If you have ever Googled ‘millennial article’ you will be overwhelmed by people’s opinions of this seemingly controversial generation. People of all ages, careers, and backgrounds think they have millennials pegged when in reality; very few have bothered to ask millennials to share their perspectives. This blog will hopefully shed some light on common myths and stereotypes about millennials (of which I am one) and provide insights from the perspective of a real-life employee born in 1996.
The most intriguing myth I’ve encountered is that Gen X and Baby Boomers believe that millennials were raised improperly. The ironic thing about that statement is that those are the people that did the raising. Nonetheless, the criticisms include:
- We were always told “yes”: Maybe it’s true that our parents coddled us slightly as we grew up, that that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Being told yes means we expect the best from ourselves, which translates positively in our work.
- We were given trophies for participation or even for losing: This article talks about why baby boomers were overprotective parents and that it may not be as bad as people are describing.
- We have never experienced life without the Internet or social media, which means we are obsessed with ourselves: We are not narcissistic (well, at least not most of us). We are just better at reacting to this ever-changing time for technology and advances in communication. We are prepared for a world that is always throwing us new things and we want people to know that we are confident.
- We have never experienced failure: This one is just not true. Although we were handed a smaller trophy for losing a little league baseball game we still felt that pit in our stomachs that was disappointment in ourselves.
- We have been told we are outstanding our entire lives: Perhaps it is true that we’ve always been show appreciation and affection from parents and coaches, but that does not negatively effect how we are in the workplace. If anything, it creates a need within us to always succeed and look for what we can do to improve.
- We aren’t good at taking criticism: Although we are a confident generation, we crave advice from mentors, family, and friends. This applies to a millennial’s career because we except to be guided along in our job to help reach our goals and work productively. This article sheds light on what millennials are truly all about.
We may be known as the “watch me” generation but perhaps the very traits that we are criticized for are what makes us great workers. We have been raised (by baby boomers) to believe that we can do anything we set our minds to as long as we put the effort in. We also thirst for direction from the leaders around us and want to be told exactly what needs to be done and how to do it. Like generations before us, we take our careers very seriously and do not want to let down our colleagues and teams. One of the only differences is that we don’t need to sit in a cubical from nine to five to complete our necessary tasks. Our nontraditional upbringing also leads to work more effectively by our own individual standards. Being different than the workers that our parents were is not a negative attribute. We are shaping ourselves along with the world around us.
Possibly the biggest myth of all is the idea that we are self-absorbed because of our involvement in technology. It is true that we are the first generation in the world that has always had access to a computer and the Internet but that only means that there is no way to compare us. Our self-esteem and perception of others are based on our interactions on social media, which means we must be confident enough to display our entire lives online for anyone to see. This makes us great employees because of our openness and honesty.
Moral of the story; don’t judge a generation by it’s news articles. As more and more millennials enter the workforce America will see a great shift in morale and collaboration. Just because we were raised differently than any generation before us does not make us bad workers or lazy narcissists. Give us a chance and we’ll show you what we can do