Gen Y meets unentitled reality

Happiness is the most sought-after emotion, but it’s also the most elusive. However, there’s actually a simple formula for the pursuit of happiness. It equals reality minus expectations, according to the blog “Wait But Why.”

This logic is presented in the article “Why Generation Y Yuppies are Unhappy,” which went viral after being shared on Huffington Post last week. If our reality exceeds our expectations, we are set for life. But this has not been the case for members of Generation Y, who think they are special and thus set their expectations too high.

The notion makes sense on the surface, but the author’s overgeneralizations and pervasive cynicism must be discounted. In any generation, there will be certain people with a sense of entitlement and others without.

It’s true that students who haven’t pursued internships and research opportunities in college, or made any other efforts to prepare for a career, will be in for a rude awakening. Given the current state of the economy, even the best-trained graduates will have to work hard to reach their goals.

Ask a handful of Gen Y-ers about the first job they expect to hold out of college (we did), and you’ll hear the same response: “Do you mean the job I hope to have, or my realistic answer?”

We are well aware of the fact that we need to have a pragmatic outlook when we enter the job market. This is not based purely on logical reasons – everyone has always had to work their way up to the top – but also for circumstantial ones.

Generation Y’s reality is a difficult one to grapple with. It consists of college loan debt, unpaid internships and worrisome unemployment rates. Does that mean we should lower our expectations below this discouraging line of reality, in order to find happiness?

People don’t achieve greatness by telling themselves that their fate is mediocrity. Part of the American Dream is being better off than our parents were before us. We have to set our expectations high to be the world’s next wave-makers and game-changers.

As long as Gen Y realizes that there’s a learning curve in the workforce as well, we expect our reality to be OK.


Editorials represent the majority view of The Miami Hurricane editorial board.