From Throwing Shade to Giving Praise: My Post-Election Apology to Millennials

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After vacillating between disbelief and despair for a week, anger is kicking in and people are looking for ways to resist the Trumpocalypse. This is where I humbly apologize to Millennials.

I’ve made fun of your work ethic: job hopping, talking to senior management like equals, getting sidetracked by social media and (eye roll) needing to find “meaning” in your work (it’s called WORK for a reason, kids). But now it’s time for me to admit that I was wrong about you. As I talk over glasses of wine with my fellow Gen Xers (and older) we are angry, hurt, and upset. We want to stop the Trump agenda. We talk about it. We want to do something. But we are operating in the same protest paradigm as our parents did in the 60’s. Millennials are expanding this paradigm, creating new ways to resist, and then making it happen. I’ve come to realize the very traits I’ve disparaged might be what this country needs to stop the US from becoming Nazi Germany.

As your therapist, I know that Millennials are organizing (in between working your three jobs) — not just in the mass protests that we see on TV but also independently and in smaller pods to see what you can do. You have created your own freelance assignment, and this one definitely has meaning. It has meaning for me too.

Because companies have forced you to all be “freelancers,” you work remotely. Work schedules aren’t fixed. The lines between “on the clock” and personal time are forever blurred. Your bosses have no idea what you are doing. This gives you the freedom to meet up (at Starbucks) and create action plans. Action plans from a fresh perspective. Action plans that might work.

That whole “calling your bosses’ boss by her first name and expecting her to know who you are” also means you aren’t afraid to speak to power. You are using technology in revolutionary ways to demand and expect action from our elected officials and fellow Americans. (I can’t tell you details, but just trust me — I’ve been blown away by what I’ve heard in just the first days after the election.)

Your knack with social media sure is coming in handy. Last minute protests are announced via Facebook and you use Uber to get there. Without Millennials, I never would have known that Foster Campbell, a cattle rancher, in Louisiana, might be our last chance to get an additional Democrat in the Senate (donate here). And you’re welcome, Mr. Pence, for that donation in your name to Planned Parenthood. I hope you frame the donation certificate.

Your sense of entitlement is so big that it extends to human rights of others. Millennial voices have explained to the nation why this commotion isn’t happening just because Democrats are sore losers, but because people of color, Muslims, women, and those in the LGBT community (to name a few) are scared for themselves and their families. They have reason to be afraid, and you do more than empathize. You are fighting alongside them, even if you don’t fit neatly into one of the afore-mentioned categories.

As a therapist, I also know that (as a generation) Millennials are seekers of praise and positive feedback. You’ve got it from this Gen Xer.



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