After the Treasury Department stated that Alexander Hamilton was safe on the $10, we fans of the musical were breathing a sigh of relief. What we didn’t know was that we were in for another treat.
Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew hurtled American currency into the 21st by announcing Harriet Tubman would be featured on a redesign of the $20 bill.
Finally, a female face will grace our money! What’s more, Tubman is one of the most impressive women Sec. Jacob J. Lew and his team could have chosen.
After escaping a life of slavery at the age of 29, Tubman kicked off a long career of badassery. In addition to freeing hundreds of slaves via the Underground Railroad, Tubman was a spy for the Union army during the Civil War. Keep in mind that she was doing this decades before women even had the right to vote. Seriously, how much more impressive can a person get?
I mean, just look at her expression. It seems to shout through the centuries, “Don’t test me, for I am woman.”
As if this historic update to our currency wasn’t special enough, it seems that it was inspired by a future female leader. An 11-year-old Cambridge, Massachusetts native named Sophia wrote a letter to President Obama two years ago with one simple birthday wish. She wanted a woman represented on the USD. Rejoice, Sophia! We’ve gotten our wish.
It begs the question: What will women do next?
This past weekend I found myself engaged in a conversation with one of my former co-workers-turned-friends. She was expressing to me how thankful she was for Netflix and Desperate Housewives while I was supplying her with a running commentary on my ceaseless job search. I told her that I had just come across a position for a “Meme Creator” and didn’t know whether to be disappointed in the direction my field was taking or to embrace the humor of it all. I added that while I generally enjoyed the idea that somebody got paid to put clever words on a strategically comedic picture, perhaps humanity’s money was better spent curing cancer or researching a way to end world hunger.
Her reply was, “No, we got bored with that a while ago. Now we make people laugh.”
To which I riposted, “Ah, yes. Panem et circenses.”
After several minutes of digital silence, I received her confused “What??” in response.
I tried to explain the Roman concept to the friend in question, but the conversation soon faded as did some of my pride in my generation. Upon further reflection of this hollowing feeling, I found myself increasingly disappointed in the people I called peers. How is one supposed to carry on relatively stimulating conversation with a group of individuals who have formed the habit of expressing emotion and reaction with the use of gifs and emojis? How can we form basic human connections if we refuse to look away from our various screens for even the length of a meal?
In the past, I have Christened myself a “Defender of the Millennials” but not today. Today, the only word of which I can think to describe the majority of my generation is puerile, and I would wager that the same majority could not even define the word. Do not misunderstand me. In the ever-optimistic fashion of the Millennial, I have not lost complete faith in my generation. Yet for now I welcome the criticism from previous generations in hopes that some of my compeers will acknowledge our social responsibility to contribute more to humanity than text lingo and Grumpy Cat.
Recently, I came across this article in Business Insider:
Essentially, it is a 500 (give or take) word insult to the Millennial generation. Having been born a Millennial myself, I am no stranger to the author’s point of view. Older generations love to hate my generation, but I do not pretend this is anything unique. Previous generations are always convinced that theirs is the hardest working, most morally upstanding, and respect deserving, and I have no doubt that the Millennial generation will one day catch ourselves saying the same things.
My family often chastises, “You and your brother have no idea what hard work is. All you care about are your phones and Twitter.” These little speeches offend me, but not to any great extent. The above article offended me on a supremely different level. It is hard enough for Millennials to start our careers without articles like this one quoting a stratified sampling and creating a misrepresentation of our generation as a whole.
I cannot speak for the rest of the Millennials, and I do not pretend that I am in any way special. However, I worked two jobs through high school. When it came time for college, I read industry blogs and studied employment patterns. I equipped myself with the knowledge that I would need at least 3-5 years of intern experience before I could “hang with the big kids.” I put in the time. I held an internship and a part-time job all four years of my college career. After college, I spent a year as a highly overqualified department manager at a local WalMart because I was to enter Peace Corps service the following year. I left my family and the comfort of America to help promote our nation’s image and build a nation in need until we were removed due to the Ebola outbreak. I am not afraid of hard work, and I understand that what you get in life must be earned. I am not the only Millennial to recognize this either.
So, forgive me if I have stepped onto a soapbox. It irks me when my generation is lumped into one lazy, entitled, empathetic ball of misrepresentation. Perhaps the next time you go to insult us, you should stop to think who it is that raised us. Better yet, help put a stop to this ageism by observing that while some Millennials fit the persona presented in the above article, most of us are not that way. We should all take value from each other and realize that contributions from every generation are what move industry forward.