It’s time again for “Dear Wendy Updates,” a feature where people I’ve given advice to in the past let us know whether they followed the advice and how they’re doing today. After the jump, we hear from “Sibling Rivalry” who was upset that her parents, who are much better off now than when they were raising her, choose to lavish her younger brothers with gifts and art classes and don’t help out her and her husband who are struggling financially. Keep reading for her response to our advice.
input from you and the commenters. My update isn’t really an update but more of just a reaction. Okay, it looks like I left out a couple of details. But that letter was getting long!
About college financing: they did not consider me responsible at eighteen. Although I got a half ride academic scholarship to a state school, they were unwilling to pay for the other half because they were pretty sure I would be a first year dropout – I had been struggling with depression my junior and senior year in high school and my grades had dropped from As to Cs. I begged. I cried. They still said no, that I was immature and would probably flunk out after my first year. Begging for money was humiliating and not an experience I would ever care to repeat. (While I did not actually flunk out of school, I did end up working forty hours a week while simultaneously trying to maintain an unhealthy relationship with a whiny, clingy man-child. Well, I didn’t actually think he was at the time. I thought he was wonderful. I ended up with a 2.6 GPA and lost my scholarship. So I did leave after the first year. In retrospect I should have dumped the frat boy boyfriend and his insistence that I appear at his parties, cut back on the hours just a smidge, studied more and I probably could have gotten that B average, but you know what they say about hindsight.)
When I came home that summer I was angry and resentful of my parents because I felt that if they’d paid for my schooling I would be fine. They were angry that I was blaming them for my problems when in their eyes I had proved them right. I left their house on poor terms (as in we didn’t speak for six months) and got my own apartment in town and only reconciled with them because I missed my brothers.
I have since come to own my mistakes in that whole debacle, and my parents maintain that they made the right decision. I am very satisfied with my relationship with them in every other aspect, so we just don’t talk about it.
So, you’re totally right – if I don’t want to ask, I shouldn’t complain when I don’t receive. I know in my head my parents don’t love my brothers more. I am proud that everything I have, I’ve earned. And I’m going to try to believe that my parents are proud of me, too, and that’s why they didn’t send any money my way for my birthday or Christmas, and not that they feel I don’t deserve it. And I’m working on the sense of entitlement that I didn’t fully recognize before. It was enormously comforting to me to know I’m not the only one in this boat, that other people would be bothered, too. I feel less like a terrible, petty person. So thank you for that, too.
As for our finances: both of the cars will be paid off in August which will free up a ginormous amount of our income (one of them was bought by an at-the-time single man who could afford a brand new car and on which we only recently stopped owing more than it was worth). The unexpected debt came from my husband needing a surgery that put him out of work for a time – before we were married and he was on my insurance.
In response to the one commenter who wondered why all the bitterness at the art lessons: It’s not bitterness so much as wistfulness. When I was his age I spent all my babysitting money on art supplies. I was very into painting and drawing. I took all the art classes offered in middle school but when I hit high school I had to choose between art and music due to scheduling, and I stuck with music because I figured I could always paint on my own. I still would have loved art lessons. And I don’t begrudge my brother his art lessons, at all. It’s not me wanting to take away from him. In fact, he got interested in drawing from watching me do it. I’m incredibly stoked that I influenced him that way.
In response to the one commenter who was worried we would have a child we can’t afford: No need to worry about the state of our loins, thanks for your concern, though.
What stuck out to me in your response here is this part: “I’m going to try to believe that my parents are proud of me, too, and that’s why they didn’t send any money my way for my birthday or Christmas, and not that they feel I don’t deserve it. And I’m working on the sense of entitlement that I didn’t fully recognize before.” You got Christmas and birthday gifts and yet, somehow, you still feel as if you were ignored or let down … because you didn’t get the cash that you asked for. I know this seems like I’m picking on you, and I guess I kind of am, but I see you as a great example of what so many people from your generation — people born in the 80s and early 90s — believe: that they are entitled to everything they want if there are people in their lives who are in a position to give it to them. You think you’re entitled to your parents’ money and to certain jobs and to a cushy life. But… that’s not how it works.
You want to pay off your debt? Then cut corners in your budget. Sell one of your two cars and start carpooling to work. Or sell the most expensive car and buy an older one. Or get a roommate. Or cut coupons. Or go on a shopping diet. Eat more peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Switch to store brand toiletries instead of name brand stuff. Quit charging things you don’t have the cash to pay for. There are so many ways you can bail yourself out — especially when you are married and have the luxury of a partner-in-crime (not to mention a second income, no matter how small it might be…). You shouldn’t be relying on your parents to bail you out, and you certainly should not be getting upset when they choose to spend their own annual bonuses on themselves and the kids they still have at home rather than paying off some of your debt.
The fact is you do seem to have a sense of entitlement. But the “you” I see here isn’t just you. It’s a whole generation of you’s. Babies of the 80s, hear this: You are adults now and the world — and your parents — don’t owe you anything. You gotta make your own way, just like the generations of young adults did before you.
If you’re someone I’ve given advice to in the past, I’d love to hear from you, too. Email me at [email protected] with a link to the original post, and let me know whether you followed the advice and how you’re doing now.
summerkitten26 February 7, 2012, 3:13 pm
I don’t disagree with the advice or response given to the LW, but I do have to say the generalization of the 80s babies stung. Sure, there are entitled people, but they’re in every generation. And not that 80s babies are at fault, but if they’ve fulfilled their part of the “do x and you are guaranteed y” contract, it’s a big shock to suddenly find that you’ve done your part and the promises aren’t going to be delivered. Not shoving off blame here, but the generalization is exactly that: a generalization. Plenty of us understand working for what we’ve got just fine.
summerkitten26 February 7, 2012, 3:14 pm
not that 80s babies *aren’t* at fault, because goodness knows there’s a reality check needed for some of us
evanscr05 February 7, 2012, 3:33 pm
I agree. I was kind of appalled at the “80s babies” comment from Wendy. I’m an 80s baby and I do NOT act like this. I have always been very independent and my dad is always telling me that I’m the one child he’s not had to worry about. I wish my parents had paid my college tuition, but they paid what they could and now I am working on chipping away at the rest. They gave me the opportunity to get an education, and at a fantastic institution, and I am very appreciative for that. It put me in a good position to get a good job and to subsequently move around within my field thanks to nothing more than my own merit and my own contacts. My brother, who I love dearly, constantly needs to have his messes cleaned up for him and does not seem to realize, though he thinks he does, the things he needs to do to fix his situation. He takes money from my folks regularly so that he can pay the rent and eat. I’m sure it bothers him to ask, but he doesn’t do anything to change it, either. I asked for money one time when I was fresh out of school to pay a bill and I cried when I asked for it. My mom had no problem helping me out, but I felt so guilty that I have never asked again. I didn’t want my parents to pay for my wedding and I didn’t want my parents to help us out with a down payment on a house. I have always felt that once I came out of college and moved out on my own, it was up to me, and only me, to make sure my needs AND my wants were taken care of, so I never ask anyone for money. If I struggle on money one month, I find ways to cut back the next. It really bothers me when generalizations are made like this. I know there are people out there that do act this way, but it’s not all of us.
Ginger February 7, 2012, 3:47 pm
I think the “80’s babies” comment was really insulting. I’m an 80’s baby who works 70 hours a week at 2 jobs and I don’t expect anyone to hand me anything. Most of my friends are the same way. I’m sure we all know people who are spoiled and entitled but please don’t paint everyone with that brush, that’s completely unfair.
Amanda February 7, 2012, 3:49 pm
I couldn’t agree more about the generalization. It’s simply wrong to generalize an entire group of people as “entitled” when there are children who masquerade as adults in every generation. These entitled brats may never learn the value of hard work and self reliance because everything has been given to them by their parents/partner/etc. True adults don’t depend on others to make their way in the world, they make their own way.
MsBorgia February 7, 2012, 4:08 pm
I agree and disagree with Wendy’s assessment: I am an 80s baby, and I certainly do not act like this, but I go to grad school at a private university (which I pay for without help from my parents, btw) and many of the undergraduates are VERY entitled. I personally have many many friends who I wouldn’t say are necessarily entitled, but they are lazy— people who 3 years out of college still have no job (because they didn’t look, not because the economy sucks), or my friend who complains that she has no money but says that the 30 hours a week she works “is enough work to do.”
I do not call them (my friends, the undergrads definitely are)entitled because none of them have implied that it is their parents responsibility to support them— they’re just lazy and unmotivated as hell.
Of course, I’m sure Wendy has good reason for her generalization, and if I’d spent my whole life near the school I go to now I would probably agree with her.
SpaceySteph February 8, 2012, 4:03 am
Most of those undergraduates are 90s babies. A person born in 89 is 22 (turning 23 this year). Just saying.
MsBorgia February 8, 2012, 8:38 am
Wendy said 80s and early 90s babies. Thanks though.
AKchic February 7, 2012, 4:45 pm
Sorry, but as an 80s baby, with two 80s baby sisters – I DO agree with the sentiment. Both my full sister and my half sister are spoiled, entitled brats. For my full sister, if she doesn’t get what she wants from my mother, she complains to my grandmother, after she’s already whined on facebook that nobody EVER helps her (even though her entire existence has been one bailout after another), and that she’s had to budget everything her entire life and pay her own way for everything (uh… no, my mom pays, then borrows from the rest of us to make ends meet most of the time when she runs her savings to nothing). Then she whines to me, and I hang up on her.
Many of these kids have been handed everything and coddled to the point of codependency in the extreme. They simply cannot live a self-sufficient lifestyle. Or life in general.
2_J February 7, 2012, 9:50 pm
Wow..just wow, I’m actually literally frustrated i didn’t write that first. So with that, i say thank you summer-kitten..
Iwannatalktosampson February 7, 2012, 3:14 pm
I think the LW was admitting she was entitled. I completely agree that all of the yous (I fit in that category) do have this sense of entitlement, but I think she was admitting that she needed to calm down about it.
Quick personal story – I too have some entitled blood in me that is pretty gross. So my parents paid for my undergrad. I was told from a young age college was not an option. It was not if I would go to college – it was where. I went to an in state school so relatively it wasn’t that expensive. But still – it was paid for – what a blessing! So I had also always known I wanted to go to law school – like since I was 11. So off I went. Now my parents had never promised to pay or help at all – and they didn’t/haven’t. This is where my life gets embarrassing – I always kinda just assumed they would bail me out. Like I get it – you guys are hilarious – you’re teaching me a lesson about responsibility. Fine, i’ll “take out loans” and you can just pay them off when i’m done. Well that didn’t happen – they were for real y’all! It was so strange to me when I realized they weren’t kidding. Like wow, I guess I really am doing this all on my own.
So I don’t know why I shared that story other than to embarrass myself, but I guess I think the LW, like me, knows she is a brat and kind of entitled. Now the only thing we can do about it is actually start making our own way. Be greatful for things that are given – like my mom still takes me shopping when she’s in town. I’ve had to appreciate this in a whole new way.
lets_be_honest February 7, 2012, 3:18 pm
Ah yes, student loans…those wonderful little free $ handouts you get at 18ish to blow on whatever your little heart desires.
Til the bomb drops. Apparently they aren’t free after all. Its funny how shocking that can be 🙂
Iwannatalktosampson February 7, 2012, 3:22 pm
Oh the bomb hasn’t quite dropped yet. Like I have officially come to terms that they are mine and mine alone to handle, but the payments aren’t due for another 3 months. I was like, okay fine, they are going to wait until I actually graduate and give it to me as a graduation present for all my hard work right? RIGHT? Well shit, now I have to be a grown up. Such a bummer, haha.
Although in defense of all us spoiled brats we do have to find jobs in one of the worst economies since the great depression, something no other generation since our great grandparents have had to deal with, so that was a nice slice of bitter pie.
Addie Pray February 7, 2012, 3:27 pm
I do feel for you on that one, Iwanna. Between the time I accepted my big firm job (end of 2L summer) and started work (after the bar), I got, like, 3 raises. (Market salaries were going up and up and up…. so it was only fair, right? Right.)
Iwannatalktosampson February 7, 2012, 3:34 pm
Well geeze you don’t have to brag about it, haha. I mean I get it, maybe no generation deserved to learn this lesson more than ours, but in two years can everyone please calm down about the entitled crap?
So I went on this awkward coffee date with a securities lawyer who also teaches a night class and she has been teaching the class for 4 years, and she said the attitude among law students is like night and day. Students in 2008 just expected a job when they came out, and now fully barred fresh attorneys are sending her firm resumes to work for free just to have something they can put on their resume in the hopes they can get a job in the future. What? How did this happen?
MELH February 7, 2012, 4:20 pm
I kind of hate you for that Addie. Just kidding, I could never hate you. Also, I applied for a federal clerkship in Chicago! I’ve been rejected from like 8 clerkships though, so I’m not getting my hopes up!
Addie Pray February 7, 2012, 4:34 pm
Oh I hope you get it! The cafeteria in the ND is the best! (Well, I hope you get the clerkship for that reason among others.)
Addie Pray February 7, 2012, 4:35 pm
p.s. I billed 2500 my first full year of practice, so I don’t feel bad about those raises one bit! 😉 And of course the joke is on me because over the past 7 years I’ve become: bitter, alcoholic-y, and fat.
lets_be_honest February 7, 2012, 4:53 pm
I love you more every day.
Addie Pray February 7, 2012, 5:11 pm
Oh go on…
Addie Pray February 7, 2012, 5:20 pm
p.s. lookit – my gravatar is back to the black and white drawing of the actual Addie Pray character… i feel normal again. ok, it’s 4:20. time to start working. wait, of all the time i had today now is NOT the time to start working.
lets_be_honest February 7, 2012, 5:27 pm
huh? all i saw was 4:20
I feel ok about you again. Thank you for going back to the real Addie.
Iwannatalktosampson February 7, 2012, 5:00 pm
So I’m not a good forum-er…but you know the 9th circuit deciding prop 8 – you know they’re like the drunken circuit right? And everything they decide gets overturned? Well I guess assuming it even gets appealed, haha.
But side note – I love days when DW discussions are super passionate that I can refresh every 5 minutes and there’s at least 10 new comments!
Addie Pray February 7, 2012, 5:14 pm
I love days like this too! Who knew Wendy could stir the pot so much with a widely-accepted generalization about your generation… Proof you guys ARE as sensitive and entitled as they say? … Oh snap.
JK February 7, 2012, 5:27 pm
Thank goodness we were born a couple of years early to be 80s babies, right?
Addie Pray February 7, 2012, 5:31 pm
Yes – with just 13 months to spare for both of us! (Well, 13 months and 6 days for me.)
lets_be_honest February 7, 2012, 3:30 pm
I can’t bring myself to defend the spoiled kids of the 80s (and I was one).
Its so sad, because when you get the loan, it seems like a lifetime away that you have to repay. Like I would be a totally different person then, probably rolling in money all growed up…bleh.
silver_dragon_girl February 7, 2012, 3:34 pm
I asked the students in my (pre-college level) class why they were here in college, and one of them ACTUALLY said, “to get paid.”
A lot of kids sign those promissory notes with no real idea they have HAVE to pay it all back.
Addie Pray February 7, 2012, 3:34 pm
I attended a really interesting lecture a few years ago about the generation gap in law firms … Here’s an article about it. You know, if you’re interested in procastinating a bit more. It was fascinating. It didn’t change anything about how I viewed my job, but fascinating none the less. http://www.americanbar.org/publications/law_practice_home/law_practice_archive/lpm_magazine_articles_v32_is4_an1.html
Iwannatalktosampson February 7, 2012, 3:38 pm
Holy crap addie that article is about Denver Firms! Like i’ve interviewed at one. Okay now to finish it…
MsBorgia February 7, 2012, 4:29 pm
tell me about it. I looked at my loan statement yesterday and felt my ovaries drop (a more graphic, and I feel appropriate, rephrasing of “my stomach sank”). Hurray for professor salaries…
lets_be_honest February 7, 2012, 3:16 pm
Funny Wendy went into a big reply to this one, as I was thinking it was needed as I read it.
“I have since come to own my mistakes in that whole debacle, and my parents maintain that they made the right decision. I am very satisfied with my relationship with them in every other aspect, so we just don’t talk about it.”
Umm, sounds like you completely did NOT own your own mistakes and still don’t. Also sounds like your parents did make the right decision. This is kind of an upsetting update for me since I remember (I guess bc it wasn’t long ago) how much great advice was given and it sounds like LW did not in fact hear any of it. Reeks of the voice of a spoiled teenager.
camille905 February 7, 2012, 3:56 pm
Totally agree with everything going on in your comment!
haggith February 7, 2012, 3:17 pm
claps to wendy’s response
RMM0278 February 7, 2012, 3:20 pm
Wendy, I totally agree with you, but I do ask that you take a step back. This was the generation where: everyone got trophies for showing up; parents called teachers nonstop if their kids didn’t get good grades regardless if the kid actually deserved them; every opinion from kids was treasured and cherished like gold by parents no matter if that opinion was ill-informed or illogical; parents told their kids they could be anything they wanted if they just BELIEVED in themselves (as opposed to working hard); parents submitted their kids’ resumes to employers; etc. (Don’t believe me on that last one? Check this out: http://www.npr.org/2012/02/06/146464665/helicopter-parents-hover-in-the-workplace?ft=1&f=1001.)
At any rate, if the LW is like this, it’s not going to take a snap of the fingers to change her mindset. Your suggestions were totally on point, and she needs to listen. But the sense of entitlement is part of a larger issue that’s just not going to go away. This generation needs to marinate in the Real World for several years so they can learn that not everyone gets what s/he wants.
Iwannatalktosampson February 7, 2012, 3:24 pm
Uhhhh I think we’re actually learning that now when there are no jobs.
silver_dragon_girl February 7, 2012, 3:29 pm
Yeah, seriously, I’ve BEEN marinating in the “Real World” for several years now and it sucks, I get it. Please, everyone stop preaching about how *I*, as an “80s baby” need to get a grip. I have one, thanks. I work a crappy job I’m sick of to pay the bills and get experience so that HOPEFULLY by this time next year I can be doing something I love. Maybe. If I’m LUCKY.
lets_be_honest February 7, 2012, 3:32 pm
Whoo, sdg needs to get a grip Amiright?
silver_dragon_girl February 7, 2012, 3:36 pm
Well, sorry, it just pisses me off when I hear people saying generalizations about MY generation. I know that there are A LOT of people like that, believe me, I see them EVERY day at the community college where I work. I’m only 24, I’m well-aware that the delusional ones are still in “my” generation, but come on. We aren’t all like that!!! And yes, I know, Wendy didn’t mean it like that and I’m just overreacting and everything…touched a nerve, I guess.
I’ve also wanted an Adult Beverage since 10am, so I definitely woke up on the wrong side of the bed today 😛
lets_be_honest February 7, 2012, 3:41 pm
I’m sorry, I was just teasing. I’ve been in the same mood as you since 10 too!
MaterialsGirl February 7, 2012, 3:43 pm
lets_be_honest February 7, 2012, 3:48 pm
Addie Pray February 7, 2012, 4:09 pm
Something More February 7, 2012, 5:40 pm
silver_dragon_girl February 7, 2012, 3:43 pm
DW Happy Hour? Yes? Everyone can change their avatar to whatever they’re drinking!
lets_be_honest February 7, 2012, 3:49 pm
Budj February 7, 2012, 3:57 pm
Google hangout at a bar, haha. I would do it if I wouldn’t feel like a weirdo being antisocial with real people in the bar I was in.
Lili February 7, 2012, 5:37 pm
I would so google hangout with everyone here 🙂
Someone take your laptop to the Chitown meetup pretty pretty please!!
MaterialsGirl February 7, 2012, 5:32 pm
I’m only drinking lemon zinger tea right now. I do however need a very strong hot toddy to rid myself of this perpetual cold. AND I will be drinking some beers (and wine) with the lovely Chicago contingent on Thursday night at our DW Meetup
Addie Pray February 7, 2012, 3:21 pm
Right on, Wendy! And boo-yah I was born in the 70s. Tra la la la la.
ReginaRey February 7, 2012, 3:57 pm
And yet, who’s your favorite pseudo-therapist born in ’88? Is it me? It’s totally me.
Addie Pray February 7, 2012, 4:13 pm
It’s totally you! But damnit each time I’m reminded how young you are it freaks me out a bit. Like, I *remember* 1988. I had thoughts then. Likes and dislikes. Hopes and dreams. I kissed Travis at the bus stop that year. That may also be the year I was the only girl in class who refused to decorate her desk with New Kids on the Block buttons and crap. (I was already political in 1988.) And thats also the year I was jealous of my bestfriend’s big bangs. (No amount of hairspray would hold mine in one place.) Weird.
lets_be_honest February 7, 2012, 4:33 pm
Only a weirdo would not like NKOTB
Addie Pray February 7, 2012, 4:36 pm
Dude, I scored major points with the boys for my NKOTB opposition. (It was a calculated move.)
Lili February 7, 2012, 5:39 pm
Hmm…do you still not like Marky Mark?
Addie Pray February 7, 2012, 5:50 pm
Still love, love, love Marky Mark.
Lili February 7, 2012, 5:53 pm
Ah yes he did leave to make room for joey. Wait..am I remembering that right?!
AKchic February 7, 2012, 4:47 pm
I hated NKOTB. I enjoyed blowing them up with firecrackers on the Matanuska River. Who knows, maybe some of the pieces can still be found…
lets_be_honest February 7, 2012, 4:54 pm
Well, lets be honest, I’m not surprised! You are too funny.
Rangerchic February 7, 2012, 4:46 pm
Oh My Goodness….the BANGS!!! I totally had them 🙂
And, New Kids on the Block – Oh I have not thought of them in ages!
_s_ February 7, 2012, 7:06 pm
Ack!! I also refused to wear NKOTB buttons and had big bang jealousy. I could NEVER get my bangs to cooperate!!!
Amanda February 7, 2012, 3:24 pm
Being an 80’s baby myself – this response stung greatly.
I am in a credit crunch myself (had to shell out around $3000 to fix my car – long story). I am climbing out of this whole and taking all those suggestions and I don’t have a second income. I don’t expect my parents to help me and I actively DON’T talk about money with them so they won’t feel pressured to help me.
I realize this was directed at the LW but there are quite a few of us out there who don’t feel entitled and get ridiculously excited when our budget allows us to buy the name brand peanut butter.
HelloJello February 7, 2012, 3:35 pm
Well, in all fairness, I don’t think Wendy was directing this at EVERYONE born in the 80s…. just those that were and actually do have this sense of entitlement.
savannah February 7, 2012, 3:42 pm
“Babies of the 80s, hear this: You are adults now and the world — and your parents — don’t owe you anything. You gotta make your own way, just like the generations of young adults did before you.”
kinda everyone no?
HelloJello February 7, 2012, 3:51 pm
Honestly, not really. It’s one of those things, I think, where you have to kind of read between the lines. Obviously Wendy does not think that every single person born in the 80s is a entitled prat. “Babies of the 80s” = hyperbole
MsBorgia February 7, 2012, 4:25 pm
Even if it is directed at literally every 80s baby, it’s not bad advice for anybody.
HelloJello February 7, 2012, 4:42 pm
This is true.
Tracey February 7, 2012, 3:28 pm
The part that stuck out for me was the story about the unhealthy relationship with the man-child and the work to keep him (partying at his insistence), that contributed to the loss of the scholarship that led to her leaving school after the first year…like the parents had predicted.
Was this incident A) An unfortunate one-time fluke, or B) Part of an ongoing history of head butting and power struggle between the parents and the LW? Guess which one I’m betting it is? (Hint: If you said “B,” you’re right!)
It seems like the root issue is a perpetual tug-of-war between LW and LW’s parents over who is going to control her life – the never ending “you can’t tell me what to do” battle. And it continues to this day with battles over gifts, resentment over money spent on the sibs (who I’m sure you love, but I’m also sure can feel your jealousy over their standing in your parents eyes), and so on.
This problem will never go away LW, until you and your parents can finally learn to accept each other for who you are, not who you want them to be, and until you really let go of the resentment toward your sibs for the fact that your parents treat them differently.
This isn’t about money or gifts. Not by a long shot. It’s about not feeling loved the way you want to be loved – and your parents, from the way you describe this, feel exactly the same way. All the cash and material goods in the world won’t paper over or cover up the feeling of not being accepted for who you are.
Now what are you all willing to do to fix it before it costs you all something no money can buy – a loving, secure family dynamic?
lets_be_honest February 7, 2012, 3:33 pm
Amazing as always, Tracey.
Tracey February 8, 2012, 10:47 am
Thank you. That family could give her a gazillion dollars in gold, and she’d probably say, “Yeah, but you gave my brother a gazilliondy dollars in silver…” and then the parents would take hers back. It’s a sad dynamic. I hope they can fix it.
Tracey February 8, 2012, 10:51 am
Thank you. Here’s hoping they can work this out. “Mom always liked you best” is funny when it’s delivered by the Smothers Brothers on stage, but not so much when it’s played out in the family living room with real people.
(That reference shows my age, doesn’t it? If it’s a little vintage for you, Google them and watch the clips. It’s worth a trip in the way back machine….)
mf February 7, 2012, 3:49 pm
“This isn’t about money or gifts. Not by a long shot. It’s about not feeling loved the way you want to be loved – and your parents, from the way you describe this, feel exactly the same way. All the cash and material goods in the world won’t paper over or cover up the feeling of not being accepted for who you are.”
YES. This, exactly.
SpaceySteph February 8, 2012, 4:13 am
“The part that stuck out for me was the story about the unhealthy relationship with the man-child and the work to keep him (partying at his insistence), that contributed to the loss of the scholarship that led to her leaving school after the first year…like the parents had predicted.”
This sticks out for me too. She seems to still blame them a little bit for their prophecy coming true. But really, you were the one who could have (and should have) turned down the whiny douche in order to get your shit together. It’s nobody’s fault but yours.
Btw, my sister had plenty of monetary backing from my parents and still let a whiny douche ruin her grades at times. So I think that the blame still falls entirely on you; even without the 40 hour per week job, you probably just would have found more time to party, not more time to study.
artsygirl February 7, 2012, 3:31 pm
Sigh I am a gen x-er and I think the over generalization was pretty harsh. I double majored in undergrad – and graduated in 3 years, got my masters in 1 year, started a job the week after graduation and worked 2 jobs for 3 years just to make ends meet. I am third generation college grad (all 4 grandparents attended college). Are there entitled members of this generation – yes just like any other one. If you don’t believe me look at social commentaries of children growing up in the 50s when the teenager emerged.
CottonTheCuteDog February 7, 2012, 3:31 pm
I really don’t get the whole problem is. Back 10 or 12 years ago the LW’s parents were in a different place finanically. They couldnt afford art lessons. Now they can afford them for the younger brother. So what? I don’t get what the problem is. You are a grown up. Your parents now have to start saving for retirement and a lump sum amount of money isn’t something they have to give their grown daughter.
Budj February 7, 2012, 3:32 pm
<——80's child making his own way – secretly…I think we are the best generation because we had the best tv shows to grow up with…but…I guess that isn't a secret opinion now.
Budj February 7, 2012, 3:32 pm
Iwannatalktosampson February 7, 2012, 3:36 pm
Seriously! Weeds, entourage, mad men, real housewives of bevery hills (wait, shit that last one was not supposed to be mentioned)…..
Budj February 7, 2012, 3:43 pm
I was leaning more towards Thundercats, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, GI Joe, Vultron….haha.
Iwannatalktosampson February 7, 2012, 3:48 pm
Oh – well if you wanted to be classy about it. Tin Tin? Inspector Gadget? Jurassic Park? Toy Story?
Budj February 7, 2012, 3:55 pm
And yes – we also had the best CGI movies. Kids from recent times will get to say “Happy Feet”…was the highlight of their childhood movies…ew…
MissDre February 7, 2012, 3:49 pm
YES!!!! I always liked you but now I LOVE YOU!!! Don’t forget about He-Man!!!
Budj February 7, 2012, 3:54 pm
HA – I thought of that as I hit reply and almost added another post…thanks for representing He-man.
caitie_didn't February 7, 2012, 4:09 pm
F*ck yeah Teenage Mutant Ninja turtles!!
Also, the Flash.
AKchic February 7, 2012, 4:51 pm
TMNT FOR LIFE! GI Joe, SWAT Cats, Thundercats, He-Man, Ghostbusters, Animaniacs, Eek the Cat, Ren and Stimpy (not to mention some other live-action kick-ass shows), Transformers were ok,
HelloJello February 7, 2012, 4:59 pm
Gummi Bears…. I don’t really remember what you were about, but every once in a while your theme song pops into my head and won’t leave.
MaterialsGirl February 7, 2012, 5:34 pm
Something More February 7, 2012, 5:45 pm
“Bouncing here and there and everywhere – they are the Gummi Bears!!”
HelloJello February 7, 2012, 7:49 pm
Right? The only thing I remember is the song and the trap door in the forest floor!
Roxy_84 February 7, 2012, 5:53 pm
He-man, She-ra…..what was the one with the sun tots and the smoggies? And the rescue rangers….ch-ch-ch-chip and dale…today’s special…ok I’d better stop.
ChemE February 8, 2012, 1:37 pm
TMNT is awesome. I wish I still had my turtle bowl and tv dinner tray 🙁
ReginaRey February 7, 2012, 3:59 pm
80’s children UNITE!
Ok and for real…our shows were badass.
And for what it’s worth, I’ll second above whoever said: “There are grown-up children of every generation.” Truth.
ReginaRey February 7, 2012, 4:00 pm
As in, children masquerading as adults. If that wasn’t clear enough.
savannah February 7, 2012, 3:39 pm
Having graduated from university in 2010, I definitely felt the sting of Wendy’s response. While it was really was the LW needed to hear, the generalization doesn’t hold true. This is the hardest job market since the Great Depression and our generations salaries will be stunted over our entire lifetimes. Recent grads who do have work are acutely aware of how lucky they are and still eating the same college budget diets. Trust, we know how bad we have it and how we need to ‘make it work.’
Iwannatalktosampson February 7, 2012, 3:42 pm
Yeah! It’s those bastards that were born in the 70’s that are entitled, what with their great job markets and cheap education. Those pricks. (Kidding).
Budj February 7, 2012, 3:47 pm
They did have a huge tuition advantage. College tuition SKY ROCKETED over my 4 years…I’m just glad I saved a few thousand dollars being in school during the increase and not all 4 years post increasing…my debt was still 100k (pricey private school…my choice as a silly 17 year old)…fortunately I managed to get a job RIGHT before the recession made corporations poo their pants and managed to keep my job even though there were 13% reductions and most people in my situation got laid off. I feel very fortunate and so not entitled.
brendapie February 7, 2012, 4:01 pm
Seriously, the amount of loans I had for five years of college (yes I was a super senior) amount to what it would now cost to attend just one year at my college. It’s crazy to see how much tuition has risen and I feel that I dodged a huge bullet in graduating when I did (2005). Unfortunately my career hasn’t taken off but I am debt free and feel fortunate to be in that position. And I was an 80s kid whose parents paid for private elementary and high school tuition and over half of my college tuition but I don’t feel entitled to a thing. If anything, I’m overly grateful to a fault. It just makes me work harder to want to achieve more in life, which is what my parents always wanted for me.
BriarRose February 7, 2012, 4:02 pm
I graduated from college in 2002. I made more money back then than I do now, 10 years later. This job market is terrible and depressing.
MissDre February 7, 2012, 3:45 pm
I’m an 80’s baby and I totally agree with Wendy. No, I’m not a spoiled brat and I’m pretty responsible when it comes to bills, but I can fully admit to that feeling of entitlement. And I see it all around me in my peer group, all the time.
No, not all of us are spoiled and entitled, but a lot of us are. There’s a reason why it’s a generalization.
Grilledcheesecalliope February 7, 2012, 3:47 pm
Personally I blame boomer and late boomer parents more than 80’s babies for an overly inflated sense of entitlement. Anyways LW i’m glad your finding a less stressful way to view this situation, and good luck with your finances
misslisa February 7, 2012, 7:31 pm
Ha! I was just about to make a new post saying the same thing 🙂 Don’t blame the 80’s babies – Blame their parents!
I’m a baby boomer and utterly dismayed by the mollycoddling and helicopter parenting that my peers have used to ruin their now-adult kids. I realize that every generation wants their kids to have it better than they did. But somewhere along they way, giving your kids a good life became = failing to train, guide, or discipline kids into productive adults.
I have a coworker and a friend, both 57, whose adult kids (ages 19-29) constantly call them to demand that Mommy drop whatever she’s doing to run home and feed them, help them with their homework, take them to the store & buy groceries for them, iron their clothes, etc. My coworker takes 2+ hour lunches or leaves work early almost every day to do these things for her grown, capable, college-educated kiddos. It’s like they can’t even wipe their asses without Mommy holding their hands! At age 57, these mommies aren’t going to live forever, and then what happens to the kids?
I’ll tell you what happens: I know a spoiled, entitled, grown woman whose helicopter parents died unexpectedly. She didn’t know how to live life without Mom telling her how & what to do; didn’t even know how to work full-time. She flipped out, began binge drinking & using large amounts of hard drugs. 10 years after losing her folks, she’s now in a nursing home with major brain damage from her wild decade of flipping out.
Wow, that was a rant! I feel better now that I’ve gotten that off my chest 🙂
britannia February 8, 2012, 12:19 am
Thank you! Entitlement isn’t something that manifests out of thin air… it happens because we were lead to believe that we were entitled to everything. The people who criticize our generation should look at who shaped them to be that way – THE PARENTS. How the fuck is it possible for our (generalized) generation of 80’s and 90’s kids to just suddenly turn out to be entitled, dysfunctional brats? It’s only possible because either a) Our water supply was contaminated or b) The parents fucked up and sucked at instilling proper morals and values and work ethic.
Sorry, but I have noticed that the parents of 80’s and 90’s kids have an equally ugly (generalized) trait… Victimhood. Nothing is their fault; they were perfect parents and somehow their kids just turned out awful. Yeah, right…
cporoski February 8, 2012, 9:14 am
But when do you stop blaming parents and start taking responsibility for your own life? What age do you take away that crutch?
mf February 7, 2012, 3:47 pm
Another ’80s babies here, and yeah, didn’t appreciate the insulting generalization. Are there some adults of my generation who are way too entitled? Yes, but I know just as many who are independent and hard-working.
That being said, I agree with the rest of the advice here.
BriarRose February 7, 2012, 3:48 pm
I escape being lumped in with that “entitled” generation by just 29 days. Phew! I guess that’s why I was able to work full time while going to college at night (not to mention I paid for it all by myself), graduated with a 3.25 GPA, and am now supporting myself and my daughter without any help from my parents (who are completely in a position to do so), all while having exactly one debt: a modest-sized car payment which will be paid off early.
Interesting, my two siblings born in the 80’s both joined the military, have 3 deployments between them, and both own paid off cars, have college degrees they paid for via their service in the military, and support themselves without help from our parents. Even more interesting is that our much younger sibling who received more in childhood that we did, much like the LW’s siblings, has a part-time job while attending high school, to pay for his car, gas, and insurance, all while keeping good grades and participating in the marching band.
All because our parents instilled values of hard work, sacrifice, and maturity in us. Sure plenty of parents of our generation didn’t, but it’s not true across the board. And besides, the current generation of kids is way worse…..iPhones at age 12….amiright?!?!
Fabelle February 7, 2012, 4:01 pm
I know you’re kinda kidding with that last thing, but have you ever seen those screenshots that were floating around on some humor sites right after Christmas? The ones of kids (like early teens) posting FB and Twitter status about how they hated their parents because they didn’t get an iPhone under the tree. I was like…. 😮 Seriously??
honeybeenicki February 7, 2012, 4:04 pm
“All because our parents instilled values of hard work, sacrifice, and maturity in us.”
Pretty sure this is the key to the difference. Unfortunately, a lot of the “80s babies” did not have this instilled in them. But thankfully, a lot of us did!
MissDre February 7, 2012, 4:10 pm
Yeah…. why do 12 year olds have iPhones and why do 6 year olds have iPads?? What the hell? I wasn’t allowed to have a cell phone until I had a job and could pay for it by myself.
Iwannatalktosampson February 7, 2012, 4:18 pm
Me either!! I posted in this original letter about how my sister-in-law got an iphone at 11! 11!!!! I didn’t get a cell phone until I was 16 and that was because I got a job and was paying for it myself. Every single year – EVERY SINGLE YEAR – for Christmas she gets the newest and best everything. Like this year the newest playstaion or gamebox (I don’t even know what kids are into these days – the one where she has head phones so she can play games with her friends while they are each at their own house), last year she got the apple one with the controller thingy where you can bowl and stuff – she has already said she wants an ipad for her next birthday which is 7 months away!!! 7!
I think the generational thing is kind of annoying sometimes – no one appreciates what their generation had and always remembers life harder than it was. (Old people my fathers age – I know for a fact you did not walk to school up hills both ways).
MELH February 7, 2012, 4:26 pm
I got a cell phone at 16 and that was only because my parents were convinced at some point I was going to wreck the car and need help. Luckily, my “wrecking” of the car came in the form of knocking a mirror off. Also, this allowed them a way to make sure I got to school alive (oh god the freeway) after my mom deciced it was not prudent to follow 5 minutes behind me every day to make sure I wasn’t dead in the middle of the road. (Yes, she really did this the first week I drove to school on my own)
honeybeenicki February 7, 2012, 7:23 pm
My mom was less concerned about me wrecking the car and more concerned about getting lost since I have her horrible sense of direction. I like to call myself “directionally challenged.”
SpaceySteph February 8, 2012, 4:20 am
Yup when I started driving my parents gave me a cell phone with the following rule: it was only to be used for emergencies. I kept it turned off in the glovebox of the car. I never called friends, I never called for pizza. I actually never used it, because I never needed to.
lets_be_honest February 7, 2012, 4:35 pm
I can’t tell you how tempted I am to get my very young kid a cell phone so we can text each other all day.
BriarRose February 7, 2012, 4:54 pm
LBH-yes! I saw something a few weeks ago while on lunch that made me think of my daughter, and I started to pull my phone out to text her, before realizing she’s 7 and in 1st grade! Haha. Big part of me can’t wait until she and I can text each other.
lets_be_honest February 7, 2012, 5:09 pm
Glad I’m not the only one!
Iwannatalktosampson February 7, 2012, 6:11 pm
Is it weird that I feel the same way about my dog? I’m not kidding I have had moments when i’m gone all day where i’ve been like, “I wonder what Sampson’s up to” or “I wonder if he found that bone I hid in his bed” or “hopefully he doesn’t sit around and chew on my underwear all day, I think I left it laying out”. But then I remember he can’t talk or answer the phone and this is what happens to my face…. 🙁
Ivy February 8, 2012, 1:21 am
It probably is weird, but I’m the same way so I can’t judge. This is why I have a webcam set up on my dogs. Check out ustream.tv. If you have a smart phone you can download the ustream app and watch your dog from wherever you’re at all day long.
atlimbo February 7, 2012, 4:59 pm
I’m an 80’s baby and we didn’t even have cell phones growing up… as in, they weren’t something people owned… I remember Zack Morris getting seeing on late in Saved By the Bell and it was the weirdest thing ever, lol. Didn’t USE (let alone own) my first computer until 8th grade.
lets_be_honest February 7, 2012, 4:20 pm
The real question here is did you have a beeper?
BriarRose February 7, 2012, 4:28 pm
I wasn’t allowed to have a beeper. Haha. Got my first cell phone in college, even though my parents “didn’t approve”.
MissDre February 7, 2012, 4:29 pm
LoL I had one briefly… a hand-me-down from my older brother. It was a useless piece of crap.
lets_be_honest February 7, 2012, 4:37 pm
I LOVED my beeper. It was the only cool thing I ever had growing up. It was iredecent (sp? yea right) purple. My boyfriend would send me 143. Ah the good ol days. I wore it with pride!
Eljay February 7, 2012, 5:07 pm
143….that is ADORABLE!
AKchic February 7, 2012, 4:53 pm
I got my own at 14/15. But… it went with my “occupation” at the time…
lets_be_honest February 7, 2012, 4:55 pm
BriarRose February 7, 2012, 4:24 pm
My daughter’s friend got a Nook for Christmas. SHE’S 7!!! That is just insane to me. Why does a 7 year old need that? And while I was joking about the iPhones for 12 year olds to a certain extent….I know plenty of teens and pre-teens who have them. This generation of young people lives in an interesting time, with technology being so available, and so expected. Everything needs to be *right now!* for them, and can you really blame them for that attitude? They’ve grown up with the instant gratification of the internet-information is at their fingertips, so is communication with friends via texting and IM, they can shop online and have things overnighted; they have DVR and can skip commercials; movies are available to watch online almost right after they come out in the theater; you can download a book to your iPad in moments. That is my biggest fear for this current group of kids. Are they going to be able to be patient and wait for things? Are they going to be able to save money and buy things without credit? I try hard with my daughter to make sure she realizes she can’t have everything the moment she wants it.
And MissDre…it will really date me (although I already gave away my exact birthday) but I didn’t get a cell phone until I was 20 because they weren’t around when I was in high school 😉
MissDre February 7, 2012, 4:31 pm
My brother owns a dance studio and the little kids coming in don’t know what CDs are. CDs!!! They’ve had iPods all their lives.
lets_be_honest February 7, 2012, 4:38 pm
Same could be said about tapes v. 8tracks in my generation though.
I actually think a Nook is a good thing for a kid, at least it keeps ’em interested in books. (mine doesn’t have one tho, for the record)
MissDre February 7, 2012, 4:42 pm
I’ve always known what a tape was, what an 8track was and what a record was. And also, product life spans lasted SO much longer than they do now. By the time something is tested, hits the market, is bought, something new comes out that obliviates what comes before it.
I just find it crazy that I remember getting my very first CD for Christmas at age 10, and kids born 10 years later don’t even know what a CD is!
ktfran February 7, 2012, 5:14 pm
I remember my first CD too. Mariah Carey.
lets_be_honest February 7, 2012, 5:17 pm
Iwannatalktosampson February 7, 2012, 5:22 pm
Alanis Morrisette, haha.
Addie Pray February 7, 2012, 5:29 pm
Madonna (Like a Prayer)
cdubs February 7, 2012, 6:10 pm
Alanis Morrisette too! I was in 3rd grade. My mom definitely had no idea about the language content on that CD… ^_^
JK February 7, 2012, 5:34 pm
My 1st cassettes were Cyndi Lauper(Girls just wanna have fun) and Michael Jackson (Thriller). Now I feel ancient.
ktfran February 7, 2012, 6:04 pm
Me too with Michael Jackson being my first cassette.
BriarRose February 7, 2012, 4:47 pm
A valid point, for kids who are unlikely to read. For my daughter though (and her friend in question), definitely not an issue.
Budj February 7, 2012, 4:45 pm
Wait…really? They don’t know what a CD is? Owning a CD does not happen anymore? This has already happened? I thought that was like at least 5-10 more years away…
MissDre February 7, 2012, 4:54 pm
Yes… it’s scary.
Begyourpardon February 8, 2012, 12:42 am
I asked a 12 or 13 year old if she knew who James Bond was and she said no. That makes me a sad panda.
Buzzelbee February 7, 2012, 3:50 pm
Slightly off topic question. What birth years correspond to these stereotypes? I graduated HS in ’00 and a ton of articles that have seen about this whole entitled “millenium” generation sounds like they are talking about people right out of college. I know I’m not that much older than them but I feel like I’m a world away having been out of grad school and working for a few years, and so very grateful I was able to find a job 2 1/2 years ago.
MissDre February 7, 2012, 4:15 pm
I’m only 4 years older than a co-worker of mine, (he’s born in ’90) and sometimes it baffles me how out of touch with the world he is. It’s like he’s never heard of anything that came before him.
We were teasing somebody at work about having a Zack Morris phone and he says “Who’s Zack Morris?”. I was talking about Bobby Brown and he’s like “Is that that old school funk guy?” C’mon, it’s one think if you don’t know Bobby Brown, but you don’t even know James Brown? He’s never even heard of Al Bundy or Married with Children. He think Biggie ripped off Heavy D and Wiz Kalifa is a better rapper than 2Pac. Sigh.
I’m only 25 and yet I love most music of the 70s and I’ve watched all the most popular shows of the 70s and 80s in syndication.
Buzzelbee February 7, 2012, 4:19 pm
OMG the Zach Morris phone still cracks me up. Although I was trying to remember the names of the two non-Kelly Kapowski female characters (Jessie and Lisa) last night and had to google it.
Fabelle February 7, 2012, 3:58 pm
I agree with Wendy’s response & was really happy to see she isolated that line about the Christmas money because damn, that rubbed me the wrong way also. However, I’m a late-eighties baby & would like to point out that I don’t share that sense of entitlement at all– I was really confused about the LW’s attitude in the original letter (& also, I think I’m the one who made the comment about her seeming bitterness about the art lessons?) So, I guess in summary, I’m adding to the chorus of “But that’s not how I ammmm!”
Anyway– I don’t want to poke & prod at this LW, but the tone of this update doesn’t sound much different than the original letter. She’s saying all the right things, but there’s an undercurrent that leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Not to harp on the art lessons thing, but the subtext I’m getting from that whole paragraph is kind of like “I’M the one who got my brother even INTERESTED in art, but it JUST FIGURES my parents would pay for HIS private lessons and not mine.”
Not to say that bratty sentence could ever escape your mouth, LW– not even saying that it’s formed at all in your head– but I kindaaa feel as if you do have that sentiment somewhere in the core of your being? So yeah, try to work on those feelings instead of feeling validated by some of the commenters who are in similiar situations and did sympathize with you.
lets_be_honest February 7, 2012, 4:11 pm
Yup & yup. Read it the same way!
FancyPants February 7, 2012, 3:59 pm
I was right with Wendy up until that zing towards 80’s and 90’s kids. I don’t go around blaming the fact that the housing market is shit on Gen Xers and Boomers who couldn’t be bothered to buy homes in their income bracket. How come it’s a sad story when a Boomer who’s been living outside of their means has to face the cold realities of their life choices in this economic climate, but people turn their noses up at 20-something fresh out of school, saddled with student loans, who can’t find reasonable work?
Yeah, I know nobody held a gun to anyone’s head saying “you have to take these student loans”, but at the same time, for the first 18 years of our lives, most of us were told to go to college, or that not getting higher education was beneath us, and that college and loans would be the ticket to getting a good job (read: not service job) and paying off those loans. Four years go by, and suddenly those loans still need to be paid, but there’s no job to be seen. And then we’re told that we’re all spoiled for not being willing to work those service jobs that we were told we were above all of our lives, and told that college would prevent us from having to take.
It’s frustrating for me, and I happen to be a university grad that got a good job and can pay my own student loans (and live comfortably without my parents help that I have never expected, despite my crippling birth year of 1985, thankyouverymuch) , I can’t imagine how it must feel for people I know who worked hard, were run through the intern mill and are now paying down enormous student debt on a fast food income.
Normally I agree with Wendy and I love this site and her advice, but man, that generalization stung pretty bad.
FancyPants February 7, 2012, 4:12 pm
I hope this doesn’t sound like an attack on Wendy – I love Wendy! She’s brilliant! It’s just can’t somebody be an entitled snotbag because they’re an entitled snotbag, not because of the year they were born in? You wouldn’t say “I’m tired of hispanic people being so lazy and entitled” and you certainly wouldn’t expect a bunch of hispanic people to post “I know lots of us are, but I’m not! I’m a special exception!” Well, I can’t help the year I was born in, but I don’t think people like the letter writer are the rule for how we all behave, and I don’t think I should have to defend myself simply because I was born in a year someone thinks includes me in some generational stereotype.
summerkitten February 7, 2012, 5:34 pm
thank you. This, exactly.
Something More February 7, 2012, 5:54 pm
This. A million billion times, this. I am an 80s baby as well and I didn’t grow up with the sense of entitlement that I was just said to have.
Imsostartled February 7, 2012, 6:54 pm
I agree totally. That comment really stung me too, especially since I’ve been reading Dear Wendy for a really long time and value her opinion greatly. So it was an especially big zing that felt like, “I don’t care how hardworking and independent you are, you were born in 1985 and are entitled!”. I know she didn’t mean for us to take it that way, but gee that hurt my heart a little. 🙁
I think why the “80’s babies” are taking such offense at this is because we’ve all heard this before. So many people have told me about how bad my generation is (usually in regards to me doing a good job and being so “different” then my peers) and I want to scream “Don’t generalize me! I’m a person, everyone in my generation is a person”, we’re told not to generalize or discriminate because of race, sex, sexual preference etc. etc. etc. but yet so many times people feel ok to do it when it comes to age or which generation we come from. Here’s an example of why I’m a bit sensitive to this: I have a co-worker who I went to lunch with, along with 6 other people. After great conversations and yummy dim sum we start talking about interviews we’ve gone through and also people we’ve interviewed. This co-worker goes on to tell us how he was once debating between two people for a job, and he decided to go with the older person because the younger was in the “entitlement generation”. Yet 5 out of the 6 other people (including me) were born in the 80’s, so when questioned about this he was like “oh you guys are different, you’re hardworking”. How was he to know that this guy he had interviewed wasn’t hardworking? He never gave him a chance, and the rest of us are happy that he wasn’t the one who had interviewed us, since we know that he would not have chosen us because of our age.
This is by no means an isolated incident and I just feel sad, especially since our generation got spanked so hard by the recession, that people still view most people in my generation that way.
britannia February 8, 2012, 12:26 am
Thank you, this is much more eloquently and thoroughly written than something I could write.
It really rubs me the wrong way when people take such a narrow view with the generation who is currently in/graduating college right now.
Our parents have been telling us our whole lives that we are “too good” to be flipping burgers for a living… and then yell at us when it’s the only job we can find in this current economy. They told us that if we went to college, we would be “making something” of ourselves and wouldn’t be stuck in servitude for our careers. Well, there’s plenty of college graduates who are shoulder-deep in student loans and flipping burgers for a living, and the parents wonder why we’re disillusioned. I’m also not sure they understand what it’s like to be 22 and practically be guaranteed to be in debt for the rest of your life, WITHOUT any sort of guarantee that you’re EVER going to have a job that will successfully manage to pay off that debt. It’s insanely stressful.
theattack February 8, 2012, 12:43 am
I love your very last point there. (Actually I love all of your points in this comment). People talk as if we’re entitled and just sitting there happy about a cushy ride or whining about not having one! We’re not a bit happy about the situations we’re in either, and I can guaran-freaking-tee you that it’s much more distressing to be in the situation yourself than it is to observe a younger generation doing things you find annoying.
FireStar February 7, 2012, 4:00 pm
I agree with Wendy. If you want to address a sense of entitlement then you better focus on gratitude and humbleness. I don’t get that sense in this update. But as my mother used to tell me – if you don’t want to hear, you’re going to feel. Actually with the west indian accent it was “yuh duh wan ‘ear – yuh gon feel.” Life has a way of beating the entitlement out of people.
MissDre February 7, 2012, 4:18 pm
LOL! Where’s your mama from?
FireStar February 7, 2012, 4:26 pm
We are from Guyana. The accent comes out when the old world wisdom gets unleashed…
MissDre February 7, 2012, 4:33 pm
Hehehe. My boyfriend is half-Trini and half-Guyanese. I love it when he imitates his mom.
summerkitten February 7, 2012, 5:38 pm
this made me smile 🙂 It’s my personal anecdotal experience that those who were raised by people like this (myself included) learned to “hear” mighty quick…
FireStar February 7, 2012, 7:00 pm
honeybeenicki February 7, 2012, 4:01 pm
As an 80s baby, I actually am inclined to agree with this line of Wendy’s response:
“Babies of the 80s, hear this: You are adults now and the world — and your parents — don’t owe you anything. You gotta make your own way, just like the generations of young adults did before you.”
Sure, many of us (apparently especially on here) don’t think this way, but unfortunately the majority (or at least the most visible if not the majority) do. I was appalled when I was in college to see the number of people my age who believed they were entitled to… well, everything. Ok, what really pissed me off was the people who had their parents paying their way through college and then would skip class and get bad grades and flake out on studying, etc. Anyway, that was a little off topic. I read an article a few months back (I wish I could find it) about how much people a) graduating from high school and b) coming right out of undergrad thought they were entitled to make. The numbers were astonishing.
My mom raised to me to be responsible and independent. She lost her parents at ages 12 and 15, so she knew that there was always a possibility she might not be there and I needed to know how to fend for myself. I got my first car from her, but she didn’t give it to me – I bought it from her. I had to have a job to pay for gas, insurance, repairs, etc. Sure, she’s been great and generous and “gives” me stuff – like birthday presents, little things she sees that she thinks I’ll like, etc but I absolutely do not believe I’m entitled to anything. I’m one of those grown folks now. If I want something, I work for it. I know I shouldn’t depend on her to bail me out. But, the best part about this is – I know my mom and if I did truly need help and asked her, she would help me if she was capable. I recognize that it is above and beyond anything she HAS to do, and that’s why it means that much more to me.
I know I was fortunate to grow up in the household I grew up in. I wasn’t babied or coddled, my mom believed in giving me room to grow while ensuring I was learning how to become independent and responsible. And I grew up in a small area that didn’t embrace the “participation trophies” or the sporting events where they don’t keep score (what’s up with that anyway?). A lot of people in my generation weren’t taught these things. Many, in my experience, were sheltered and led to believe that everything they did was great. They were handed everything they ever had and don’t know how to work for what they get and certainly don’t truly know how to appreciate what they have. The behavior I saw while in college, the behavior I see in my workplace from people around my age, and the behavior I see being instilled in the next generation is frightening.
…Oh wow, I’m done now. I get a little fired up, especially when I’m reminded of my stepdaughter’s hockey game when she was 11 or 12 – the parents got in trouble for telling the kids what the score was because they weren’t keeping score and neither team was going win or lose the game. Of course at the end, the kids knew who had won 🙂
honeybeenicki February 7, 2012, 4:08 pm
As if I haven’t said enough… I’m trying to find something that was presented to us in a meeting once about the “work ethic” differences in Boomers vs Gen X vs Gen Y. I guess there have been productivity studies done that show a higher work ethic in the younger generations than the older generations are giving them credit for. I wish I could find it. It did qualify though that the people in the jobs that were assessed for this were people who were, by the nature of the jobs, going to have a higher work ethic than the “average” person anyway.
Flanagan.er February 8, 2012, 6:00 am
I don’t know that this is the graph you’re looking for, but heres a graph that shows that even after the people born in 1980 and later entered the workforce, productivity continued to sale while wages stagnated. It’s the first graph, though all are horrifying.
another POV February 7, 2012, 5:10 pm
I might get a ton of pushback on this, but having gone to a super liberal art school for rich people, I have many friends who’s parent did pay for their way through school. None of those people skipped class, they all graduated with high grades and then went to do well. No one slacked.
I agree about the entitlement thing, but it’s also a huge generalization and very unfair to say that anyone who receives things from their parents are lazy and entitled.
honeybeenicki February 7, 2012, 7:05 pm
I didn’t say and didn’t mean to imply that all of the people who had their parents pay for their college skipped class. Some of them did do great things, but when I asked the people that I knew about it, they said straight out that they didn’t want to be there and the only reason they were was because their parents were paying for it so it “didn’t matter.”
I also didn’t say that people who receive things from their parents are lazy and entitled. Actually the word lazy didn’t come up anywhere in that. I didn’t say that all people who received things from their parents or all people in this generation have that feeling of entitlement. I said a lot of them do, especially from what I’ve experienced.
ReginaRey February 7, 2012, 4:06 pm
Personally, I think you can define entitlement in many different ways. There are certainly members of my generation who feel entitled financially, as this LW has realized.
But for me, rather than feeling financially entitled, I feel…emotionally entitled. I see how miserable a lot of people are in their careers; they want to pursue something else but feel guilty for complaining about having ANY job, even if it’s one that doesn’t fulfill them or bring them any joy.
Personally, I’m going after something more out of life than a 9-5 (or 8-4:30) job that doesn’t fulfill me and that doesn’t make me feel like I’m contributing anything useful to society. I want to do more with my valuable time and life than work in a marketing department, dying a slow and painful death.
Does that make me entitled? Well, if it does, so be it. That entitlement is going to get me through grad school, and hopefully through an internship and board exams and eventually (I hope) starting my own practice as a therapist.
I don’t need a lot of money or material possessions. But I do feel that if I work hard enough, I’m entitled to happiness and fulfillment, as I believe are people are entitled to. Just a subtle difference I wanted to point out between children of the 80s who feel entitled to anything no matter what they’ve done or haven’t done…and people like me.
Iwannatalktosampson February 7, 2012, 4:13 pm
RR did you see that I responded to the forum topic about this? I will definitely need some counseling about it in the future. I too kind of feel emotionally entitled. I would trade so many material possessions for happiness everyday. I want to wake up and get excited to go to work. My Dad woke up everyday early, read the paper, and slowly got ready for work. I have yet to wake up one minute before absolutely necessary to get to work on time because I wake up everyday dreading my job. Well I don’t have a job now, but that’s how every job in the past has been. It sucks. And on top of that the cost of living has gone up while salaries have gone down, so it’s not even like the money makes it worth it. UGH. So depressing
ReginaRey February 7, 2012, 4:18 pm
I feel you. If you ever want to talk about it, email me! [email protected]. We can commiserate, if you want. I read somewhere that our generation has more options than any before us has had, particularly our parents’ generation. We feel that we really could pursue any career or goal that we wanted…and that kind of possibility leaves us a bit paralyzed. Have you heard of or read “20Something, 20Everything?” Wendy recommends it and I’ve read part of it; a friend of mine really enjoyed it. It’s basically about the QuarterLife Crisis…sounds like you may benefit from picking up a copy!
Addie Pray February 7, 2012, 4:20 pm
Alright, listen, people. Everyone can email RR about relationship woes but let me clear: I don’t like this one bit. She’s mine, but ok I’ll let you “borrow” her. There, glad we settled this.
P.S. She is really, really good. It’s kind of spooky how good.
ReginaRey February 7, 2012, 4:25 pm
You’ll always be my first, Addie.
Addie Pray February 7, 2012, 4:29 pm
Funny, I am a lot of people’s firsts … But I’m ready to be someone’s last. Wait, what are we talking about again? I have a short attention span.
Iwannatalktosampson February 7, 2012, 4:28 pm
I am definitely going to e-mail you March 1, right after I take the bar. I have this weird thing where I am never nervous before something big, but after. Like it’s in 2.5 weeks and i’m cool as a cucumber, but I am going to leave the test, regardless of how I do, and have a full blown panic attack. So I will need some life counseling. The good thing about a shitty economy is that I think it does give you a little more time to actually ponder the direction you want your life to take.
And Addie, we love you. Since you’re going through a 1/3 life crisis we can three way email. By the way how is your career crisis going? Did your vacation clear your mind to the direction you want your life to go?
Addie Pray February 7, 2012, 4:31 pm
Vacation taught me that I really really like eating Miama Vices and tortilla chips and cheese for breakfast.
Iwannatalktosampson February 7, 2012, 5:24 pm
I thought you already knew you liked cheese for breakfast? Are you sure you don’t mean wine for breakfast? When I was in Costa Rica last year I discovered that nothing starts the day off right like a tequila sunrise.
Anyway whats going on with your young wild thang?? Have you made a move yet? Did he make a move?
Lili February 7, 2012, 4:57 pm
Can I join in the e-mail? I’m having a 1/5 life decade long crisis. Addie–read about my weekend in the forum!
PS-1/5 life because I plan on living til I’m 100~and only 100.
Addie Pray February 7, 2012, 5:19 pm
Which one? “There are too many, Shane!” … That’s a quote from an old movie that my dad used to quote all the live long day; no clue which movie – anybody know? Oh wait, I think it may be from the movie Shane. Starring John Wayne. It’s amazing how this thread is making my head explode in so many different directions. Anyway, Lili, which one?
Lili February 7, 2012, 5:27 pm
Also-not relevant to the story I posted about, but the night before I’d gone to a bar with some friends and totally made out with a 21 yr old. By made out I mean After learning he was 21, I leaned in and said I really want you to kiss me. He obliged, and then we kept on kissing. I gave him my number as a courtesy but I REALLY hope he never texts. I’d have to tell him my real age. He thought I was 23. Ah, boys.
I wish I could say I was drunk, but I wasn’t.
Anyways I knew you’d appreciate the youngun/cougar aspect of it 😉
MELH February 7, 2012, 7:59 pm
Right after I took the bar, I went home, had some champagne with my husband, and flew to New York City for a few days to get away and see my sister. It helped me with the post bar freak out! If you can’t go anywhere, just fill your time with fun stuff and remind yourself thinking over and over again, “was that the rule against perpetiuities” won’t change your answer!
lets_be_honest February 7, 2012, 4:32 pm
Was it inspiring? I thought about getting it for my sister. She’s kind of becoming a do-nothing. She’s got this loser boyfriend who mooches like I’ve never seen before, no job, pot head, the whole 9. She went away to a great college about 4 years ago. Did wonderfully there. Got a crappy job not in her field, pay is crap, she’s just changed a lot. Like lazy and unmotivated, always trouble paying the bills. Its so beyond upsetting for me. I beg her to move home and live for free with me and get her masters. She refuses to leave him though. Any advice?
Iwannatalktosampson February 7, 2012, 5:19 pm
Ugh I had a super great answer all typed out and then I hit cancel instead of submit. But hopefully I can remember most of it.
So mostly I think you need to frame the discussion in a way that it seems like her idea. Because assuming she has bratty youngest child syndrome, she will only want to do it if it seems like she was the first person to ever think of it. So try to frame it like, where do you see yourself in 5 years. And if she says at X stage in my career making Y amount of money, try to help her see how she can get there. Like well if you want to make that amount of money a masters degree would help and you could skip the entry level of that field. Oh how convenient I have a house you could live in rent free. I think it would be best if it was her idea.
As for the boyfriend – unfortunately she probably sees him as the only thing that IS going right in her life right now, which is sad. But to her the thought of ditching the one thing she loves and starting completely over is probably really overwhelming. So that issue just might have to run it’s course unfortunately.
Budj February 7, 2012, 4:19 pm
I’m there too…I mean…the job I’m in now has a lot of career potential and I’m interested / challenged by it, but I don’t feel like I can “feel good” or accomplished with what I do in reference to society / the world… Right now the biggest thing I can say is I help your smart phone cover glass not break so easily, haha…if I ever get to a spot where I don’t have a lot of financial overhead I will probably consider getting into forensics as I can use my mind/skill set towards a more benevolent purpose.
MissDre February 7, 2012, 4:21 pm
@ RR your quote: “Personally, I’m going after something more out of life than a 9-5 (or 8-4:30) job that doesn’t fulfill me and that doesn’t make me feel like I’m contributing anything useful to society. I want to do more with my valuable time and life than work in a marketing department, dying a slow and painful death.”
Whoa. Did you take this out of my own head? Marketing department and all. This is my life EXACTLY right now. I’d feel like a huge dick for leaving my job with benefits and retirement plan (especially in this economy) and yet, I can barely get out of bed in the morning cuz I don’t wanna go!!!!!!!! I feel entitled to something better.
ReginaRey February 7, 2012, 4:27 pm
Second the guilt when it comes to benefits/retirement. The good thing is that I don’t feel like it’s permanent. Given that I know I want to go to grad school and become a therapist, it’s a bit easier to go when I know it WILL end.
But damn, I don’t understand how people do jobs like that for YEARS. *Shudder*
MissDre February 7, 2012, 4:37 pm
I’ve already finished grad school. So I feel like there’s no end for me. Ugh. See, the problem is that I love my chosen field, I just hate it that in my city, all jobs are tech/software related. And I’m not willing to relocate and leave my family. So I feel like my only options are A) stick it out in the crappy software marketing job or B) try free-lancing for small businesses. But B scares the crap out of me cuz there’s no stability.
And yes, I’m spoiled and entitled cuz I want a stable income but I don’t want to work 40 hours a week for it.
Budj February 7, 2012, 4:48 pm
Is it against your job’s policy to do something on the side if it doesn’t compete with their market? If so…you could start working part time and generate a customer list before transitioning to self-employment.
Budj February 7, 2012, 4:48 pm
MissDre February 7, 2012, 5:01 pm
I’ve already been told that “technically” I’m not allowed to have any other outside employment. They don’t pay me enough to cover the basic cost of living, so I applied for a receptionist job at a car dealership during the evenings/weekend. A car dealership does not compete with a software company, but no, my manager would not give me a reference.
I also refuse to work unpaid overtime. When 5pm strikes, I go home, or to the dance studio my brother and his wife own (I do marketing work for them at no charge) and I was also told that “technically” I’m not allowed to work for the dance studio either.
But whatever. I’m trying to get into freelancing now, I’m just making sure to keep my mouth shut.
SpaceySteph February 8, 2012, 7:24 am
Wow your employers sound like dicks. At my job we have rules against noncompetition/conflict of interest. We are required to declare any external jobs and, if necessary, legal will determine if a conflict of interest exists. But if it doesn’t, its fair game.
And for your situation… If they don’t pay you enough to support yourself, they leave no other choice.
FireStar February 7, 2012, 4:38 pm
If you have a goal and you work towards it – that isn’t entitlement – that’s called ambition.
And there isn’t a damn thing wrong with a little hustle.
MsBorgia February 7, 2012, 4:13 pm
tl;dr, “I’m upset that my parents called me irresponsible and refused to rectify the decisions I made as an adult. But I’m totally not entitled.”
also, nobody has any interest in the state of your loins.
va-in-ny February 7, 2012, 4:15 pm
I guess entitlement is one thing I’ve never really understood. I didn’t need braces, but my younger sister did. Does that mean my parents should hand me $5000.00 for having decent teeth? Of course not!
And, I agree with a lot of commenters above. Just because we were born in the 80s, it’s not fair to lump us all into a negative catagory. It would be like saying that everyone in the early 1900s believed that women shouldn’t be able to vote.
Iwannatalktosampson February 7, 2012, 4:25 pm
Ha, funny you should mention that. I have a best friend in law school who, if she wasn’t so humble and hilarious and laid back I would probably hate, whose Dad paid for her law school. To top that off he sends her sister a check every semester for the exact amount of her law school tuition.
lets_be_honest February 7, 2012, 4:40 pm
Dude, your parents totally owe you $5k. Get on that!
caitie_didn't February 7, 2012, 4:22 pm
Also an 80’s baby, also a little put off by Wendy’s response.
Like RR, I’m not looking for “financial entitlement”, but I believe I’m entitled to fulfillment, to the idea that I’m working towards or achieving a goal and making a worthwhile contribution to the world. I’ve worked f*cking hard to get where I am now. I’ve been financially independent since 18. I worked since age 15 and sucked it up and took out student loans to pay my undergraduate tuition. I didn’t take the summer off to study for the MCAT like many of my friends whose parents paid their tuition. I don’t have a line of credit. I scrimp and save and bargain hunt to make my graduate stipend last. At the rate I’m going, I’ll never own a car. And it feels like I’ll just never come out ahead. The fact is that the system is gamed- college tuition is out of control and the job market is in the shitter and whatever beef you have with OWS, it’s hard to deny that the vast majority of the world’s wealth is held by a very small number of people.
It’s hard not to feel bitter at a system that told you if you worked hard, you could achieve your goals only to find out that you won’t because the jobs aren’t there, you have mountains of student debt to pay off, and now you might need to take out more debt to further your education in the hopes of finding a job that may or may not be available when you finish that education. But this is also not the fault of my parents.
SpyGlassez February 8, 2012, 1:49 am
80’s baby here (1981). I started working at thirteen (babysitting), and from the time I was fifteen on I have never had fewer than two jobs at a time except for during the two years it took me to earn my masters degree – I only worked one job at that time. I own my car outright, travel, have a decent apartment, and have set aside savings that would cover me if I were out of work for six months or so, the way that financial planners advise. I earned scholarships to pay for college, lived at home, worked on campus, graduated both undergrad and graduate school with a 3.9 GPA…. Yes, I did move back home for the year between college and starting grad school, but that was because I was waiting to see if I would be accepted and didn’t want to move and have to move again. I paid my parents rent while I lived there. I grew up maybe not poor, but certainly on the very-low side of middle class. I resent being lumped into a generational divide as an entitled child. Those kind of generalizations are always rash, and leave no room for the complexity of the human condition.
kerrycontrary February 7, 2012, 4:26 pm
Ugh, I’m sorry Wendy, I agree with you a lot of the time but your whole babies of the 80s and 90s feeling entitled just really struck a nerve. I don’t get why people say this about our generation. Everyone I know is educated, paid for their OWN education, and working their butts off to make it in a horrible economy. I paid for my own graduate school and still made it work financially when I didn’t have a job immediately after getting my MASTERS. Did I think I should get a great job after doing well in undergrad, graduate school, and getting career-applicable work experience at the same time? Yes! But that’s not entitlement, that’s actually hoping for getting what you have WORKED towards. I was born in the 80s and I did not grow up in a place where everyone got a trophy or elementary school kids didn’t get grades. I know what its like not to play in the soccer game, not get the solo in a dance routine, get turned down for a job (many jobs), etc…While I think the LW is entitled, I don’t think this should be applied to an entire generation who is more educated and underemployed (not because of their fault, because of OTHER generations screwing up the economy) than any other american generation.
Budj February 7, 2012, 4:28 pm
You forgot about getting picked last in gym class!
kerrycontrary February 7, 2012, 4:35 pm
uh unfortunately that did happen to me…I somehow didn’t become good at sports until high school
lets_be_honest February 7, 2012, 4:41 pm
Every. single. time.
Gave me thick skin I suppose (there’s a joke in there somewhere)
rachel February 7, 2012, 5:57 pm
Hm, my lack of athletic ability and my being thick are definitely related.
Skyblossom February 7, 2012, 4:30 pm
As a parent of two kids who are 9 years apart in age I know that we have more money to spend now with our 11 year old daughter than we did to spend 9 years ago with our then 11 year old son, so yes that happens and when the age gap is huge I think it’s the norm. What the LW probably doesn’t realize or think about much is that when there is a large age gap the younger child is drug around to the older child’s activities alot, in a way that the older child never had to put up with. If you had music concerts your brothers were probably drug along to them even though they may have found them boring. Younger siblings are too young to leave at home alone so when the parent is dropping off the older child for an activity or back picking them up to take them home the younger sibling has to go along, over and over and over again. The younger siblings home time is interrupted constantly by the needs of the older siblings to be taken to whatever they are doing. Nobody gets exactly the same situation that their siblings gets and each can find that they were cheated in some way but the parent has to do the best they can to meet the current needs of all.
When you’re an independent adult it is no longer your parents responsibility to pay your bills. You choose where you live and what car you buy and what job you will work and that all creates it’s own balance that you have to deal with. If you don’t like your situation then you need to look at it and decide how to change it to give you the life you do want. I know that’s easier said than done because change is usually hard work and so you have to be motivated to do it. I paid for my college myself and also grad school. So did my husband. My husband and I paid for most of the cost of our wedding, my parents paid a little for it. We have paid our own rent and then our own down payment on our house and have never had any financial help from either set of parents, not even shopping for clothes. It feels good to know that we can do it on our own. It is very liberating to know that you are completely capable of being independent. When my kids graduate from college I expect them to save enough to make their own deposits on their own apartments. I expect them to buy their own houses from their own savings and to make their payments by themselves. I expect them to be fully independent. I expect my husband and myself to pay for our own retirement and not be a burden on our children.
mf February 7, 2012, 4:43 pm
“If you had music concerts your brothers were probably drug along to them even though they may have found them boring… The younger siblings home time is interrupted constantly by the needs of the older siblings to be taken to whatever they are doing.”
YES. I remember getting dragged to my sister’s hour-long violin lessons every week. To my five-year-old self, this was the ultimate torment!
lets_be_honest February 7, 2012, 5:12 pm
Read as “I remember getting drugged at my sister’s violin lessons”
mf February 7, 2012, 6:52 pm
HA! I was such a brat sometimes, I think my mother was tempted to drug me.
Skyblossom February 7, 2012, 7:50 pm
And it was absolute torture to your five-year-old self, wasn’t it? I remember having to go to my older brothers activities and being bored stiff the entire time.
Steph February 7, 2012, 4:43 pm
Another 80’s baby who was pretty offended by the generalization. I normally agree with Wendy, but every time I hear that kind of statement I get irritated. I had a professor in college that always said she hated teaching because our generation was spoiled and entitled. I’ve worked for everything I’ve had and never once did I expect help from anyone. To insinuate that all the 80s and 90s babies, period, are spoiled brats is extremely offensive and uncalled for.
KAM February 7, 2012, 4:43 pm
While I agree with Wendy’s response (sans overly-harsh 80s baby generalization – which was kind of uncalled for, I think), it’s a lot easier to say “grow up and get over it” than it is for that person to actually do that. Even if the LW doesn’t envy or particularly want her brothers’ childhoods or possessions, I think, in her position, it would be hard to imagine her NOT feeling a little bit jealous (or as she put it “wistful”) over the things that she didn’t have when she was their age.
She even admitted in her first letter that she wasn’t particularly proud to be feeling some child-like jealousy (and I promise you, that’s what it feels like. Makes you feel small and petty, neither of which you want to be. Especially if you know, logically, that you should just “suck it up”). Which suggests that she’s over feeling that way and really wants to just get over it and MOA.
So, LW, rather than just suggesting you just “suck it up” I would suggest you focus a little more on your life and less on your brothers’ – if anything, separating yourself should make it easier to avoid making comparisons. If that means visiting them less or instituting a “no money talk” policy with them, so be it. As your relationship sounds now, it seems like you guys are pretty open about your finances. Maybe avoiding that kind of talk will help?
If nothing else, you could just tell yourself that when you have kids, you’ll do what you can to treat them all the same. You can’t go back to your own childhood and change things but if you’re proactive in avoiding the supposed mistakes that your parent’s made with you, then at least it’s not a vicious circle. Break the circle with your own actions or future parenting style.
lets_be_honest February 7, 2012, 4:49 pm
The more I think about the original letter, I bet you LW is a DW frequenter, knew to put in that she is aware of how childish it sounds, etc, etc. to make it sound better. Seems like her true colors came out more in this update, imo. (hope I’m not insulting anyone)
But, I think get over it sometimes is the best and only advice/option.
KAM February 7, 2012, 4:53 pm
Oh I agree – but I just think it’s way easier said than done.
I say this as a former suffer of “Jan Syndrome” (aka Middle Child Syndrome). Took a while for me to stop comparing myself to my siblings – so I get where the LW is coming from. I don’t think her update helps her case, particularly, but I can understand the “wait, that’s not fair’ mindset.
lets_be_honest February 7, 2012, 5:01 pm
I vented a little about my sister above, and she compares herself to me, my brother and my other sister FAR too much. Brother and sister are both doctors, one being a brain surgeon. I’ve turned out fairly successful in terms of career. It makes me want to strangle her when she does it though. Its not fair and i wish she knew how much we just want her to be HAPPY. Success certainly does not mean fancy pants job. How did you stop comparing????
Love the term Jan Syndrome!
KAM February 7, 2012, 5:38 pm
Haha well it took a while. Most of my childhood was based around getting approval from *someone* (usually big sister) which was a long shot because I was a weeeiiirrrd kid and rarely had interests that got approval (Like the LW, I was really into art – except no one tells you in 8th grade that skillz with a colored pencil aren’t going to get you a date to the sadie hawkins dance). Wasn’t until I went to college and found some like-minded friends that I started to appreciate that I wasn’t like the rest of my family. Not to mention that most of them eventually went into finance (yawn) so it was became easy to stop comparing.
KAM February 7, 2012, 5:41 pm
*correction: “skillz with a colored pencil WON’T get you a date…” – yikes, its end-of-the-day brain melt time.
mf February 7, 2012, 4:57 pm
See, I like how you’ve actually tried to be constructive instead of tearing the LW down for not “sucking it up.” I agree that it would probably be very helpful to nix the money talk with her parents. No need to rub salt in the wound, right?
I would add that she should start thinking on the things she’s grateful for, rather than focusing on the things she doesn’t have. If I remember correctly from her first letter, her mom raised her as a single parent until her (not biological) father came into the picture. Being a single parent is incredibly challenging and that alone is something she should be thanking her mother for.
Generally speaking, cultivating gratitude in your life is a very powerful thing. It’s not always an easy thing to do, but it’s really helped me have a positive outlook, especially during times when I feel depressed or frustrated with my life.
lets_be_honest February 7, 2012, 5:03 pm
I like your comment a lot, but I thought the comments in the original letter WERE constructive and did nothing for her really, judging by the reply.
Lili February 7, 2012, 6:03 pm
I also liked what you wrote about cultivating gratitude. Its a process though, and some days are good and some are not so good.
Like today I knew would be a good day because I got to see a clip of Eli enjoying his Disneyworld parade. His absolute glee at being there was so infectious! It also led me to be thankful the GMen won, because TB would have been ‘too good’ for disneyworld. He just looks that smug.
*Sorry to still be talking about the Superbowl. I’m just that happy with the outcome 😉
Iwannatalktosampson February 7, 2012, 6:13 pm
Never apologize for talking about football.
Lili February 7, 2012, 6:30 pm
Is it weird that I’m already getting excited for Fall 2012 an knowing where everyone is from, we can all have friendly rivalries when our teams play each other?!
PS–I root for the Seahawks, the Cardinals and the Cowboys.
College I root for all Arizona teams, unless its UofA vs ASU then its ASU all the way!
Eve February 7, 2012, 4:48 pm
I am a 19 year old college grad, born in ’92.
I guess it’s sort of odd; most of you are post graduates and looking back, but I am experiencing college life right now, ha. I don’t know if I am self entitled. Maybe I am. My Dad gives me cash for Christmas and my birthday and my parents have been helping me pay for college. I actually recently incurred hundreds in debt after I stupidly saw doctors that weren’t under my AETNA family plan. Dumb mistake, right? But my sister joked that at least I didn’t spend money on weed. I like to think that makes things a little okay.
I guess for me, entitlement is inter-generational. I go shopping once or twice a year, and I use Amazon to save on college textbooks. I am an RA at my college, which basically saved my life. I don’t know if my parents could afford to pay for college without that position. My college also has a competitive degree program. I should be graduating with about $20,000- $25,000 in undergraduate debt, and I am interested in going to grad school immediately. My mom saved up thousands when I was a kid, and I want to use that to pay for part of my grad school. Of course this is assuming I get in and have the financial aid to pursue this type of degree.
Anyway, I guess the point is, is that I do lean on my parents a lot when it comes to finances, and I don’t know if that’s a bad thing, genuinely. I was definitely raised to think that would be a normal aspect of my life, and it really is. There is always a reason to depend on my parents because I don’t have any one to turn to with financial crises. I don’t THINK I have time for a job; maybe I do. I want to focus on my activities to boost my confidence as a grad school applicant. Not to mention the GREs. Either way I like to think I can and will be independent from my parents. I am not gonna lie— it will certainly take time.
mainer February 7, 2012, 4:49 pm
I agree with Wendy’s assessment of the young adult generation (young 30s and below) – full disclosure, I’m in it. This is just based off my personal interactions/experiences with fellow peers in this age bracket, and the generalization applies to the majority (meaning I met more people like this than I did not). No one likes being lumped in with a bad characteristic (talk to a German), but it’s impossible to make universal statements when it applies to a group of people. There’s just no way to do it. So you go by an overall assessment, and I think Wendy has it. From the sounds of it, it looks like a majority on this site are not in that group, and you should feel good about yourselves for it. But that doesn’t mean it was a false statement or that those type of people don’t exist.
Want to avoid having YOUR kids seen in this light? Start young. All you aspiring parents, or new parents (Wendy, wink wink), teach your children values. Life values, not ideal values. You can’t only teach them to “work hard and you’ll be rewarded” because that’s not always true. Life, at times, has a tendency to suck. That means that someone could bust their ass and get nothing in the end. It happens. Sure teach them to work hard, but also teach them perseverance. Teach them life is not always going to be puppies and rainbows. Sometimes you have to work three jobs to pay your way through school. Sometimes you have to bus dishes or vacuum office buildings until your resume gets picked up. Sometimes you have to work just to make money. That is all. And you use that money to support your family or survive or, if you’re lucky, support doing things you actually enjoy doing. Your job doesn’t need to be your passion. In fact, for most people it is not. Entitlement encompasses more than money and possessions. It is largely a mindset. Entitlement comes from false prophecies on the ideals of life. Make them appreciate being in the position they are, and that comes from sometimes denying the things they want, or at least making them work for it. It’s easy to blame a generation for their flaws, but the blame should really come from the origins of a flaw that can only be learned. Blame the teacher.
Tax Geek February 7, 2012, 4:56 pm
I think Dennis Leary once said (paraphrasing): “Life Sucks, wear a helmet!”
mf February 7, 2012, 5:15 pm
I have so much to say about your comment, I don’t even know where to start.
“Teach them life is not always going to be puppies and rainbows. Sometimes you have to work three jobs to pay your way through school. Sometimes you have to bus dishes or vacuum office buildings until your resume gets picked up. Sometimes you have to work just to make money.”
Yes. I would add: the best way to teach hard work and perseverance is through example. If you don’t have a good work ethic, your kids likely won’t either. Or if they do, they’ll learn it the hard way. As a kid, I learned what hard work is by watching my dad work two or three jobs at a time to support our family. At 53 years old, he still works 70 hours a week with retirement nowhere in sight. I’m incredibly grateful to him for teaching me what hard work, drive, and excellence looks like.
“Sometimes you have to work just to make money. That is all. And you use that money to support your family or survive or, if you’re lucky, support doing things you actually enjoy doing. Your job doesn’t need to be your passion. In fact, for most people it is not. ”
Look, you do what you have to do to survive, to support your family or pay rent or mail that student loan check every month. HOWEVER… You live that way for thirty years and it wears on you. My father, as I mentioned, worked very hard to support my family. He did every job he had to – nothing was beneath him. But he studied music as a young man. He’s an incredibly talented and skilled jazz musician. There’s nothing he loves more than playing and writing music, but of course, that doesn’t pay well, so for many, many years, there wasn’t much room for music in his life.
And let me tell you, I saw how that aged him. I saw how he hated getting up in the morning. I saw how he’d escape to the basement to play for hours in the evenings, just to forget the work day. I saw how he carried the weight of lost dreams with him, and that’s no small thing. Now, thankfully, he teaches and plays full-time, and even though he works crazy hours, he is much, MUCH happier.
So anyway, I’m with RR on this one. I think it’s important to aspire to a job that fulfills you. And yes, you do need to be willing to bus dishes or vacuum office buildings to get there. But if you spend your life doing something you’re not passionate about (or worse, something you really hate), there’s a price for that too.
mainer February 7, 2012, 5:42 pm
I agree, but I think you were missing the sentiment of my post. Every person aspires to live a life they want to live, that is a given. Doing that makes you a better person than not doing it. It gives your life purpose and direction. No one grows up and says “I want to struggle through life.” My point was not that you should accept mediocracy or a miserable job as your inevitable fait. My point was that you need to be raised to prepare yourself for that outcome. I think a lot of people in our generation feel entitled because their parents struggled much in the way your father did (and I’m not saying you’re entitled, by any means, or even that the following scenario applies to you). As such, a lot of parents do not want their children to struggle in the same way they did. That’s another given in this world – we want the best for our children. So they tend to go to great lengths to ensure they don’t struggle, and as such set up precedence of having things provided for them. If a child grows up getting what they want when they want, what happens when they don’t get what they want later in life? A feeling of disappointment and injustice. That was my only point. It is admirable to set your goals high or to aspire to work in an area you are passionate about, but sometimes that doesn’t play out. Life has a tendency of going where it has to, not where it wants to. And what separates people from that “entitled” group is their acceptance of that very notion and their willingness to push through it, much like your father did. That is admirable. What is not admirable is somehow thinking you are entitled to a life you want to live. You’re not. You have to work very hard for it, which often is enough to achieve it. But sometimes it’s not. And that’s a real life lesson many never learn until it happens. You are absolutely right in the last part of your comment: there is a price to pay for that struggling life, but you have to be prepared to pay it. And that preparation comes from your upbringing.
mf February 7, 2012, 6:56 pm
“What is not admirable is somehow thinking you are entitled to a life you want to live. You’re not. You have to work very hard for it, which often is enough to achieve it.”
Yeah, it sounds like we’re actually on the same page. I think we should teach our kids to aspire to careers and lives they are passionate about, but we’re not doing them any favors if we raise them to believe all those things will be handed to them.
caitie_didn't February 7, 2012, 7:06 pm
This is so eloquent and so true.
MsBorgia February 8, 2012, 8:41 am
You win for having the best avatar!!
80s Kid February 7, 2012, 4:56 pm
I’m surprised people don’t have more sympathy for the LW. I think people are so quick to jump on her because the issue is money. However, I think the real problem is that she feels her parents don’t believe in her because they don’t invest in her. Some people feel/show love through presents some through words some through affection. I agree that she shouldn’t expect her parents to bail her out of her financial problems, but I think this goes deeper. Like why did her parents feel comfortable investing in her brother’s future but not hers. Why were they so quick to write her off. Maybe it’s some deeper resentment that’s manifesting itself as this money problem.
As for my generation, I lot of us do seem to be be entitled waving our art degrees around and thinking that we should automatically be published authors. However, a lot of us have more degrees and internships than the generations before us and we were told if we put in that early work we would succeed. I think if you’ve earned useful degrees and you’ve put in the work interning for years, it’s not wrong to feel like you’ve earned something.
KAM February 7, 2012, 5:50 pm
I’m going to be a total gnat about this and take issue with the insinuation that art degrees are worthless. Do I think that some people get them to avoid the real world? Of course. The rest of us, though, have a kick ass work ethic and use those degrees for an actual job (graphic designer/interior designer/illustrator/art director/photographer/just to name a few examples).
MsBorgia February 8, 2012, 8:51 am
I used to be one of those people who thought art was a useless degree… then I majored in communication and got the same flak. I do think there are too many art majors who just fantasize about being successful and who don’t have the chops to make it, but I think the liberal arts in general get way too much of a bad rap, and I sympathize w/you. Do you get the “what are you gonna do with that?” question from EVERYone?
KAM February 8, 2012, 2:38 pm
I did back in high school and college but if you can manage to make it through with your degree and some business sense, people take you more seriously, post graduation. It helps too, if you don’t look like a bum or hippie 😛
summerkitten February 7, 2012, 5:58 pm
i completely agree with your first and second paragraphs. I don’t think the issue itself is money; money and investment is just how it’s manifesting. Both LW and her parents might not be digging deep down into this emotion (it’s too painful, they don’t see the other side, whatever, we don’t know), but the money discussion/argument is definitely going to be destructive without even touching on the real issue. she doesn’t want money (especially now that she’s mostly independent), but she wants the love and confidence (as channeled by financial support) that she sees her brother getting, but doesn’t remember getting in any form.
as for the “everyone born in the 80s is a whiny entitled brat,” that didn’t just happen. there are many of us who are entitled. there are many of us who aren’t. but i’d be willing to say that most (not all) of us were told that we had to do certain things and then we’d get big paychecks and jobs we loved and lives we aspired to, and we did those things, all along the way watching people follow that path and achieve the things we were told we’d get for doing the same. and then we got to Oz and the wizard was a fraud. and yes, some of us have stalled and are whining about what is “deserved,” and some of us have said “well, sh*t!” and kept on trucking. but it’s unfair for older generations (in general, not calling anyone old!) to complain that we drank the kool aid when they were the ones feeding it to us in the first place.
mf February 7, 2012, 7:03 pm
“However, I think the real problem is that she feels her parents don’t believe in her because they don’t invest in her.”
You’re definitely on to something, especially given the conflict between the LW and her parents during her freshman year of college. Perhaps she feels like they didn’t believe enough in her to invest in her education and even some some years have passed, those wounds haven’t healed. So now, she keeps hoping and asking for them to make that invest, but they won’t. In fact, they probably don’t even know that’s truly what she’s asking for.
I think a lot of these unresolved feelings that LW need to be hashed out with her parents. IF she’s never expressed the hurt she felt, maybe that’s why she hasn’t let it go. What if she sat down with them and said, “It really hurt me that you guys didn’t believe in me enough to support me, financially or otherwise, when I was in school. I know I did drop out after the first, and that failure is on me, but I still wanted to feel like both of you were in my corner.”
Maybe that could be a very cathartic and healing thing for her. Or maybe not. Maybe it would just allow her to wallow in her bitterness. I can’t say for sure, but it’s something the LW might think about.
MsBorgia February 8, 2012, 8:48 am
I think a lot of us jumped on her because, so it seems, most of us have earned our way or developed a work ethic (it’s possible to have your parents pay for school but still have a healthy work ethic, after all), whether or not we are 80s babies, and she is whining about a situation that most of us can approximate somehow. (My mother claimed that she couldn’t afford to send me to college, but spent the equivalent of a year’s tuition on landscaping.) We see her as being one of the 80s babies that give the rest of us a bad name, whether that assessment is fair or not.
I empathize with the larger issue (feeling invalidated by her parents), I really do. But part of being an adult is also realizing where the actual problem is and being able to address it.
ktfran February 7, 2012, 5:00 pm
I’m late to the game and I don’t know where to fit this in with all the replies, so I’m not.
Anyway, I don’t like to lump generations in years of 10. For instance, I was born in January of 1980 and I identify way more with generation x than I do with generation y or the millennials. As do most of my peers born in the ealry 1980s. For some reason, having the hard cutoff of 70s, 80s and 90s bothers me and I had to mention it. Probably because a lot of things people are saying about people born in the 80s doesn’t apply to me, but I can see it apply to my 26 year old sister.
I had to work for my grades. I was never given a ribbon just because. I had to get a job in high school. Actually, I started babysitting when I was 11 and my first real job was at age 15. My parents couldn’t afford to pay for college, so I’m paying back loans. I was around when MTV actually had music videos and watched the first season of Real World. I didn’t have e-mail until my first semester of college. Seriously. Crazy!
Wendy February 7, 2012, 6:29 pm
I actually think of the 80s — or any generation — starting in the third year. So, 2012 is sort of the start of the tens/teens. 82-92 is, in my mind, “the 80s” or what we think of when we think of the 80s.
ktfran February 8, 2012, 9:41 am
I never heard it that way, but I think you’re right. Both you and Laura. Thank you for clarifying Wendy.
I think me identifying with gen x also came from me always looking up to my older, “cool” cousin. When I was young, I wanted to be just like her. Now I don’t, but I guess that comes with growing up.
Laura February 8, 2012, 1:00 am
A lot of people actually break down the generations in chunks of 15-20ish years, not decades. Here’s a completely random article that happens to give a typical breakdown:
So it makes sense that you say you identify with Gen X more than Gen Y/Millennials.
Blondie February 8, 2012, 11:21 am
I think there are just too many different variables to make any of these labels really work…
I was born in 1986, putting me pretty firmly in the gen y category by most peoples distinctions- however, my parents were born in 1946 and 1952 (sorry mom!), meaning that I was theoretically raised more like a gen x-er since the influences my parents brought to the table were more like those of the previous generation.
mrs.d February 7, 2012, 5:02 pm
I’m a bit of lurker usually.. but the “80s babies” comment got under my skin.
I was born in the 80s and I do not have any sense of entitlement. My parents did not pay for my schooling, did not pay for my wedding, did not pay for me to have a cell phone at 15, did not contribute to the house my husband and I bought, and did not bail us out of $35k of debt that we’re paying off. And, yes, while, it would have been nice to have some of those things (that my younger brother did receive), I don’t feel that they owe me anything or that they need to justify doing certain things for my brother and not for me.
I think a sense of entitlement is a personal thing – not a generational thing, and don’t appreciate the generalization.
That being said, I love reading the advice DW gives (even if I don’t always agree).
spark_plug February 7, 2012, 5:19 pm
I’m a little late to the game, but am I the only one who thinks the LW’s parents were bad parents? Not because they didn’t give her money. But any parents who tells their child that they will drop out after one year of school and then tells them, ‘told you so!’, is a poor parent in my book.
Maybe she wasn’t the best student, but if my child was getting A’s that went to C’s and suffering from depression I would be working hard to figure out what’s wrong and get her out of her rut rather than tell her that she will be a drop out. I would invest a ton of energy and emotion in making sure that my 18 year old has all the necessary tools (financial or not) to succeed in life. The parents did not.. but now they are investing in her brothers.
I wonder if one of the reasons why the LW is so financially frustrated with her parents is because it seems like they were emotionally stingy with the LW.
theattack February 7, 2012, 5:28 pm
These were my thoughts exactly!! It sounds like they were being cruel to her instead of supporting her and encouraging her. Whether or not they wanted to pay for her college, they shouldn’t have said that was the reason.
landygirl07 February 7, 2012, 5:29 pm
theattack February 7, 2012, 5:24 pm
This is not an issue about a generation’s sense of entitlement. This was a person who wrote in for advice about something. She appreciated your advice a lot in her reply, which is friendlier than some of the other updates we see here! She even admitted that the response made her realize she had a feeling of entitlement that she’d never noticed before. And she said that she’s starting to work on that now that she notices it. If you want to help someone, the point is to let them see the light and give them the tools to fix the problem. You already did that, Wendy. There was no reason to rip her apart her in a rant about what you personally have hang ups about. IMO, if someone admits they have an issue and decide to work on it, you don’t further talk about how terrible they are for their problem, especially when they’re being nice to you. It’s just unnecessarily mean.
Something More February 7, 2012, 6:03 pm
Meadowphoenix February 8, 2012, 4:00 am
IMO, if someone admits they have an issue and decide to work on it, you don’t further talk about how terrible they are for their problem, especially when they’re being nice to you. It’s just unnecessarily mean.
Since we’re talking about entitlement, someone being nice, or rather polite, is not a boon. It should be the norm, especially when that person wrote something that had undertones of “It’s just no fair!” Frankly, the OP seems to be telling us that she’ll be working on it, rather than believing it herself.
landygirl07 February 7, 2012, 5:28 pm
You are all such young-ins! I graduated from HS in 1982, I feel ancient here!
I see Wendy’s point and agree with her. I see so many letters from people in different advice columns complaining that their parents are constantly bailing out their siblings, sometimes to the parents own detriment, and maybe they didn’t want to get into that kind of pattern. In any case, parents are not obligated to financially bail out their children.
oldie February 7, 2012, 5:40 pm
When thinking of the shortcomings of the young adults born in the ’80s and ’90s, I run smack up against the reality that it is my generation who made them the way they are. For some reason, we thought that our own quite comfortable childhoods and lives were somehow to dangerous and unfullfiling and that the next generation should have things so much better. None of the riskiness of just self-organizing play with peers in the neighborhood, none of the pain of ever having to feel that you’d ever failed at any project or activity, no matter how small, never having to suffer to work yourself out of problems that you had created, never having to do without, getting the maximum enjoyment out of childhood, believing that you could be whatever you dreamed, never having to hear criticism or having your thoughts discounted, never having to feel limited. Those born in the prior generations seem unhappy with the generation which they shaped. The generation of the parents was abetted by the generation of the older professors and teachers, whose economic self interest perhaps caused them to perpetuate the belief that whatever esoteric field you majored in, no matter how divorced from the world of the normal economy, would yield a well-paying career in which you only did meaninfgul work
theattack February 7, 2012, 5:47 pm
I agree with you completely. As a young member of the “entitled” generation, maybe I’m just being defensive, but you can’t create a flesh-eating monster and then complain when it eats flesh like it was raised to do.
YouGoGirl February 7, 2012, 6:04 pm
This is not about money. The LW’s parents did not tell her they could not afford to help her with tuition after she won half a scholarship. They told her that they thought she would fail and that they did not consider it worthwhile to invest in her education. She was forced to work 40 hours a week to earn the rest of her room and board, which are too many hours for a full-time student. Instead of helping her, they watched her flounder and when she lost her scholarship they told her they were glad to be proven right. That was incredibly cruel.
I really feel for the LW, who I sense is very angry. She realizes she is not entitled to be given money now that she is an adult and that perhaps she is acting a bit entitled. What she really wants is for her parents to tell her that they love her and think she is worthwhile. Unfortunately her parents seem to have cast her in the role of black sheep, which is not uncommon in dysfunctional families. I hope she can find joy in her marriage and perhaps in her own children because she is not going to get much love from her parents.
Grilledcheesecalliope February 7, 2012, 6:54 pm
This was so much.more hepful than calling her an entitled brat, I understand the lw feeling un loved and not supported by her parents and then feeling jealous of the affection showered on her siblings. I dont think she is being entitled, I think she is hurt and that hurt is manifesting itself in jealousy.
mf February 7, 2012, 7:09 pm
“when she lost her scholarship they told her they were glad to be proven right. That was incredibly cruel.”
I didn’t catch this on my read of the letter, but you are absolutely right. She may even wonder if they still see her as a failure (because words that like will stick for a lifetime). The thing she probably needs more than money is for her parents to say, “Hey, we believe in you and we’re proud of you.”
painted_lady February 8, 2012, 1:09 am
You’re so right about words like that sticking for a lifetime. My dad came to pick me up for Christmas break my freshman year and on the three hour drive home, he asked how my grades had ended up – I took 16 hours that semester, one more than was recommended for an incoming freshman and managed to pull a 3.3 while playing a lead in the fall theatre production, and I was pretty proud of myself and said so. My dad sighed and told me my mom took 20 hours a semester, worked full-time and got a 4.0, so maybe I should work a little harder. So next semester I took 16 hours, but harder classes, and got a part-time job, landed another lead, and did run crew on another production. I pulled a 3.1, so I kept adding to what I was doing and maxed out my sophomore year when I took 19 hours, worked a part-time job, was in another show, an officer in a theatre organization, and was running back and forth between home and school every other weekend because my grandfather was dying. I ended up with a 2.5, and my mom asked me why I was doing all that to myself. I told her because I was following her lead. She hugged me and said she took 20 hours ONE semester, her job was part-time, and she was already married so she wasn’t part of the campus the way I was – and she wanted me to do that – so the comparison was unfair and cruel and she had been proud of me for how well I’d done my first year and hated that my dad had made me feel like such a failure.
It’s weird, but when I think back on that aspect of my college life, even though I know my dad – who dropped out of college halfway through his first semester – made a comment that was both unfair and untrue, I still feel like maybe he was right. And that was ten years ago.
So no, I don’t think still being angry and hurt over her parents’ smugness at her failure to thrive in college makes the LW entitled. Telling herself that the reason they don’t give her money is because they’re finally proud isn’t being selfish.
LW, you need to figure out if the issue is really about money or about feeling so rejected by your parents. It sounds like it’s that you feel like they gave up on you and haven’t given up on your brothers for reasons unknown. You should present it to them that way, and you need to get to a place – through counseling perhaps – where you can forgive them for failing you at your most miserable.
caitie_didn't February 7, 2012, 7:10 pm
You are totally right. This is about the LW feeling that her parents didn’t believe in her or support her emotionally when she was younger, and maybe still don’t today. She is just conflating money with respect/love/esteem. it WAS utterly cruel of them to tell her they figured she’d just be a good-for-nothing dropout and then say “I told you so” when she failed. That’s not what good parents do. They might place restrictions on their financial aid (i.e. you must maintain a certain average) or they might do what my parents did and say “this is how much money we can afford to give you for your education. You are on your own for the rest” but they don’t smirk and crow and bang their self-righteous drum when their child stumbles.
Milla February 7, 2012, 7:41 pm
I also agree with this. The LW must have been a pretty decent student to earn a half-tuition scholarship to a state school, and even if there had been personality clashes, that’s plenty of evidence to believe that she could succeed in college. Sure, lots of students make mistakes (I teach a lot of freshmen in my classes), but it’s hard enough for an 18 year old to go to college even with emotional/financial support, never mind with parents telling her she’s sure to be a failure.
My parents were (and are) unbelievably generous to me and helped me pay for my undergraduate degree at a state university. They also would remind me that no one is perfect at age 18, and that it’s fine to flounder a little bit, so long as you keep your eye on the goal. My dad, whose parents did not support him in any way, would constantly tell me that I didn’t need to have it all figured out right away. Their support, even when I floundered or didn’t know what to do with my life, was invaluable, and would have been so even without the money.
spark_plug February 7, 2012, 8:18 pm
Yes, this is my point exactly! After reading about her college experience, that really trumped whatever entitlement I read in the last few paragraphs.
I always think that the commenters and Wendy have such a AMAZING advice, but I do feel bad for the LW as she reads through these responses. She’s obviously (to me at least) crying out for some kind of approval for her parents – maybe she sees money as a reward or sign of approval – whereas she’ll have to read number of comments berating her for something that she admitted that she has an issue with. The biggest paragraph in her letter is ignored though.
LW – my advice to you is to find some way to accept that parents make mistakes and learn to forgive them. I had a somewhat similar although not the same issue with my parents – they made a lot of mistakes with me – and I always felt like they were trying to control me. Everything they did irritated me and we would always fight. I know you can’t afford it, but therapy helped me a lot. Maybe gets some books on self help and dealing with emotions, learning to love yourself for who are you are, and when you’re in a better financial situation (or if your insurance will cover it) see a therapist on how to accept your parents treatment of you when you were younger and move on.
LW February 8, 2012, 9:39 pm
Anna February 8, 2012, 12:16 am
Thank you! I was wondering if I was the only one who caught that. What kind of parent tells their child they expect them to fail?! And then when she does fail because she’s trying to go to school full time while also working full time, they are glad because they were right? That is sick and messed up!!!!! If I were her, I would have distanced myself from them a long time ago.
TaraMonster February 8, 2012, 12:40 am
Honestly, I’ve stayed off this board because I’m not sure how to be nice about this… I love this site, but the diatribe against children of the 80s and 90s was so disgusting to me. What made me angrier was everyone in my generation trying to prove they’re not like the LW. You know what? You’re not required to explain yourselves to such a sentiment. I refuse to. I know I’m hard working. End of story. I’m willing to give Wendy the benefit of the doubt that it was a bad day- but we should give the LW as equal of a break. This whole thread was just- I don’t know- not something I ever expected to see on this site.
iwannatalktosampson February 8, 2012, 12:59 am
No worriesTara, I took full responsibility of my entitledess, no shame here, haha.
LW February 8, 2012, 9:36 pm
I was not going to comment on here at all, but I just want to say thank you. To you and the other commenters who gave me the benefit in the doubt in this. You’re right, it’s not about the money.
I wish I had phrased that problem sentence better, to say, “I know in my head my parents don’t love my brothers more. I am proud that everything I have, I’ve earned. And I’m going to try to believe in my heart that my parents are proud of me, too.”
So, thank you.
ahlia February 7, 2012, 6:09 pm
I was born in the early 90s and while I don’t really like stereotypes, I can see where this all comes from. I’m in college now and my parents have a loan as do I. I have a car, insurance, and a cell phone that is all covered by my parents. I don’t have a job right now, but my parents tell me that my job is to do well in school. Sometimes I feel really guilty that they pay for so many things in my life, but I also think they like to do it so that they still have some level of control over what I do- and in these situations I wish I could give it all back to them. Ex: I want to use my car to drive a couple hours away and visit a friend for the weekend: my dad reminds me of how he pays for the car and any type of repair would require more money. I tell him I understand and if he wants me to get a job I will do it. He takes this to mean that I would pay to support myself if I had to but wouldn’t get a job now just to help out in general. I tell him that if he wants me to get a job in general then I will begin looking immediately! He says that is unnecessary and just to focus on school… So now I feel guilty again that they support me. I guess this guilt is an additional motivator to do well in school though, and I am grateful they have given me the opportunity to study without having to have a job as well. I am fully aware that someday I will have to pay back my loans though. Not looking forward to it, but I am an aware young adult.
theattack February 7, 2012, 7:10 pm
I’m in a similar situation in that I’m in college taking out student loans, but my parents pay for my living expenses right now. I’ve felt guilty about it off and on and have started job searches, but my parents always tell me not to because they want me to just do well in my classes and graduate ASAP. The fact that our parents support us so much isn’t a reflection on our feelings of entitlement. It’s a reflection of how much our parents give to us. It’s their business if they decide to help us so much, and I seriously doubt that most of the commenters calling us entitled would turn down help! I’m very thankful for the help they’ve given me, and I hope to one day be able to help them out the same when they’re elderly. I certainly have a work ethic, not a desire to have things handed out to me.
spark_plug February 7, 2012, 8:30 pm
I’m in grad school right now and my parents are footing the bill. It’s not entitlement, I actually don’t want them to pay for it, but it makes more sense.
My school costs $100,000/2 years. A federal loan for a grad student is at 8%/year, which means I’ll be paying off $100,000 at 8% for however long it takes me to pay of the loan. My parents have $100,000 in a savings account to buy an apartment. They don’t have enough to buy the apartment so it’ll have to sit there for a few more years. The interest rate on a savings account right now is about 1%. This means that overall (if you count us as a family unit), we are paying 7% if I were to take out loans. If you take into account inflation, that makes it even more.
I plan on doing the same thing for my children – if it makes financial sense. If the savings rate were higher than loan rates, then obviously it doesn’t make sense to do that. But I get really annoyed when people tell me that my children will be spoiled and entitled.
Sometimes there are many many reasons why people’s education is paid for and it’s not really fair to jump to conclusions.
I’d also say that it’s a very cultural thing as well. Growing up easter european – any parent who didn’t help their child out financial if they could would be given the worst parents ever award. When we first moved to the US, my mom was dumbfounded that parents wouldn’t help their children pay for school. She just didn’t understand how a parent can not help their own child. So it’s not that uncommon or unlikely that a person would be upset that their parents didn’t help them pay for school. I wouldn’t necessarily be so quick to place it under entitlement.
Moneypenny February 7, 2012, 8:34 pm
I had a similar experience as you and theattack as well when I was in college. My parents helped pay for some school, while I had loans as well (for an expensive private school), and I lived at home to save money (so all my loans would be tuition only and I commuted to school). They also didn’t want me to work, as they wanted my main focus was to do well in school. I worked during the summers (camps, internships) to save up for the school years when I didn’t have a job. I kind of think they also wanted to keep tabs on me, too, which was very frustrating, but at the same time, I am so grateful now that things happened when they did. My older friends would tell me, are you going to school to work and go out, or to study and get your degree? This made me more determined to put the opportunity to good use and do well for myself and make them proud. I’m on my own now and have a good relationship with my parents, and help them out whenever they want it. And, slowly but surely the loans are getting paid (7th of the month, like clockwork! :/ )… 5.5 more years to go of that! But yeah, I can understand where you’re coming from. If my parents had not offered what they had that would have been ok too. I would have maybe gone a different route to get to/pay for college, but I would have gotten there somehow!
Something More February 7, 2012, 6:21 pm
Also, instead of blasting the “80s generation” for being all entitled, why don’ you instead call out the parents that allowed them to grow up that way? As I said before, I am an 80s kid, but my mother was hard on me when I was in school. I strived (and excelled) in school to make her proud because she did not just hand out praise. She taught me that I have to work for my own way and that you can’t just give up at the first sign of life’s road blocks.
So, next time, please don’t judge ME based on the year I was born, it’s fucking rude.
L February 7, 2012, 6:49 pm
I am also a “Baby of the ’80’s”. I also thought the comment was kind of rude.
There will be people who feel that sense of “entitlement” in every generation. It’s all how you were brought up. As a teacher I see plenty of kids in middle and high school who think they should just be able to get A’s without even trying. I see 6th graders who have iPhones. Most every high school student has a more expensive phone than I do (not that it would take much) plus an iPod plus who knows what else. There are some kids who take this for granted. There are others who understand that you need to work for what you have. What I see now in the current generation of teenagers is that there is a much bigger gap between those who will put in work in order to get that A and those who just don’t care and expect things to just work out.
When I was a kid if I ever brought home a bad test score or a bad grade, I knew my parents would be disappointed not in the teacher, but in me. I knew that if I didn’t do well it was my own fault, NOT the teacher’s. My parents did get me a cell phone when I was 16, but gave me expectations with the use of that phone and only gave me so much money to put on it per month. Anything over that I paid for myself. I was also very fortunate that my parents helped me with tuition in college and I remain eternally grateful that I had parents who were able to help out.
Keep in mind that as my generation is entering/has entered the “real world”, the economy is considerably different than it was 15 years ago. This past year I applied to 125 jobs, had 12 interviews, but didn’t get any of those jobs. Why? Because I’m competing with people who have 10-15 years experience. For one job in which I got an interview, I heard that there were over 250 applicants. For ONE position. It’s a tough job market and it sure is hard to get ahead financially. I’m not trying to complain here, just pointing out that things are MUCH different now than they were before.
mf February 7, 2012, 7:13 pm
Yikes! You have my condolences on the tough job search. Were you able to get a position?
L February 7, 2012, 11:36 pm
Thanks, mf. Fortunately I do have part time work. It’s not what I wanted for this year, but it’s work and it’s in my field so I really can’t complain. It’ll be job search season for me again in a few weeks, so I’ll be doing the process all over again…hopefully this time it will be fruitful!
painted_lady February 8, 2012, 12:06 am
Good luck, L! For us useless fine arts teachers, if you haven’t heard it already, alway be willing to give examples of how you would present cross-curricular music lessons to your kids. Tie in standardized testing, use of technology, etc, etc. Principals eat that stuff up.
Speaking of entitled students with nicer phones than their teachers, I cracked my iPhone screen at the beginning of the school year, and probably my least favorite student came up to me in November, gave my phone the once over, and asked, “What happened to your phone?” I answered that I dropped it, and she rolled her eyes and asked, “Why didn’t you just get a new one?” When I told her I didn’t have $400 lying around, she sniffed, “That happened to my phone. My mom got me a new one.” To which I replied, “You win.” Snotty little princess.
L February 8, 2012, 12:24 am
Thanks, painted_lady! I’ve learned a lot about interviewing in the past year, and those tips definitely help. 🙂 I was told by about 5 principals when they called me to let me know that I didn’t get the job that I was their second choice…and if I just had more experience I would have gotten the job. Grrrrr. So hopefully, with another year under my belt of subbing I can FINALLY land that coveted first job!
RhyanShae February 7, 2012, 7:05 pm
I was born in the first half of 1980. I’m the baby of my family. And, my parents struggled through the 80s to provide for us. The 90s and the economic boom actually helped my family move into a more comfortable middle class position, and at the age of 16, my family actually took its first and only family vacation.
But, I will say that while I don’t currently have an entitlement complex, I will now admit that during college, and even up until a few years ago, I did. The jealousy from watching what my peers got during childhood caught up. I was thankful for what I had, don’t get me wrong, but when you’re sitting next to someone who has what you wished you had and know your family can’t afford, it’s hard to not be jealous. And, when that jealousy caught up, I made stupid mistakes. I ran up credit, deferred payments on my student loans so I could pay other bills, all on an income a lot less than I dreamed I’d have as a high school senior. Worse: Like the OP, I also kinda thought my parents would see my stressing out and help me without me having to open my mouth.
However, like most people do, I learned my lesson hard when I realized that the “I want” part of me was ruining the rest of my life. I finally asked for my parents help, not in giving me money, but encouraging and supporting me in making the choice to take responsibility for my actions and work on a plan to pay off my debt. Part of that meant turning off the “I want” and turning on the “I need” and allowing the latter to be what decided where my money went.
My book above is why I understand where Wendy’s coming from. It still stings to hear I’m being lumped into that category, and while, not true for everyone, I get why it seems that way. I never stomped my foot or threw a temper tantrum if I didn’t get the latest gadget, but I did spend money and blow off some responsibilities thinking there would be some magic way to fix it or swipe it away. I never considered myself entitled, but I was. Now, though, when I get myself a gadget, a game, an entire series of a show on DVD (ha!), it’s after I’ve worked very hard to save for it, and it means so much more. Even better, the pride on my mother’s face when I am able to do something nice, unexpected, and spur of the moment for her just cause I can, and not her doing it for me because I’d screwed myself that month.
So, while I get where Wendy’s coming from and felt it was maybe a bit harsh, I don’t think she’s wrong. I sat here saying, like others “But I’m not entitled! How rude!” Thinking back, though, even if I wasn’t a selfish brat spouting, “ME ME ME,” I had my moments. Doesn’t mean I am a bad person. Just means I still had a little more growing to do.
jlyfsh February 7, 2012, 7:12 pm
Just a little late to the party. I will say that I think the issues the LW has go a lot deeper than money with her parents. Although once again it’s still not a deserving thing in regards to getting money for Christmas or her Birthday. They got her gifts and not money like Wendy said (I think in the original letter they took her out to dinner for her birthday, which is still a gift in my book). And perhaps her parents were right in telling her that they didn’t feel comfortable paying for her college. If she truly was going down a path that they didn’t feel comfortable with, taking away the support is what they felt they needed to do. We don’t know how the conversation actually went between the two of them regarding her schooling. And while the parents shouldn’t have glaoted (we don’t know that they did), she had absolutely no right to be angry at them. It was her choice to date the person she did in college. And both myself and plenty of my friends worked while attending school. It can be done, it sounds like the not making it was more a function of how she chose to spend her time with her boyfriend. Which I mean if I was a parent and watching my child continue to make bad decisions one after the other, I’m not sure what my reaction would be. I know I’m not perfect and I can imagine in the heat of the moment saying something that I later regretted. Once again though it sounds like bad decisions were made on both parts. I think the part I mentioned above that she included rubbed be the wrong way. Her parents didn’t send her money for Christmas or her Birthday because they chose not to. It doesn’t really matter why and it has nothing to do with thinking she deserves it or not. I guess maybe that has to do with some of the entitlement she’s talking about dealing with. It was definitely an interesting letter and comments to read after talking about data and listening to presentations all day!
Meredith February 7, 2012, 7:56 pm
Ok..84 baby here. Wendy’s statement doesn’t really bother me, I’ve been hearing it from my older coworkers since I entered the workplace. Always lamenting the entitlement of my generation. I always say, “And how do you think we ended up this way? Possibly because our parents gave us everything we ever wanted since we were born, taught us we were never wrong and that our poops smelled like heaven?” I firmly believe that the parents are 50% to blame. Anyway, my parents might have spoiled me growing up, but they also made me go get a job when I was 15 and really stressed the importance of having a strong work ethic. Good news is, I’ve been independent since I graduated college and have been promoted 4 times in 5 years so thanks Mom and Dad 😉
My husband is a dance choreographer and his works takes him all over the US so he gets to work with thousands of kids every year. The stories he comes home with about the 2000 babies generation and the horrible parenting that goes along with them…OMG. You think 80’s babies are bad, you ain’t seen nothin yet!!
katie February 7, 2012, 9:03 pm
i think its HILARIOUS that so many people here are offended by wendy’s statement of the millenium generation….
generalizations exist for a REASON, people, and there are have been tons of studies and commentaries written about how entitled our generation really is! its true! just because you arent one of the bad ones doesnt mean you should be offended- you should be freaking happy about it!!
for the recond, my whole life has been paid for- anything in high school (i was handed a credit card at about 15), my whole college tuition, rent during my externship, my christmas presents for my family, ect.. and i work hard for everything i have now. i havent asked my parents for any help after my college graduation, and i feel damn proud of it! i am PROUD that im not one of these generation millenium idiots who want the world handed to them or else there gonna get mommy to make a call about it (just like in high school).
dont be offended that you dont fix the stereotype- be freaking proud of it!!
mertlej February 7, 2012, 10:12 pm
Gah. I’m 26, have been working my ass off since I was 14, and my fiance and I are very conscientious about our expenses because between the two of us, law and medical school has put us $500K in debt. Neither of us are complaining, we are making good choices and paying it off and don’t have any other debt, and people are still calling us entitled and spoiled (because… we don’t like being in debt and look forward to the day when our loans are paid off?).
And the people I know who ARE spoiled entitled brats? Come from a long line of spoiled entitled brats. That is not generation specific, my friends.
JakDrake February 7, 2012, 11:14 pm
What angle people doesn’t want to discuss, including the LW is: Parents cannot and will not treat every children equally. Why? because they are humans. Maybe the father love his biological children more, because they carried his gene.. and that’s natural. Even you are born from the same parents, they gonna treat you differently with your siblings… there are so many things that influencing their like/dislikes (gender, age, physical likeness, philosophy, characters, etc). All of that make your relation with each parent are unique.
What you can do, is be more mature and try to solve your own problem without your parents help…
Calle February 8, 2012, 12:42 am
LW may be somewhat entitled, but her parents are assholes for telling her she would flunk out of college in her first year.
ahlia February 8, 2012, 1:50 am
Agreed. If I didn’t have the love and support (not just financial!) of my parents all my life then who knows where I’d be. If they constantly expected me to fail instead of succeed that would be a huge blow and would probably contribute to a failure.
bittergaymark February 8, 2012, 2:18 am
Yikes. This update only proves Wendy’s point. It seemed there was once Generation X. Then Generation Y. And now —- meet Generation Why Me? This whole update is really just the LW whining even more…
Meadowphoenix February 8, 2012, 4:40 am
OP, your parents sound like that was a troubling time for your family, and they assumed you’d always be difficult. You’ve been type-casted. If you want to stop feeling like that’s the only way they see you (I imagine that you feel like you can’t ask for their help because that would validate all their expectations of you, even if they are no longer true), you need to talk it out. As calmly as possible. Get your parents at one table, without your brothers, and say “I don’t mean to bring up water under the bridge, but I’ve realized I’ve been carrying some undue resentment from college and I would like to clear it up with you.” Explain that you were depressed, bring info on depression if you think they need it, and tell them that instead of motivating you when you went to college, their expectations of you failing 1) made you feel like they didn’t know or care what was going on with you and 2) made you think that they were never proud of you. Tell them that while they didn’t have to give you money, you would at least like to have known that they were rooting for you. You can also say that you think you’ve accomplished a lot from where you were then, and that you hope they feel the same. Then hear them out. Be prepared for good and bad. Have a discussion. Then you need to figure out how they say I love you, because it’s clearly not with gifts, or you’re not getting the message.
Jess of CityGirlsWorld.com February 8, 2012, 9:31 am
Wow, how can I be this late to the party already??!! (Note: We should start a forum topic on generations)
I was born in the 70s like Wendy but I remember very well when we were being called the “Me Generation” so I get the criticism and I don’t think it has as much to do with the year you were born as the stage of life you are in.
That said, there is FASCINATING literature out there about generational patterns. I will share what is said here about both of these generations.
Gen X: (Born in the 70s). A “reactive and nomadic” generation. Born as the “latch key” kids and somewhat “neglected” by parents (baby boomers) who were consumed in their own personal affairs. Born during a period of very low birth rates –at the time of the highest abortion rate the country as ever seen. “Nomads grow up as under-protected children, come of age as alienated adults, become pragmatic midlife leaders, and age into resilient elders. Such generations tend to be remembered for their adrift, alienated rising-adult years and their midlife years of pragmatic leadership. Their main societal contributions are in the area of liberty, survival and honor. ” Independent, under-engaged, destined to do our own thing, keep to ourselves, and get the job done. The last “nomadic” generation were those who were young adults who lived it up during the Prohibition Era.
Millenials: (Late 80s and 90s). A “civic” generation. Born to over-protective parents (helicopter parents) and raised with the notion that “everyone gets a prize.” “Millenials are born during a time of individual pragmatism, self-reliance, and laissez faire. They grow up as increasingly protected children, come of age as team-oriented young optimists, emerge as energetic, overly-confident midlifers, and age into politically powerful elders. Due to this location in history, such generations tend to be remembered for their collective military triumphs in young adulthood and their political achievements as elders. Their main societal contributions are in the area of community, affluence, and technology.” Millenials are conformists and hyper-engaged (everything from beach bonfires, pep rallies, and Twitter). The last civic generation was the so called “Greatest Generation” who were young adults during WWII.
Jess of CGW February 8, 2012, 9:40 am
By the way, I started a Forum Topic under General Chat on this question about generations and their correlating traits. Join me!
CM214 February 9, 2012, 9:10 am
I haven’t read everything here, but have we not considered this to be a race/class thing more than a generation thing?
KBobK February 9, 2012, 4:52 pm
I also haven’t read very many of the 280 comments, but I will say I’m pretty appalled by this generalization. I feel like a lot of problems get dumped on my generation and frankly I’m really sick of it. Maybe the issue should be taken with the people that raised the 80s generation because we had to learn it from somewhere. Why is it the ALL the older generations seem to have a superiority complex? (Brash generalization intended.)