So, you've committed to writing an anxious and hand-wringing newspaper column about the State of Millennials. Congratulations! But be warned. You are working within a highly competitive sub-industry of journalism, so it's important to distinguish yourself in both style and substance, like this archetypal column today in the Boston Globe.
First, establish a connection with your readers through the use of common, vapid tropes about spoiled young people refusing to work because they just don't want to. "A generation of idle trophy kids" is a perfectly cast headline for your purposes. "A millennial in the basement" reference in the first sentence and an "amiable, tech-savvy, yet minimally employable crop of Americans who will ultimately need more subsidies than a dairy farmer" in the second? This is a good way to preview your careful analysis of underemployment.
But don't rest on that snappy lede. Build on its foundation with a smart and useful analogy for today's economy, such as the plague-ridden, undeveloped swamplands of 17th century pre-industrial Virginia.
In colonial times, nine out of 10 people worked on food production, hence John Smith’s famous edict at Jamestown: “He who works not, eats not.” (There was no enabling 99-cent value menu then.) The millennials, alas, are trophy kids, a generation spawned not for their usefulness at harvest but because they look so precious in those matching pajamas from Hanna Andersson.
Millennials can't hoe their own grain, or fix a proper meat pudding, and God help them around a common stew pot. These are real and urgent shortcomings, and they deserve greater attention in future columns.