Millennials Stand UP!


I’m getting so fucking burnt out when it comes to listening to the older generations berate and decry the Millennials of the world.  I can’t be the only one who is sick and tired of our generation being associated with so many negative tropes and attributes, right? 
As one of the few Millennials in a mostly conservative office that trends a bit older, I often hear all sorts of negative stereotypes being tied to my generation. Most of the time, I brush it off and ignore the haters. 
But time and time again it seems like the older generations enjoy looking around at what is wrong with the world (which FYI,  they’ve had plenty of power and time to try and fix), and associating it with Millennial’s as if it is OUR fault and OUR fault alone for the state of American society. 
This pisses me off. I’m not one to commonly utilize the phrase but I can feel the utterances of “OK BOOMER” solidifying in my mouth. I look around at my generation and see a generation that has faced the greatest amount of financial uncertainty since the Great Depression, whilst also being more productive, educated, and diverse than any generation that has come before us. 
We work hard. We go to college. We find efficiencies in processes within the work place that have been tired and ineffective for a long time. We find value in ourselves and command respect from our employers. We aren’t willing to accept less than that value. We are mobile. We are connected. We are socially aware. We want to make the world a better place for our children than what it was for ourselves. We are creative. We believe in love for all. We believe in the empowerment of women. We strive to be more inclusive. We are looking to create an even playing field for all participants, working to erode at the barriers created by Race, Color, Sexual Orientation, or Religious Leanings. We are progressive. 
We are not snowflakes. We are not morally inadequate. We are definitely not what is wrong with American society. In fact, we are the solution. 
So in the spirit of a new decade and potentially new direction on the horizon of American culture, I want to break down some of the trends that are popping up for the Millennial Generation and use that to kick off a discussion about our place as a generation in the world. 
Millennials are defined in many different ways but mostly, a Millennial is an individual born from 1981 to 1996. In 2020, these are people who are mostly ages 24 to 39. Before we get too bogged down in the details, I wanted to look at an easy to point to example of the sorts of attitudes that many Millennials end up encountering in the work place. One such negative opinion can be found in this article penned by a self-proclaimed “Gen Xer”. The article is titled, “What’s Wrong with My Millennial Employees”. I’ll give you a quick rundown of her grievances with Millennials. 
“They’re cocky”
“They take things for granted.”
“They think they’re exempt from rules.”
“They don’t follow through”
They don’t want to pay their dues.” 
All of these quotes from the article point to areas that seem to want to define an entire generation based on anecdotal evidence. I also think it is a serious misinterpretation of Millennials meant to empower the individuals who consistently misalign Millennials with what they see wrong in the world. 
The author confuses positive attributes with negative ones. “They don’t want to pay their dues.” I believe that most Millennials, especially those who have graduated from college, have a stronger sense of self and identity than older generations had coming into the work force. 
With that better understanding of one’s identity, I also believe that we as a generation have a stronger inclination of our own value, within the context of a work place. Because we have a better understanding of our value and self-worth, many of us are unwilling to sacrifice or to waste away, slowly climbing the rings of the corporate ladder if a more viable path to responsibility and self-sufficiency materializes along the way. Many of our parents or grand-parents were more accustomed to the process of staying with a single company for a long period of time and paying their dues. But if there is a better path to success to be paved, why wait for someone else to pave it? Are Millennials trailblazers? I’d argue yes. 
Is it a negative to have a profound understanding of one’s self worth? Perhaps it is a negative for small businesses that can’t afford to pay a competitive salary and see more turnover because they are trying to underpay an overqualified candidate. 
But for the individuals who understand their own value at a company and are willing to job hop until they find a position that aligns their personal goals with their career goals, financial goals, etc, it is giving them power. We are all a part of the gig economy which means that we are beholden to no one. The job market is better than it has been ever in the history of our country. 
What does this afford Millennials? The power of choice. Those choices can become even more compounded when you look at how many industries have gone remote, allowing for individuals to work from home instead of being subjugated to an office/cubicle lifestyle. 
In a world of infinite potential avenues of online interaction, choice matters a great deal to the population of Millennials who have become expert navigators of the social media realm and in leveraging the internet in order to become more educated, well rounded, and more aware of the opportunities that exist for those who are willing to explore them. 
Choice is one of our greatest tools and to ignore the power of choice is to be blind to the power that Millennials can wield within society. Beyond conceptual ideas and philosophical posturing on choice, let’s chomp on some bite sized data. 
In analyzing some info from Pew Social Trends, there are some excellent data points to consider as we peer into the potential future that Millennials may encounter. 
I’ve created a bullet point list of the highlights for quick consumption and in my next article, I will look to dig deeper into those points. 
·         Millennial women, in line with statistics for Generation X women, “are more likely to participate in the nation’s workforce than prior generations.” 
·         Millennials are the “2nd largest generation in the U.S. electorate” which will begin to have an impact on the direction of politics within the United States.
·         “Among Millennials, around four in ten (39%) of those aged between 25 and 37 have a bachelor’s degree or higher”
·         72% of Millennial Women are employed versus 40% for the “Silent Generation” whose women began entering the work force around 1966. 
·         Millennials are “more likely to be living at home with their parents, and for longer stretches.”
·         In 2018, “15% of Millennials were living in their parents’ home which is double the share of early Boomers and Silents.” 
·         According to Business Insider, “While Millennials have benefited from a 67% rise in wages since 1970, […] this increase hasn’t kept up with inflating living costs” in terms of rent prices, home prices, college tuition costs as well as medical costs. 
·         “Nearly 45% of Millennials have student-loan debt.” 
·         “As of 2019, student-loan debt reached a national total of $1.5 trillion, according to Student Loan Here. Millennialsin the graduating class of 2018 have an average student-loan debt of $29,800.” 
·         In general, the typical Millennial is getting married and having kids later in life as compared to older generations. 
Ok so we’ve got a pretty substantial list of bullet points that are all pieces to the puzzle of the general outlook on life for Millennials. My goal for the next few articles will be to go through each one and try to glean more information from these points and better understand what is going on under the hood of the Millennial generation. 
Why? 
Because I’d like to work to brainstorm solutions for our generation and how we can work together as a collective to improve our situation for ourselves but also for our kids and the generations that are coming after us. I’ll be chewing on the above information and will be back with more analysis of these data points as we continue to look forward to ascertain what the future really holds for the Millennials of the world! 
To Be Continued... 

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