Q: What’s your biggest pet peeve about the way people write about your generation?
I’m a millennial. By definition, anyone between the ages of 18-34 depending on who you’re speaking to. When we’re written about in the media, it’s usually NOT from our perspective. The people that write about us are usually older and more established in their careers and opinions. Oftentimes we’re depicted as lazy, spoiled, and other not so nice adjectives. That is my biggest pet peeve. The people negatively criticizing forget one small caveat: They raised us.
Our parents and grandparents raised us to believe that the only way to achieve success and stability is by getting a college degree. But, they didn’t tell us that college costs would skyrocket and put us in debt longer than we’d ever be in a classroom. Obtaining degrees for jobs that will most likely be replaced by technology within 20 years. Or less.
They raised us to believe that getting out on our own, with apartments, spouses and children is a sign of adulthood and “we’ve made it.” But, declined to take into account the cost of living has gone up without a reasonable wage increase. Pair that with the college debt and we can barely take care of ourselves. So yes, some of us live still live at home in our late 20’s. Some of us decide not to have spouses or children right now. We can’t afford it.
We’re not lazy, or spoiled. In fact, we are one of the hardest working generations I’ve seen. I have friends juggling multiple jobs just to stay afloat. We are entrepreneurs and innovators. We’re just in survival mode. Which naturally looks different than it did for our parents at our age. We’re finding our way slowly but surely. Allow us to. Without comparisons or the “When I was your age stories.”
Comparison. We are the technology babies. The Internet, social media and reality tv have given us three new worlds and all the possibilities. But a lifetime lived behind a screen is killing us. We try so hard to live up to the images we see and feel horrible when we don’t. So much so that the number of us who have anxiety and depression as a result has gone up. So before saying that we are lacking soft skills and don’t know how to communicate, dig deeper. Help us. Teach us how in that case.
My wish going forward, is that millennials be portrayed in a more positive, balanced light. For exactly what we are. Not just the negative things. We are not the lazy, entitled, technology addicts you might think. We are activists and world changers, innovators and non-conformists. The melting pot of cultures. The history makers and record breakers. After all, you raised us.