Don’t Call Me A Millennial

There is nothing I LOATHE more in the world than someone calling me a millennial. A millennial is defined as someone who was born between 1982 and 2000. Give or take a few years depending on who is writing the article. The Today Show had many interviews, Time Magazine did a darling cover story called The Me Me Me Generation, and the world exploded with infographics about all of the millennials likes, dislikes, tendencies, and behavior patterns in 2013. The only thing that didn’t happen was giving millennials their own zoo exhibit.

Typical characteristics of millennials are that they are lazy, self centered, face deep in an iPhone, think they are smarter than anyone old enough to have only known vinyls, and expect the world to conform to their every whim. People have done studies on how millennials will change the business world forever, what impact they will have on the political fate of the world, and how they will change the face of retail for centuries to come. There’s a whole lotta pressure riding on millennials right now. Some people have even gone as far to make fall out shelters to hide from the impact this generation will make on society.

Now in an effort to not be biased, there are many people sticking up for millennials, like this article here. There is also one positive infographic for every negative infographic about this group. Some people have even gone as far as suggesting millennials may have some decent things to offer the world. But the general stigma is that if you’re a millennial, you’re a self-centered brat. Which is why I resent being called one.

My parents did not raise me in a world where every thing was catered to my needs. (Thanks Mom and Dad!) Many articles have been written stating that millennials have grown up getting a trophy, whether they win or lose, having rules bent to fit their needs, or were simply never told “No.” Well news flash world, me and many of my friends were told “No,” and never given a trophy when we lost pee-wee soccer. Just like the generation that walked uphill, both ways, in the snow to get to school, we too were expected to follow the rules. So I don’t expect my boss to turn my cube into a bouncy house, make my work hours fit with my sleeping patterns, or give me a gold star every time I blink. I fully expect to adapt, within reason, to the parameters of my job. What I do desire, is to learn from my superiors. Learn how to function in this business environment and learn how to be the best that I can possibly be so I can be successful within this current career.

I am not self centered. Do I have stretches where I feel like I have so much going on that I can’t possibly think beyond my own world? Absolutely, but who doesn’t? However, that doesn’t mean that, even in those moments, almost every decision I make I am not thinking about its affect on others. In fact my first thought when something is said or done is: what will other people think of this? I am also probably super nosey overly concerned with what is happening in my friends and acquaintances lives. There are some days where I realize that I have addressed so many non-self related issues that I haven’t even eaten a meal yet. Will I concede that there are plenty of people in the millennial group who have lost the ability to see that others do in fact exist in this world? Yes. But I think that holds true to every generation. I was raised, again by two rockstar parents, to consider other people. I’m even an only child and I still somehow miraculously manage to maintain the ability to recognize and acknowledge other beings.

I expect to get what I earn. If there is anything I fault my parents for, it’s teaching me that you get what you earn and you will be rewarded appropriately. Instilling a sense that things should be fair and awarded based off your performance and effort. It pains me to see people “handed” things that they did not earn. I work hard and I expect to be compensated accordingly. This “millennial sense of entitlement” irks me to no end. When I started applying for jobs, I did not go for the CEO positions. I applied for anything and everything at the entry-level. I am a firm believer in working your way to the top. So when you see that I was born in 1991 on my application, do not assume I am coming in to steal your position. I want to learn from you and find a way to earn my way to a superior role. But I am in no way immediately gunning for your job.

Yes, I’m tech savvy. Yes, I type faster than anyone you’ve seen before. Yes, I will probably never go anywhere without my phone. And yes, you betcha I am going to constantly want the latest and greatest tech gadget. But you know what? That’s life now. Eventually we will live in a world run by computers and gadgets. For goodness sake, we’ve already put phones in watches and eyeglasses. It’s only a matter of time before the robots come marching in. This doesn’t mean I’m disengaged or uninterested. It means I’m attempting so desperately to stay current and connected. Do I want to check my Facebook and Twitter at work? Yes, I do. But I’m not checking it to like my friend’s latest selfie. More news stories hit Twitter before any news station can broadcast it. I found out about the Boston bombing via my friend’s retweet from her friend at BC, before the local news station had even realized what was going on.

I know I’ve been ranting for what seems like hours but I promise this is my last point. Political involvement. I am the first person to admit that I am no where near as politically involved as I should be. I have my opinions, like every great millennial does, but I lack the desire to take the time to learn enough to do anything about it. But my outlook on political involvement isn’t skewed because of the laziness I feel towards political research. It’s the sheer hopelessness I feel about our current situation. When the stock market crashed, I watched the grown-ups in my life lose a lot of assets. I listened to my parents talk about the affect this would have on my college funds, their retirement funds, and the future of their finances. I watched friends’ parents get laid off and struggle to keep what jobs they had. I then watched friends get shipped off to places where it was it doubtful they’d return anytime soon. I started learn about things like welfare. I signed up for student loans. Attempted to get financing. Applied for hundreds of jobs to only get a handful of interviews. I’ve spent the majority of my adult life in debt and plan to spend the next 10 years fighting it off. To me I feel a sense of helplessness when it comes to changing the political realm. In my mind it’s such a giant mess that I can’t even begin to find a starting point. Now this doesn’t mean I’ve said forget it and stuck my head in the sand. I’ve turned to others actively involved in politics for advice to start my own involvement. Just give me a hot minute to wrap my head around everything and I promise I’ll get involved.

The moral of this post is this: don’t assume that just because I was born in 1991 that I am going to be a millennial monster. I’m on Team Nurture. My parents raised me to be quite well rounded. Or maybe that’s the millennial narcissist in me? Either way, at least give me a chance to prove to you that I will not only work my booty off but also absorb any life / business lessons you can share with me.

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