If you’re a Millennial, then you’ve most likely heard the stereotypes about you as you enter the workforce. And let’s be honest...most of them aren’t pretty. In the event that you’re NOT a Millennial, then shame on you for labeling these young people. You’re casting judgement on young professionals. And while they’re NOT perfect, neither was your generation.
A Generation War
It’s easy for older generations to look down on Millennials, those young whipper snappers, and to describe - in detail - all the things that they do wrong. We may as well call it what it is: a Generation War. I can think of no other generation that is out to eat their own young, but we are.
Is it because older generations have suffered and believe that this generation should too? Perhaps. Or maybe older friends and relatives just don’t understand their entrepreneurial mindsets and use of co-working spaces. (Shout out to the Speak Easy!)
Haters Gonna Hate
But you Baby Boomers and Generation Xers aren’t the only haters. While Millennials are known as the most open-minded generation, they love to hate on one another. (This goes beyond Mean Girls.) Why?
Who knows. Lord knows they get enough criticism from older generations, especially in the corporate world. Millennials/Interns are forced into a corporate game of Survivor as they are pitted against one another. There’s an immediate culture of blame that lands on this young blood. I mean, heaven forbid that leadership would question themselves. It quickly becomes all about pointing fingers.
Overall, Millennials are forced to overcome stereotypes, including that they’re lazy and entitled. More recently, they’ve been accused of the following:
Misconception: Millennials are “killing industries”
On top of all that, this generation’s being blamed for “killing” industries right and left. That’s right. It’s the 20 year-old’s fault that industries are dying. Not only are they responsible for the downward spiral of beer (Apparently, they don’t drink enough of it?), they have now been accused of killing bees. Really? BTW, it’s not like the industry is going to die. Beer is not going anywhere. But the point remains: Do we actually need 100,000 micro-breweries?
Misconception: Millennials “don’t live in reality”
Young people would benefit from learning conflict resolution and being upfront with people instead of constantly trying to “keep the peace.” It’s also important that in social media and in life, people have the courage to show people their struggles and failures instead of trying to look like they have perfect lives. The reason we talk so much about success stories and we can think of examples off the top of our heads is because they’re unusual.
Are Millennials perfect? No. But they have a lot to offer, especially the workplace. Take this Washington Examiner article as Exhibit A, which claims that this generation works harder than those before it. Not to mention that they are full of passionate, new ideas about how to transform workplaces.
Problems associated with youth and inexperience are chalked up to “Oh, you’re a Millennial.”
And while those stereotypes and sentiments are sometimes true, they leave scars, which can result in cynicism, even from this mostly- optimistic generation. In the end, they’re on their own to figure out how to navigate this world, including the negative stereotypes that come in the workplace.
So if you’re a hater, watch out. This generation IS going to take over the world some day, so you better get on their good side now.
Want to hear more on this topic? Listen to Post-Modern Living with Chris the Brain’s Podcast “Anatomy of a Hater.”