The Myths of Millennials and the Business World
Today the millennial generation has been stereotyped as privileged, self –absorbed, unmotivated and the list can go on. Being part of the millennial generation (anyone born between 1980 and 2000), I have to say, I’m equally frustrated with some of my peers and also offended to be stereotyped as something that is the opposite of my own personality. What is more frustrating is the generational discrimination that is appearing in the business world in America. I can only speak on behalf of my own country since I’ve never worked outside of the country.
Debunking the Myths
All Millennials are lazy, privileged and entitled.
I can almost always tell when I’m either being interviewed or speaking with a person of an older generation they have already assumed I’m not qualified, not skilled or unmotivated enough to be held with any respect. More often than not, Millennials are overlooked for advanced or non-entry level positions based solely on age. Obviously, it is frustrating, but it’s not an excuse not to excel. If anything I wish Millennials would use those preconceived ideals as motivation to prove the stereotypes false.
As a hardworking millennial, I have to say these stereotypes make me irate, but I do also understand where the myth has come from. I can say from personal experience and the actions observed by others in my generation, that some Millennials do work very hard to achieve their goals. Similar to the way some people in every generation work harder than others. Every generation has unmotivated, lazy and entitled individuals, so it’s time we quit associating one generation to these character flaws.
I do have to agree, there are indeed many Millennials who are unmotivated, privileged and overly entitled, and they aggravate me as well. A member of any generation can possess the listed character flaws. If someone was not taught or did not learn the importance of hard work and perseverance, most likely they will not possess those qualities. In general, as a society, we need to learn, we don’t deserve anything unless we have worked to achieve it. Not only Millennials, but also the subsequent generations are being taught that they “deserve it all.” In reality, we deserve nothing outside of the freedom to work to make our own future.
Advantages of Millennials
So I’ve discussed the disadvantages, the myths, and the honesty about our privileged society, but it’s not all “doom and gloom.” Millennials do offer a variety of generation advantages. We are a generation of technology enthusiasts, creative thinkers and active risk takers.
Our generation was the first generation that grew up in the computer and technology “boom” era. We know tech, we rely on it, we can hack it, maximize its usage, and are constantly inventing forms daily. As the first generation to have used almost every new major social media platform first, from MySpace to Facebook to Twitter to Instagram and every platform in between, we even invented most of these platforms. We used the platforms before there were ads and before they were used for marketing and sales. So as the marketing sector is rapidly growing, Millennials are excelling in the industry due to our aptitude for technology and social media. We think outside of the box and away from traditional channels of marketing because we are searching for products and services in entirely different way than the previous generations. Millennials, by definition, range from the ages of 16-36, which is the prime target market for most major products and services. While the younger portion of our generation might not have substantial buying power, the mid to upper age bracket tends to have higher expendable income. To know how to market to our generation it’s useful to know how the vast majority searches for these products and services.
Another quality I’ve noticed is my generations’ lack of conformity. We are constantly questioning societal norms and the 9-5 standard jobs and workweek. We are dreamers, but we are also creators and innovators. Many of our generation have completed higher education but unable to find jobs in our sector of study or even gainful employment. We have been forced to think outside the box and make the jobs and careers for ourselves. The quote, “Out of adversity comes opportunity” has almost become the motto for Millennials. Again, debunking that myth that we are lazy and entitled. We have many that have worked hard to create a better business world for future generations. Our future work environment is remote, outside of the basic 9-5 and in industries that may not even exist yet. We are willing to take the risks and work the uncommon and unknown jobs because we have seen our parents work their entire lives from 9-5 and give everything for us to succeed. We want better for our generation and the generations after us. Our generation values life and exploring new places and cultures. We are more accepting of other people and we see that there is more to life than simply an office position, which is why we work extremely hard to advance ourselves and the companies we work for and create.
One thing is true, we are young, we might not know everything about an industry, but we have the energy and unlimited access to learning tools around us to develop. We understand that our college degrees and formal education alone does not set us apart, so many of us have turned to online and outside sources to learn and gain new skills. This environment of continuous learning makes Millennials excellent candidates for positions, because we are eager to learn and we have the energy to complete a multitude of tasks. Most in our generation are also delaying starting a family and marriage to focus on their careers. While that may also have it’s disadvantages, it means we devote the majority of our energy to our success and we don’t settle. With less family commitments we are also a more active generation, focused on fitness and healthier eating habits. Healthier employees can work more and tend to have a more positive outlook doing their jobs.
So now I urge you to rethink any preconceived negative connotations about Millennials and instead focus on the positives of the individuals our generation has produced. We are creative, dedicated, innovative and have a multitude of strengths. Millennials are assets, not liabilities and can become a vital part of any business.