Millennials, as a group, have an absolutely terrible reputation – and I, for one, think this is unwarranted. We are most often depicted as whiny, selfie-taking narcissists. Sure, some of us do fit that description – but this is true of any generation. However, the label millennials carry of being lazy and entitled is particularly uncalled-for – especially when we consider that this judgement is most often put upon us by the generations that ruined the economy in the first place.
The word “millennial” has ceased to be a term for a generation, and become more of a blanket description for a person who is young and annoying. In fact, I hear many people complaining about millennials who do not realize that they, themselves, are a part of this generation. For this reason, I would like to define the term “millennial” before we go any farther.
A global generational study conducted by Pricewaterhouse Coopers with the University of Southern California and the London Business School defined millennials as those born between 1980 and 1995. This puts today’s millennials between 21 and 36 years old. Millennials, in fact, are less likely to be rowdy spring breakers than the couple nearby wishing they’d settle down so their kids can go to sleep.
More importantly, millennials are not lazy people. According to a White House report on this age bracket, more millennials have a college degree than any other generation of young adults. They report that in 2013, 47 percent of 25 to 34-year-olds had received a post-secondary degree, and an additional 18 percent had completed some post-secondary education. However, many millennials have struggled with finding employment because we were entering the workforce during the most severe economic downturn since the Great Depression.
As a millennial myself, I had just started college when the financial market crashed in 2008. We are not the generation that caused the economy to fall apart – but we are the ones left to pick up the pieces. As the Wall Street Journal reports, millennials in New York City are earning about 20% less than the previous generation of workers, and they are absolutely drowning in $14 billion in debt.
“The world is passing through troublesome times. The young people of today think of nothing but themselves. They have no reverence for parents or old age. They are impatient of all restraint. They talk as if they knew everything, and what passes for wisdom with us is foolishness with them. As for the girls, they are forward, immodest and unladylike in speech, behavior and dress.” What critic of millennials said this? None. In fact, this quote came from a man named Peter the Hermit – in 1274.
Throughout time, the older generations have always rolled their eyes that the younger ones. However, which seems more likely – that each generation gets lazier, ruder, and more impatient? Or that people tend to forget all too quickly, what it is like to be young?