When you say “Baby Boomer” or “Gen Xer”, everyone knows who you’re talking about. The Baby Boomers came in a rush after World War II. Most of them are now collecting Social Security. Generation X might as well have been known as the Hippy Generation. Drugs were big, and so was burning your bra.
But not everyone knows what a Millennial is.
I didn’t even know of the word “Millennial” until I was a junior in high school. My English teacher asked us if we could tell her what a Millennial was without looking at our reading. No one raised their hand. Not even me. And I was at the top of the class!
We then found out that every person in that classroom, apart from the teacher, was a Millennial.
Millennials are individuals born between 1982 and 2004. Researchers Neil Howe and William Strauss referred to us as “the next great generation”. Now, the actual Great Generation came just before the Baby Boomers. These people fought and died for our country in World War II. Sounds pretty great, huh?
Millennials have been nicknamed the “The Me Me Me Generation”. However, while considered entitled and self-centered, they could change this world for the better. In an article written for Time, Joel Stein said, “do what old people have done throughout history: call those younger than me lazy, entitled, selfish, and shallow.” So are we really what older generations make us out to be?
Every generation gets increasingly narcissistic. However, Millennials are so much more. We are multitaskers, tech-savvy, and open. We love honesty and a work-life balance. Teamwork is important to us. And we absolutely need to stay connected.
All told, we’re a pretty kickbutt generation.
While previous generations worked a steady 9-5 work week, most Millennials no longer do that. My sister, a high school junior born in 1999, works on Saturday afternoons. My boyfriend, born in 1991, works varying shifts with either Sunday and Monday or Monday and Tuesday off. Born in 1996, I currently work a 9-5 job. Those are the hours of the small business I work for. However, I currently work only four days a week.
We love flexibility. If we don’t work one day, we like to be able to make it up the following week. My boyfriend, for example, is taking four days off at the end of October for a vacation with me and my sister. He was scheduled to work that Sunday, but he will instead work two Sundays bell-to-bell to make up for it.
In addition to flexibility within our work schedule, we are also task, rather than time, oriented. Our productivity is based on how much work we have completed, not how much time we have spent working. I love what I do for work, and I will work for hours to make sure I get a job done. But when all the jobs have been completed, I like to pursue my schoolwork and my writing. Millennials love to have time to chase the personal goals.
Speaking of schoolwork, like most Millennials, I love to learn. While I was given the opportunity to leave school for a few terms while I got back on track financially, I have decided to stick with it. I want to work hard. I want to learn. Millennials work harder if they understand the importance behind the task. They are always asking why.
Before you look down on a 19-year-old kid who doesn’t seem to have their life together, look at who they are as a person. Millennials are here to reform this world, one step at a time.
This article was written by Maryssa Gordon, a writer for dusk magazine.