The Generation of the Future
Narcissistic. Lazy. Entitled. These are the words I hear most often to describe my generation. I attend various workshops and networking events year after year, and I constantly hear older generations trying to “figure out” millennials. It’s almost as if we speak a different language. We are being called the least engaged in the workplace; a group of needy people; and a generation that cannot be led. I would argue, we are just extremely misunderstood.
Millennials are typically considered to be anyone born between 1984 and 2004. It’s important to note that between those years, the world was introduced to personal computers, the internet, and social media. Those three inventions are arguably the most impactful, and the most controversial, evolutions in human history. I think it’s essential to realize that older generations are still trying to figure those three things out. It’s also essential to realize that millennials were born into the world of personal computers, the internet, and social media. For most of us, it’s literally all we know.
The older generations’ misunderstanding of millennials is tied hand-in-hand with a struggle to understand the ever-changing world of technology. Personal computers, smart phones, and the internet are not distractions; they are tools to learn, connect, and create. Social media is not an example of narcissism; it is a powerful example of different platforms that empower people to create and share content and provoke change, one post at a time.
Millennials are also not afraid to challenge the status quo. I was hugely disappointed in our entire educational system; I have a deep belief that we need a change in our political system; and financial security and stability had very little influence on the jobs that I chose after college. Not only am I disappointed, but I’m also taking massive action to provoke changes in those areas of the world. Older generations created today’s status quo. They grew up with the belief that you go to school, get a job, raise a family, and eventually retire. I can speak for myself and say I have no intention of following the well-worn path, and most millennials would agree with me.
I want to travel the world; I want to get paid for pursuing my passions in life; and I want to feel like my purpose here is more than to just exist and die. That, is the millennial mindset. The truth is, I’m deeply skeptical of the world around me. I’ve spent my whole life questioning the traditions of the past, and now I plan on working with my fellow millennials to create a new future.
Mark my words, the changes that were produced in our world by personal computers, the internet, and social media will be nothing in comparison to the changes we’re about to see in the next 15-20 years. Older generations will be baffled and confused. Millennials will feel right at home. We were born into change; we were molded by it. The future is going to be a very different place than today. Millennials want change and that’s exactly what we’re going to get.
Instead of writing millennials off as narcissistic, lazy, and entitled, I encourage older generations to have a conversation with us. Explore what makes us tick. Discover what we want to see in the world, because that’s exactly what the future of the world will be like.