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Boomers should stop calling us “yuckie”

Graduates move back in with parents for good reasons


 

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If someone called me a “yuckie” a few weeks ago, I would scoff at the third-grade insult.

Now, I’ve learned that the term doesn’t relate to cooties or boogers. Rather, it means that I’m steadily draining my parents’ livelihood.

The term, an acronym for “Young Unwittingly Costly Kids,” first rose to popularity in 2010 with a surge of journal articles and academic studies that observed the increasing trend of students moving back in with their parents after university. I, however, only recently came across the word.

Immediately I wanted to learn more about the less than flattering term for my generation. With a few quick online searches I discovered that we are ruthless vampires of the family unit, sucking the family dry. Reluctant to leave the warm embrace of our parents’ homes, we force them into second mortgages, diminished retirement funds and readjusted styles of living.

Though I’m sure the researchers and journalists who created the term are patting themselves on the back, “yuckie culture” comes with a number of flawed assumptions.

First, the phrase implies that we don’t want to leave our parents’ homes. While I’m sure there are some recent graduates who do have very special relationships with their parents, I feel comfortable saying the majority of university students want one thing more: independence.

In fact, almost every decision we make in our early adult lives is driven by a desire to be away from our parents. Buying a new car, travelling with friends, moving away to university. Many of the seminal moments of our youth revolve around getting our space, so we don’t leave university with a craving desire to cuddle up with mom and dad again; we do it because we have to.

Which leads into the second assumption of the “yuckies” acronym—that we have a choice in the matter. The term dismisses the reality that after graduation many students are forced back into their parents’ homes because of a dismal job market and ever-increasing costs of rent. We are not sadists. We do not derive pleasure from taking money from our parents, but often we have little choice. After graduation and even during school, most of the employment opportunities are either bad jobs with small wages or unpaid internships.

Although the debate about unpaid internships is heating up, right now they are one of the best chances for advancement in the applicant-saturated workplace. But, as the preface suggests, these unpaid internships leave students with two options: They either overdo it by trying to balance an unpaid internship and a part-time job or reluctantly turn to parents for support.

And that is the final mistake that heralds of “yuckie culture” make—the assumption that our parents have to help us. The literature that currently exists makes it sound like “yuckie” parents begrudgingly give up their hard-earned savings to baby their now adult child. But if the alternative is their child working him or herself into the ground, missing holidays and weekend visits for the sake of financial independence, most parents would happily make a place for their child in their homes.

So the next time someone calls me a “yuckie,” I won’t think it’s a third grade insult—but I will think it has the same immaturity. Why? Because it dismisses how tough it is to be a new grad these days, it ignores the difficulties of unpaid internships and, let’s be honest, it just sounds gross.

Hurren is Opinions Editor of Western’s Gazette, where this first appeared. Follow @KevinAtGazette


 

Boomers should stop calling us “yuckie”

  1. As a boomer with three millennial kids who are getting ready to make their way in the world, I have to say that whoever is pushing this new nomenclature is an idiot. Anyone paying attention can see that it is a very different world for 20-somethings trying to enter the job market than it was in the 80s or 90s. Add to that the much higher financial burden of postsecondary education, and you have a recipe for greatly delayed independence. Until the economy recovers and postsecondary inflation is reined in, this situation is not likely to improve. In the meantime, anyone pushing the “kids today won’t take the bull by the horns” meme should be ignored and/or ridiculed.

  2. While I agree with the points made in this article and with the comments of Arrik one major point has been missed. The fact that so many people of retirement age are holding on to their positions or returning to part-time work. As a teacher it is almost impossible to get any meaningful employment even as a Teacher On Call because of the number of retired teachers taking those spots. It is very frustrating (to say the least) that I am educated, qualified, and good at what I do and yet the opportunities are just not there. I would also like to say thank you to those School Boards, like Calgary, that have recognized this problem and taken steps to remedy it! Good luck to all my fellow 20/30 somethings!!

  3. Both Arrik and Margot’s comments are spot on. I look at the ‘Boomers’ who have had the fortune to retire at very young ages and who lived the booming years. The job markets were hot when they flew the coop and housing prices were more affordable on, in many cases still, one salary. Now even a university degree holds much less value in the marketplace, but costs a lot of money! It is simply unfair to compare the boomers’ situation to that of the young people now. Crunch some numbers and you’ll see how hard it is to earn enough to be ‘independent’!

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