Stop Hating on Millennials
by Jordan Bainer
I’m getting a little tired of all the Millennial generation hatin’. Boomers say that Millennials don’t take things serious enough; Xers say that Millennials won’t stop talking about themselves (which ironically, I’m currently doing). We Millennials just can’t seem to find the love.
Below are several common complaints that people bring up when talking about the Millennial generation.
Millennials all have a misplaced sense of entitlement
Before jumping on the “all Millennials have a sense of entitlement” bandwagon, just remember that this generation has been recently knocked down a few rungs of the success ladder (much more than other groups). Because of several years of poor employment conditions, many Millennials have delayed major life decisions:
- 44 percent will delay buying a home*
- 28 percent will delay saving for retirement*
- 27 percent will delay paying off student loans or other debt*
- 27 percent will delay going back to school/getting more education or training*
Sure, we have a bit of an entitlement complex, but maybe it’s just us having a positive outlook on life even if trends show us behind our parents when it comes to major life events. As long as individuals are willing to work to make those high aspirations come to life, so what if we sometimes come off as snooty?
*Source: Rob Bluey, How the Debt and Economy Are Reshaping Millennials’ Life Choices, The Foundry – represented from research conducted by Generation Opportunity
Millennials can’t make decisions on their own
We’re bombarded with research saying that Millennials can’t make a decision without buy-in from friends and family. For example, research states that 84% of Millennials rely on user-generated content when making purchase decisions versus 70% of Boomers.**
Some construe this as lacking individual leadership and decision-making ability, but shouldn’t this illustrate that Millennials understand how to make INFORMED decisions. Just because you can pull the trigger on a decision doesn’t mean it’s a good or valid one. We just like to collect the appropriate data before making a decision. To me, that screams collaborative learning – something progressive institutions have been advocating for quite some time.
**Source: BazaarVoice Report: Talking to Strangers: Millennials Trust People over Brands
Millennials don’t have a long attention span
Well, this may be a complaint I can’t defend very well. When writing this article, I stopped to change my Pandora station three times and checked my email five times. I think many of my Millennial brethren have a similar problem when it comes to focusing on a single task. For example, a recent study (through Time Warner’s Time Inc. and conducted by Boston’s Innerscope Research) found that consumers in their 20s (“digital natives”) switch media channels about 27 times per nonworking hour. That is about 13 media switches during a standard half-hour TV show.***
We have more information at our fingertips than any previous generation. To not constantly explore that information through social media, blogs, content sites, e-readers, etc. would be ignoring what makes our generation special.
***Source: AdAge, Brian Steinberg, Study: Young Consumers Switch Media 27 Times An Hour
I’m not saying that Millennials should be pitied because of their situation; I just think it’s important to remember what we grew up with and how that shaped our attitudes, aspirations, and choices.