*Disclaimer: This is not another whiny millennial rant.*
The expression “Kid’s these days” has gone from a light-hearted testament of culture change to a critical and often harsh judgment of those raised in the technological era.
I understand as millenials, we are not a perfect collection of people. We have habits which cause discontent among preexisting generations. Today, our predecessor’s dissatisfaction is vocalized on a grander scale than ever before.
I find this rather ironic. Millennials are the startup, alternative, tech-savvy generation; creating Facebook, Twitter, Netflix, smartphones and so on. They consistently develop new ways to communicate and work (a topic for later discussion). It is through these mediums and platforms our preceding generations scrutinize and judge us.
My Facebook feed is constantly littered with videos, memes, and lengthy posts about the problems Millennials are causing. Apparently, with an increase in online shopping, we are putting stores out of business. With access to online news, print news seems both unnecessary and a wasteful (because apparently, our environmental awareness is also superior).
My favorite is the Facebook ad: “Millennials are drinking so much wine, they’re changing how it’s sold”. I won’t lie, my mom and I love wine; but it’s not just wine, and it’s not just distribution methods we are changing. Millennials are rethinking the world. Because unfortunately, we have a lot of time to think.
As the largest generation in the United States, we make up about 40% of unemployed workers. We are also the most educated generation (although a lot say education is watered down and grades are inflated unless, like me, you went to St. Anselm College AKA St. C’s) (Pew Research Center)
With high unemployment what else are we going to do with our fancy educated minds? We have to start paying off our all-time high collective $1.4 trillion student loan debt one way or another. We use our brains, we think about the next innovative thing. The new social network, the Instagram post to cover travel expenses, a quicker way to shop, a new way to sample wine, or a more affordable means of transportation.
Fun Fact: 65% of Millennials say losing their phone or computer would have a greater negative impact on their daily routine than losing their car. I privately asked several coworkers and they all said they would rather lose their car because “I can call an Uber and my phone is my life”. Talk about transforming a way of life! You know your company has made it when it becomes a verb: I’m Google-ing, or I’m Uber-ing.
With each new endeavor, we face ridicule. It maybe the way we doctor photos on Instagram to portray a more perfect and ideal self or opting for an Airbnb instead of a pricey hotel (remember we have the highest unemployment so budget is key). We face backlash for being ‘fake’ (we kind of are) or jeopardizing the hotel industry (maybe they should rethink their business strategy).
However, there is no denying the digital age has contributed to a more productive and easier life. The point is Millennial’s, like anything new, are both fascinating and terrifying. As a Millennial, I am fascinated. I have become so captivated by our mentality and ways of life, I look forward to continuing to explore the culture we are creating.
I must ask, for those wagging their fingers at us, the next time you do so on your Facebook timeline, remember you are on our turf. Instead of criticizing us (like when your precious Rock n’Roll was demonized) perhaps support and encourage us. Offer your wisdom and insight to the world as an aid not as an ode to the glory days.