The Fallacy of the Incapable Millennial

It’s odd listening to someone say that my generation is stereotypically useless and helpless.

Don’t get me wrong, most millennials totally suck. There are, however, many “negative” stereotypes about millennials that I don’t agree are negative at all and are instead simply the evolution of our society.

This came to mind from when I was talking to my girlfriend’s dad and his co-worker. Both work at General Motors and are total stereotypical car guys. They brought up the fact that they frequently complain about their children, both college-aged millennials, and how they won’t have any idea how to survive in the real world. Not surprisingly, their main complaint was that “millennials have no idea how to fix a car.” Let me be the first to admit that I would have precisely 0% of an idea of what to do if my car broke down in the middle of the street (besides call triple A, hoping that I have cell-service), thus I am not saying that their argument is false. However, I do believe that the logic behind the ability to fix cars correlating to real-world success is completely flawed.

If we look into the society in which that the older generation grew up we see almost an obsession with cars. Most of the men that I know who are over the age of 40 have at one point or another worked as a mechanic, or at the very least taken a shop class. Now looking among my millennial friends, exactly 2 of them have taken some kind of car-oriented class or worked in that field, and both of them are sons of men who have worked for car companies. For the older generation, it made sense to take these classes and work as mechanics as the job market was essentially overflowing with car-based, hands-on jobs. If we look at the same job market today, jobs requiring technical car skills come down to almost nothing, since 99% of those jobs are automated. Staying on this topic of automation and further investigating the job market shows a substantial increase in the need for someone who can develop software to automate the labor that the older generation was trained to do. Using the same logic as my girlfriend’s dad and his co-worker, we could, therefore, say that perhaps it isn’t millennials that are useless, but instead, the older generation that hasn’t learned these software production skills, and thus could not thrive in the newer job market.

Therefore, I agree that perhaps us millennials could never thrive in the job market of the 70’s or 80’s where technical and hands-on skills are highly valued, though, in consequence, the older generation could never thrive in the current and future job market where technological and theoretical skills are prized.

The Fallacy of the Incapable Millennial

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