Sometimes I feel protective of my generation. You know that old rule of life, where you can dump on your siblings, but no one else can? That’s how I’m beginning to feel about my whole generation. Sure, I can moan and groan at a bar about how every guy I meet is suffering from Peter Pan syndrome, but baby boomers can’t.
It can be really easy to get swept up in all the negative talk about millennials. There are always articles about how millennials are still living with their parents, or how students are taking out loans they’ll never be able pay back. When the words “selfish,” “lazy,” and “technologically dependent” are used to describe your generation, you can begin to feel bad about yourself. It’s nice to take a step back and remember all the great things we’re doing, and all the new paths we’re forging.
Millennials Are More Than a Stereotype
We’re doing things our own way. Turns out it’s not such a bad way either. Coming off the heels of Gen X (born between 1965 and 1980), we’ve helped lower the teen pregnancy rate, the smoking rate, and the high school drop out rate. The homicide rate is currently the lowest it’s been since 1962.
There are two sides to every story. For every complaint I hear that millennials won’t move out of their parents’ homes, you can find people saving money on rent to start their own business.
The kid swamped in student loans may have gotten their PhD in biochemistry because they want to cure cancer. A casual workplace dress code doesn’t necessarily indicate lack of manners. It’s a way to equalize the workplace by taking the burden of costly outfits off of employees so work clothes cost less.
From the outside, it’s easy to think that millennials just don’t get things. We’re doing things in new and bold ways. Technology is rapidly changing and so is the world we live in. Change isn’t always scary. Just because the way we do things is new doesn’t mean they’re bad.
We’ve reflected on the problems generations before us faced and we’re focused on eliminating them. Social change, professional change, personal change, political change – nothing is beyond our reach.
If that’s not enough for you, I got 4 more reasons millennials are kicking butt.
We’ve Already Been Through Financial Hell
Graduating into the worst job economy in decades was tough. Millennials will feel the effect from that for the rest of their professional careers. However, the lessons we learned in that time will stay with us as well.
We know how to budget and live below our means. We know how to survive lean times and that’s a very good thing. If anything is certain, tough times come for everyone. Knowing how to handle ourselves in them is a blessing.
We’re Willing to do Whatever it Takes
Again, already having been through some tough times means that we know how to work. We’re willing to put in long hours to chase down a dream others might call silly. We’re professional and personally audacious. We dare to dream and we’re more than willing to do whatever it requires to reach success. Just look at how many millennial entrepreneurs have broken down barriers and created amazing companies!
We’ve Changed the Idea of Success
On that note, success doesn’t look like it did 30 or 40 years ago. Even in the 1980s, when some of us where being born, the definition of success was really different.
Rather than search for one company we can be with for 30 years, millennials want to start their own companies. We want to prioritize creating social good with our work. Millennials are interested in changing the way things have always been done in order to better the world we live in.
We Commit to Things
Once we’ve decided to do something, you better believe we’re going to do it. Millennials keep their word. If we have a dream, we go after it. If we want to elect a certain person, we turn out for them. We’ve decided to recycle more, and we’ve started generating less waste.
All this translates into change on social, personal, and national levels. Our generation is the DIY generation – whether that means canning your own veggies, paying off those student loans early, or demanding an agenda that works for you.
If you’re a millennial, I say keep going. Keep pushing yourself and show the world what you have to offer. If you’re outside our generation, I say keep watching. We’re coming into our own and we’re going to do some pretty cool things.
Each generation leaves their mark on the world. I think we’ll come to see that the millennial mark is a really good one.
Are you a millennial? What do you like best about your generation? What do you think are some common misconceptions about millennials?