I cannot tell you how many articles I have read about “my” or possibly “our” generation–the Millennials. To be honest, very few of them are positive. Other generations just don’t get us, so when I was given the opportunity to choose and review a book through Booksneeze (all opinions are my own…let’s be real…I don’t do things where I have to be censored) I chose this book because: hey, I am 20 and something and I would like to know a little bit more about me and why I am the way I am.
Ultimately David H. Kim’s 20 and Something was not completely what I expected but not in a bad way. It was a lot less guidance and a lot more information about Millennials and was extremely unbiased. I really want my parents to read it and I would think at 80 pages they would because I think it would help them understand a lot more about myself, my brother, and even the generation altogether.
This quote caught my attention right away for twenties of any generation: “Your twenties can be quite the ride: the highs of youth and optimism regularly tempered by the lows of economic realities and real-world problems. In so many ways, it really is the best and worst of times.”
But what makes Millennials specifically different?
2. Terrorism (9-11 but also school shootings etc.)
3. Institutions & the failure of them (i.e. the government starting with Clinton’s scandal, Bush, and Obama, corporations like Enron etc.)
4. The Recession
What I liked about Kim’s approach was that he wasn’t writing to bash Millennials or to praise them, he is trying to help the reader understand them: “And yet despite good reasons for the contrary, at the heart of this generation is an undaunted sense of hope. Even after having witnessed the past hopes of society, falter twentsomethings continue to hope, which drives them toward change. This drive is not one with a singularity of focus, but one that meanders and allow its passengers to take time for fun along the way. And why not? They’re in their twenties after all” (34)
In light of that and Kim’s statistics (and this book is filled with infographics that are interesting) I found this pretty insightful: “Obama’s slogans were ‘Hope’ and ‘Change’ in 2008 and ‘Forward’ in 2012. In both elections, Millennial support was crucial for his victory. Obama’s campaign managers, as well as those who know Millennials, keenly understand that what brings meaning to this generation is hope leading to change” (42) For the record, this isn’t about my politics this is about the fact that Millennials were perfectly targeted for his campaign…and yet the book talks about how disappointed we have been with the government.
Millennials want to get married but they want to wait because they want to have the job of their dreams. And the majority of them believe, despite it all, that they will have it within the next five years. (Listen up here, famiglia.) “Millennials see their twenties as a time to explore their career options so they can find a job that will provide that sense of meaning and fulfillment. This may be confounding to parents…” (57).
This book was short and informative. At times it could be a little dry. But one of my favorite parts was quite the opposite. Conan O’Brien gave the commencement speech at Dartmouth University in 2011. This is how he started. “Today, you have achieved something special–only 92% of Americans your age will ever know: a college diploma. That’s right, with your college diploma you now have a crushing advantage over 8% of the workforce. I’m talking about drop out losers like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg” (54)
Then he addressed the parents: “Many of you haven’t seen your children in four years. Now you are about to see them every day when they come out of the basement to tell you the wi-fi isn’t working…You will spend more money framing your child’s diploma than they will earn in the next six months. It’s tough out there, so be patient. The only people hiring right now are Panera Bread and Mexican drug cartels…” (55)
In the end, this is what I got from the book…I definitely feel less alone and less like a freak for the way I feel about life. There are reasons I feel the way I do. And we aren’t the ME GENERATION; we aren’t a bad generation. We believe in hope and change. We just don’t believe it is going to come in the expected ways. We actually have the opportunity be a great generation. The final thing I got from this book? I want NON-MILLENNIALS to read it (i.e. Mom, Dad, Nonna, Stepmom…just sayin’) because I know you think I am crazy but I am not. That’s also what I appreciated about Kim’s approach–extremely unbiased, pros and cons, and read within 45 minutes.
P.S. When YOLO became popular, my nonna, Ms. Pop Culture (literally) went up to a guy on Spring Break wearing a YOLO shirt (who wears a YOLO shirt? haha) and asked him what it meant. When he told her–You only live once–she considered getting a YOLO shirt. “I mean, it’s a pretty good message when you think about it.” -Nonna