Earlier this week we launched Asking Y, our series looking at Canada's Millennial Generation.
In our kick-off piece we brought you the stories of a generation raised to believe that they could do anything they wanted and dream big. What happens when these children, now entering adulthood and the workforce, run right into one of the worst economic downturns in recent memory?
The piece was shared on Twitter and Facebook over a thousand times and many conversations were sparked in the comment threads.
HuffPost user sgillhoolley points to a sense of diminishing returns as government and big business claw back benefits and wages from workers:
Wages have stagnated, and few of their generation have much opportunity for a job. My grandfather raised five children and owned his own home, all on a grade 6 eduction and training as an airplane mechanic for Air Canada. His wife was able to stay home to raise the children. Both of my parents had to work full time jobs, and we rented for a long time before being able to buy a house. Neither had more than a high school education. My wife and I still rent, and will for some time, and we both work. We both had university educations, she an undergrad from an Ivy League school, and I have my Masters in Education. We continue to struggle. The next generation, the millenials, are in for a rough life I think...at least as long as we continue to accept this lot that has been shoved down our throats.
See some of the best comments from our Asking Y Series. Story continues below slideshow:
A number of other readers echoed these sentiments, saying that times have actually gotten harder for Generation Y.
From user Peter Burgess 1: "In the 50's one wage-earner with a mere highschool degree could get a good job, afford a house and basically provide for a family and raise 2 or more children - they might not have been rich but they could do it.
In the 80's my parents were both school teachers, earned a combined income of $130K and were able to buy a nice bungalo for a mere $90K - not even one years income for them.
Today the same house is selling for $420K and I don't know too many couples earning $210K/year. "
From user Legaleagle88: We aren't afraid of hard work but the expectations of us given the economic circumstances are vastly different than they were for previous generations- the opportunities simply don't exist. Affording a house, paying tuition, volunteer and extracurricular expectations- these are all exponentially greater challenges than they ever have been
Nonetheless, many of our readers still see millennials as a coddled bunch.
From cdncommentator:Over-indulged, privileged, self-obsessed children, raised to be reliant and not independent meets changing economic structure where we simply don't produce much and don't have full time employment for all our citizens. That's the problem.
The trouble is that we are now raising a fresh generation of kids who don't know what failure is, or hard work, or the fact that sometimes, you can't do whatever you dream of.
From Oxjr: In my experience "Y"s come into a job, text all day and roll their eyes when asked to do the bare minimum of their job, and yet when they get fired or quit, they get hired again. So the company gets an entire generation of 'entry level' workers who may be unprofessional but adapt quickly to changes in technology.
From user Pondweevil: If only Generation Y would look back 100 years or more, they would see how tough it was for their ancestors.
Instead, they seem to refer back only as far as that freak blip that was the Boomer Generation. Teenage movie-star millionaires and dot-com billionaires are their role models. "Why not me?", is the mantra of a generation.
They have more opportunity than any generation in the history of civilization. They have more access to education, travel, choice of jobs, justice, equality, information, services, entertainment, safety nets - than anyone in the history of time.
And yet they complain.
The baby boomers have done a good job raising generally happy, well balanced and confident kids, but failed to imbue them with the deeper, harder spiritual and practical lessons of life.
We followed up our opening pieces with a look on why home ownership is a tough proposition for many young Canadians.
Reader Cameron D argues that young Canadians shouldn't be in such a rush to own their homes
The way I see it is this, houses in my neighbourhood (Roncesvalles/High Park, Toronto) routinely sell for $700,000 to $1,000,000. I can't afford that. I'll never afford that. Now I could conceivably purchase a home in another area of the city for less money - but I don't want to live there.
But renting in this very beautiful neighbourhood that has all of the amenities I could ever hope for, including 24hr transit, is incredibly reasonable.
Fellow user Warren Yuill is even more succinct:
Relax and enjoy your youth and carefree days. Cause when you get married and buy a house and start a family... That s**t is over.
Buying a home is really settling down somewhere. You're suddenly stuck with a 20-25-year contract on a home that you will have to pay for. That's an amazing engagement, considering the "flexibility" (aka precariousness) of the job market. That's fine if you get yourself a good safe job that you expect to keep for decades, but for everyone else?
— Abacus Data has focused research on the Canadian Millennial. Read more here.
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Earlier on HuffPost: