Don't Count Me Out Just Because I Am a 'Millennial'

If you were born in the early 80’s through the late 90’s, guess what? You are considered a ‘Millennial’. And while you may have your own meaning to the word, there are a lot of people that have a lot to say about who you are without even truly knowing you. It is easy to put us all under one category, and associate us with words like, “Lazy”, “Entitled”, or my personal LEAST favorite, “Dependent”, but let’s not forget that we are, innovative, creative, open minded, and contrary to popular belief, we are also loyal to what speaks to our values.

Let me point out the simple fact that none of us had control over when we were born into this world (that quite frankly, had enough problems of its own before we Millennials came along). No generation has the right to point their finger at another one and say that they are the reason for all that has gone wrong because we are all equally at fault for that. Unlike any other generation, Millennials are the first of its kind when it comes to "being the change we want to see in the world.” This often gets confused with us not wanting to climb that corporate ladder, or put in the work to get there; but what it really means, is that we have started to find, and CREATE, our own way of becoming ‘successful’ and we have figured out new ways of getting there.

Now, I must play the devil’s advocate because like all things, nothing, and no one is perfect. Millennials do have a tendency to quit too soon, call and ask their parents for help with simpler tasks, and we usually stare into our phones for much longer time frames than we should. We don’t like to do things if we don’t want to, we take binge drinking to a whole new level, and we are selfish in ways that I do not care to admit. I am not here to excuse all the behaviors that define a ‘Millennial’, I am here to point out that all generations have their flaws, and Gen Y is not an exclusion to the rule.

With that said, not to blame the generation that RAISED us, but no one asked you to make us ‘Trophy children’ or feel the need to give us participation ribbons. Why are millennials being blamed for the kind of accolades we received as children, and then slapped on the wrist when we are older because we feel ‘entitled’? To a certain extent, that is all we know. I know a ton of ‘Millennials’ that do not expect an incentive for everything they do, myself included, but it is this mindset a lot of parents have instilled in their children to believe that they are the best at everything, and they deserve something in return because of that.

Based on the articles that I read surrounding the Millennial generation, the most interesting thing I discovered was that there was never any hard evidence including why these OPINIONS were formed in the first place. You cannot take the handful of millennials that you have come across and put every single one of them under one category, or what I like to a call, a stereotype. Every generation is going to have its ‘Bad Egg’ and every generation is going to have its handful of people that give that group a bad reputation. If we want to start knit picking each generation, then we should point out some of the main flaws dating back to 1900. (The below are not my opinions; these were all taken from scholarly articles or accredited news sources)

The Traditionalists (1900 – 1945)- Also known as the ‘Silent Generation’ because people of this time were expected to be seen, but never to be heard. They are the least open minded in regards to change, and although they are extremely hard workers, they usually lack a certain sense of openness when discussing topics that need to be talked about.

Baby Boomers (1946 – 1964)- This generation ranks the lowest in regards to being ‘adaptive’ and ‘collaborative’, according to Business Insider. This generation is also the one that gave a new meaning to the word ‘divorce’, and I do not mean that in a good way. This generation was pretty much the beginning of hard drugs. (You know, those things we Millennials get accused of abusing so much. Baby boomers started it)

Generation X (1965 – 1981)- Often called the middle child because they are sandwiched between the two most talked about generations. They can be seen as the rise of rebellion since most of those growing up in this time frame were from ‘broken homes’. This generation also brought rise to the obesity epidemic that the world faces today (mainly America) because they were not taught the importance of their health until now.

Millennials don’t believe in working to live like so many of the generations before us; we prefer living to work. That is not a bad thing. It only becomes a bad thing if we do not incorporate change into how things are done, or ran. You are right about most of us not wanting that typical 9 to 5 job with benefits, job security, and a comfortable lifestyle. Most of us need to be challenged in ways that are becoming more of the norm, and we want to feel important to the companies that we work for because it is important to us to feel needed. To me, that is not a con, but rather, and opportunity for change.

So, before you count us Millennials out, let’s not forget that we are the ones who are starting to run today's corporations, create nonprofits that make a difference, come up with innovative ways to change systems that are no longer working, and we bring fresh ideas to the world that is constantly changing, every single day. Each generation is the way that it is because simply, times change, and we are just doing our best with what we have been given. We should not be faulted because we grew up in a time where we had more than the generation before us. We should also not be faulted for the way we were raised by people who also did not know what they were doing either. There is no rule book to this thing, and just like all processes, each generation is going to have to make up for the mistakes of the generations that came before us. We should not be targeting certain groups of people or belittle them just because they don’t know certain struggles such as the Great Depression, gender inequality, lack of technology, or having to work day in and day out just to make a few bucks. Millennials are continuing to do what we can with the cards that we have been dealt. Mistakes will be made, and generations that follow will have to pick up some of our slack, but the point that I am trying to make is that we, the Millennials, are having to do that in today’s world, for the generations before us that could have never expected the kind of advancements that were made in such a short amount of time.

Instead of working against us, or forming opinions and stereotypes of who we are, more generations need to spend time understanding why we are this way. When we can work together, and share ideas, GOOD change will occur. It is a two-way street when it comes to sympathizing with people of all ages. No generation is perfect, and no generation is better than the last. We are just different in our own ways, and you should never count out a Millennial just because you don’t understand us.

Luckily for those of you that don’t fall under the category of ‘Millennial’, we now have social media to thank for being able to be our own person. Sure, a lot of us may be addicted to it, but without it, you most likely would have never read this article.

Thank you for reading. I appreciate you.

-Megan Lawrence

Watch the VIDEO that sparked the inspiration for this blog post!