They say that baby boomers are the selfish workaholics. Generation Xers are the unfocused cynics. And finally, millennials are the lazy snowflakes.
I’ve heard it so many times that I feel like I missed the memo on a script:
“Oh, you millennials… you’re lazy and want everything handed to you without working for it!”
But, what if I told you that the millennials aren’t actually that bad? What if I told you that we’re one of the most socially and technologically innovative generations of all time–that we have this hyper self-awareness, or that we’re passionate about social reform?
Sure, we’re not perfect, and this isn’t a case to say we are. As a generation, there’s some truth in what some people say about our patience or self-obsession. I mean, come on, we sensationalized the selfie. I’m not pretending there aren’t some bizarre things about us, but I do want to highlight our strengths as a generation. 🙂
1. We’re a highly educated generation: We know the value of a degree in today’s job market. We get that a college degree is the new high school diploma, and although experience becomes more important in our careers later on, schooling is going to give us those initially job opportunities.
2. We want to enjoy our working environment: We want to take advantage of the opportunities our employers offer us and benefit from them in more ways than just from a salary. Sure, your work shouldn’t be your entire life, but it’s a decent part of it, so we want to make it as enjoyable as possible. This translates into overall happier and more productive employees.
3. We don’t take bullying: In the past, bullying was a character building experience. However, as time progresses, the importance of bystander intervention has increased. We’re one of the first generations to receive formally training in standing up to bullies. We realize that it can lead to mental health problems in adults, and we want to prevent this type of trauma.
4. We’re catalysts for a mass social mental health reform: We’ll talk about the difficult topics, whether it’s depression, anxiety or suicide. We know that there’re other people who feel like us, and we want to make people aware of both the issues and that they’re not alone. We value the mental health days, and we know it’s as important as physical health.
5. We’re interconnected and collaborative: We get that there’s a world around us. We can use social media to talk to people in every country. To us, the community isn’t just our home nation–it’s every nation, because we know we can learn something from everyone.
6. We know that things can fall apart: 9/11 and The Great Recession happened early enough in our lives that we realized that sometimes, we don’t have a safety net. We know that there are some people who just want to hurt us. We also understand that not everything is guaranteed, and many of us felt the real effects from the crises.
7. We’re proud of our creativity: With the dawn of the internet, we’ve found a million ways to creatively express ourselves. From Youtube videos to Deviantart, we’re not afraid to be break out iMovie or a paint brush and show the world what we feel.
8. We’re that bridge generation with tech: We didn’t grow up with an iPad in our hands. We grew up on VHS tapes and passing actual notes in class. Many of us were teenagers by the time social media really hit, so we understood the pre-hyper-tech world better than generations after us will. However, we also have a lot of experience with social media, so we can empathize a little bit with both generations.
*Lastly, I’d like to thank Jake Picnic for encouraging me to actually write this post. As they also say, not all heroes wear capes.*