Millennials were born around 1982–2004, and it’s undeniable that they have taken over baby boomers. The New York Times describes them as the now generation, the ME generation.
“They have trouble making decisions. They would rather hike the Himalayas than climb the corporate ladder. They crave entertainment, but their attention span is as short as one zap of a TV dial.” – Time Magazine (1990).
According to a Pew research study (2010), 51% of Millennials say that the most important thing they will every do in their lives is be a good parent. Subsequently, the next answer that got the highest rating (30%) was be a good wife/husband or have a successful marriage. Delving into these results one can conclude that Millennials are not the self-absorbed narcissists that the world portrays them as but as a group who is skeptical of the system they are born into which hasn’t really made room for them to develop and grow as an emerging generation.
These Millennials then turn their attention to things which are within their grasp and situations to which they can control. Those are the things in life which are in their abilities to affect change in the world and most importantly change in the perceptions prior generations have of them.
Every generation is different from the previous generations and because of these differences it creates conflict. These conflicts are seen in all stages of life and all aspects of life from the family upbringing to the corporate and social setting. For example, the predecessors to Millennials, Gen X, were raised by strict parents who acted as authority figures in the household while millennials’ parents are more understanding and supportive of their children acting as friends and ‘cheerleaders’. This occurrence could account for Gen X’s being more disciplined and focused while Millennials are seen as more entitled and ‘spoilt’.
Of course Millennials are denying that anything is wrong with their generation and think they are an ‘ok’ generation, they still think they have a lot to learn.
Before you take it upon yourself to draw assumptions of persons in another group and call them the worst, Kelly Williams Brown in her TEDxSalem also states that it is important to look into those assumptions:
“I don’t think there is anything especially wrong with Millennials. I think that we are exactly the same as any other generation before us. We have some new tools, but we are doing what every generation has had to do when you’re struggling with the sometimes messy almost always complicated process – growing up.
So the next time you find yourself reading one of these pieces and agreeing about how dreadful Millennials are, do one of two things: 1. Think about your 22 self, and ask yourself how some of these things could’ve applied to that person and 2. Think of a Millennial that you really like and ask yourself ‘when I read this, does it really reflect that person that I know’.”
Whether you want to accept it or not, they are the generation who will be taking over the leadership roles and ultimately the world in the next decade or so, and while previous generations think they are ‘no good’ they nonetheless will rise to the occasion whether they like it or not. With that said, the never ending cycle will continue where they will find fault with their successors and so on. In light of this, let’s try to make them feel as comfortable in their capabilities that they are in fact doing something right. They soon will be taking up the responsibilities of being the next CEO of a big company, senator, or the next president. If not, they will just be another miserable generation that the next generation will complain about.
By Alexandra Daley