When Did "Millennial" Become a Dirty Word?
There's an epidemic, a consistent grumbling and a nagging undertone in so many conversations as of late. Towards what you might ask? None other than the Millennial. Dead stop. Yes, you read that correctly. In the last week alone, I've read, heard and spoken to 18 individuals (no, this is not an exaggeration) who have had something negative to say about the Millennial generation (some of these even included Millennial's themselves). The remarks included:
"Millennial's are the most selfish generation I've ever encountered."
"They have less civic engagement and lower political participation than any previous group. This is a generation that would have made Walt Whitman wonder if maybe they should try singing a song of someone else."
"Millennial's are lazy, entitled and irresponsible."
"I hate the fact that I'm considered a Millennial."
Being exposed to all of these negative comments, heightened by the number of remarks in less than a weeks time, made me wonder -
When did "Millennial" become a dirty word?
When was it decided that the Millennial generation, MY generation, could only be described as entitled, lazy, irresponsible and bad employees to hire? Now before you jump in, I'll raise my hand and offer that yes, there are individuals in the Millennial generation that fit that description to a T, however, aren't there those in ALL generations that could be defined in that way? How did an ENTIRE generation end up being categorized so negatively?
I’m here to disagree. I'm here to dust off the word Millennial from the "He Who Must Not Be Named" list and shine some light on the so-called "ugly-step sister" of a generation.
As someone who is actively involved in a variety of community organizations, I've met, worked with and interacted with hundreds of Millennial's over the years, not to mention I'm part of the Millennial generation. These Millennial's that I've seen and connected with are so far from the "typical" Millennial description that it's almost funny to think that they could ever be described in that way.
From my friend & inspiration Maxie McCoy and the beautiful business she is building to help women create inspired lives, to handfuls of my local galpals who are literally the most hardworking, ass-kicking employees I know. Their the ones truly invested in the success of their employers. Their the ones that stay late and come in early, always advocating for their companies.
And my favorite example to date, how just last Wednesday during a Local Levo CLE event, designed specifically for Millennial women (& men!) sat around a table where dreams, goals and challenges on the personal and professional level where shared. Where transparency and the authenticity of truly supporting others while seeking out wisdom to be the best versions of themselves, brightly shown through. These were not lazy, entitled or irresponsible Millennial's - these were people who are & will positively change our world.
Millennials are not looking for an easy break and a quick claim to fame. Our goal is not to just merely get by in life - we want to fully live it to it's maximum potential. Our generation is a group that thirsts for creativity to be at the forefront of what we do. We know the value of doing work aligned with our strengths - that's where real change and big outcomes happen. We're not afraid to push the boundaries and question outdated tactics. We are mission-driven, with over 84% of our generation saying they want to make a positive difference in the world.
Let's get rid of the stereotype and instead embrace all the good that our generation encompasses. We are the generation that will bring peace to this world. Next time you hear the word "Millennial" have an open-mind. Discard the negativity and only evaluate the behaviors of the real Millennial's you actually interact with. I'd be willing to bet they are some of the most dynamic, heart-centered people you know.