Rainesford Stuaffuer’s article published in The New York Times, “The Sterile, Efficient Life of a Millennial”, offers an alternative perspective to the popular belief that millennials are not interested in anything of substance; rather, they are simply trying to find the easiest ways to get things done. This article offers an alternative view of millennialism through an example of a woman sitting on a train. During this train ride the woman realizes that everything in her life goes by so quickly she barely has enough time to enjoy it. This article emphasizes the fact that older generations have a misconception about millennials. They have the false notion that millennials value quantity over quality. For example, the author speaks about how Amtrak is switching their dining cart to a cafe cart with different options for people on the go. Stuaffuer highlights the fact that the company actually did this because it would be financially cheaper for the company, rather than having their customers desires in mind. The company claimed this was to provide for millennials ‘on-the-go’ lifestyle. The older generations are trying to sell a cheaper product by claiming that they are appealing to millennials.
A lot of companies create products for millennials solely based on the idea that ‘we’ need to maximize every second of our lives. However, I agree with the writer that millennials actually want everything to slow down, so much so that we are nostalgic over the past. Millennials have brought back vinyl, nineties trends and older music. This should be an indication that millennials want to slow life down and go back to a time when life was much simpler and technology was not constantly being thrown at us. In fact, our generation has brought back some iconic pieces from the past in an attempt to maintain nostalgia, like the re-emergence of photography. If this tells the older generations anything, it is not that we are ‘self involved’ or ‘obsessed,’ it is that our generation wants to create things that will last.
Furthermore, I agree with the author that people have a false sense of what being a millennial really is. No other generation has had to deal with the struggles that the millennial generation has. Millennials have been accused of not working hard enough. The older generations believe that millennials want to receive large paychecks without putting in the work. I disagree with this, and I believe that millennials would put in the work if they were compensated fairly. There are currently workers with college degrees who are working for minimum wage, solely because there is a shortage of jobs. As referenced in the article, there are millennials who cannot afford to buy furniture so they are forced to rent it instead. This is representative of the fact that there is a problem with our economy and it is selfish to put the blame on the millennials.
Millennials came into a broken system and are doing the best with what they have been given. The social and economic conditions are not the same as they were fifty years ago, thus the older generations cannot compare their lifestyle to the millennials’. This generation has had different struggles and opportunities than any other generation due to the emergence of the internet and new technology, so they are still trying to figure out the best way to approach life and the job market.