Quit Harping on “Millennials”

“Choices and decisions must be supported by your passion, resolve and a productive work ethic. If these meet opportunity – your success has finally come! ” – Archibald Marwizi

Looking out the window
Look out the window at Cannery Row in Monterey Bay, California

I hate the word “millennials.” It does not accurately describe an entire group of people and never has. It’s birth into our language, for as long as I can remember, came with a derogatory connotation. An article I came across on LinkedIn fueled my rage to write this post. It was more editorial than opinion, but part of the rage was my own fault because I started reading through the comments.

The “millennial” monster inside of me wanted to tell all these corporate-looking, narrow-minded workaholics that their ignorance was an opportunity for a dialogue, but most of their responses were sub par at best. I probably shouldn’t have labeled them that way in my head at the time, but I was mad at it was the first thing that came to mind.

Tone is immediately lost or misinterpreted on social media channels, so I tried to remember that. But there were too many hasty generalizations that stuck out to me.

The article reported on why more millennials are quitting lucrative jobs. It was fairly apparent that half of the comments hadn’t read the entire article and made their own assumptions about their version of the story. It reported on a twenty-something quitting her PR job to reap the benefits of a more flexible work schedule. She was able to go on more vacations while making enough money to support herself. Sometimes the budget was a little tighter, but the woman was able to make her own decisions. To me, that’s pretty powerful. Is a person not allowed to develop a career or lifestyle that works for them? Why are people getting frustrated over this?

One of the commenters stated something nebulous about “the millennial” clearly not understanding that a 50-hour work week is “nothing.” Maybe for someone who has never left the corporate sector – or their desk – that’s nothing. Her desire to find a job where she could do what she loved, do her work on her own terms, and create her own set of benefits demonstrates a high-level of work ethic. It seems that it’s being interpreted the opposite though. The commenters suggested she has no work ethic because she didn’t want to live in the hustle and bustle of the corporate world. I don’t blame her. If I could find a way to sell my talents and live off their income, then I’d be doing the same thing. Wouldn’t you?

Millennials receive a lot of – pardon my language – shit. The world works in completely different ways than it did in the 40s and even the last couple of years! There has been an abundance of change taking over the world, but instead of embracing people for igniting their soul by pursuing their passions, they are getting condemned by people who are married to their jobs or have a dated perspective on the workplace.

Part of the world’s change has included adopting new perspectives and straying away from what we call “tradition.” I think newer generations are beginning to understand that you don’t have to grow up with a set of beliefs that is handed to you. This stale and flawed workplace notion is no more than a belief that was instilled in these generations.

So, maybe I can’t be totally mad at them, as it’s not entirely their fault. But, I can and I will, start talking about the issue because it needs resolve. The fact of the matter is that these issues still persist. Even though some of these commenters most likely grew up with a prepackaged set of beliefs, they can still choose to be open-minded. They aren’t doing that though, which is why I felt the need to write about it.

If you want to be married to your job, then that’s wonderful too. It works for your schedule and lifestyle. There are some millennials that are like that too. The entire group does not exhibit one type of behavior. Not all millennials are going to quit their jobs and go on vacation. The article also clearly stated that the woman “gets by” working her freelance job, but the sacrifice is worth the freedom for her. The commenters made millennials sound entitled and privileged, but they did not acknowledge the sacrifice whatsoever. It was neglected. They chose to focus on one aspect and took it out of context to make their point.

Millennials have experienced their own barrage of stereotypes. Why do we continue to label and confine? Why are we so focused on categorizing and organizing things and terms and people in boxes? About 80% of the time I hear the word “millennial,” it is being used in a negative context to diminish a person.

All I can suggest at this point is for the preceding generations to take a step back and understand that individuals do not need permission or approval to forge their own paths.

As far as I’m concerned, I’m not a millennial. I’m an empowered individual trying to make my mark on the world.

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