Tuesday, March 22, 2016

More on the Millennials, One of My Favorite Topics. From Nick and The Always Thoughtful NY Post.

I am fascinated by my students - outside of their role as my students. I find myself sticking around after class more and more asking them about their studies, their plans, etc. They worry me tremendously. All of the typical millennial tropes seem to live in them. I think I'm a better teacher to them knowing some of this stuff. Of course I often just want to throw my hands up and say, "Listen. You. CAN. Even. And you must now." 


Seventy years ago, there was “the greatest generation.” Later, Generation X became known as the slacker generation. Today, millennials are turning out to be the anxious generation.

Numerous recent studies have shown that millennials suffer from anxiety at a much higher rate than generations that preceded them. What’s wrong with kids these days?

A lot, actually. They’re the first generation raised with Internet. The first generation to experience “helicopter” parenting. They’re at once constantly exposed on social media but also permanently sheltered by overbearing parents. They’re not the first generation to experience a rough economy, but they certainly act as if they were.

Much has been written about how millennials are tender and delicate. They’re sometimes absurd, like when they don’t eat cereal because there is, apparently, too much clean-up involved — what with the bowl and the spoon. They draw headlines like “Do Millennials Stand a Chance in the Real World?”

But the spike in anxiety is a real issue, one that shouldn’t be lumped with their “omg! lol! I can’t even” social ineptitude.

More Misery:


  1. Lol, Karol.

    The self-obsessed narcissists are the most prevalent negative examples of our generation just as aloof hippies were the most prevalent negative examples of the boomer generation. Neither is the norm.

    Millennials piss off boomers because we measure productivity differently. Boomers say "Oh, I worked ten hours today, I'm productive." while a millennial will say "I created an excel program that saved me a whole bunch of work so I only HAD to work SIX hours today. I'M productive."

    Boomers measure productivity in hours spent working while we measure it in what you actually accomplished and your output. Millennials also hate, hate, hate office politics, think dress codes are stupid, are the most educated generation history, and have been toughened by having to search for jobs in an economic slump. We're different. We don't want to deal with BS at work and want transparency in organizations we work at.

    All these articles about how we're so anxious/narcissistic/lazy just make me laugh. Dinosaurs roaring at the meteor.

    1. Dead on, my millenial brother. I've read here long enough to know that there's a general ignorance and fear of us among the older faculty. There are some cool younger faculty here, but most are old or near retirement if you read closely enough.

      Because we succeed in ways that are not clear to them, they put their boomer generation microscope on us and find us failing.

      But, look, we've already moved, we've already fixed up another of your fuckups over here.

      You're welcome. We promise to try to keep the power on at the senior facility.

    2. so you're more productive because you are meeting you own standards of productivity? Hummmmm, ever hear of the Texas Sharpshooter fallacy??

    3. Conan, being "the most educated generation" isn't the same as being "the most knowledgeable, or smartest, generation". In the classes I teach, in general, if information/knowledge doesn't appear at the top of the 1st page of results in a Google search, it doesn't exist... so my students' research papers are often a shallow, superficial veneer of scholarly work that I have the misfortune of having to read.

      I have friends working in the private sector who can't get their millennials, fresh out of school and in their first "real" job (and hell's bells, these are permanent, well-paying jobs to boot!), to show up to work on time, not leave early after taking an extended lunch, or even bother informing someone when they don't show up for work, let alone actually give a good reason for why they took a day off work (and then argue that it shouldn't count towards their vacation time!). I'm going to agree with Morose, I'm don't doubt that millennials think that they're a productive generation of workers, 'cuz they've got a warped sense of productivity that sure doesn't mesh well with what their supervisors et al. want them to produce at work. The group of 'more-productive no-BS' millennials you've described are a group of young people that I, nor any of my friends, have ever had the pleasure or meeting or employing.

    4. All your base (will soon) belong to us.

      And there is nothing you can do about it.

    5. Maybe those workers are producing fairly good results, but in less time. The employer just wants to get even more work for no extra pay or to reduce the employees' pay because the work took less time. The employer thinks in terms of paying for working hours (even if the employees are salaried) and is simply pocketing any productivity gains. The employees have produced the expected results and would like to be rewarded with some time off, taken out of the time they have just saved, instead of losing money for being too productive or being saddled with even more work.

    6. What confuses me, though, is that this sort of behaviour may happen in the WORKPLACE, but I encounter "this generation" mainly in the CLASSROOM, where a minority (a significant one) are still claiming "but I worked on this ALL WEEKEND" as justification for 'deserving' an A, even if the 'product' is a small pile of dreck.

      Even when I TELL a class that if the worksheet takes more than an hour to do, they are not using the tools on offer effectively, and need to review the material. Even when I offer them all sorts of options for that review - including youtube videos, online resources, text books written in different styles, even a choice of software for doing the analyses, AND extra office hours - to get over that, they somehow think long hours = proof of hard work, regardless of the result. And creating an Excel spreadsheet? "But this is MATHS" they cry "not HAMSTER STUDIES".

      Working SMART is something many of my friends & I tried hard to cultivate in our college days and since - I'm at the elderly end of the X-ers, but I still wanted time for all the things that make my life richer, not just work - but many of my students seem to think that hours are all that counts, not product.

      Others of them are super-smart, some are BRILLIANT at finding shortcuts, some use the tutoring service, others just, well, listen in class and use the resources. Some do find short-cuts of their own. Some comb meticulously through the syllabus and the regulations to find loopholes they can exploit and sea-lawyer with all the skill of earlier generations. Some smoke pot and hit the bars and amble into class late, uncaring and without their assignments. In other words, like every other generation, they're a mixture of personalities, backgrounds, attitudes and aptitudes.

      Sorry guys, your sweeping generalisations bring you down to the level of these authors, whereas one of the reasons I like a job which brings me into contact with younger people in a classroom is their originality and diversity.

      ---Grumpy Academic---

  2. So, you're the meteor and I'm the dinosaur?

    Terrific. I knew having students here would be instructive.

    1. Like I said, you're welcome. Seriously, though. I have respect for many of my faculty, but too many of them have this tremendous bias about students like me. We're smart and capable in ways you don't understand, and that's the problem. You're judging us and grading us on outdated modalities and schemas. We are operating at a different level than you did, just as you were likely more advanced than your teachers, at least the ones of you who weren't doing pailfuls of brown acid at Woodstock or whatever.

      The truth is, you're dinosaurs because you chose not to adapt to the new educational paradigms, all of which are in place and operational no matter how hard you wish they weren't.

      The best of you, and I know there are many out there, will recognize our abilities and reward us so we can get on with the business of doing great work, just as you may have when you were younger.

      It's not us or them, either. It's them, which is just about over, and us next, inevitable. Kaboom.

  3. I'm just going to turn my computer off for the day, M'kay?

    1. When the meteors have destroyed us, please wake me up. I can't wait for that fucking day.

    2. You can hide and ignore this generation, but you do at you're own peril. Nobody denies the inevitability, and I am always loudest among my peers in praising things that your generation did well.

      But we have to do a better job of valuing what my generation brings to this. We are not simply patting ourselves on the back for STRUGGLING, or MAKING IT THROUGH, or logging 40-60 hour work weeks. That's all a smoke screen. What matters is results, and by any measure of standardized testing, my generation is miles ahead. We test higher in a variety of ways - on the right tests of course, the ones designed for our unique skills and educational background.

      So, the best of the boomer generation will welcome us. We have every bit as much to teach you as you likely have about the educational modalities and pedagogies of the earlier generation.

      I don't mean to be dismissive. Maybe I was too casual earlier.

      But the sooner the older generation comes to value millennials and our special gifts, the better for everyone. You'll know, for example, how to measure our achievement and abilities, which are too often undervalued by your older methodologies.

    3. You cannot make this shit up:

      "You can hide and ignore this generation, but you do at you're (sic) own peril."

  4. OH MY GOD...who put that graphic together...like I have to ask...I spit out my soup...my old boomer generation soup, like, everywhere, productively, while I WORKED THROUGH LUNCH!

    Like others, though, I'm going to have to avoid these comments today. I just know enough about how they're going to go, and I don't have the heart today with the post-spring-break load killing me.

    Hi everyone....

    1. I'm also going to avoid this comment thread from now on, so I'm going to go and use my smartphone for some productivity-related stuff, but due to my dinosaur paws I'm first going to have to ask for help from a passing millennial who might be pre-occupied with being productive in new and innovative ways, given that I have no idea what I'm doing or where I am. Oh, and I've also soiled myself in my current state of decrepitude.

    2. It's Fab!! Love you!

  5. First of all, hilarious comic.

    Second, didn't think it would cause such an uproar. Are millennials supposed to read articles that call us narcissistic and accuse us of needing our mommies (that oddly present STAYING CLOSER TO HOME as a solution) and just roll over and take it? If we fight it, we're bratty children who need a time out. If we roll over and take it we're lazy and aloof. Oh, the choices.

    I have the audacity to say no, not all millennials are part of these small groups that you hear about exclusively through stories and that aren't backed up by research, and everyone loses their minds? Come on.

    The dinosaur metaphor wasn't about boomers in general, it was about the people who write THESE articles and spread what basically amounts to complete horseshit about millennials.

    To put it into perspective, you see how upset YOU all got at the perceived slight of being called slightly behind the times? Imagine that but instead of someone on the internet making an accidental slight, it's published authors and writers saying your generation is the shittiest generation ever and everyone's cheering them on. They don't use a silly metaphor about animals to describe you. They out and out call your entire generation a collective piece of shit.

    Surely if you get upset at what I said, it's reasonable for me to get upset at what... SOCIETY is saying.

    1. I have to tell you, I think a lot of that is because this site - and the one before - for ten years has been a place where proffies come to bitch about their careers, careers they clearly love.

      That's all. It was never intended as a place for faculty to debate with students about whether or not we see the world the right way.

    2. Fab said pretty much what I was going to say.

    3. Agree with Fab. Conan seems like a smart guy, someone who'd be a good student if he wasn't so impressed with himself and so dismissive of others. (But that can be taught, too, even by dinosaurs.)

      But the last thing I want when I come here is more fucking students. I get them 4 days a week, 5 hours a day, and that's plenty.

      A veteran

    4. I've stopped posting because of these complaints. I can stop commenting as well and just read quietly. But that won't spare you of students who will come here and fling shit. Just as anonymous shit flingers cannot be stopped.

      Any blog that is good can't hope to remain a secret forever. Honestly the negative reactions to a student poster who loves the blog and the people in it make me fear for the worst when this place gets more exposure to students who do NOT like it. Which it will. They will not be dissuaded by the arguments of preserving the sanctity of this place as I am.

      And I can be dismissive for sure. Hasn't stopped me from being a good student and dismissiveness and wry condescension are hardly the worst qualities for a student to have. Examples abound in this blog alone. Also... I wasn't always dismissive. The "being right all the time" came first and the dismissiveness came from that hahaha.

      Before taking my leave of commenting I do want to point out that I could have said the same things I've said while pretending to be a professor (and pulled it off well enough to avoid detection, let's be real) without offending you. Given that your objection is to the source rather than the actual content. I could have done it quite easily. Had I not been forthcoming and self disclosed we would not be having this conversation at all.

      I wish this place the best.


    5. Conan, are we not able to respond to things you and Aaron say without you threatening to leave? This place predates me by many years ad well but I know what it is.

    6. That's not it at all. It's people complaining that my very presence here makes the blog unenjoyable for them. Which is the exact opposite of what I want. This isn't "How dare you critique me? I'm leaving." I'd hope you give me more credit than that. I'm a debater by nature. I thrive on the shit.

      This is me responding to people thinking I'm toxic here by removing myself.

    7. THIS is the straw that broke that camel's back? How is it possible to have both thick and thin skin at the same time? Oh, I get it--when it is an outrageous, over-the-top, and/or ad hominem attack, you have no problem letting it roll off your back--you can't possibly be THAT person, so why bother? But a thoughtful and frankly very gentle reminder to consider your audience is too much to take? Bit of advice: You have a lot of growing up to do if and before you go on to grad school. An inability to admit when you're wrong or to take constructive criticism will otherwise doom you. But back to your "Goodbye Cruel Blog" moment. Whatever the final straw was, I don't care. As long as you actually mean it is this time.

    8. I am the mother of two very capable and brilliant millennials (18 and 20) who get very upset at society's shit flinging about their generation. So I completely get that point of view.

      That having been said: Conan, I do think your post of a while back (the first one on this thread...maybe?) did not take into account the fact that we are actually reporting a new trend on this blog, one that we are witnessing first hand, and it deeply disturbs us, and we are not just imagining it because we feel threatened by our students' brilliance. (We get off on the brilliance of our students.) NO----we are witnessing the rise of the snowflake (if you will), and it is a new trend in young people----our students---that is disturbing and very prevalent! I have only been teaching 17 years, and things really were MUCH different back in the day. I never expected to have to get out my cane this early!!!!

      And to just give the student viewpoint expressed here a counterpoint: Professors are probably the most cutting edge in terms of caring about OUTPUT and not time put in! Come on! You know this! We get yelled at for it all the time! Snowflake students think the amount of time they spend MEANS something----it doesn't mean jack, guys! We care about output, and if you can get brilliance accomplished in a shorter amount of time, you win! Now at work---that is a different story. Most employers (as opposed to most academics) are interested in the time spent. Your employer (not your professor) will, indeed, reward your efficiency with a demand for MORE MORE MORE!

      Me, not so much. Please don't give me 15 pages if I asked for 10. PLEASE, try to get it done within the page limit! And if you can finish that in a day---great! If it takes you two solid weeks, well then, that's why I gave you four weeks to do it! If it takes you longer, that's why I GAVE you longer.

    9. "Before taking my leave of commenting I do want to point out that I could have said the same things I've said while pretending to be a professor (and pulled it off well enough to avoid detection, let's be real) without offending you. "

      I'm afraid he's right. Let's face it, we can be pretty brutal to new-comers and student posters.


  7. What? Those dinosaurs aren't taking selfies???