Yesterday, I overheard some twentysomethings complaining about how much they hated their jobs. After a few minutes, it became clear that none of them took high school seriously, and at least a couple of them had dropped out of community college because it was, in their words, "too hard."
I Twittered: If high school was "boring" and college was "too hard", don't complain about your "dead end minimum wage" job, twentysomething.
I got a lot of angry replies from people who thought I was being a dick about people working minimum wage jobs, like I thought I was better than them or something. I think that response would have been entirely justified if that had, in fact, been what I meant, but I think I was misunderstood, so I want to clarify: As I understood it, these kids (I am really Old Man Wheaton, now, referring to 20 year-olds as 'kids') didn't take their education seriously, didn't make any effort to work toward a career, and were complaining that their jobs didn't pay them enough for their minimal effort. The sense of entitlement annoyed me almost as much as some kid with a job – in a time of incredible unemployment – complaining about getting paid to work. (Yeah, I know that complaining about work is as fundamental as eating lunch, but in the time it took my brain to hear it and my fingers to type it, I didn't stop to think about that.)
I didn't mean to be elitist, or condescending, or insulting to anyone who is doing the best they can during some very difficult times, and if I offended or insulted you, I hope you'll accept my apology. I certainly don't think I'm better than you, or anyone else. We all do what we can to support ourselves and our families, if we have them, right?
On the other hand, if you're one of those kids who told me to go fuck myself, get off my lawn and go back to school. Work hard, because nothing worth doing is ever easy, and the more knowledge you have, the more options you have, so you won't have to spend your life in a dead end job that you hate. Trust me, you'll be glad you did. Maybe not now, maybe not in a year, but some time in the Mysterious Future when you're feeling cranky at the Damn Kids Today you'll be able to shake your cane at them with authority.