That’s a loaded term. You either are one and think you’re under attack or you’re part of another generation and you have all of these stereotypes about us. I’m a Millennial and I will gladly admit that some days I feel like I have been misrepresented. I have heard hundreds of stereotypes against my generation from men and women who could be potential employers. With one in three American employees being a Millennial, we’re kind of hard to ignore. So, bosses of corporate America, here are five assumptions that we are sick and tired of hearing.
1. You act so entitled and narcissistic.
Granted, “the incidence of narcissistic personality disorder is nearly three times as high for people in their 20s as for the generation that’s now 65 or older,” but I earned all of my participation trophies as a kid! I joke, but Millennials were raised in a time when everyone was special, where there were no winners or losers. Since the 1970s, parents have been very concerned with their children’s self-esteem. In our childhoods, everything was rewarded. This has lead to some adults expecting special treatment. I don’t doubt that there are some entitled Millennials out there giving us a bad name, but most of us won’t expect a gold star anytime we do something right. We work hard with no expectation of a reward from a boss. We work hard so that we can be proud of something.
2. You’re disrespectful.
I was raised in the South and say “yes ma’am” and “no sir” to everyone, regardless of if they are a child or an elder. I also stand up for what I believe in and defend my ideas. Millennials are “the most educated generation in history” according to The Council of Economic Advisers, and one of the first thing I learned in college was how to articulate my view points. We don’t want to come across as rude, but we do want to be heard. Just because Millennials have ideas and we know how to defend them doesn’t make us disrespectful.
3. You just want to chase some dream instead of getting a real job.
Who doesn’t want to achieve their dreams? We grew up in a world of startups and entrepreneurs; there is nothing wrong with going out and trying to start your own business instead of immediately going into an undesirable job. Millennials “don’t value the 20th century workplace rules.” I am sorry about that, I know everything would be a lot easier if we just went to our 9 to 5 jobs, sat quietly, did our work, and didn’t rock the boat, but if everyone behaved the same way then nothing new would ever come around. Not every venture will be a success, but how much could it hurt to give a Millennial a chance to try? You raised them to believe they could do anything they wanted if they put their mind to it, so let them put their minds to something amazing.
4. You don’t want to work hard.
No, we just don’t want to work pointlessly. The Washington Post talks about how Millennials want a work-life balance. “Younger workers see that technology frees them to work productively from anywhere… But older bosses who are more accustomed to work cultures with more face time may see only empty cubicles.” Just because a Millennial isn’t sitting at their desk doesn’t mean that they’re off reliving their Greek Life days. Hardly half an hour goes by that I don’t check my work email – even well after I go home. No Millennial wants to be trapped in a windowless cube farm. They will work hard for what they are passionate about but they will want to do it in a way that doesn’t make them feel like they’re in a cage.
5. You can just go into a business and ask for a job.
Will you give me a job? No? I’m coming off as entitled for even bothering to ask? When my parents were my age and trying to find work, the easiest thing for them to do was to just go into a store and drop off their resume. When I started at my first job, someone did that very same thing. After the candidate had left, I listened to a colleague complain about how inappropriate behavior. It was wrong of her to show up unannounced with some expectation. Granted, my first job wasn’t just some store front, but it did show me that this tradition no longer shows that go-getter attitude it once did.
There are a lot of negative assumptions made about Millennials. Whether you love us or hate us, we’re part of the work force in a big way and will only continue to grow as more of us graduate college. We want to work for you, we want to do something good with our lives, but we want to feel like more than just another cubicle occupant.
Millennials, which assumption affects you the most in your workplace?