For several years, I have noticed a trend that is not only upsetting, but rather disturbing. The trend in question, you ask? It is the bashing of millennials and judging of other generations.
I happen to know several millennials through work, friends and even have some in my family. All of them are hardworking, dedicated people who want to ‘live their best life,’ as people do in every generation. The thing that makes them stand out is the fact that they do things a bit differently than people of past generations. They live in the advent of social media, influencing and avocado toast, so they are forced to adapt and live their lives according to these changes. Past generations may not understand this, so they shake their heads at these ‘young whippersnappers’ and make snap judgements. These millennials are accused of being ‘entitled,’ ‘social media obsessed’ and wanting the ‘easy way out.’ Yes, I am sure there are millennials like this, but guess what? There are people in EVERY generation who are like this.
Let’s take each accusation and discuss why it is grossly exaggerated:
1. Entitlement: What I would like to know is, what exactly people think millennials think they are entitled to? A better life? A well paying job? Recognition for hard work? Correct me if I am wrong, but this is what everyone in life wants. Again, maybe some want an easy job, maybe some want to be the next Kim Kardashian, but those people are few and far between. I am sure there are ‘boomers’ who wanted to be the next Twiggy or Gen Xers who wanted to be the next Britney Spears, so how is this any different? Chances are, that isn’t going to happen, but there is nothing wrong with dreaming a bit, as long as they are still willing to work hard at SOMETHING!
2. They want a better life. Why shouldn’t they? These millennials obviously are paying attention to what past generations went through and want to make sure they don’t make the same mistakes or face the same issues. What is so wrong with that? Maybe some don’t go about it in the right way, but nine times out of ten, they are willing to work hard and do what they have to in order to make it work. Almost every millennial I know is working their butts off to make sure they have rent money, can pay for food, etc. Very few of them rely on others to help. Many of them even work multiple jobs and make sacrifices so they can have a better life. Isn’t that what we WANT for the next generation?
3. They want a well paying job. So does everyone in every generation. Yes, some expect it right away, yet they experience a reality check, learn from it and work hard to get it. They realize that it takes time, but then use it as a goal to get to the aforementioned better life. No need to shame them on this.
4. They want the easy way out. Um, again, how? So someone sees the girl on The Bachelor got a job promoting a bunch of products on Instagram and wants to do the same. So what? I can bet that people from past generations wanted to do something similar that was relevant when the were young. (Confession time: none of this was available when I was their age, but there were times I wanted to do things like act, but then I realized that it wasn’t in the cards and found something else to do.) Let them dream and have fun a bit. It doesn’t mean they want what is easy.
Some may want to coast in other areas of life, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t working hard in other areas or won’t work hard in the future. People mature and handle things differently in every age bracket, so as long as they aren’t hurting anyone or taking advantage of people, then let them find their own way. You can offer guidance and advice, but they also need to learn this lesson and make their own mistakes. To be honest, I have yet to find a millennial who is coasting.
5. Avocado toast. It is delicious, get over it.
The point is, every generation looks down on the next and makes assumptions and vice versa. This is natural, but not okay. We should be learning from one another and not making assumptions. Each generation may do things differently and think differently, but that does not give any generation an excuse to judge and shame each other. Maybe if people of other generations took time to listen, talk and learn,