4 Misconceptions About Millennials
Updated: Jan 22
The more time I spend as a millenial, the more hated I feel by my parents' generation and their parents’ generation. As our world evolves, we continue to applaud the advances in technology while tearing down the younger generations evolving with them.
Today I’m going to break down 4 common misconceptions about millenials and why we should be encouraging this generation.
1. Millenials Lack Communication Skills
When I was a kid in the early 2000s, I learned quickly that if I wanted to use the house phone, I’d have to learn basic phone etiquette: “Hello, this is Kara, may I please speak to Jane?” Nowadays most households don’t have a house phone and texting is more popular than calling. When we see people on the street often looking down at their phones as opposed to chatting with each other, it's easy to assume millennials don't communicate.
But is it that we don't communicate or we’re selective of when and how?
Time is money and we are communicating faster than ever before. The world is faster and busier, which means texting with one finger a'int gonna cut it for Boomer Susan. (Boomer references baby boomers which includes anyone born from around 1946-1964.) Millennials communicate better than any other generation because, unlike boomers, we have no choice.
Work meetings are held via Skype and conference calls. As a substitute teacher, I get a text when I'm needed because it's faster than a call. International communication is easily accessible which means you can check on your grandma in Spain. And speaking of Spain, there is a higher demand for bilingual employees in the melting pot of America which means millennials are not only communicating faster, but in different languages.
However we are seeing a lot less “pleases” and “thank yous” in communication. But blaming millennials on a lack of manners is like blaming the chicken on shitty scrambled eggs. It is on the parents to teach kids manners. Back in the day if you weren't polite, you learned to be, fast. Parents and teachers were quicker to use physical punishment for a lack of respect. Now, most rude kids are appeased with IPads. You can't blame the IPad, Susan and this is not an issue that millennials caused.
2. Millennials Don’t Know How to Do Anything Themselves
As we see a decline in people who can work with their hands, who is to blame? And is it a who, a what or both?
Many jobs people used to do with their hands are being replaced by machines. That’s not millennials' fault, rather advances in technology. Equally, millennials are constantly being discouraged from securing jobs that involve manual labor. We are brainwashed into believing that without a college degree, we won't secure a job, which discourages those of us who want to enter into manual labor right after high school. Boomer Susan, that's on you again. Stop telling us how to live!
Equally, any chance of the Average Joe learning how to work with our hands is being ripped from us with school budget cuts. With classes like home economics and wood shop being cut, most of us wind up Googling how to do laundry and fix things around the house. Once again, we can blame this common misconception about millennials on the way of the world, not us.
3. Millennials Are Entitled
It's difficult for me to understand the entitlement accusation when millennials have to work for everything we want. Boomers did not have student loan debt and were not paying as much for rent. Boomers never dealt with standardized testing or the immense pressures to succeed.
While every generation has its' unique struggles, rates of anxiety and depression are higher for millennials. With the world being faster and busier, we are expected to be smarter and work harder which is aging us and welcoming stress related illnesses.
Simply put, millennials don’t have time to be entitled because we have to earn everything. But this still doesn't explain the "everyone gets a trophy" entitlement trend that began with millennials.
I believe the everyone gets a trophy trend was actually created by overbearing parents. Have you read the articles about banning parents from varsity sports because of irrational complaints over playing time? When parents harass coaches into playing their children, they neglect to share the truth with their kids that playing time, like many things in life, is earned. Then entitled kids are born! Once again this is on parents, not millennials.
4. Millennials Are Always on Their Phones
This one can definitely be true, but it’s only half the story. When we undermine the true power of a smartphone, it's easy to assume millennials are glued to their phones because they're texting friends or trolling on Instagram. But the productive possibilities are endless and smartphones can be used for anything from sending work emails, to submitting resumes and checking bank statements. Smartphones create job opportunities for those working remotely, and when people aren't trolling IG, they're getting paid for promotional posts. When we think of how much a smartphone can do, it’s pretty silly to assume everyone glued to their phone is merely texting.
And if I'm being real, I’m the first one to pick up my phone during family gatherings when the millennial shit talking begins. There’s only so many times we can hear negative things about us before we just tune out. If you are noticing someone constantly on their phone around you, maybe you need to take a closer look at the nature of your conversations and your relationship. And if you still think millennials suck, ask yourself are you mad that we're evolving and you're not, Susan? Is it better to evolve and get criticized or get left behind with the boomers?