My View: Where’s the Confidence?

Last week I think I read my ten millionth article about how my generation is overly confident, arrogant, and we don’t believe we need to work hard to get ahead. Okay, so maybe it wasn’t my ten millionth but that’s sure what it feels like. I’m getting more and more frustrated to read how us “kids” are obsessed with technology and getting things right now, unlike our parents who know the value of a hard day’s work.

Sure, I know a lot of people in my generation who aren’t willing to compromise and work their way up the ladder. There are those in every generation who feel entitled to being the manager before they’ve even begun. But those aren’t the ones I know well. I know the people who are working their butts off in a minimum wage job after graduating from a good college. I know people who are slaving away in a mid-level position even though they are more qualified just because the company only has to say “bad economy” and feel justified in underpaying their employees. I know myself, a girl who has always been confident in everything she does, doubting every application she submits and feeling like falling to pieces over a simple interview.

Where did my confidence go? When the economy took a big hit so did I. I had been used to working hard to do well and believed that hard work transformed into big things. Suddenly it felt like no matter how hard I worked, it didn’t make a difference. All that work means nothing when you’re battling against others who have been working just a year or two more than you. Every job posting receives tons of applications so why would they ever look at you? I finished a graduate program and during the final brunch celebration, we were told to expect that not everyone was going to get hired. How depressing. And this isn’t the first time I’m going out into the job pool; I did it after my undergraduate program and encountered the same problems and attitudes. With every application that disappears into that black online hole and every e-mail saying thanks but no thanks, my confidence in my ability to be a contributing member of society takes another hit.

These articles are wrong. Not everyone in this generation of 20-somethings feels entitled or confident. How can we feel confident when everyone tells us we don’t have enough experience but there isn’t anywhere to get it? The economy didn’t just hurt the working moms and dads and thirty year olds with 401k plans invested in plummeting stocks. It hurts us, the generation who started their adult lives at the worst possible time.

I hate writing a post that sounds so depressing but I want to let other people who are in this “arrogant” and “overly confident” and “entitled” generation know that it’s okay to feel like this. I’m working every day to tell myself that I am worth it, that I have worked hard enough to deserve that job. I am trying to reassure myself, however I can, that I am worth every job I apply for. If you feel the same way, just know that you’re not alone. You are amazing and things will be okay eventually. Don’t let them take your confidence away from you because that may be all we have right now.

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