Is the Millennial Generation Really Lazy, Entitled, and Selfish? A CNN Comic Strip by Matt Bors

Is the Millennial Generation Really Lazy, Entitled, and Selfish? A CNN Comic Strip by Matt Bors
CNN recently featured a comic strip from cartoonist Matt Bors on the endless bashing of the Millennial generation in the media. What are your thoughts? Agree? Disagree? Give it a read and let's chat in the comments!

CNN recently featured a comic strip from cartoonist Matt Bors on the endless bashing of the Millennial generation in the media. What are your thoughts? Agree? Disagree? Let's chat in the comments!

So what do you think? Is this just a case of older generations bashing the younger, or are we self-indulgent without the work ethic to keep up? Are we right in being upset about decisions made by prior generations that landed us in the spot we're in today, or are we bitter that the economy and job market are worse than they were when older folks were our age and are unwilling to work harder? Has the social contract been broken regarding jobs and retirement, or have we taken those as a no-matter-what promise that isn't fulfillable in the real world?

Andrew is the founder and editor of Primer. He's a graduate of American University and currently lives in Los Angeles. Read more about Primer on our About page. On Instagram: @andrewsnavely and @primermagazine.


  • Reply July 15, 2013


    LOL The “Infographic” says it all. “Excuses, It’s not our fault, we Deserve”……lol!

    • Reply July 15, 2013


      Exactly, Mike. People who embrace this mindset are doomed regardless of their generation.

  • Reply July 15, 2013


    I’m in my late 20’s with a degree, a wife, a house, a kid, and over 50k in student loan debt. The thing is, I have a great job and my wife has a great job, but it was difficult for us when we were starting our careers. I started my career literally cleaning hotel rooms… with a bachelors degree. That’s the thing; I think most millennial’s with an college degree refuse to take those kinds of jobs. I know several people that have had job offers and flat out refused them because “they have a degree and shouldn’t be doing grunt work”.

    Yes, the older generations left the economy in the proverbial toilet, yes we probably won’t get SS benefits, yes there are fewer and fewer jobs to be had, but there ARE jobs. It’s just that a lot of millennial’s refuse to do work that’s beneath them because we ARE an entitled generation. An entitled generation with poor work ethic. (I’m generalizing here of course)

    The argument can be made from both sides of the fence. The economy is awful and unemployment is sky high, but I feel like many millennial’s don’t want to work for $10/hr and work their way up in a company. They want to be CEO from day one because they’re have an education and because they paid through the nose to get one.

    • Reply July 15, 2013


      The thing is with student debt it is hard to take those jobs and still be able to live outside your parent’s place. That is what I have to do. I started off on a $9/hr job and have worked up a little but not nearly enough with the student debt I’ve got. Trying to find something that pays fairly for the work you do is a different story than not underselling yourself for pennies.

    • Reply July 15, 2013

      Andrew Chance

      I just want to say that I agree.

    • Reply July 16, 2013


      I don’t know anybody who came out of college and expected to be CEO. I do know several people who came out of college (and did very well in fact) and expected a paid internship or analyst level position somewhere. Why do they expect that? Because they were raised with the promise that if they went to college (and took on student loans) they’d be rewarded with the start of a promising career. Your generalization that every millennial expects to be CEO is exactly what this comic is about.

      • Reply July 16, 2013


        You missed my point. You’re right, I was generalizing, but it was also an exaggeration. The point is, that people EXPECT things, even a paid internship or analyst level position like you said.

        I was raised on the same assumption and was shocked when I had to work basically scrubbing toilets with a college degree. That’s all that was out there when I graduated. But, I knew that regardless of the pay, that it was better than nothing. I had to defer my loans and go into forbearance for a year or so, but I worked my way up without expecting anything and eventually made a career for myself.

        • Reply July 17, 2013


          First, I say I agree with you anonimo. I am a 23 year old straight out of college and was fortunate enough to land a nice starting job using my degree. I think the problem with my generation is we were told from elementary school that you had to go to college. The fact is, not everyone should go to college unless the benefits will outweigh the costs. Spending 30k a year on a bachelors in psychology is not the best choice in most cases. I truly wish everyone could go to college, but with the price of tuition it’s not practical in a lot of situations.

          As far as people not wanting to work those $10/hr jobs, it is unfortunate. While I was in college I worked at 3 different lower paying jobs. It was hard labor, but it motivated me to stay with my degree and find a better occupation. I agree my generation feels entitled to those higher positions and it’s sad. Start from the bottom like anonimo and work on up.

  • Reply July 15, 2013


    Andrew, your productive entrepreneurism here at Primer flies in the face of the laziness claim. What about the millennials’ preference for curated content, which you are filling well?

    There certainly are layabout, delayed-launch twenty-something college dropouts or humanities majors who haven’t applied themselves, but is wrong paint the generation with such a broad brush. Or perhaps it is right, just making it easier for those of us who go out there and apply ourselves.

    A good view on generational change can be found in the Strauss-Howe generational theory, and in their book “The Fourth Turning.”

  • Reply July 15, 2013

    Andrew Chance

    Did anyone ever think, “Hey, maybe I shouldn’t go into so much debt to get a college education. Maybe college is overpriced, and I should get a $10/hour job until I can work my way up. Maybe I’m not meant to go to college, or I would have received a scholarship”?

    • Reply July 15, 2013


      Or they can go to community colleges or vocational schools. A troublemaker kid I knew from high school who had awful grades and seemed to have a foot in the door of the county jail became a diesel mechanic and is doing very well for himself. Total success story.

    • Reply July 15, 2013

      John Markle

      Amen! Higher education is not a right, it is a privilege. My father is a high school drop out and I am forever grateful for his sacrifice of saving enough money to allow me the gift of a college degree.

      We must take responsibility for our actions and just because someone is young is no excuse not to know how much responsibility taking out a loan is.

    • Reply July 16, 2013


      I don’t know how things went elsewhere, but, here in the UK, few school leavers were thinking along those lines in the years leading up the recession. The reason being that, around the time we were turning 18, it was repeatedly emphasised to us that we should got to university, that it was the natural and desirable progression from school, that it would improve our career prospects and progression. The government of the time tried to cram as many young people into higher education as it could; hence the current surfeit of degrees, debt and disillusion.

    • Reply July 16, 2013


      Well any nicely paying job has degree requirements where you won’t get an interview without some sort of degree. I’m a developer and that is one of the few areas where you can break in without a degree even if they want one because you put in enough time on open sourced projects to prove you know something and even then that is really hard.

    • Reply July 21, 2013


      Honestly, when I talk to graduating seniors and future college freshman, I tell them (being an incoming college senior) that if I could do it over again, I would definitely taken at least a year off between high school and college. I would have gotten a job, maybe joined the reserves, and gone to a local community college to get the gen eds out of the way, and then transfer to a four year school. By taking that year off, I would have probably gotten a better chance to figure out exactly what I wanted to do, and not change my major three years in (as I actually did). But, hey, you live and you learn, and that’s what it’s all about for me.

      I think what was said up above about kids expecting awesome jobs straight out of college is true as well. You need to understand that even though it might be a great paying job, you’re still gonna be on the bottom of the totem pole when you get out. It’s honestly not a bad thing to even say forget college, get a job, and work your ass off so you can gain a little bit of “common man” experience. (I don’t mean to offend anyone by saying that, but again, if I could do it over again, I would have chosen a blue collar job before college so I could know what the laborers and other types of workers expect in a boss. It’s definitely important. The last thing this country, or this world for that matter, needs is too many Chiefs and not enough Indians.) Furthermore, you need to learn a thing called, ahem, working your ass off in college. You’re going to need to put in the extra hours, do the unpaid internships, and do extracurricular things related to your major to get that experience. Just because you have a major in Business from State, but you didn’t go out and do anything while you were there, and partied hard instead, does NOT mean you’re entitled to anything.

      Lastly, (and then I will finish this rant), do some kids think about the majors they are choosing? Have you done some research on your choice of “Puppetry” as a major to see what the prospects of you getting a job are? Yeah, you might want to do that before you drop $40K down the drain. Just a thought.

      I don’t think that our generation is completely hopeless, I just think that we need to take a wholistic view at more things.

    • Reply January 15, 2014

      Chris King

      This logic is great…except that job security no longer exists without a college degree (it’s almost mythical even with a degree). Without a degree, in a multinational marketplace, your labor with your inflated American cost of living is in competition with entry level workers in other countries who can afford to sell their labor much cheaper. The only jobs that are left are localized service jobs; jobs that require minimal training and ultimately leave you with few advancement opportunities. Without a degree, you’re replaceable and expendable, with few exceptions.

    • Reply May 10, 2014


      Yeah, I thought exactly those things. And then my parents told me to go to college. And I asked around and everyone said, “It’s impossible to work your way up to a place where you can support yourself and your family without a degree.”

      I’m glad that it seems so simple to you, but the truth of the matter is that it just isn’t that simple.

  • Reply July 15, 2013

    Ken Burke

    I’m a boomer and I think the millenials are getting a bad rap. The media has a tendency to create a stereotype and then charecterize it as symptoms of moral failure. They did that with my crowd and the Gen X’rs. Lazy journalism is timeless.

  • Reply July 15, 2013


    I’m sorry but the cost of a college education has increased EXPONENTIALLY over the past 30 years. When my grandparents were in college, it was not uncommon to pay tuition from the proceeds that came from a SUMMER JOB. Today, haha, ya right….that is impossible. You call us lazy and want us to work to support your Medicare and Social Security payments – you want to see the lazy generation? Look in the mirror.

  • Reply July 15, 2013

    Adam Brewton

    There are some great comments here! I think what we’re ultimately dealing with here is a maturity thing, not a generational thing. I just turned 30, have been married for almost 6 years, have no kids but plan to start this year, and our combined family income is around $65k. My wife and I bought our house 5 years ago with no money down, we both drive nice vehicles(which we bought used), and we both have great credit scores because are smart about establishing credit without getting stupid debt. My wife has her AA in Journalism, and is working on her BS in Human Resources. I’m wrapping up the AA I started when I was 16 and will be moving in to my Bachelors soon. We both have careers (not just jobs) with great companies.

    We’re in a lot better (more secure) place than my parents were at this point in their lives. But you know what? They were happy with what they had and they are happy with the same thing now.

    Mature people realize what’s truly important and do whatever it takes to get it and keep it. Immature people see what others have, think they need it, and feel they are owed it, even if they are completely unqualified. Immature people come in all ages, of that I am 100% sure.

    • Reply November 10, 2014


      Let’s not forget there’s a generation of millenials who fought two wars for over a decade and are now lumped into this category. Just pointing that out. It’s maddening.

      • Reply November 10, 2014


        Sorry that was for everyone. Not just you, Adam.

  • Reply July 15, 2013


    Despite being 21 and starting out as the American millenials are I’m a little removed from this type of situation.

    I live in Australia – quite seriously the lucky country. For whatever reason (some say our mining industry) we rode out the GFC pretty happily. Sure, we copped a bit of belt tightening, and we could probably have handled it, but our economy hasn’t contracted to any enormous degree.

    Put it this way – I was offered a professional graduate job before I even applied for one.

    Through that lense I still agree that millenials are being unfairly targeted. I think it does vary in each country and culture, but our newsmedia is often colouring their articles and columns in an anti-youth way. The converse attitude being seen more and more by the boomer generation is to ‘help’ millenials by pumping us with cash and free stuff, but I think that’s potentially more damaging.

    As Matt Bors suggests, it’s about time that the crosshairs were lifted and the micromanaging of the older generations ceased. Millenials, like our forebears will find our own way in the new world.

    Like with the advent of argriculture and the printing press, we now find ourselves in a ‘brave new world’ where we get to shape the game.

    When we are the digital natives in this increasingly digital world, what’s convinced the analogue elders that they know better?

  • Reply July 16, 2013


    I’m a millennial. I have a full time job, a car that’s paid off, and a mortgage. I work from 7:30 to 6:30 while I watch people 40+ stroll in at 9:30 and leave at 4:00. Yes, I have friends who are unemployed, but throw them a bone. They came of age at the WORST time to find a job.

    And how about we talk about the generations that have decided to take on unsustainable debts for their own benefit?

    • Reply January 27, 2014

      Miguel de la Rocha

      indeed. like mine.

  • Reply July 20, 2013


    This article reminds me of two news updates I got on my phone recently. On the same day, within hours of each other, I was told: 1)The food stamp extension was removed from the Farm Bill, and 2)S&P closes at record highs after reassurances regarding Fed stimulus. Even though it’s only indirectly related to the conversation still some good food for thought.

  • Reply July 22, 2013

    Katelyn Quiroz

    Even though college is expensive and its very difficult to find a higher paying job right away with a degree that doesn’t have a specific job output( ie engineering, nursing, HR, etc.) the experience of going through 4+ years at a university is invaluable for shaping people with: strong communicating skills, understanding what it takes to meet deadlines, respecting the authority heirarchy, navigating through beauracies with financial aid, transcript requests, registration, and so forth. College students are challenged in so many different ways- emotionally, intellectually, spiritually, and even physically.
    I also think starting out on the bottom like so may others have discussed “scrubbing toilets” teaches people to be on time and value their positions no matter what the pay is because $1 is always greater than $0 and we all have to do what it takes to survive. The only ones who enable the millennials to be lazy and entitled are those “kids'” families because no one else is going to support them.
    I’m one of those millennials who is getting social science degrees and I have close to zero interest in pursuing a masters in either of the fields, which means my future looks like it will continue to be an uphill climb through fog. But that doesn’t get me down because I know I am a great person who has a lot of assets to make my way through life- and this has been tested specifically through college. The only reason I continued onward with my degrees (Anthropology and Psychology) is because I have a profround curiosity about humanity and I wanted to become more knowledgeable about people to firm up my own beliefs and how I want to be in life. This may seem like a luxury but I see it as necessary- especially since many jobs just want to see that you went through the experince of higher education, the type of degree doesn’t really matter.

  • Reply August 7, 2013


    Well all right, if we’re playing the blame game then:
    Who do you think gave us all those trophies? It wasn’t us, it was our parents. They bought us all those cell phones and devices that we are so obsessed with. Baby boomers marketed them to us.
    They told us we could be anything we wanted and encouraged us to get a 4 year liberal arts degree. I bet some of those boomers who who were hippies back in the 60’s would have loved that their kid got a degree in anthropology or music. Since I was a very small child, I was told, “go to college, get a degree”. We were pushed into this whether we wanted it or not. We can’t expect to go to work for a company for 40 years and retire with a gold watch (who would want to anyway, I don’t want to settle down in the same boring suburban town for the rest of my life, can’t do it). We have come of age in one of the worst economic times in history. I think the article gets it right about “thanks for leaving it in tip-top shape”.

  • Reply January 3, 2014


    All I hear are excuses, if you want to have a better life you have to work for it and not give up on your goals. Nobody owes you a thing. So what, it might take longer than expected, but to blame others for your adversity only holds you back.

  • Reply August 13, 2014


    I am part of the millennial group, and I agree that many of my fellow millennials are lazy and feel entitled to things. Many expect to get the highest paying jobs and best of everything right away [I don’t think they’ve heard of delayed gratification]. My friends and I are hardworking and have been very successful. However, we are a small group. When I graduated with my first degree, I had girl tell me that she wished she had my degree. When I told her all the work I had to do to get it, she replied: “that’s a lot of work, I’d never do that” [my point exactly!].

  • Reply March 20, 2015

    Jeremy Flannery

    The financial services industry has been the ruin of the U.S. economy, especially after Pres. Richard Nixon removed the “gold standard” and allowed the Federal Reserve Bank to print money at will. Just like Satan (if he exists) wants humanity to judge and destroy itself, the financial profiteers want us to quarrel – divide and conquer. Blaming younger generations for their problems is a an age-old, monotonous notion that is dismissive and petty at best. Let us focus upon the details and facts – that’s where we will see the real problems and then be capable of solving them.

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