For as long as I can remember, basically since the word existed, I despised the fact that I was considered to be a Millennial.
I associated the term “Millennial” with annoying, twenty-something college students that needed mom to call their professors and tell them they were sick and couldn’t finish their homework.
Yea, I know. The. Worst.
What I’ve learned is, “Anyone born between 1981 and 1996 (ages 23 to 38 in 2019) is considered a Millennial, and anyone born from 1997 onward is part of a new generation”, Generation Z.
So, I am a Millennial. I’m okay with that & let me tell you why.
According to Wikipedia (I know, such a Millennial thing to reference), there are “seven basic traits to the millennial cohort: special, sheltered, confident, team-oriented, conventional, pressured, and achieving.
Now, we’re just going to ignore sheltered, because I don’t agree with that one at all & I actually don’t like conventional either (because I actually think we’re extremely unconventional), so let’s focus on the remaining five: special, confident, team-oriented, pressured, & achieving.
These five words are how we are navigating and succeeding in the world as we know it today.
No longer is it traditional to graduate from college, get hired at a company, get a company car & excellent health benefits, stay with said company for 40 years, & retire with a pension. That just doesn’t happen any more. (Try getting my father to understand that though…)
We have had to be special (creative), confident (educated), team-oriented (willing to work together), pressured (motivated), & achieving (successful) in order to get half of what our parents got. And even then, our future is not guaranteed like it was for them.
Let me repeat that for those in the back, our future is not guaranteed.
It is not a guarantee that we will be able to afford to retire. It is not a guarantee that we will have a healthy and safe environment to grow old in. It is not a guarantee that we are going to have the security and safety of a job that our parents took as a given.
So, what have we done?
We’ve adapted and overcome.
We’ve learned to be creative, educated, willing to work with others, motivated, and successful doing things that are new, unique, out of the box, risky, inventive, and so much more.
We’ve learned to FIGURE IT OUT.
And (for the most part), we’ve done it without our parents help. Because, let’s be honest, they don’t understand the struggles us Millennials go through to make ends meet.
I know a big part of the negative stereotype that comes with being a Millennial is that we only want to do something we’re “passionate” about.
Do you know what I say to that?? GOOD FOR US!
If I’m not going to be able to retire in a beautiful home on the beach (like my parents) and I’m going to have to work to make ends meet until the day I die, why in the world would I want to spend my life doing something I despise?
I’m not saying it’s okay to turn down grunt work if you need the money, I’m not saying it’s okay to refuse to put in the work to get to where you want to go, and I’m certainly not expecting to be handed my dream job, but I’m saying it’s okay to be continually trying to WORK towards making your passion your career.
In fact, I encourage it.
The beautiful thing about the fact that in today’s world there are less 9-5, secure jobs out there for us is that it gives us the freedom to do something different. Be creative, find a new path, and do something new.
And that’s why I’ve decided I’m okay with being called a Millennial. I’m not following the path set forth by my parents, I’m carving my own future, and I’m working really damn hard to make it happen.
It will not be easy, but if it were easy then we wouldn’t be a Millennial, right?