Millennial Depression: Real or are we just lazy?

I turn 23 in seven weeks. I have a college degree, no permanent job, I live at home and I’m about to emigrate. To sum it up, I am the archetype of the 2014 millennial. And it is a seriously depressing position to be in. But I have to wonder, is it just me who feels like a massive failure or is it something that has settled into my generations psyche?

When I left college in 2012, we were all still slap bang in the middle of the recession but I had that kind of blind optimism that comes from being cocooned in a college campus where your surrounded by creative people and your all talking about and making interesting stuff, who wouldn’t want to hire us all immediately? It turns out, no one really wanted to, but still, it’d be different for me, right?

Um…a big fat no is the answer to that. I like so many graduates around the world, left college with a degree and not much else. There were the lucky few who got positions while the rest of us seethed with quiet jealously; “Oh we are SO happy for you! – NOT – I hate you”.

I’ve done the internship thing since I’ve graduated and had only one good experience, the rest being some of the worst times of my life. Knowing, and in some cases being told flat out, that you are there because, guess what!? We don’t have to hire anyone, we can just use “interns” to do a full time job and treat you like a pile of shite! Believe me, I’m not exaggerating, one employer told me flat out that it was my fault I couldn’t come up with a new marketing plan that would revolutionise their business. That was a nice blow to my confidence, let me tell you.

I feel like a massive failure. It’s like I had all these expectations, and expectations put on me by society and myself, and  all I can think is that I’m useless. It’s a heavy weight on my shoulders, the constant worry about money and what am I going to do? How can I actually make something of my life?

Am I just being a whiny entitled baby though? Am I the only one who feels like this? Is it just me not trying hard enough or just not being good enough that is stopping me from getting a job and getting on with my life? The ones I do know with jobs are making me feel like the above questions might be true. I can’t even go on Facebook anymore because seeing people with any good news makes me feel like even more of a failure.

I know I’m not the only one who doesn’t have a job, but it seems like you don’t hear from them. Are we so embarrassed about being a unemployed twenty-something that we just stay quiet? I mean, my last Facebook status was in October, when my dog sat in a flowerpot and I thought it was too funny not to share. But when I do timidly venture onto my page and see a status about someone getting a job I just deflate into a ball of depression and stress and the very loud “What is wrong with me?” thought pounding through my brain.

The American Psychological Association recently published a study saying that we millennials are the most stressed generation ever (also apparently we are the most financially conservative too). Which, if I’m honest, slightly mollifies me.

 

“Millennials are growing up at a tough time. They were sheltered in many ways, with a lot of high expectations for what they should achieve. Individual failure is difficult to accept when confronted with a sense you’re an important person and expected to achieve. Even though, in most instances, it’s not their fault — the economy collapsed just as many of them were getting out of college and coming of age — that does lead to a greater sense of stress,”

 

We’re stressed and not very happy. So why don’t we hear about it from actual millennials? All I read is pieces done by people who observe us, who are happily ensconced in their mid-thirties/forties lives, who feel like they have the all knowing power to tell us what we’re doing wrong. Pieces that either completely eviscerate us or have a pitying tone that makes us feel even worse about ourselves.

All I know is, is that my patience has run out. I am sick of feeling like crap. Sick of being only offered internships that barely cover rent, sick of everything in this country. Is Ireland recovering? Maybe it is for tech companies in the cities, but what about the rest of the country?

Two weeks ago 3,850 Canadian visas were snapped up in 8 minutes. On April 1st, 3,850 more will become available. I’m thinking this time they all go in less than 5 minutes. Is that a sign of recovery? Is that a sign that 18 – 35 year olds have faith in this country? That they might have a chance here?

I don’t think so – I think they feel like me.

Lost, annoyed, angry and a bit depressed but definitely not lazy.

(I’d love to hear from others who have an opinion or a story to share on this matter. Am I wrong? Is it just me who feels like this? – leave a comment below!)

The Advertising trifecta – Marriage, Men and Children.

Littlewoods, the online shopping purveyor of stiff looking party dresses and shiny home furnishings have a new advertisement running right now on TV. Perhaps you’ve seen it? It’s running every 5 minutes and contains all the hallmarks of a classically sexist advert. Way to be original guys!

Like most of Littlewoods Ireland ads there are a few features that are always present in a Littlewoods ad, we have the scarily permanent smile of Caroline Morahan who is always clad in a form fitting but incredibly flattering dress, the extremely well lit set, which looks like Oprah’s infamous lighting team got to work there and the always present loving family home scene, whether it be a beautifully furnished kitchen or an amazing Christmas living room. It’s all pretty harmless in a unoriginal way.

However, their new ad takes a lovely turn into seriously sexist with the introduction of their Spring/Summer ’14 ad. Here is the offending piece of video:

 

So we can see that woman is sitting in gorgeous kitchen, gets invited to school reunion and is immediately worried about what other people will think of her life. But hang on! Caroline is here to help you, like a 1950’s fairy godmother. You will of course talk about your amazing kids and your amazing husband (yes! A HUSBAND! A MAN! A MAN….*SWOON!) and oh yeah, your amazing wardrobe and house too.

I mean, what else could a woman possibly have or want to talk about in a room full of her peers? (A career, maybe?) But no, we get a glossy look at the ideal life of a Littlewoods customer. Smiling kids, handsome husband and picture perfect house. How modern of you Littlewoods, glad to see you shaking things up with such original ideas!

Was there no other ideas? Do these people think women contribute nothing more to society than caring about dresses and parading our perfectly dressed children in peoples faces? I would love to know the gender divide on the creative team for this video. I am imagining some suited men sitting around a table thinking; “What do Irish women care about? Come on guys – think! AH we got it! Clothes, Men and Children!”

It’s like the advertising trifecta for outdated ideas – advertising in 2014 then.

But it’s just another entry on the exhaustingly long list of Irish (and international) advertisers getting it so wrong. Because remember girls, all we’re meant to care about is shopping and finding a husband – and to bag him make sure to get on Littlewoods so we can order that perfect dress, that will slim our hips and push up our tits, so we can attract that ‘handsome husband’ and we can do even more online shopping for Tupperware and shoes, while he stands proudly over us while we’re browsing on your lovely site.

Hey Twenty-Somethings! Your useless!

I came upon this article from the Irish Examiner today, published two weeks ago and it’s emphasis, whether intentional by a slightly bitchy writer or just a naive look at the twenty-something generation, seems to be on making women in their 20’s feel bad about themselves. With the crux of the article asking, why can’t all twenty-somethings be like the 23 year old Oscar winning phenomenon? We twenty-somethings are failures at life, because we aren’t like good old J. Law. Charming right?

According to the article, the bulk of us are apart of Irelands stuck generation and we spend our time binge-watching Netflix, while 27 year old Lena Dunham has won numerous awards for creating her own TV show. The whole tone of the article seems to be passively aggressively hinting at the notion that if these successful young women can do it with such elegance and ease, then why can’t the rest of us? Why aren’t we more ambitious? Why are we wasting our 20’s? Why aren’t we more like us when we were that age?

The reason behind our lazy ways seems to be because we are not adults, we are ‘kidadults’. A generation of passive, lazy people who still live at home with their parents and who consume the accomplishments of the rare twenty-something success story from the comfort of our family couch.

I mean, all twenty somethings are like this, a TED talk said so;

“Hanging out and hooking up are just some of the ways today’s ‘kiddults’ are wasting their 20s, says clinical psychologist, Dr Meg Jay.”

God, there is just so much wrong with that sentence. Look, everyone in their twenties goes out and hooks up, but we aren’t defined by that. You can’t just dismiss an entire generation because you think they aren’t ambitious enough. The truth is, people in their twenties are ambitious now, we want great jobs and to be successful.

Except, we are paying for the mistakes of the previous generation. They are the ones who monumentally screwed us economically and now thing it’s ok to bash twenty-somethings because it looks like we aren’t working? That is total crap.

The opportunities just aren’t there anymore. We all wish they were but there are only so many unpaid internships you can get treated badly at before you start to lose confidence. But the writer of this article seems to think we should be so lucky to be doing unpaid internships – it’s all about experience guys! – an old chestnut trotted out by our elder generation who feel we should be grateful for the scraps they throw down from the employment table.

Why can’t we be happy working for free without any regulation and most of the time, no intentions of full time employment. I mean, the intern culture in this country is just depressingly grim, but the article takes a even worse turn when the girl who is doing an unpaid internship pipes up with this little gem;

“From a personal point of view, becoming a mum is definitely part of my long-term plan. For now, though, I’m just focused on my career.”

What is grating about this isn’t the idea of having children, its the fact that this was even an issue for the writer to include. Would you ask a male twenty something about his plans to have future children? No, it wouldn’t be asked. But for women, children obviously have to be included in the conversation, even if you are in your early twenties, as it’s obviously never too early to be thinking about kids ladies!

Even another comparison to J.Law is included;

“Even overachieving Lawrence says she can’t wait to move off centre stage and start a family.
“I do feel like the reason I was put on this Earth is to be a mother,” says the starlet, who’s dating British actor, Nicholas Hoult, “which is why it’s funny for me to end up with such an overwhelming career.”

So you can want to be successful in your career, but it’s always better to move from “centre stage” and have children? I mean, Jennifer Lawrence thinking it’s ridiculous for her to have such an amazing career, calling it ‘overwhelming’, just hurts my soul.

It’s the whole notion that ‘Oh gee gosh! How did I get such a good job – I have a vagina!”, like women shouldn’t want to be ambitious, and that they should be shocked with themselves when they do a good job is just such a dangerous line of thinking.

You can’t just assume that we’re a lost generation, we’ve been dealt a really shitty lot. We were lucky enough to come of age in the worst financial crisis in decades. So, yeah, we might be a bit slower getting things going, but trying to suggest that we don’t want to be successful is just insulting. We don’t need advice from thirty and forty somethings. You’ve done enough – seriously you have.

We’ll be fine – even if we are millenials.

Nice Guys on Tinder?

Tinder is now officially a phenomenon. The dating app now matches up to 5 million people a day and in the last 24 hours the company has announced that it is going to be introducing ‘verified’ Tinder accounts for celebrities, presumably so they can hook up with each other, or any super hot random person they see.

That’s all fine and amazing for the app creators but is the ‘Nice Guy’ trope creeping into the app? The idea that a guy will tell you your cute and ask where your from before asking you to sleep with him and if you refuse ‘then what the hell are you doing on this app you slut’ line of thinking. Maybe ‘Tinder Guy’ is an offshoot of the ‘Nice Guy’ category, the same way the ‘Cool Girl’ is almost an evolution of the ‘Manic Pixie Dream Girl’?

Is ‘Tinder Guy’ the one who assumes that you both swiped right so you obviously want to bang him without a second thought? Yes, I think he is. And ‘Tinder Guy’ is annoyed that you don’t want to sleep with him! Well mate, that is not going to happen, unless one of those verified celebrity users is named Gosling or Cumberbatch. I may make an exception there.

I downloaded Tinder about two months ago out of curiosity. It’s a fun app, the swiping becomes really addictive and you get a window into your own deep superficiality. But I’ve noticed in the last few conversations that I’ve had on the app that there seems to be an assumption among some of the male users that sex is an automatic guarantee. Some don’t even have to fake curtesy to ask you how you are or where your from.

This, for example is a message I got recently from a match;

What a classy guy.

What a classy guy.

Ah Denis, I don’t know what annoys me more, the fact you didn’t even say hello or the fact you cannot take the extra ten seconds to write the word ‘You’ or maybe it’s the fact you didn’t even proposition me in a elegant way. No, I think Denis darling, what annoys me most about this is the fact that you assumed that I would tell you where I am, and that if you were in a nearby location that I would meet you and just have sex with you. I mean, you are “gagging for a ride”, and who am I to deny you that? I am merely an online vagina delivery service that can help you out in your time of need. Oh Romance!

Another gem that made my phone beep expectantly came in today and actually shocked me a little bit. I would like to introduce you to the gentleman who calls himself Aaron;

Another charmer

Another charmer

I will admit that this one shocked me a little bit. Now, I’m internet hardened like the rest of you. There are some seriously sick puppies online and some men seem to relish talking to women like shit. But in all honestly, I had never been spoken to like that on Tinder. Sure there was the mild to medium indignation that I didn’t want to have sex after five minutes of conversation, but there was never any really bad language used.

I had never experienced this in my time on Tinder, the complete dismissal of respect. What did he really think I was going to say back? Did he think I was going to beg for anything from him? It saddens me a little bit to say that yes, he probably did expect some reply back, begging him to have sex to me.

Will this attitude spread on Tinder? You only need to look at other online communities like Reddit where the disrespect and general attitude of treating women like objects to be used by men is rampant. Will this spread to hook-up apps too? The idea that if a women has downloaded an app means they must love casual sex and that they are all easy to get into bed? You only need to Google ‘Tinder Screenshots’ to see what kind of messages being sent. You will see a lot of messages from guys asking for sex and being told no before throwing the old chestnuts of ‘bitch’ or ‘slut’ at a woman who dared not to have sex with them. Seriously ladies, how dare you not sleep with such lovely men! How very dare you!

Will some guys use this theory to shame women into feeling bad about having the app in the first place? It’s almost like, your a slut if you do sleep with a stranger, and yet your still a slut for not having sex with him but being on the app in the first place. I assume that the above ignorants are just a very small subset of the people who use Tinder. I’ve had some very cute and funny conversations with guys who seem like generally good guys. It’s a fun app and should be light and breezy, flirting never hurt anyone and if it leads to something more, then great. Consensual non shaming sex for the win!

I just hope guys (and girls) realise that sex on Tinder isn’t a right. And that ‘Tinder Guy’ gets blocked and reported in 2 seconds flat.