Now that Millennials are taking over the workforce, it seems as though Gen X and Baby Boomers just can't grasp the fact that we are the new wave of what work looks like. There's endless complaints, theories, studies and thesis papers on the miseducation of Millennials, and it seems like the only one's miseducated are the ones who are writing about us. They have it all wrong.
When I saw the title of a New York Post article, "Millennials need to put away the juice boxes and grow up", I frowned, shook my head and sighed with disbelief. This recent chatter of Millennials stem from the New York Times article that follows the Co-Founder of Mic,a Millennial, and how is coping with managing a company full of Millennials. The Co-Founder mentioned how one employee lied about taking bereavement and posted a blog post about lying about it. Preceding this incident was the several think pieces surrounding the firing of a young Yelp employee who expressed her concerns for the low quality of life that her work limits her to in an open letter on Medium.
Adjectives like lazy, entitled and coddled are just a few words used to describe my generation. They say we can't let go of childhood, but let's be real. Who really likes to pay bills?
Now lying about bereavement and posting it on social media or on a blog is just plain dumb, but this Millennial's behavior should not be a reflection of an entire generation. It shouldn't be a reflection of over 3.1 million people, which is more than one quarter of the nation's population. Do we overshare? Maybe, but the former Yelp employee took the time to express the aggravation that some of us feel about being dealt this hand of cards. A bad hand of cards that was passed down to us, leaving us to figure out how to play it and win.
You know the saying every bad apple spoils the bunch, well the examples of Millennials not making the wisest decisions are the rare and the few. The behavior or antics of few have many employers concerned about the future, but why?
My generation has proven time and time again that we are innovators and leaders. We've taken the Internet to new heights and have created systems that help the efficiency of the workplace. We've created businesses and have created jobs for people across all generations. According to the New York Post, "Millennials never had their dreams shattered." I see dreams die everyday as my generation was forced to choose a factory job over college because of the lack of resources to further their education. I know people dreaming to work on Madison Ave, but with student loans and a minimum wage job, they can't even afford to move to a market like NYC. Of course you already need to live there to even be considered for most jobs. They say we can't let go of mommy and daddy, but most of the time our parents don't want us to leave the nest. I know many of my friends and colleagues decided to stay home after high school, because their parents didn't want them to leave. Their parents did not support them and when you don't have support. What do you do? For those who decided to trek new waters and attend college out-of-state, they were left with few employment options and were forced to return home. Then you have the group who gained employment and who are sustaining themselves on low salaries to try and retain some independence. Whenever you hear about the Baby Boomer and Gen X stories of those who were able to leave their humble beginnings to live out their dreams, many of them say a relative got them a one-way ticket to the rest of their lives. They had help, and there is nothing wrong with that.
Millennials don't need to be told to make money, but if they have the option to make money doing something they love, that's impactful and has meaning to them then what's the issue? Especially when you went to college and continue to pay loans on a degree, you should expect some ROI from it. Our parents worked 20+ years in the same mundane jobs, and I know they want us to have a more fulfilling career than they did.
As my generation embraces adulthood, we also had to deal with the economy. Instead of sinking with it, we are staying afloat by tenaciously and ambitiously creating opportunities for ourselves. Some of us decided not to complain about it and have turned lemons into the sweetest lemonade. We're using social media platforms not only to share and stay connected, but we've found ways to monetize it. I mean think about it, Michelle Phan makes $3 million a year as a vlogger on YouTube and she's not even 30-years-old. As we find ways to increase our income, our buying power will increase which is a powerful thing.
Like any generation you have a mix of people with different levels of grit, ambition, passion and willpower. It takes a special type of person to keep smiling when they can barely keep a roof over their head. It takes a special person to keep pursuing their dreams when they are up to their necks in debt. Some of us are fruitful, others are surviving and then there are those who don't try, but that doesn't come with age. I just think you either have it or you don't.
I just want the generation before us to give the knick picking a rest. If we really are that much of a headache, learn a thing or two from us. Create your own way to make money so you won't ever have to be in the workplace with us again.