I like to say that I’m not a Millennial, but a Gen Y’er. Really, I like to think I’m a member of the Greatest Generation, due to my old lady spirit and early dinner and bedtime. Really it’s because the term “Millennial” comes with such a negative connotation. Some, mainly actual Millennials, believe the group consists of excellent multi-taskers that want to collaborate and have a decent work-life balance. Others carry a very different view. In 2013, Time Magazine, published an article describing Millennials, or as they like to call us “The Me Me Me Generation” as the following:
“The incidence of narcissistic personality disorder is nearly three times as high for people in their 20s as for the generation that’s now 65 or older…Their development is stunted: more people ages 18 to 29 live with their parents than with a spouse…And they are lazy. In 1992, the nonprofit Families and Work Institute reported that 80% of people under 23 wanted to one day have a job with greater responsibility; 10 years later, only 60% did”
It seems like people that aren’t actually Millennials use the term to describe someone they think is flighty, only cares about perks and luxuries, and is generally immature when it comes to the world.
Beginning in the late 1970s, scientists started researching the effect of parental behavior on children. Many researchers found that children with higher levels of self-esteem performed better in school, participated in more activities and got in less trouble. After that, parents were pushed to focus on increasing their children’s self-esteem levels. Hence the numerous participation and honorable mention ribbons and why after three strikes in Little League kids still got to go to first base. Supposedly this excessive self-esteem boosting is what caused Millennials to think they can succeed without trying and ultimately become lazy individuals.
How can one not be ashamed by that type of portrayal? The end of 2016 was the first time where I actually felt like a Millennial. When I was 3 I knew more about what I wanted from my life than I do now. While I do agree that our society rewards children too much for subpar performance (Suck it up, kid. You lost. Do better next time and you’ll get a ribbon!), I don’t think that’s why my generation feels lost in their lives and current/future careers. Part of me wonders if all generations felt just as lost. However, they didn’t have the same economic freedom, access to higher education, and mobility that we do now. When my mother was growing up, the main professions for women were nursing, teaching and secretaries. Fortunately, for my mother, she loved nursing and spent over 45 years as a nurse. Would she have loved to do something else more? Possibly. It just wasn’t an option.
I still have no plans of shouting to the rooftop that I’m a Millennial. But maybe I’m getting used to the idea that not every person or generation had it all figured out. All generations are hated by those that precede them. Maybe soon, if I’m lucky, I can start judging Generation Z.
P.S. When naming generations it seems like they started to give up. The Greatest Generation, The Silent Generation. Then they lost all creativity and just started giving us letters. Generation X, Generation Y, Generation Z.