The next generation entering the workforce is called The Millennials, people born between the years of 1980 and 2000. This next generation has a reputation of being spoiled, impatient, needing regular self-assurance, and always wanting to express themselves. I would first like to say that I am proud to be one of them.
The millennials grew up in a time when parents continually told their kids they were special. They were also told not to worry about anything, because “Mommy will take care of it.” I can’t remember being explicitly told that I was special, but I always knew at a young age that I was unique and one of a kind. Although, I can remember my mother trying to protect me from the outside world by saying, “I’ll tell you when you get older.” My mother was not alone. She is one of many parents who have coddled and praised their children into the next generation of know-it-alls. As previous generations may not understand us and maybe never will, I am here to explain that we are more than just brats.
To start off, we don’t settle. We live in the age where we have seen older generations go through tough times of divorce, obesity, and depression. We have seen the toll it has put on a single mother to raise a family by herself, the challenges the food industry has created for us to live healthy lives, and the pressure it feels to have to work at a job that we truly hate day in and day out. The millennials don’t ever want to have to go through this. We may be taking more time to graduate college, move away from home, and get married, but at least we aren’t rushing into things that we know aren’t going to make us happy.
We are more aware. With information technology having being readily accessible for pretty much our entire lives, we are able to see more of what is going on in the world around us. We have the news broadcasting all the bad things happening in our communities and beyond. We have Google, which can answer any simple or complex question we may have. We also have TV, movies, and documentaries telling us more and more stories from the viewpoints of others. With all this access to knowledge, it makes us more aware and in-tune with our surroundings than the generations before us. This gives us the ability to make better and more well-rounded decisions.
We embrace change. We see advances in technology, it seems like every day, and not only do we look forward to the new updates, we also can’t wait for the next one after that. We strive to make, to do, or to become the next big thing. Whether it be a new social networking website or a donut and a croissant crushed into one. We look forward to what the future has to offer us. Not only that, but we aren’t creatures of habit. We search out ways to become efficient, to make more money, and to be more popular. Change is a constant in our lives and we fully embrace it.
We have a voice. We may abuse all this access to technology by explaining boring little details about our lives on social networking sites that nobody cares about, but to us, this gives us a voice. A voice that may never have been heard without a place to say it. As we grow up, we use this voice to our advantage. We use it by explaining what we want out of life. We want more healthy food options in grocery stores, we want better working conditions with an emphasis on work-life balance, and we want the freedom to marry whoever we want, even if it’s a person of the same sex. Without this voice, we feel like we aren’t able to take charge of our lives.
We feel entitled. We feel entitled to live a better life than the ones before us. We feel entitled to fight for what we believe in and we feel entitled to be happy. Isn’t this what everybody wants? The feeling of deserving everything we get. We may feel this way because of all the participation trophies we received growing up, but a least we are putting ourselves out there and asking for what we want. We get a lot better results than those generations before us continually waiting until they reach their big breaks.
If all of this still does not persuade you that my generation has so much to offer the future, then I would like to leave you with this. Just like your generation, the generation before you, and the generation before them, every generation will think they are better than the next. With the common saying, “you kids have it easy these days,” previous generations will never understand what the next generation goes through, but one thing will never change: only the strongest will survive.
Photo Credit: Midland University