By Tyler Wayne Patterson /// Web & Social Media Manager
In a desperate effort to gain page clicks and assert generational dominance, many journalists have taken to writing trend pieces that rag on Millennials. These stories, and their accompanying reader comments, uphold Twitter, Buzzfeed quizzes and smart phones as the cause for a perceived “lazy” Millennial work ethic. Sometimes in ways so theatrical it appears that social media is the world’s ultimate demise.
So many of these desperate opinion pieces exist that it inspired Zeke Week to develop a Chrome browser app, called “Millennials Begone!”, that replaces the word “Millennial” online with “pesky whipper-snappers.” Try it out.
The new Millennial-shaming niche in journalism is not productive; these articles do not help redistribute power to the people and give too much agency to a bunch of twenty-somethings.
But this shaming doesn’t end with journalism. Too often I have been at a party or event where a bunch of older adults propose to me that my generation is overly connected, lazy and self-centered. Then the group stares at me, expecting me to swallow my Hors d’oeuvres and readily agree with them. But I never do.
By accepting the unfounded criticism of generations older than us, we might appear (or feel) more mature. By claiming you don’t understand your generation, you might be able to establish yourself to these few adults as ahead of your cohort.
Or, you can be bold and honest.
Here is a series of common Millennial critiques, and reasons why they are unfounded. Fold this up and take it to the next Career Development Center networking opportunity.
“All you kids are so lazy! Get a job, like I did!”
Millennials have graduated into a recession and can’t pay off our average $30,000 in student loan debt with a minimum-wage job alone. Manufacturing jobs were outsourced well before our time and 90 percent of the jobs created since the recession are part-time.
Also, while at work, Millennials are more willing to stay past 5:00 p.m. and even more willing to complete additional work after leaving the office.
“Get off my lawn! All you youngins feel so entitled.”
First, Private property rights are so yesterday. And second, everyone should be able to obtain meaningful employment. Instead, too many Millennials are being scammed into exploitative unpaid internships—many of which require more than entry-level skills.
Also, many theorize that Millennials are willing to live at home because we are closer to our parents than our parents were to theirs. Millennials seek and trust the advice of our parents much more than generations before.
“Millennials are uninformed and politically apathetic”
Millennials went to college in mass numbers and are now the most educated generation in history, yet our investment hasn’t really paid off.
Yet still, 75 percent of Millennials have donated to charity and volunteerism has reached an all-time high.
With the lack of employment opportunity graduates are facing, Millennials aren’t missing out by spending a year or two traveling the world, interning or exploring identities while living in a parent’s basement. There are no jobs for Millennials to gain an edge.
“Millennials vote less”
That is wrong. When our parent’s were our age, they voted at almost the same rate (one percent less actually, according to one study).
But, why would more millennials vote?
Campaigns do not reach out to Millennials nearly the rate they reach out to older voters. Have you ever receive a mailer from your local congressperson’s campaign in your on-campus mailbox? Probably not.
“You post too many selfies!”
Yeah, probably. But we didn’t destroy the global economy.
Nearly half of Millennials believe the United State’s best years are ahead. I agree.
Tyler Wayne Patterson is the web & social media manager of the Pioneer Log. Tyler has developed social media strategies for student organizations. His work been featured on OregonLive and NowThatsCollege. Follow him on Twitter @tylerpatterson