Boomers gonna boom.
That’s what I have found after seeing the “OK Boomer” discussion, in which a subsection of baby boomers, the generation born between 1946 and 1964, have been angered by younger generations using the phrase to mock them.
“OK Boomer” is a shining example of a cultural irony, showing how boomers villainize younger generations. Being in my 20s, I’ve seen plenty of times where the mainstream discussion consists of personal attacks towards me and fellow young adults, referring to us as “snowflakes” and saying that we “have it easy.”
The fact of the matter is, we do not have it easy. Younger people have seen older generations thrive and boast about their accomplishments while people like me need to deal with the decades-old consequences of poor domestic policy.
Boomer memes aside, one of the largest things plaguing younger generations is underemployment. Students are taking jobs they are overqualified for but need in order to make ends meet.
A recent report showed that 41.3% of people ages 22 to 27 are dealing with their degrees not leading to opportunities in their fields. They are forced to instead, substitute it with a job that they are overqualified for to offer some level of steady income.
This same age range so happens to also be the most populated.
As of now, the younger generations are stuck in a congested, shrinking job market that covets high levels of experience. This creates a vicious cycle where people can’t get a job in their field, resulting in them not getting the proper experience that is needed to compete in this economy.
Gen Z and Millennials are trapped in entry-level jobs, making it more difficult to make ends meet with the value of minimum wage decreasing over the course of decades.
A Pew Research study shows that dollars and its purchasing power have not had a significant upward trajectory since 1964. The Center for Economic and Policy Research has also found minimum wage and worker productivity have suffered from the same stagnation.
As it stands, if the value of the minimum wage kept the same upward trajectory as productivity then entry-level jobs would be paying nearly $22 accounting for inflation. With no state minimum wage even being close to this, it is clear that purchasing power for everyone is not where it should be.
This, in turn, affects younger generations more because they’re people just entering the job market and in the early stages of gaining experience. A lack of funds and the shrinking job market have put these people at a clear disadvantage.
With baby boomers having been pushed into a more fruitful economy where the minimum wage was able to support a family I hope that they could be more empathetic of younger generations’ struggles.
Younger generations have a lot going against them, an issue that has yet to be rectified by government officials.
So until there is significant change that allows Millennials and Gen Z to prosper the same way baby boomers did, I suggest that older folks stop the “get off my lawn” language.
That same language that condescends people and makes it increasingly easier to reply back with an “OK BOOMER.”