Millennials, watch yourself. They hate us out there. To older generations, we are Kanye. Not the old school Kanye that put out boundary pushing music. No, we are the loud mouthed Kanye, that only Kanye loves.
Yeah, we need to improve our PR because we’re not looking so great to the rest of the world.
Pulling from what I learned in my high school AP American History class and the internet, every American generation has disliked, if not flat out hated, subsequent generations. Millennials are no different. Baby boomers hate us. Generation X hates us. Honestly, we will probably hate the generations after us too.
If you don’t know if you are a Millennial or the characteristics of the generation, start here.
Millennials apparently just don’t get it
I hear complaints about Millennials from my parents, to my older co-workers, to the media, to articles on legitimate online news outlets. I had a general idea and understanding that we were not liked. The only thing I didn’t really understand was why.
The word I hear thrown around the most is “entitled”. It is easy to brush that word off of my millennial shoulder because I don’t think I am entitled. Why am I entitled? What am I entitled to? Where I can get what I’m entitled to? I want it. How does one act entitled? I was puzzled.
Through this confusion I had to ask, are we entitled? If that word is thrown around so commonly by older generations, are they right? They are supposedly wiser than us, albeit less tech savvy, but do they have a point? With all these questions swirling around my head, I did what any normal Millennial would do when they have a questions – I googled it.
The reason they hate us
The Me Generation. The perception is that we think that we come first and throw in a splash of not taking no for an answer. We come to win and expect we will. To top it off, we expect things to be done our way, if they are not, we move on to something else. This happens the most in the workplace where we “don’t have any loyalty.”
Millennials are way too focused on ourselves and our perception to the outside world. We have way too much concern in becoming popular and attaining celebrity status. Millennials get more satisfaction from likes on a page over growing our own self-confidence through failing and trying again.
Cold World Realities. We don’t understand the cold realities of the world because we have been raised with silver spoons in our mouths. Although we are well traveled, open minded, and increasingly tolerant, we just don’t “get it”. We have been trained to believe that we will always win and be rewarded just by showing up. Everyone gets a trophy.
We don’t understand what it is like to work hard for what we want because it’s been handed to us. We lack the same work ethic that the older generations have had to learn from a young age. They had to struggle to get to where they are in a way we never had to. The last nail in our entitled coffin is the fact that we don’t respect authority. We don’t like the traditional bureaucracy of the workplace. We like to be open free thinking and live on our schedules.
In defense of millennial “entitlement”
After all this research, I have found that we actually aren’t as “entitled” as people make us out to be. It is totally understandable that we are labeled as entitled by generations who are used to the status quo.
They have built businesses and organizations based on a strict structure and hierarchy. Throw us fluid thinking, structure questioning, work-life balance loving millennials in there and you have literal chaos.
This generation who currently hates us for shaking things up, is the ironically, the generation that created us. They are our parents, who raised us to believe that we can do or be anything as long as we set our mind to it. They told us to “go have fun” and “don’t work to hard” and just “do your best” even if our best wasn’t being number one.
Why? Because they were never able to just have fun or live life without struggle. They had to settle for the typical American Dream of a spouse, 2.5 kids, and a white picket fence. Working the job that would make them the most money, even if there was no self fulfillment. They raised us to have everything that we wanted because they were not able to growing up.
we are the product of past generations
Here we sit, the product of those words and a trophy for everyone, not willing to settle for anything less than what makes us happy. Yes, I honestly can see how that would make us seem “entitled.” I will accept that we are a little entitled but only because we were taught to be.
How can we not be when we were groomed to be that way? Hate us all you want but we were what the Baby Boomers created.
If you think about it, the workplace is where older generations are exposed to Millennials the most – other than at home (their children or younger relatives). These are the only time they get to see our personalities. Both of these sample experiences are skewed. How we are in the workplace does not entirely reflect who we are as people or who we are as a generation.
There is a lot more to it.
Unlike older generations, who put career first and define themselves by their careers, we appreciate a work life balance. Majority of Millennials do not solely define ourselves by what brings in the paycheck bi-monthly. We define ourselves by our experiences, hobbies, hopes, dreams, friends, interests, etc. Yes, that may annoy you but we have other priorities.
We are currently stuck in this middle ground of trying to search for an find the right “fit”, when it comes to work. We were fed a lie we can be anything but, we honestly can’t be anything. Here we are a lost generation wandering around from job to job just trying to find one that makes us reasonably happy. We’re building something different, carving out a workplace that fits us.
Before it was all about structure, structure, structure. Older generations scream “entitled” because we don’t have any loyalty to one company or stick to a job for an extended period. But why should we? When we have so many options that it’s daunting to just pick one? When the same companies who ask us for their loyalty do not give us theirs?
Sure we want what we want, the way we want it, and we want it now, but if we can get that, shouldn’t we? If I have the opportunity to do whatever I want (like I have been told) shouldn’t I do it? If that makes me entitled I’ll wear that label with honor. Because why stick to how things are when you can make them better?
Every generation has sweeping generalizations
The take away here is that every generation faces this sort of backlash. Because each generation has been brought up in drastically different circumstances the issues we face are different. Naturally, the issues that we as Millennials face are misunderstood, misconstrued, and even not considered “issues” to those generations before us.
We have a bad rap people but it’s okay. Kanye still puts out good music right? Eventually we’ll be the ones hating on the generations to come for not understanding or worrying to much about things that do not matter. That just comes with age.
To leave on a good note, here is a TIME magazine article that explains why we may be the new great generation. A generation that is so progressive that we bring in a new golden age of thinking.
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