Millennial. The word is so overused.
Born between the early 1980’s through the early 2000’s; we are known as the “why” generation. The last generation that lived both with and without Internet, cell phones, and the oh-mighty-Google. Millennials are both the largest and most criticized generation in history. We have been dubbed lazy, demanding, and impatient; among other things. The most vocal critics of our generation are the very people who raised us. It’s become so widely shamed to be a millennial; some of us will go to great lengths to disassociate ourselves from the label. Here are some misconceptions about the “Trophy Kids” that we’d all appreciate you get over right away.
1. Millennials are lazy.
We just don’t view work the same as you. Millennials are extremely hard working. We are great problem solvers and are always looking to make things more efficient. We question the “this is how we’ve always done it” generations before us. We don’t see the point in doing it the hard way, if there is an easier way. That doesn’t make us lazy. It makes us forward thinkers.
2. Millennials are demanding and impatient.
We have spent 10x the amount of money on education than previous generations. We were told to go to college, so we did. Now we demand higher paying jobs to pay our school loans. We are impatient since we have twice the education than most of our coworkers but are still paid less. We are the most over educated generation, ever. We can’t help but be frustrated since we are called lazy but when we push for more responsibility (and compensation) we are demanding. We can’t win.
3. Millennials need constant positive reinforcement.
We are fiercely independent in most ways. We’ve had the responsibility of caring for our younger siblings. We went home alone after school. Television was our babysitter. We grew up on Mr. Rogers, Reading Rainbow, Blues Clues, and Sesame Street. We interacted with adults. They gave us advice. They taught us about life, stranger danger, and friends. Fast forward to 9/11. It’s no longer Mr. Rogers’ neighborhood. We were taught to be very trusting as children. As adults, it’s hard to trust anyone now. We are trying to find that balance.
4. Millennials have no respect for their elders, title or authority.
We view everyone as equals. This could be viewed as a fault. We don’t see it that way. This is a dispute mainly aired in the workplace by the baby boomers. Our generation was not raised to view a hierarchy. Again, we were raised by Mr. Rogers. Mr. Rogers taught us everyone were our equals. Growing up in a either a single parent or both parents working environment we were raised as mini adults. If we have a question, we ask. If we have an idea, we share it. We don’t believe leadership comes attached to a title. We respect people by what they contribute, regardless of age or title.
5. Millennials avoid growing up. They fear adulthood.
We don’t fear growing up. We don’t wish to live a Peter Pan lifestyle. We just don’t want to screw it up. Our parents got married and had children in their early 20’s, some younger than that. All we heard our whole life was don’t have kids young, have a career, have plan, and don’t grow up too quickly. Now that we are planning- we are criticized for taking too long. We are told 20s are too young to have kids but your 30s are too late. Go to college but not for too long. Get married but it’s okay to get divorced. We don’t want to be Peter Pan. We just can’t keep up with your never ending list of expectations.
6. Millennial parents are too soft.
The oldest of the Millennial generation has now entered the world of parenting. Over 60% of the millennial generation ranks their children, their significant other, and helping others over a high paying career. We want to be there for our kids. We want to happy in our relationships. It’s impossible to accomplish that working 60 hours a week. We aren’t soft or lazy. We just don’t want to do it. We want to put in the time with our families and our community. We want to teach our children what giving back looks like. If you haven’t noticed, it’s pretty scary out there right now. A lot scarier than it was when we were kids.