As history has taught us, human beings are susceptible to generalizing and thinking in stereotypes…especially the Orientals. You’ve probably heard or read that the millennial generation (those born in 1980-2000), are lazy, self-centered narcissists that expect instant gratification. That Millennials are young, naive individuals that gorge themselves on drugs and engage in raucous unprotected sex orgies. In fact, Time Magazine called us the “Me Me Me” generation, while the Wall Street Journal called us the “Trophy Kid” generation. We’ve been dubbed the “Peter Pan generation” (you know, because we just won’t grow up…). Our generation’s work ethic is constantly questioned and we are lambasted for our need to feel special and to be rewarded. It’s understandable why people would think this way, the evidence is all there. We are addicted to technology. We have an abhorrent need for taking pictures of everything (especially ourselves). We stay in school longer than ever and we don’t have the job record that our parents had by the time we graduate. We clearly just don’t work as hard as the generations before us did and the baby-boomers like to remind us of that.
Except, that’s a straw man’s argument. Just look at me, I’m a millennial but I’m not self-absorbed. Yeah, I put lipstick on my mirror so that I can make out with myself. And so what if I Instagram every bowl of cereal I eat, take selfies in front homeless people, and send snapchats of me working out? Why else would anyone go to the gym unless they could tell everyone else about it? A better argument would be to point out that the Kim Kardashian: Hollywood mobile game surpassed $200 million in revenue in just one year on the App Store. There are actually millions of people spending money on a game where you pretend to be Kim Kardashian and hang out with famous people. If that doesn’t say “egocentric”, then my name isn’t Leonard di Medellin van Hasselhoff.
Old people have criticized the younger generation since the dawn of man. You think King Herod was happy about some young, preachy rabble-rouser named Jesus, telling everyone that the old ways of religious worship were wrong? Here’s a spoiler for you: no, no he didn’t, he had him killed. This concept is nothing new, but it’s still hard to understand how once a person ages, they seem to forget their youth. For the silent generation (1925-1945), the baby boomers appeared to be pretty entitled as well. Remember Woodstock? “Hey man…down with the corporations man. Music will save the world!” Or how about the Vietnam war protests? The baby-boomers were hated at the time because protesting an American war and criticizing our veterans was deemed unpatriotic and treacherous. They were deemed sex-crazed lunatics because of their fanaticism over a new type of music called Rock n Roll and a hip-swinging menace called Elvis. They were called drug addicts because of their affinity for marijuana.
They also happened to help usher in the civil rights movement. They created the basis for the very technology we use today and they put a man on the moon…the fucking moon! The fact is, that every future generation is going to be criticized by the prior because they will do things differently than their parents. When you are living in the now, it’s easy to forget the past, and it’s even harder to consider the future. Millennials seem lazy, but further down the line, we will help prove that the 8-10 hour workdays (sometimes much longer) is an archaic vestige of the industrial revolution (a man can dream!). Just because millennials work differently than people did in the 60’s doesn’t mean that we aren’t working as hard. Technology is constantly involving and so should our workforce. Furthermore, millennials were/are forced to work in unpaid internships fetching coffee, instead of learning, because the remedial jobs such as lifeguarding or working for a fast-food joint are no longer part-time jobs for the summer, but full-time occupations for adults. Also, the job market this past decade has been atrocious, while housing prices have skyrocketed. How could we afford to not live with our parents? Oh and millennials didn’t cause the recession, the baby-boomers did. The Iraq war, perpetrated by the prior generations, including Generation X, put us in trillion dollars of debt and destroyed the peace in the Middle East. See how easy it is to play the blame game? Comparing generational demographics is only used by advertisers/marketers trying to sell products. Generations don’t actually exist. So let’s try to avoid the stereotyping/generalizing and assess a millennial as she/he should be addressed; as an individual.