We’ve all heard the common myths about millennials. We’re lazy, entitled, expectant, glued to our phones, and require instant gratification. We’re addicted to social media, selfishly narcissistic, and would rather accept handouts than work for success.
In short, we’re accused of being the worst generation yet.
But what about the facts? Amid the stereotypes out there, is our society so unaware of the truths embedded in the culture of twenty-somethings?
Members of Gen-Y are far more than the lazy, entitled, narcissistic complexes we’re accused of being. We have driven, ambitious, goal-oriented minds with passionate hearts set on following our dreams.
We may be Starbucks baristas with Ivy League educations, but it’s certainly not by choice. We aim to earn high paying salaries with fancy job titles to match, but more often than not we are limited by the required experiences the workforce expects us to enter entry level roles with.
Twenty-somethings are many things, but lazy isn’t one of them!
Here are five facts about millennials that prove twenty-somethings aim for growth:
1. Millennials delay traditional milestones.
Unlike previous generations, members of Gen-Y are delaying marriage and parenthood in exchange for “finding themselves” during the twenty-something years.
According to an NPR study the average age of marriage for women is 27 and 29 for men, several years later than the average ages in 1960. Rather than rush into marriage, most millennials are more apt to delay tying the knot for financial reasons as well as readiness, and instead choose to cohabit with their partner before making a firm commitment.
Similarly, a poll from Clark University found that 1,000 adults between ages 25 and 39 do not consider marriage a significant marker of adulthood. Instead, these people are more concerned with finding the right career and focusing on self-growth, which demonstrates just how carefully planned millennials really are.
2. Twenty-somethings are more educated, but earn less.
A popular narrative surrounding members of Gen-Y is that they are overeducated and underemployed. The median salary a millennial earns is around $30,000 for women and $35,000 for men, according to 2013 findings from Business Insider.
These salaries are based on full-time, year-round jobs! Is it fair to call millennials lazy if they’re working hard and their work ethic doesn’t pay off? With student debt over $35k for most college grads and interest rates over 7%, how can anyone make a living off of average salaries like this? What would you do in this situation?
Yes, millennials are educated, and yes the earnings are far lower than they should be, but it’s not so much an issue with drive, but more with the financial worth of a position.
3. Members of Gen-Y value creativity, family, and community.
Unlike the cultures of generations past, millennials are exceptionally innovative and creative beings. According to a 2014 report published by The Council of Economic Advisers, millennials are more likely than any other generation to contribute to society and be leaders in their communities.
Their growth in the community also correlates with closeness to friends and family, to the point where 50% of millennials report community-mindedness as being an importation connection to others, compared to 40% of Generation Xers and roughly 29% of Baby Boomers.
The value twenty-somethings today put into their family, work, and community stems from their desire to be successful and put creativity into everything they do.
In short, millennials value quality of life more than most and their focus drives them to make a positive social impact on others.
4. Working millennials stay with early-career employers longer.
Compared to past generations, millennials are more likely to stay with their early-career employers longer, demonstrating their desire for growth within a field and/or company.
According to a millennial’s report put out by The Council of Economic Advisers, twenty-somethings today face a labor market characterized by longer job tenure, fewer employer switches, and fewer career transitions. Compared to Generation X workers, Gen-Y employees are less likely to spend a year or less with an employer, indicating their tenure is longer and they’re more invested in growth.
Debunking the myth that millennials are lazy and in seek of handouts, this millennial fact proves just how determined twenty-somethings today are to seek job security, learn on the job, and reduce turnover.
5. Millennials are shaped by technology.
Sure, twenty-somethings today own smart phones, tablets, personal computers, and maybe even smart watches. Millennials are always connected to social media, the Internet, and email. Does that make millennials addicts? For some, maybe. Yet, as a whole population? Think again.
Gen-Y members are shaped by technology, but in an innovative way. These adults are experiencing unprecedented technological innovation in a way that appears unlimited. The flourishing market of technology is a gateway for tech-savvy millennials to pioneer production of technology. Growing up with new devices and software makes millennials digital natives, empowering many to pursue entrepreneurship.
Despite the stereotypes suggesting millennials are lazy and entitled, many Gen-Y members have become well-known entrepreneurs in their twenties. Consider Mark Zuckerberg who was born in 1984 and co-founded Facebook, making him worth $46 billion! No, not all millennials are billionaires (we wish!) but we are tech-savvy, hardworking individuals with the potential to pioneer technology in new, innovative ways unlike generations past.
Society can call us lazy. We can certainly be accused of having entitled, addictive, narcissistic complexes. We can wear the label of being the worst generation yet. But you know what? It would be a blatant lie.
We’re twenty-somethings, and it’s an incredible time for us. We’re empowered individuals with ambition, passion, and social awareness. We are pioneers in technology, hungry for success, and maintain community-minded awareness. We’re socially diverse, plentiful in numbers, and ultimately creatively spirited.
Millennials are incredible. Amid the stereotypes, we’re all pretty fabulous. Maybe the world should think that of our culture!
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What stereotypes have you heard about millennials that are painfully wrong? Share your comments and help us debunk these social myths!