Some really dumb things have been making their rounds on the internet lately about Generation Y. Specifically, this load of horsesh*t. If I read another sentence on how lowering my expectations is going to make me happier, I’ll wad all of my massive expectations up in a ball of duct tape and chuck it at the next Baby Boomer that passes me on the street. Millennials have no work ethic, set unrealistic expectations, mistakenly believe they can “have it all”, take too many selfies, blah, blah, blah. As a member of this generation, I feel it’s my duty to get in on some of this.
The resounding theme in the aforementioned article explains how our blind ambition does not align with our vast inexperience. Technically speaking, maybe that’s correct. Many of my associates have been working in my industry and/or with my company for over a decade longer than me. Just as I don’t discredit their loyalty, don’t discredit my drive and willingness to apply the knowledge I acquired from my [expensive!] education. Shouldn’t companies foster new ideas and relish at the opportunity for adding fresh perspectives to their team? On a related note, why shouldn’t we be compensated accordingly for contributing new industry knowledge and innovative POVs? It’s actually offensive to assume that after digging ourselves into trenches of debt and serving as active employees that we wouldn’t be rewarded in normal (yet competitive) entry-level compensation. To suggest that we’re too eager for our own good and don’t deserve even that is a disservice to everyone.
On average, Americans today will have six career changes throughout the course of their lives. COUNT EM – SIX. Both of my parents are hardworking individuals who have dedicated decades of their lives to their respective careers. They both serve as excellent examples of hard workers, and I feel that from them, I know firsthand how much blood, sweat and tears are valued in a professional environment. I’m all for putting in that hard work; I’ve had three unpaid internships, worked my way through college at a job where I was paid minimum wage and as a result, am now five digits in debt. I know that isn’t exactly “hard knock life” worthy stuff, but my parents didn’t do any of that. Let’s just acknowledge that things change over time. Dinosaurs, land lines, iOS 6, 25 to life jobs: they’re all relics of yesteryear at this point. I will continue to put in that hard work, but it will most likely be with a few different organizations throughout my career. This circles back around to why our education — and honing those transferable life skills — is overlooked by our predecessors. We know how to adapt, to learn, to teach, to grow. And if we stay in one place for too long that can’t stimulate that kind of development, we move.
Lastly, establishing the perfectly envious social media life isn’t always our endgame. It’s hardly our fault Twitter and Instagram are our generation’s drive-in movies and getting pinned. We pass our time in ways that makes us feel gratified and successful, so sue us. Making comparisons and establishing healthy competition is only human, and while maybe we could stand to spend less time in front of something who doesn’t have a brightness adjust button, a lot of the times we use these tools for good and not evil. If you haven’t already checked these out, here’s some words that prove our generation isn’t so horrible:
Here’s to us, Gen Y. We’re educated, socially conscious, politically in-tune and entrepreneurial. We’re passionate, awkward, witty and kind. We’re not afraid to stand up for what we believe in, or make a change when we need to. We live, laugh, and love fully and with abandon. And we rightly believe that we will leave the world better than we found it. We’re a bunch of ambitious fools, and there’s nothing wrong with it.
But maybe we should lay off the selfies.