After World War I, an entire generation felt abandoned and devoid of faith and hope. Their government had sent them to fight in one of the most horrific and bloody wars in human history. They felt that their God had abandoned them and allowed this brutal war to happen. This generation of directionless and wandering survivors became known as the Lost Generation.
The Lost Generation was defined by their lack of faith in government and religion. They were highly mistrustful of the powers that sent them to die in the war. They were wanderers and thinkers who questioned their place in the world.
Reading about these men and women, I am struck by how similar they are to my generation, the Millennials.
A majority of Millennials view our government as wasteful and inefficient. A recent Reason Foundation poll showed that 66 percent of Millennials agree that the government is inefficient and wasteful. Millennials are one of the first generations to have almost no interest in joining government. Millennials are a generation of do-it-yourself-ers, preferring to solve problems locally through volunteerism and innovation.
Millennials are also a generation of nonbelievers. According to a Pew Research study, one in four Millennials are unaffiliated with any particular faith, defining themselves as atheist or agnostic. This is more than any other generation previous. One in five adults under thirty said that they were raised with a certain religion but have since abandoned it.
Like the Lost Generation, Millennials face an incredibly uncertain future. While Millennials are on track to be the most educated generation in history, according to a survey by PNC Financial Services the average Millennial holds $45,000 in debt, most of which is student loan debt. This debt amounts to nearly $1 trillion in total according to a Bloomberg report. Also a report from Harvard University’s Institute of Politics found that while six out of ten Millennials held jobs, nearly half to them were part-time. 48% of recent college graduates are working in jobs that do not require a degree according to a survey conducted by the McKinsey consulting firm and textbook rental website Chegg.
According to a White House report, Millennials are less likely to own a home during their 20s. Millennials are a generation of renters and leasers. Millennials are also rebuking traditional ideas about careers and company loyalty. According to a study by PayScale and Millennial Branding, the average tenure for a Millennial is only about two years compared to five years for Gen Xers and seven years for Baby Boomers.
Millennials are more likely to be entrepreneurial and work for themselves as a result to the lack of good job opportunities available to them. 54 percent either want to start their own business or have started their own business according to a survey by the Kauffman Foundation. 27% are already self-employed according to a report from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. In addition, 35 percent of Millennials have started their own business on the side in order to supplement their normal incomes.
All of this shows that Millennials have had to make their own way in the world, moving from job to job and creating their own opportunities. Tired of the government’s inefficiency for solving problems, Millennials have been forced to take things into their own hands, improving their lives and their communities themselves. Millennials are the first generation who is entirely unable to settle down due in large part to the lack of quality jobs for them, and the increasing pressures of student loan debt which society forces Millennials to take on.
Millennials truly are the new Lost Generation.