Generalizing the Millennial Generation is Problematic
You can’t avoid a single business or mainstream publication without critiquing millennials anymore. Critics label my generation as lazy, entitled, and could care less about money. I find that generalization to be discriminatory and problematic. Why is this generalization becoming the norm for labeling millennials and why can’t we recognize that these behaviors are a reflection of the market and not entirely unique to millennials only?
I don’t deny that there is a sample of lazy and entitled millennials. But I also doubt that is unique to millennials. Especially when some arguments that provide this assumption are defended by claiming that a dependence on new age technology breeds lazy behaviors that are unique to millenials. How can you prove that millennials are the only ones effected by technological dependency and counter productive work behaviors when books like What the Internet is Doing To Our Brains exists? Cyberpsychology is a new field and to attribute its findings to Millenials is not only discriminatory it’s disregarding the content validity of a field that looks at how technology effects the human psyche in the context of technology.
If this article were a white paper on the discriminatory effects of media driven millennial critiques and job recruitment I would want to develop a scale on fielding the discriminant validity of hr recruitment practices on age. Secondly, I want to investigate the impact of millennial stigma on millennial job potential and recruitment . I do not have the resources to do that research,and can not continue this argument since I don’t have any data or resources to defend this claim. For the purposes of this medium editorial article I do hypothesize that articles that reference millennial work behavior have more power on the futures of millennial job potential more than we think.
Speaking from my own experience ( which I understand has bias) I am 28, I have graduated from graduate school at the age of 25 and have three years of job experience. I have had almost 50+ final interviews in the past three years and I noticed one common denominator. I was rejected because recruiters found someone older and with more experience. Like I said before, I can’t prove discrimination( there are other potential factors for my rejection such as being a black male in america), but what I can say is if I am consistently being rejected for my age or lack of experience all while applying for jobs that require the amount of experience that a job application outlines, could I not argue that the dialogue on millennial entitlement and laziness may be impacting my ability to work? I understand that my job experience is still very young, but I think I should still be aware and be critical of the feedback I am getting at a young phase of my career which all appears to be rather discriminatory instead of productive.
I don’t know if the dialogue on millennial entitlement is a critique of upper class millennials who have had their parents pay for everything from their 8 person apartments in gentrified cities to their whole foods budgets, but I am not the sort of millennial who enjoys being lazy. I have yet to find reports on the socioeconomic class of millennials who are surveyed, but I do know that the dialogue of the critiques of millennials is a dialogue I am not familiar with. I will continue to refer to a number of articles in this review, and I can say for one without having to share data, I don’t identify with the millennials that are being critiqued and I find that troublesome. I am a millennial with a work ethic that undeservedly is being judged for having behaviors that are not reflective of my work history or aspirations. In my eyes that is a form of prejudice that may keep me from my potential.
I wasn’t given the sort of parenting that allowed me to be lazy or addicted to technology. I played outdoors, I was in sports teams, I enjoy phone conversations over text messages. I prefer to ask someone on a date than swipe my way through finding an intimate connection. I think reports should change the angle at how we are viewing millennials and really look at how these behaviors are affecting people across age groups. I understand that millennials may consume these new technologies at higher rates, but it doesn’t discount that the behaviors may be generalizable across generations instead of being unique to people within my age group.
What about money? If millennials did not care about money why is it that CNN reports that out of the 11.6 million jobs that 8.4 million were taken by college grads? If millennials don’t care about money why are we the ones who have the least credit card debt compared to other generations? Did anyone ever consider that millennials are given the unfortunate dilemma of having to delay other responsibilities due to student debt? I might add that I am aware that some millenials are not aware of the impact of student debt, but to come to the judgement that millenials don’t care about money because we care about values over profit is a bit of a stretch.
I think millennials want to enact the values driven by organizations for the sake of profit so that they can take care of their conflicting responsibilities( such as the ones mentioned before) and enjoy life. Millennials may be judged for having low job commitment, but maybe it not only reflective on millenials but the market as a whole. Lindsey Pollak, author of “Becoming the Boss” mentions that job hopping is not a millennial problem it’s an everyone problem. Job hopping is a means for finding something better and its a reflection of how the job market treats people who do stay committed to organizations.
I think its time to understand that companies are just as disloyal to their human capital which circles back to why millennials care about human capital over profit. I hypothesize that this lack of loyalty is learned from the history of the Great Recession. A study done by Towers Watson shows that a sense of job security is a concept that we no longer can grasp. The problems outlined by millennial work behaviors are not a result of technology as some authors tend to preach, but instead a result of the realities millennials have had to face while entering the job market.
I don’t come from money but a modest middle class upbringing. I have job skills, I have experience and I have drive. Yes I want to be able to sustain my life and my work life and keep them separate, but does that make me lazy? Does that make millennials lazy? No, if anything I think stereotypical millenial behavior is a defense mechanism of what the market has shown over the past years.
There are lazy millennials, there are hard working millennials, but I like to believe that new age millennial behavior as some call it is not unique to one generation, but may be applicable to all generations. I encourage business owners to recognize the knowledge capital that millennials own compared to other generations. But somehow we are also the worst paid, which some how has not been considered discriminatory. Not only is our knowledge capital at a higher rate, but we may even be projected to be poorer than our parents when we reach our 30s ( some of us already have reached that point). I also would want to consider that we remove discriminatory ideations from our decision making in HR practices when recruitment. In addition to the examples I have mentioned before, asking for 10 years experience on a technology that has lasted for 2 years is not reasonable and yes this is a reality I have to face as a job seeker. Encouraging millennial entitlement and laziness in recruitment decisions is not only discriminatory, it’s keeping us from reaching the economic potential we could achieve for our country which is problematic. Invest in the future of millenials and future generations to generate a sustainable, profitable, and meaningful future for the state of our local, state, national, and global economy.