I really think they could’ve worded this cover caption a little better.

Lately I’ve seen a lot of people attacking the Millennial generation. There were even two sketches on two different comedy shows making fun of Millennials  as technology-addicted, overly entitled misanthropes who drink a lot and prefer interacting with a computer than a real person. Apparently we also whine a lot when we don’t get our way and expect things to go our way easily, or we get super offended and feel oppressed.

Now, I’m not writing this post out of some sort of feeling of offense or oppression. More out of annoyance than anything else. And I know using a blog is kind of playing into the stereotype a little, but I’ve reached more people through a digital format with some of my posts than if I sent a letter to a print publication, so why not?

Anyway, I just need to clear the air. Some Millennials may be like I described above. There’s always going to be someone who seems like a perfect example of some stereotype or another. However, that doesn’t mean that all people in a particular group fit the stereotype of that group. I certainly am not a technology-addicted, overly entitled misanthrope who drinks and gets easily offended when life doesn’t prove simple. I actually resisted getting on Facebook and Twitter until my college years, precisely because I thought they were unnecessary and I didn’t want people to think I was addicted to those sites! I only got on them finally because I wanted to stay in contact with friends I’d fallen out of touch with and because I thought they might help my writing career (and to some degree, the latter has happened, though not as much as the former).

I didn’t even get a smartphone until this past year, and that was because I was graduating, possibly doing an internship overseas, and I thought it might be handy to have some more advanced tech to stay in contact with family, friends, and coworkers.

I also don’t expect life to be easy for me, and neither did a lot of the people who went to school with me. Yeah, a lot of us loved to goof around, have a drink every now and then, and just relax, but that was between intense studying and going to work. Yeah, a lot of us either had jobs or were looking for them. Don’t know if those disparaging my generation has noticed, but higher education is expensive! We’re taking on more debt than previous generations, and all in the hope that we’re going to get jobs that’ll pay for all that debt. Of course we have to make sure to keep our grades up! Otherwise we may lose scholarships, have to stay in school longer, or even get kicked out of school, among other things.

Yeah, we work hard to get what some of the previous generations think we feel we’re entitled to. Trust me, if I thought the way my generation is supposed to think, I would have twice as many books out now, all of them with very little editing (if any), and be very surprised that I wasn’t living off my writing in some big mansion, lunching with Stephen King and going to movie premieres with some hot actress or singer on my arm. Maybe I’d even throw a tantrum about it.

Reality is, it’s just not true. Most of my generation is hard-working, trying to get the most out of life despite humongous obstacles in our way. We’re aware of what’s happening in the world and want to change it, even if we don’t always think the polls are the best way to do that (or our time is so constrained we can’t go to the polls). And yeah, we’re on our phones a lot. But I think people were once saying Baby Boomers were addicted to TV and dancing to soul-corrupting rock music, and for the most part that generation and the one after it turned out okay.

Though those generations are also the ones who helped spur climate change along and are sometimes denying it exists. And they’re also the generations leading the companies that are putting out the technology that we’re supposedly addicted to. And…I’m going to stop there.

So instead of lamenting the current generation and making fun of us, how about you try to get to know us a bit better? Maybe you’ll see we’re not that bad, and have great potential. Heck, you might even come up with a way for us to use that potential to the max and make some positive change in the world. Plenty of companies like Change.org have done so, as well as corporations and charities who are sponsoring folks like this guy who’s working on a smart gun to save lives, and more than I can name here.

Unless of course you like, can’t even. You like, totally can’t even imagine, like, changing your opinions ’cause you like, so totally stuck in your ways. Then, like, whatever. Nobody cares.

  1. Juli Hoffman says:

    You’re right, no group wants to be pigeon-holed into a stereotype. I’m part of “Generation X” the so-called MTV Generation. This seemed fine and unexciting to me until I started working at my current job, a job which consists mostly of Millennials. I waited to have my own child, so my kiddo’s still on the young side, but the reality is that I’m old enough to be the mother of most of my coworkers…or at least a long-lost auntie! LOL I don’t mind the age differences. I think it keeps me young at heart. But there are times when things come up and I realize that there are slight differences in the way our two generations were brought up. For good or bad, I don’t believe my generation was brought up with as much guidance as the generations that have come after mine. We were the generation of latch-key kids while my son’s generation seems to be filled with helicopter parents. (It’s probably a result of overcompensation.) Which is better? I don’t know. It’s like comparing apples with grapes. I do think that my generation tends to work better alone…because we spent a lot of time raising ourselves. BUT, because we didn’t get as much guidance, there’s a LOT of stuff we don’t know how to do…and we passed on this “I don’t have a clue guidance” to our offspring. Sorry. This means that most Millennials could program their parent’s DVD player when they were 3, but may not be able to cook a meal from scratch, sew a button on a shirt, or get that black burnt-on crud off their oven with ease. Thank goodness for the Internet!!! LOL Oh! And here’s something I WISH someone had told me sooner. No matter hold old you get, I don’t think you’ll EVER get to a point where you feel like a true grown-up. You always feel a little like a fraud, trying to play a role that you weren’t prepared to play. A lot of the blustery “back in my day” crap is just that, crap! The reality is, it’s HARD to admit that you STILL don’t know what the heck you’re doing when you’ve reached the middle years of your lifespan. And worst still, my grandmother confessed to the same feelings of inadequecy, of feeling like she was still a kid pretending to be a grown up. She was 89 at the time! All you can do is live the best life that you can and know that you will NEVER have it all together, that you are always and forever a work in progress, flaws and all, that you never stop learning (and forgetting) and that’s OK! 🙂

    • I agree with a lot of what you said, but I’ve been feeling like an adult since I started paying taxes and worrying about my finances and my job situation.

      • Juli Hoffman says:

        I thought I was an adult for a brief moment, right around the time I was in college, brain filled with pretentious, unrealistic ideas and expectations. My professors, managers, and life in general quickly squashed all that into a pulp. I believe that one professor, in particular, had the heaviest hand in pulverizing the adult right out of me with his extensive theories of why there has never been an original thought in my head because we all are products of our environment. I fought him on this for the entire semester, but in the end, I needed to pass his class, so I had to write a lengthy paper about why I’m just another unoriginal​ lemming, following all the other unoriginal lemmings, because my parents and my environment shaped me to be the lemming I am today. Grrr!!! It still irks me! You’d think you could shake something like that off, but 20ish years later, I remember more about his class than all the others combined. And the paying taxes part and all that…yeah. Those things don’t make me feel like an adult, not anymore because there’s ALWAYS someone telling you what to do and how you should do it. That part NEVER changes. In fact, as you age and acquire​ more responsibilities, it seems as though you actually have less control over your life, because you are not just one person, you are part of a group, a larger collective of individuals. Your actions affect everyone around you…sort of like the Borg on Star Trek. Resistance​ is futile. You will be assimilated. It’s all the same, really. Clean your room! Pay your taxes! Yup, they sound remarkably similar after awhile, like the Charlie Brown teacher’s voice, “Wowaaawowaaawawaaaa.” Sorry if this bums you out. I may have suffered from too much reality this week. 😉

      • You may have a point, though.

  2. I can’t reply but sitting here at 35 – almost 36 – I have to echo Juli. That “I’m a shiny new grown up!” feeling dissipated quickly (and I didn’t have a college professor to pound it out – just life in general, LOL!) But maybe the different generations have a different expectation of adulthood. We were the generation raised on television and media soaked ideas of “ultimate fun” and “ultimate parties” and “ultimate” everything, none of which really exists – including the “ultimate adult” who is cool, collected, and always knows the right answer, and is always in control – which in reality people never are. I may be wrong, but I know several teens right now and all of them have a more realistic expectation because they are more involved in their parent’s day to day lives – like who their parents date – and so for a lot of them their parents are more like peer buddies who have the ability to take away their phone, and so they *know* that there is no “adult” moment where you can suddenly solve the universe’s problems. (Not saying this applies to everyone. There are lots of different family dynamics) My mom was unusual in my era for being more of a buddy, but I can tell you not one of my friends’ moms would EVER have dreamed of discussing who they were dating – or having sex with – with their kids (most were actually married to my friends’ dads, so that’s different for a start), let alone any of the other personal “open” conversations kids and parents seem to have now, which left kids with the impression that parents were “adults” and that adults were something completely different than kids – like night and day – and that one day we would become that magical something-else.

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