Can’t Even: How Millennials Became the Burnout Generation Book Review

Every generation has it’s myths. The myth of the millennial generation (born between 1981 and 1996) is one or more of the following: we are lazy, we are too into technology, we are stuck in perpetual adolescence, etc.

The truth is as far from the stories as one can get.

Can’t Even: How Millennials Became the Burnout Generation, by Buzzfeed writer Anne Helen Petersen, was published last fall.

According to the author, the millennial generation (of which I am a part of) is defined by one word: burn out. Between the pressures to succeed in the workplace, create a perfect image online, and keep busy, it is no wonder we are exhausted. Her thesis is that this generation was trained early on by parents and teachers that we are judged solely by our achievements. That pressure was compounded by the Great Recession of 2008. Through no fault of our own, the opportunities for professional and income growth will forever be limited. The job security that previous generations were used to no longer exists.

She further explores the growing mental health crisis, the expectations from social media, and that in spite of how far we have come, women are still doing much of the housework and childcare.

I loved this book. It once and for all puts to bed the ideas of this generation and reveals the facts. We don’t want a handout, we are not glued to our phones, and we are far from lazy. We just want the same chances as our parents and grandparents. The problem is that those chances do not exist in the same way as they did in the past.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

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Filed under Book Review, Books, Feminism, History, Mental Health

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