Millennial Rumors Dispelled! Or Not...

OKAY, we all hate Millennials. I get it, I've heard it a million times.

But I am here to dispel the rumors...or validate them. In my professional life I have had to do plenty of research on Millennials as well as how they compare to other generations. I've researched the major U.S. national events that occurred during each generation's formative years and shaped parts of their character. I know your psyche. Alright, maybe I don't know that much, but I do know enough to give an educated opinion.

I should also mention...I'm a Millennial. In the flesh. But before you go rolling your eyes just yet thinking, "what could this twenty-something blogger have to say?" Hear me out.

The following are some common things that are said about Millennials. Are they true? Let's take a look...

We're entitled:

Sorry, fellow Millennials, we've got to give this to them. In a professional sense, we are eager to move up quickly and often expect to start out in a good position with good pay. Drudge-work is for other people. We're too beautiful and smart for drudge-work!

In all seriousness, you can put the blame on our levels of education. It sucks spending a fortune on an education with the illusion that it will put us ahead in the working world. But from an employer's perspective: Why hire someone who's 22 and hasn't worked a day in their life?

Everybody gets a participation trophy:

Let's put an end to this rumor RIGHT NOW! For God's sake, I have never gotten a participation trophy! There are winners and there are losers. We kept score in our little league soccer games and the last place team most certainly did not receive a trophy! No trophies for losers, alright?!

But if you mean we're inclusive, you're right. See more about this in the final paragraphs.

No determination:

Another complicated answer. If you're comparing us to Baby Boomers, who have a reputation for being extremely work-centric, you're right. But I wouldn't say that Millennials have no determination. I think they have a lot of determination, but also value work/life balance, which isn't a bad thing. Your job is not, and should not be your identity. Why spend 80 hours a week at work and miss out on your kids growing up, your family, or good, clean fun?

Their parents are their safety net:

Fine. You win this one, you non-Millennials. We have helicopter parents and I'm not even going to argue that. Many of our parents were latchkey kids and their response was to be extremely involved in their kids' lives.

Are my parents going to call my boss when I can't come into work? No. But are my parents going to have a place for me to stay if I blow all my money and can't pay my rent? Probably.

Millennials, Millennials, relax. I know you're the exception to all of these generalizations. They're just generalizations.

No respect for authority or elders:

Okay, false...kinda. We LOVE our grandparents. But our bosses have to earn it. When our boss says, "jump," we say, "why? what are you wanting to accomplish? Because maybe we could use that stepping stool..." Give us a good reason to jump and we will, but blindly following a leader is not on our list of skills.

And then there are our loving, involved parents. Some Millennials were lucky enough to have the cool parents. "Oh, don't call me Mom, call me Nancy." "I know you're going to drink, so I want you and your friends to drink here. I'll buy you beer as long as nobody drives." I LOVED THOSE PARENTS. But what's the long-term result? You grew up with a friend, not an authority figure. Of course you're not going to dole out respect for elders freely! Prove that you're smarter than us! (An impossible task, of course.)

But here's another wrench in the equation: because of our collective childhood (again, see final paragraphs), we have had more applicants to be police officers and firefighters than any other generation.

No personal skills since they rely so heavily on technology:

Duh! Technology is AMAZING! I can communicate instantly with my friends in Korea, or my family in Panama. I have time to research (aka Google) my response before I answer. I can respond to you at 2am. What is that strange, annoying sound I'm hearing? Oh's my phone...ringing! Please hold while I send you a text or an email telling you I can't answer right now. Voicemail? Unless you're my doctor or my sweet grandmother, I'm never going to check it.

P.S. Have you seen our photos on Instagram? The willow filter does wonders...

No job loyalty:

You're dang right we have no job loyalty! Why? Because staying with the same company doesn't pay off like it used to. In general, it pays more (literally $$) to leave a company than it does to stay. What do I mean by that? Staying with one company will give you the opportunity for promotions, possibly a few raises. But if we leave the company to start a new job somewhere else, we're likely to be paid more right off the bat versus waiting around hoping for a raise at the company we're at.

It's the nature of the market, baby.

Why did Millennials turn out this way?!

Well thank you for asking! Adults are a product of the environment in which they grew up. I alluded to this before, but our parents were a large part of shaping our characters. Can you blame them for being helicopter parents? Our parents, Gen Xers, grew up with parents who worked all the time. They spent a lot of time at daycare and divorce rates were out the roof when they were growing up. So the latchkey kids grew up to be overprotective happens.

Along those same lines, our parents made sure we knew we could be anything we wanted when we grew up. And they put a high value on education. Ever hear that talk about how you need a bachelor's degree to get a job? Well we listened. Bachelor's, Master's, PhD, you name it! We are the most educated generation and the first generation to grow up with advanced technology like the internet.

Which also means that Millennials aren't interested in trade jobs. We're highly educated and tech savvy. Everybody wants a good job, and we've got a lot of qualified people, but trades are an important part of a functioning society. So get over yourselves, you dang Millennials! (As I type this in my corporate office...the irony!)

As far as generational gaps and Millennial's behavior when they enter the workforce...some of that is just because of young age, not because we're Millennials. Oh you forget, but there was a time when the older generations hated you, too.

Remember the part where I told you the Millennials are more interested in becoming police officers and firefighters? And when I said we're inclusive (not that everyone gets a trophy)? Here's why...

We are all largely shaped by the major events that happened during our formative years (childhood). For example, if Watergate happened during your childhood, you probably wouldn't have much trust in the government. If you grew up during the great depression, you probably have a different feeling about money than someone who grew up at a different time.

Here are some of the events that happened while the Millennials were growing up:

  • The Columbine shooting
  • The Oklahoma City bombing
  • The attacks of September 11th
  • The internet and growing popularity of social media
All of these things shaped us in big ways. Columbine, Oklahoma City and 9/11 showed us how communities can come together and support each other when it really matters. And how police officers, firefighters and other civil servants can step up to protect and save us, even if it means risking their own lives.

The internet and social media taught us about the global community. We can seamlessly do business across seas, we can travel easier, or connect with people in places we will never get to see. So when I say we're inclusive, I mean it.

As Millennials have grown up, our views may have changed, but the events in our childhoods are at our core.

What are your thoughts on Gen Y?


  1. This post cracked me up, I don't know if I quite qualify as a Millennial (probably too old!) but I hear a lot of these things regularly. I think Millennials get a bit of a bad rep; perhaps we aren't as career-driven as our parents but there's much less of a reward (at least here in the UK) for being so. We can work full-time permanent jobs for years and still be unable to afford a house deposit. Overall though I think we're a good bunch - and you're right about the inclusivity! Great post.
    Beth x Adventure & Anxiety

    1. Oh it's totally the same in the US! Back in the day you could get higher pay the more time you spent at a company and these days that's just not the case. And the cost of owning a home is totally outrageous! The state I live in is pretty up and coming, so I'm still worried I'll never be able to own a home.

      Thanks for the comment :)