Nicole Norkoff, a 30-year old millenial and retail worker, has been told by her mother’s friend to ‘work harder’ and ‘make sacrifices’ during a Facebook argument.
The argument began when Norkoff’s mother, Nancy, posted a status update expressing her frustration regarding her daughter’s primary workplace cutting hours and benefits and noting that many of that generation were having similar problems. When she read the status on the hour-long transit ride to her second workplace, Norkoff thanked her mother for her support, along with an adorable puppy GIF.
Five minutes later, her phone vibrated, indicating that Karen Klassen, an old friend of Nancy Norkoff, had also commented on the status.
Klassen, who has only ever worked on a casual basis since her marriage to Keith Klassen back in 1982, had several suggestions for the younger Norkoff. “Maybe she should try getting another job,” she wrote. “Or come home and get a job at the plant. She can make a good living there!”
Nicole Norkoff, fighting motion sickness as the bus stopped and started, stopped and started, informed Klassen that she was already working two part-time jobs that refused to give her or anyone else full-time hours, with the occasional temp gig that always went nowhere. She also informed her that friends of hers that hadn’t left the hometown have tried and failed to get a job at said plant for years and that layoffs were frequent.
Said Klassen: “That’s the problem with your generation: you never want to find a solution!”
During the ensuing back and forth, Norkoff discovered that Klassen did not believe that the economic situation may have been more favorable to the average worker a few decades ago, that she believes that millenials all harbor such unrealistic career aspirations as astronaut or F1 racer, that student loans were an irrelevant excuse, that government intervention or lack thereof had little to no effect on the life of the average worker, that hard work can overcome any obstacle, and that she didn’t understand why Norkoff was being so combative.
“Why am I being so combative?” Norkoff was heard to mutter on the bus. “Maybe because you’re completely fucking ignoring everything I have to say, you ignorant old hag!”
Norkoff read on when the phone buzzed again. “Do you think I didn’t have to make sacrifices when I was your age?” asked Klassen. “My husband and I had to live in a mobile home for a year!”
Norkoff lives in a shoebox apartment with three roommates that has had bedbug infestations three times over the past two years. Her diet largely consists of rice, beans, and whatever produce she can get on sale.
Klassen then proceeded to wonder why ‘girls these days are waiting so long to have kids; don’t they know the clock is ticking.’
Norkoff turned off notifications for the comment thread.
Four hours later, a customer complained about Norkoff to her manager because she wouldn’t let her return a polo shirt that was bought two years ago with sweat stains on the collar and armpits for a full refund. Norkoff was reprimanded and her hours cut.
Not all baby boomers talk like this, because a lot of baby boomers have some goddamned sense. But every single struggling millenial I know has had an online or meat space argument very much along those lines. Hair was pulled, teeth were ground.