Think millennials are lazy? Think again

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(Image bensonk42 via flickr.com)

Over-educated, under-employed and often living with the parents, life as a millennial is not an easy ride, writes Nicolle White.

WHETHER it’s a rant in a blog from people that think Andrew Bolt deserves a Walkley Award, or through overhearing snippets of conversation between isles of the supermarket, it’s clear that many of the older generation think millennials are lazy.

Sure, from the outside, it might seem that we are lazy. We would rather explore our potential on Instagram than our potential in school.

We go out for brunches, taking photos of perfectly plated food we probably can’t afford and whinge about not being able to enter the housing market. We spend hours flicking through Tinder instead of actually going out and meeting someone. Thanks to growing up in the social media revolution, millennials might be narcissistic, vain and have widespread carpal tunnel syndrome, but lazy? No.

We have to deal with our landlord’s shit

Landlords. They’re like the parents that you never wanted, except when they’re not happy enough with your ten-hours-spent-cleaning they can ask you to move out.

I live in a house that is lucky enough to require three monthly inspections. That means scrubbing every mark off the wall, removing petrol stains from the driveway, cleaning all the windows and flyscreens — everything.

At my age, my parents were lucky enough to have entered the housing market. They could choose when they wanted to scrub every inch of the house — and I’m fairly sure it wasn’t every three months.

Smashed avo slashed (Source: The Guardian).

Either that or our parents’ shit

If we’re not renting, we’re probably living with our parents, thanks to either still studying, trying to save a $200,000 deposit for a one bedroom apartment in Sydney, or simply not being able to afford to put $250+ per week into someone else’s mortgage.

Living with your parents past the age of 20 isn’t ideal for anyone. It requires a massive loss in freedom at a time where every fibre in your youthful body demands it. It means drunkenly tiptoeing through the door after a night out. It means awkwardly hooking up with that babe you met on Tinder in your car because you can’t stand the thought of your dad’s face as your show him the door in the morning. It means watching Antique Roadshow while you cook. Navigating living with your parents as an adult is hard work and definitely not for the lazy.

We have to study our asses off

Part of the reason so many of us are living at home is the necessity for a university degree. The 2011 Census showed 932,000 people were studying at university compared to a mere 140,000 in 1985. And with a 41 per cent increase from 2009 to 2014 in masters degree course enrolments, it is clear students perceive it necessary to have a degree. As the CEO of Group of Eight Australia, Vicki Thomson, said, “university isn’t for everyone” and studying for three years plus, after busting your ass to get into a course, is hard work.

And then we’re working hard to try and find a job

As we said, a shitload of us are studying at the moment. Apparently, our mining boom and subsequent crash taught us nothing about supply and demand. The problem here is the demand of jobs just isn’t meeting the supply of students and it’s pushing the values of degrees down.

The 2015 Graduate Careers Australia survey found over a quarter of university graduates hadn’t landed a job four months after completing their degrees. If you’ve ever been between jobs, you know how much effort and resilience this demands. Especially when you take into account a looming HECS debt. Don’t even get us started on how much worse this gets the moment you step into Centrelink.

And once we get one, we’re holding it close

Given the whole, it’s-impossible-to-get-a-job-and-avo-smashes-aren’t-getting any-cheaper situation, once we do land employment, we’re determined not to let it slip through our carpel tunnel-ridden fingers. One in four millennials won’t use any of their annual leave in a 12 month period, compared to one in ten of the overall working population. On top of this, we find it hard to step away from the job when we go home, with 52 per cent of millennials thinking it’s okay to answer a work email during dinner, compared to only 46 per cent of baby boomers.

Millennials are a lot of things. Our phones might make us shitty dinner dates, we might frustrate you with our constant need for political correctness and the perfect selfie, but lazy we are not.

Read more from Nicolle White at nicollewhite.com.

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