Today I want to talk about the Millennial generation, which happens to be my generation. Yeah, “I’m talking ’bout my generation.” (Thanks, The Who!) First, let me say that there are way too many people in this world that fall into this age group to make sweeping generalizations that include millions of people. However, there are certain patterns that I’ve noticed. I know people my age that act like the typical millennial, and I know others that are breaking the sterotype day after day. We are known as the generation who is privilged, self absorbed, entitled, and impatient. But I know many who are thoughtful, hardworkng, ambitious, and caring. I am right at the end of this generation, being born in 1994, and I do have strong opinons about us. Please continue reading to get the big picutre on millennials, straight from a millenial (Me!).
The internet has been exploding about people who fall into the catagory of Millennials. Google defines Millennials as “a person reaching young adulthood around the year 2000.” Urban Dictionary defines a Millennial as “Born between 1982 and 1994, this generation is something special ’cause Mom and Dad and their 5th grade teacher Mrs. Winotsky told them so. Plus, they have a whole shelf of participation trophies sitting at home, so it has to be true.” So yeah… I have heard alot on the topic of Millennials, and some stuff I can relate to and some I just can’t help but laugh. (Because I sure as hell don’t have any trophies at home).
I have always been judged for my age and for the generation I was born into. As millenials we grew up in a very grey area of time. The internet was growing, but it had not peeked yet. The economy was starting yet another roller coaster ride that we were not entirely equipped to handle (Side note, if you think it was Millenials who caused the 2008 crash, go read a book. But we’re damn sure gonna be the ones paying for it). Getting a job now is not what it was like 25 years ago, and keeping one isn’t the same either. But you know what? We have to do what every other generation before us had to do; We have to figure out how to best world that was handed to us, no matter what shape we got in.
We are looked at as young and naive. “You couldn’t possible understand how the world works!” We spend too much time online in our fantasy worlds of YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. We don’t spend enough time with actual human beings, and even when we do, we are still plugged in. How could we possibly be ready to work and run this world we have been given? How could can we ever achieve what are parents and grandparents have? I imagine we’ll just figure out like are parents and grandparents did, or didn’t, as the case may be.
At a very young age most of us grew up being told “You can be or do anything you want in this world”. This might sound like we had it made, but if you really read that sentence you might think differently. Go back to when you were 7 or 8. Your parents ask you what you want to be when you grow up, and you say “I want to be a writer!” (this was one of my many answers). Then that is followed with “Well you can be and do anything you want in this world.”
Hold on, wait. What? Maybe being a writer isn’t good enough. Well how do I choose, and what if I make the wrong choice? This happened to me, and I’m positive I’m not alone in this. When you’re 7 or 8 you usually don’t know that there is a limit on what you can be, so when I said I want to be writer – I was already assuming I could be / do anything I wanted within reason. But then a whole new world was opened up to my child sized eyes, and I was terrifed. “You’re special, you can do anything” put a lot of us on the path to “I’m too special to have a regular job, eventually someone will recognize my greatness and shower me with $$$. My only job is to be special and wait for success to come to me.”
I just remember, at the ripe age of 11 or 12, feeling so pressured to pick something amazing to do with my life. I have to pick something amazing, people are telling me I can do anything, I’m the “most specialist” person ever, and so I must not settle for something anyone could consider “mediocre” or “normal”. I have to be amazing and do great things with my life. How are you supposed to deal with that at 12? How can a child focus on being a decent writer when, after soccer practice, they have to go home and work on the cure for cancer while simultaneously playing piano and engineering nuclear fission. Mom, are we having dissappointment for dinner, again?! Shucks! It’s all I eat, now.
It just takes time to figure it out. Clarity usually comes once you get over yourself. Some of us have, and those that haven’t will, hopefully. As a millenial, I understand that I have to work harder for my spot in the corporate world. Because of my age, sometimes I will be looked down on. That’s fine, because when someone looks down long enough, their shoulder’s slump and their back hunches. You can climb straight up and stand on their head.
Example: The internet blew up during my generation, but guess what? We didn’t build the internet because we wern’t old enough. The previous generation built this tool for us, and we perfected it. Now they are upset because we can use it to it’s full potential, and some of us even make a living on the internet. Some, like Mark Zuckerberg (widely recognized as the most special of all the special millenials), built $50 billion companies. Someone probably looked down at Mark Zuckerberg once. They probably even sneered and called him “special.”
Now none of this is to say that none of us deserve the reputation. Nobody’s perfect, and no generation is either. Some of us live at home have no income or job. Even worse, some of us have no drive and are just lazy and greedy (But doesn’t ever generation get a few?) Those are the millenials that are making it harder for the rest of us. Some of us want more. Some of us work to be better. We are soon to be the generation that will be in control of this world. That is not something we can avoid. We all (all millenials) had a meeting last week, and we unanimously agreed to hang up those participation trophys and aim for the All-Stars. Ready or not, here we come.
Let me know your thoughts on my generation the Millennials in the comments.
Articles / Videos I used to gather information for this post:
- Interview with Simon Sinek with Tom Bilyue on Inside Quest (Full Video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ldh8E6LCLhM)
- New York Times Article: Generation Nice (Read full article here: ( https://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/17/fashion/the-millennials-are-generation-nice.html?_r=0 )
- Micha Tyle singing about the generation uploaded by Watermark Church (Watch full video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hLpE1Pa8vvI )
- Ted Talk by Kelly Williams Brown from January 2014 (Watch full video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ygBfwgnijlk )