier I got — and it had nothing to do with hot wings.

In a recent Maclean’s issue, there was an introduction to the next generation — Generation Z — as being “more ambitious” than my own. To ice the cake, the generalization of us Millenials falls nothing short of “overconfident, narcissistic and entitled.” This is nothing new — us ‘80s and ‘90s kids get a bum deal when it comes to the media in which we’re exposed. It’s the curse of Nickelodeon or something.

We are painted as lazy, as a bunch of 20-somethings who sit at home waiting for gold to fall out of the sky, as “tolerant” but daft — and this next generation is supposed to save us all. I’m not so sure “more ambitious” is the key, though.

I have a girlfriend who paid off her entire $30,000 student loan in 12 months by working 80 hours a week. There are men in my life who build houses in 40-below and 40-above so they can buy property, support a family and give themselves the ability to take two months off a year for “spiritual healing.” My youngest brother just got sworn into the Canadian Armed Forces, because it’s a family legacy he wants to continue.

Sure, Generation Z might be detecting cancer in us before they graduate high school, but can they change their own flat tire in an Interior winter without enough service bars to watch a YouTube video? Can they? Huh?

It’s my job as a pro-technology, millennial advocate to stand up for the middleman.

We, the Millennials, are the new, shinier, richer working class — and we cannot allow ourselves to be walked all over. We are not overconfident, we are able. We are not narcissistic, we are self-assured. We are not entitled, we are conscious of our potential. And, we are not lazy — we know without a doubt it is much more work to bang on a drum all day.

— Andria is a twenty-something blogger living in Kamloops with her 100 pairs of heels and 200 paperback Penguin Classics.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014
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