Happiness = Reality – Expectations

Jordan Rushie of the Fishtown Lawyers sent me over a post from Wait But Why, with the notation that “this is like, everyone I know.”  What I call the Slackoisie, he calls GYPSYs,

I have a term for yuppies in the Gen Y age group—I call them Gen Y Protagonists & Special Yuppies, or GYPSYs.  A GYPSY is a unique brand of yuppie, one who thinks they are the main character of a very special story.

It’s funny. It’s enlightening. It will infuriate many, because it’s too close to home and hurts your delicate feelings.

Like you don’t think this when you’re all alone in your room wondering why no one else recognizes how special you are.

Go ahead.  Explain why this isn’t you, why you “deserve” to be special, why you’re truly different.

For those hiring members of Gen Y, Harvey suggests asking the interview question, “Do you feel you are generally superior to your coworkers/classmates/etc., and if so, why?”  He says that “if the candidate answers yes to the first part but struggles with the ‘why,’ there may be an entitlement issue. This is because entitlement perceptions are often based on an unfounded sense of superiority and deservingness. They’ve been led to believe, perhaps through overzealous self-esteem building exercises in their youth, that they are somehow special but often lack any real justification for this belief.”

You are special. So is everyone else. All that means is that “special” no longer has any meaning, and that we’re all really pretty ordinary, struggling to survive, to make our existence meaningful and to serve some greater purpose on earth than taking up space and wasting bags of Cheetos.

The point isn’t that you are special, notwithstanding everything you’ve been told since you were in the womb listening to those fake Baby Einstein dvd’s your loving mother bought in the hope of giving you an opportunity she never had. The point is to overcome the crap that’s been fed you and become special.

Forget your delusional, childish expectations of glory and spend your time improving your reality.  There is happiness to be had, but you have to go out and earn it. You do not deserve it, and it won’t be handed you on a silver platter no matter what you’ve been led to believe.


9 thoughts on “Happiness = Reality – Expectations

    1. John Burgess

      I’m guessing that it involved a certain amount of mortification following the turning in of an orange-stained piece of homework. Around Sixth Grade. Some stains — like Cheetos orange — are indelible and mark one for life.

      1. SHG Post author

        As I was teaching a CLE years ago, one of the people who asked particularly narcissistic, stupid and annoying questions had orange hands. The die was cast.

  1. G Thompson

    HA! Love your acronym though could I suggest instead of “Special” you use “Solipsistic” instead? It’s probably more apt than any other word ever. 🙂

    I’m unique… just like everybody else … WAIT what?!?!?

  2. Drew

    I was born in 1984, so am used to being villified in articles like these. I grew up low-income, busted my ass to get a full ride to college, busted my ass, got to go to law school on affordable basis, busted my ass, went to a big law firm, busted my ass, now am somewhere where I might make partner, and am still busting my ass.

    I don’t think I am particularly special, but I still identify with all of the “GYPSY” frustrations that are on display here. I think what everyone hoped, and expected, was that they could live their lives on a similar trajectory to their boomer parents – being able to screw around for a while, engage in self-discovery, and then find a materially comfortable life with job security. Maybe some people felt even more entitled, but most people had that core assumption.

    Instead, we are the first american generation since the great depression to be experiencing sustained immiseration and economic insecurity. I think you can blame the boomers for some things – like underfunding education so the education they got for free or nearly-free is now a (nondischargeable) home mortgage, and some of it you can pin on the structural changes wrought by globalization and economic liberalization. So I think a lot of the bitterness comes from that.

    Insofar as these articles’ points are “tough, deal with it”, that’s very well taken. Even if everything sucks, sitting around and refusing to trying to better one’s lot in life is not going to help anything. But some of “dealing with it” is organizing politically to voice discontent and to argue for policy changes like universal medicare coverage or dischargeable student loans. It is not hard to imagine these articles instead being about bonus marchers or hapless WPA types or UFCW activists.

    The law school scambloggers are a good example of this. Sure, posters and victims of second and third and fourth tier law schools ruminate too much on their misfortunes. I am not sure I wouldn’t do the same if I had a six-figure student loan debt that I would never, ever be able to pay off because there are not enough jobs, legal or otherwise, to be had.

    At the core of their discontent is nostalgia for a world where lawyers were not in such oversupply, and law school was not an economic death sentence if you were unlucky in the job market or simply bad at law. Capitalism has always had winners and losers, and the legal market is no exception. The difference today is that there are more losers than ever, and the consequences for losing are far worse than they were in the past.

    1. SHG Post author

      I don’t know if you’ve been around here before, but I think you’ve got it pretty well nailed. Plenty of blame to go around, but the bottom line is that blame doesn’t fix anything. At some point, all the boys and girls have to grow up and take responsibility for their lives instead of dreaming about pretty unicorns, wealth and fame.

      Some are like you, working hard for what they have. I’m sure you know the special snowflakes as well. My bet is the ones like you, who worked for it and aren’t waiting for a unicorn to drop happiness in your lap, are going to inherit the world, and I hope you do a better job with it than my generation did, and a whole lot better raising kids.

    2. Odd Man Out

      their boomer parents – being able to screw around for a while, engage in self-discovery, and then find a materially comfortable life with job security

      OFCS. Maybe all the boomers you know, perhaps including your own parents, got an easy ride. I didn’t. No screwing around for a while, no self indulgent self discovery, no year off in Tuscany, and no cushy job for life.

      You grew up and live in a better and richer world than I did. “Woe is me” ill becomes you.

      1. Marc R

        His point, rightfully, is it’s not a better world. No matter how you cut it, law grads from the 60s and 70s all found gainful employment. Sure there’s always outliers but today the outliers are those with jobs. Now I’m not sure all the blame lies with Boomers, but we are the first generation to be objectively far worse off than our parents.

        I’ve witnessed the “slackoise” but I’m unsure how much is genuine laziness versus trial and error and giving up. I’m not so sure I worked harder and deserve where I am at, versus getting lucky. But I know there’s many who bust their ass and have nothing to show for it. I know this wasn’t common 30-40 years ago.

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