Millennials were asked on an online forum what was the worst advice they had ever received from a person in the boomer generation. In many cases, their parents share their experiences when they were younger without understanding that the same things don’t apply to life today. Here is some boomer advice millennials say won’t work for them now.
1. Apply for Jobs in Person
Many boomers have stories of how approaching and talking to people landed them a job. They days of spending hours at a time, sitting in front of a computer are here and handing management an application directly are gone.
“Mom, the last time you went job hunting was in 1996, and you got an interview on your first day of looking. It would be a waste of my time and gas to physically go out to stores, as every single one of them, without fail, will just ask me to go to their website.”
“Thanks, I’m sure the HR department of PWC just interview random people from the street.”
“For me every time I did this they would just say “We do all of our recruiting online through our website.” But no, according to my parents, the best way to get a job is by going in person. Interesting though considering all of my jobs came from online applications.”
“You have to go out and pound the pavement, dear. You can’t spend all day looking for jobs on the computer.”
2. Suck it Up
Don’t like your job? Well, according to some boomers, that’s just a part of life. For many, disliking a job with reasonable pay isn’t a good enough reason to quit.
“You just have to suck it up. It builds character, and you’ll always have something you don’t like about your job or coworkers.”
3. You Don’t Need Money to Have Children
Boomers in their younger years didn’t necessarily have much money but went full force on starting a family. Many still believe there isn’t a need to delay having a child because of finances. Some boomers advised, “if you wait until you can afford to have a baby, then you’ll never have one! Another comment was, “babies just need love, not money.” However, a millennial replied, “love doesn’t buy diapers or food.”
“Sorry, mom, no grandkids until I have a job with a decent paycheck and less student debt.”
“I need diapers and formula for my baby please, but I have no money. Do you accept hugs and kisses as payment?”
“Well we have one and we’re going hugely into debt for daycare. It’s $1200 per month PER CHILD.”
4. Kids Keep the Marriage Together
Many boomers believed that children were the glue that kept marriages together. Now people realize that if a relationship isn’t stable or working, bringing a child into it to force a marriage or partnership isn’t ideal. A child also won’t magically make a relationship better if there are compatibility issues.
“If you want a man to stay with you, you’ll have to pop out a baby” (or words of that effect). I told her straight up “Any man who would stay for our baby, but not for just me, isn’t a man who I’d want staying in the first place”.
“You won’t know real happiness until you have children”
5. Be Loyal to a Company
In their day, once you found a decent job with a company, you didn’t let it go. You stayed loyal to them until retirement, regardless of how you were treated, and you left with your pension. Now there is more competition, and people are more dispensable. Companies have little loyalty towards their employees, so why should employees accept lower wages and benefits to be loyal?
“Notice how it’s always the old fogeys talking about company loyalty? That’s because loyalty to a single company used to get you benefits, like a pension. Now, company loyalty is 100% in favor of the company. They get a worker who loves the company and who is easier to take advantage of via lower wages or benefits. Jumping around gets you competitive wages and better benefits. There’s much less stigma with switching companies nowadays, and since companies can fire you at the drop of a hat, you should be willing to drop them the second a better opportunity comes along. Learn what you can, stay long enough to not look like a flake, them leverage your new skills to get a better job.”
6. Buy a House and Pay it Off Quick
Housing prices have skyrocketed, along with other expenses, since the boomers were the age millennials are at. Yet incomes and job security haven’t improved much compared to inflation. Boomers believe that renting is throwing money away, but with today’s housing prices, how can the average millennial even afford a down payment and such high monthly mortgage payments?
“You know, your generation doesn’t understand that you have to buy a house as young as possible to pay it off quickly.” No old man, we get it. We’re broke making 1/3 of what you do in the same work place.”
“Ugh, seriously. How in the heck am I supposed to put 20% down on a $350-400K house? Once I start explaining the numbers to the baby boomers I work with, they’re like “holy smokes, how would you ever make the down payment??” Exactly.”
7. Just Go to College
Many received the advice that they should go to college, even if they didn’t know what they wanted to do. The problem with that approach is that student loan debt and interest payments keep accumulating. To go to college without understanding your interests or career direction can burden young people with debt they may struggle with for years. Many boomers also still believe that going to graduate school will make it easy to get a great job. But there’s no guarantee higher education will land somebody a job.
“My parents convinced me to do this. I’ve wasted thousands of dollars a year for the past 3 years in college because I don’t know what I want to do. At this point I’m just going to get an Associates in General Studies and move on.”
“Recently left a PhD program when I realized I probably wouldn’t have any control over where I would get a job and the pay and work life balance would be terrible.”
“Now I am 20k in debt and still in school while half of my friends took tradesman jobs and have been making 70k a year since out of high school.”
8. Just Focus on the Salary
Boomers focused more on financial and job security than they did their interests and happiness. But younger generations can’t fathom sacrificing their happiness and mental health for the sake of working at a job everyday just for the money.
“I’m GenX, but my Boomer dad told me to just get a job in an industry that pays well and that you can retire from. His reasoning? “Everyone hates their job. Only the truly lucky get to do something they love. You ‘only’ have to do it for 30 or 40 years.”
“I had huge interest in game development but was discouraged, saying computers won’t get you a job.”
“Boy oh boy do I like to remind them of that as I now make soundtracks part-time and play test games on the side and the entire world is one big computer now.”
9. The Bootstrap Talk
“I started with nothing, and now I’m successful” isn’t an uncommon conversation you will hear from boomer parents. Many have a story about how they came to this country with a dollar in their pocket and one suitcase. Or how they could work their way to the top without having much. The problem today is many millennials are leaving college with thousands of dollars of debt before they even start working. Starting life with nothing sounds much more appealing to them.
“Great, I wish I started with nothing. I’m starting with 40,000 dollars in student loan debt and a degree everyone in my life told me to get but no one wants, which forces me to work a job that in your day paid enough starting to support a family of four and a house and a car, but for me can barely cover rent.”
“Yeah I wish I was lucky enough to start with nothing.”
“Hey boomers, the reason why millennials aren’t doing things the way you used to is that those things don’t exist anymore. There’s no career track jobs in science with just a MS. There’s no more salary for life company pensions. I can’t just go “buy me some land” and flip it for a profit.”
10. Cut Your Entertainment Expenses
Many believe that if you just tighten your budget, you will save enough money to buy a house or pay off debt. The reality for many millennials is that dropping a habit that will save them a few hundred dollars a year won’t help them purchase an overpriced house in this day and age.
“Just stop going out to brunch, you’ll have enough money for a house deposit in no time.”
“Sure. Let me just pay my rent, which is at least 40% of my income. Wages have not risen for a decade, but the cost of living has sky-rocketed. Then there’s the pay I don’t see due to HECs (student loan) debt repayments, private health insurance, phone, internet, transport & groceries.”
“Never mind that the average house price in my city is $1 million, and a 20% deposit is required. I don’t think cutting out brunch a couple of times a month is going to make a difference, but thanks.”
“He was telling me for 45 minutes about how a friend of his bought houses forty years ago by “not going to the movies.” If I would just not go to movies, I could save up enough money to buy a house.”
What do you think? Is this all bad advice from Boomers? Boomer would you ever give this advice to the younger generations?
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