The public narrative surrounding millennials often goes a little something like this: we’re entitled, lazy and obsessed with political correctness. But this description isn’t fair or accurate. In fact, millennials have a lot to offer the world — and we’ve already begun to show what we bring to the table as our generation moves collectively into its late 20s and early 30s.
Some of the positive change going on across the country, and even around the world, is being driven by assertive millennials who are hungry for better lives for their children. Keep reading to discover five ways millennials are proving they’re actually the best generation yet.
1. More Educated
With society changing both within U.S. borders and around the globe, the world needs leaders who have solid educations. Millennials can help out here. More than 34% of millennials have a bachelor’s degree, which is the highest of any generation thus far. This spike in pursuing higher education makes this generation the best equipped to tackle the tasks that lie ahead.
What’s more, millennials are optimistic about the opportunities that our academic pursuits will ultimately afford us. Although many millennials graduated from college just as a recession hit and have had to deal with higher-than-usual rates of unemployment, nearly half of us think the country still has its best years ahead — and we do, too.
2. More Motivated
Another misconception about millennials is that we lack motivation or, to be blunt, that we’re lazy. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. It’s true, millennials find value and motivation in different things than previous generations, but we’re more than willing to work hard to reach our professional and personal goals.
Millennials are motivated in the workplace by things like flex time and an employer who understands work-life balance. Since this generation is all about sharing experiences via social media, we appreciate working somewhere that allows us the space to have those experiences. Positive feedback, encouragement and the opportunity to move up the ladder — even by baby steps — also drive millennials farther than previous generations.
3. More Willing to Give Back
Here’s another blow to the theory that millennials are lazy: We volunteer more than any generation before us. In fact, we volunteer a lot more. When Americans under 30 were asked how obliged they felt to volunteer in 1984, only 19% of them said it was very important. When the same age group was asked the same question in 2015, 29% said volunteering was essential.
More than 70% of millennials volunteer at least an hour per year, and more than 30% give 11-plus hours to their chosen causes. Many of them used the time off from work to volunteer, too, and see opportunities like mission trips as rewarding complements to their education.
4. More Tech-Savvy
While some may believe that millennials rely too heavily on technology, this isn’t actually the case. Remember: Most millennials grew up without smartphones — only a slow dial-up connection and an early version of instant messenger connected them to the outside world. That being said, millennials were still young enough to quickly pick up on technological advances as they came. This makes us a unique and dynamic generation.
Whereas millennials can appreciate the smell and feel of a paperback book or hitting the beach without immediately Snapchatting it, we’re also super tech-savvy, which is good news for employers. Millennials easily navigate new technology at the office, resulting in a more efficient workforce. They may even drive change in the workplace by staying on top of trending technologies and introducing them to older coworkers.
5. More Tolerant
Millennials appreciate the distinctly American belief that everyone has the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That’s why we tend to be tolerant toward anyone whose lifestyle or circumstances might be perceived as unconventional.
This generation has begun to embrace the LGBTQ community like never before, as evidenced by the rise of rallies and marches showing support. It’s even becoming clear in changing legislation regarding marriage that this generation won’t stand for a government that’s less-than-tolerant when it comes to human rights. Millennials are also embracing people with disabilities and inviting them into the mainstream society without judgment.
With so much misinformation floating around about the attributes of millennials, it’s important to know the facts. Millennials are not only an important part of the fabric of modern society, but we’re actually weaving an entirely new tapestry. We’re driving change, reaching for new goals and reshaping the world as you know it. So as the millennial story continues to change in the eyes of mainstream society, be prepared to see great things from this generation. It’s true — we’re not like any previous generation.