Jul 18, 2017

The Problem with Millennials is...

Nothing.  Seriously, people.

I've read far too many articles assessing millennials, whether it's how to work with them, why they're needlessly whiny, why they're justified in being whiny, how to market to them, whether they have any value as human beings or not, and so on.

I've also heard far too many people around my age bitch about millennials without realizing we ARE millennials.  Early 80s to mid 90s.  Seeing as I was born in '87, I'm smack-dab in the middle.  As millennial as it's possible to be.  And guess what!

I'm pretty freaking awesome.

Before you start telling me that unwarranted high self esteem is a millennial trait, allow me to explain.  I don't feel entitled to anything.  I'm very strongly motivated by feelings of obligation to others and by my desire to be independent.  My business isn't exploding, but it's growing steadily as I continue to work at it.

I work hard.  I deprive myself of sleep to keep up with client requests.  I read business advice constantly, to learn new tips and tricks for how to keep improving.  I listen eagerly to advice from others if they know more about a topic than I do.

Maybe I did want my "dream job" instead of just a regular 9 to 5, but I found a field that was both profitable and pleasurable and I worked to make it my own.  Who wouldn't want to do the same if it was possible to have both?

And I'm no unicorn.  I see some of my peers sitting back with a victim mentality letting the government or their parents pay for them, but I see far more of them working their butts off alongside me.  We hustle, we make up goofy names like bossbabe and girlboss, but so what?  The idea that work isn't work if it's fun is ridiculous.  You're going to spend a huge chunk of your life at work - why not at least TRY to enjoy it?

I'm gradually seeing more and more of my peers in the networking events I attend, building businesses and taking actionable steps towards their dreams.  Like it or not, the millennial generation is growing up and starting to kick ass.

"Oh, well, I just had my time periods wrong.  It's not actually the millennials that are the problem.  It's the next generation."

No.  Every generation thinks the generation being raised after them is a problem.  Don't believe me?  Check out Mental Floss' list of historical references to the degenerate youth.

The truth is we just don't like change.  And if a younger generation is doing things differently than we did, it's wrong and probably immoral.

Not to mention the fact that so, so many of the complaints about "millennials" are things that apply to young people almost universally.  Young people are always self-centered until they grow up and learn to empathize with other people.  Anyone entering the work force for the first time is going to make mistakes and handle things awkwardly a few times until they get the hang of it.  You can't be perfect at something you've never done before.

So here's my crazy proposal: why don't we stop whining about the supposed whininess of other generations and instead start looking at each other as individuals?  Maybe Baby Boomers wrecked the economy.  Maybe millennials could stand to put their phones down more often.

Or maybe we're all just people doing our best to adapt and keep up in a rapidly changing world.  The idea that you can blame large-scale world problems on one particular generation is just as ridiculous as trying to blame a specific gender or race.  We're all in this together, collectively and individually.

Yeah, I'm a millennial.  So what?


What generation are you and what stereotypes do people apply to you because of it?  Do you have prejudices of your own?

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  1. I'm not a millennial, I'm pretty sure. The cut off keeps changing but I'm 84 and I don't seem to make many official lists. But I totally agree, it's not a 'millennial' problem, it's young people, always, everywhere, until the end of time. The older you get the more annoying the younger generations are ;)

  2. I dont have a problem with millennials at all but I just dont think Im one ha! I was born in 85 - Ive read somewhere that is considered the beginning? Im not sure though. I dont think its a millennial problem, but more a "the world is evolving" and the generations of the yesteryear cant and shouldnt be expected to understand the intricacies of the evolution. Someone in the 1950's wont get nintendo (which i gree up with) in the same way I dont get some things these kiddos are up to. Times change.

    (I always write books in your comment section - apologies hehe)

  3. I can't even muster a usual Alyssa-like comment because I have been fighting the millennial hate everywhere for so many years, I'm effing weary as hell about it now. But yeah, there's nothing wrong with millennials. (The census actually says 81-97 birth year, so the two non-millennials above me may in fact be millennials!) Also, "because it's the way it used to be" doesn't make anything better. Yes, millennials read their news on their phone instead of newspapers, which doesn't mean we ~ omg can't live without our phones ~~~, it means we're wasting less paper, engaging more, sharing more, etc. It's not bad, we're not the worst, it's just different than it used to be. Doctors used to smoke when consulting with patients. The old generation's way of doing stuff is not better. But I think my biggest gripe with millennial bashing is that the majority of it comes from the people who RAISED MILLENNIALS AND SHAPED THEIR WORLDVIEW AND HEAVILY INFLUENCED THE WORLD THEY GREW UP INTO. OK I have to stop, my blood pressure.

    Two great articles I love re millennials:

  4. This post is so timely. I just saw a guy on FB bitching about the professional summit on millennials that he had to attend. He wasn't pissed because it targeted millennials (of which HE IS), he was mad because he thinks the "common" millennial is whining and self-righteous and entitled. Also, this is the same dude I mentioned in the sexism post. I swear I'm not close to him, but apparently I hate-follow him on FB.
    ANYWAY... that dude IS a millennial. And so am I. And so is my husband, who was born in '87 and has worked since he was 14 and built an international, market-dominating business over the last 5 years. (Not trying to brag about him, I'm just saying.) I HATE THE STIGMA ON MILLENNIALS.
    Personalities and generational behaviors come from upbringing.... so.... lol.


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