Written by Sidjae Price, PricelessPlanning.org
Millennials are probably one of the most criticized and ridiculed generation. When you hear the word "millennial" individuals tend to have a long list of words about who we are, our goals, motivations, behaviors, how we speak, how we dress and the list goes on and on. Some call us lazy, impatient, self-entitled, and disrespectful. However, how can we host all of these negative attributes and yet be known as one of the most educated, entrepreneurship driven, tech savvy, and creative generation.
Many corporate businesses are recognizing that we are shaking things up in the business world and changing the game on how business is done. Due to this recognition we are being, sought out by corporate businesses led by previous generations to help them. So how could it be that we are good and bad at the same time? Perhaps, we are just a generation that is misunderstood. To further enlighten your mind, let us discuss five of the many stereotypes of millennials that are misunderstood.
We are always on our phones
Yes, we always have our phones in our hands. Some of us are perhaps playing Candy Crush, but not all millennials are the same. In the day and age of technology, our phone is a portable computer. Some of us are busy responding to emails, approving a client's document, closing a business deal, checking our PayPal accounts and of course posting on social media so we can market our business digitally. We could even be logging on to Blackboard for our college course, posting on the discussion board, checking the grade on the paper that we recently submitted, reading our e-book assigned for the course, or maybe even reading the latest article that CNN tweeted. Therefore, before you shake your head when you see us on our phone, think of all the things that we could be doing besides chasing Pokémons.
We are not contributing to society
In doing academic research on Generation X and Millennial entrepreneurs, I stumbled across some information. It mentioned that previously Generation X and Baby Boomers, were once stereotyped as not contributing anything to society. Could it be that there is no generation to have ever contributed anything to society? Alternatively, is it that we are all just following what our parents and grandparents said, and unconsciously associating these thought to others? While I cannot speak for other generations, I am certain that millennials have contributed to society. We have lead the way for same-sex rights, racial and political issues, which is beginning to contribute for a more inclusive society. We are also the founder of almost every social media platform and other operational business systems that small businesses, large corporations and universities use to market and operate daily.
We are lazy Part 1
To say that millennials are lazy is a bit bias being the life cards we were dealt. To begin addressing a lot of this issue, let us look at job hunting as a millennial. Corporations are asking us to have job experience that is almost impossible to have. Being that during the time when we graduated college, the country was in a recession. This would then mean that many of us were unemployed or probably bussing tables at a restaurant to make ends meet. Therefore, a lot of us are just now getting entry-level jobs while we have accrued several degrees. This of course would mean that we are overqualified, with little in-field training. So are we lazy to find a good paying job, or is it the bad set of cards we were dealt? Besides we all can agree that if you went to school to get a Masters degree, you did not attain your degree to work at a burger joint.
We are lazy Part 2
Since the fair opportunity at jobs after college did not happen, a few of us turned to entrepreneurship as a quick escape. As we all know, anyone who chooses to build a business is in for a lifetime of work. This lifetime of work automatically means that you are not lazy, because you end up putting in more hours than the traditional 9-5. Not to mention if you are parent, in graduate school, or even an advocate of world issues (as us millennials typically are). The point is that how lazy could one be if they are an entrepreneur?
We want a shiny trophy
Not only do we want trophies for doing a good job, but also every musician and actor. Receiving a trophy is something that has been embedded in our society. This deeply rooted issue proves to be biased and unfair, when you can turn on the TV and view another award show issuing trophies to individuals. It is also certain that not all who receives those trophies are millennials, but they love receiving them. As you can see this issue is not just about millennials, but instead this is an issue recognized by Abraham Maslow (1943) in his Hierarchy of Human Needs. Humans in general, not just millennials need to gain approval from peers. In other words, humans, including millennials seek to feel appreciated and not just by receiving a $0.25 raise.
Millennials should not be the premier generation that is constantly classified and stereotyped. Every generation has been influenced by culture, religious, personal and political beliefs. It is quite certain that if you get two millennials from different ends of the world, they both will not be able to meet categorization of the stereotypes of millennials. This is why it is important to focus on an individual as just that, and not associate them with stereotypes. The stereotypes of a millennial are evidently misunderstood.