Parkin: Let Us Prove You Wrong


By Natalie Parkin

As a millennial, someone between the ages of 18 to 29, I know quite a bit about my generation and the assumptions made about it. People view my generation as lazy, selfish, entitled, a “me-me-me” generation. Although this may be true for some, I can assure you, it does not apply to all of us.

This stereotype that all millennials are hopeless and lazy individuals must be abandoned. I do understand that there are good reasons why millennials are looked at as making up the “lazy generation,” as there are many studies that show that we differ from the generation before us. But, to be fair, we don’t have much control over it. 

Let me explain.

According to a study done by the nonprofit Families and Work Institute in 1992, “80 percent of people under 23 wanted to one day have a job with greater responsibility; 10 years later, only 60 percent did.” What this study fails to address was that whether this was because millennials simply did not want to work in a more demanding job or because there are fewer jobs available that require greater responsibility. Companies look for a lot of things when hiring a new recruit, one of many being experience. Unlike millennials fresh out of college, it’s the older generation that has more experience. The Pew Research Center confirms that, “Not only are more older Americans working, more of them are working full-time. In May 2000, 46.1 percent of workers ages 65 and older were working fewer than 35 hours a week (the BLS’ cutoff for full-time status). The part-time share has fallen steadily, so that by last month only 36.1% of 65-and-older workers were part-time.”

Many millennials are striving and determined to find better jobs for the future. Those jobs are currently filled by members of the other generation, however. Simply put, the competition is greater for millennials to find successful jobs. Unfortunately, it seems that if a young adult wants a better job in the future, they must simply wait until someone else retires.

Another accusation that tends to be thrown at millennials is that we’re just not working hard enough — that our generation thinks it can accomplish so much for so little, and we love ourselves too much to see value in anything else.  When it comes to narcissistic personality disorder, meaning loving yourself, “nearly 58 percent more college students scored higher on a narcissism scale in 2009 than in 1982,” as stated by Joel Stein, a former columnist for Time. But loving oneself isn’t such a crime. In fact, maybe it simply shows self-confidence. Self-confidence is defined as “showing poise and confidence in your own worth.” Confident people don’t doubt themselves. Yes, one can take their confidence too far, resembling too closely the Greek god Narcissus himself, but not doubting yourself is what can make you work with deliberateness and passion, ultimately contributing to a more successful life.

The Millennial Careers: 2020 Vision report from Manpower surveyed over 19,000 millennials across the globe. Its goal was to find out millennials’ career expectations and how those differ from the generation’s before them. It found that, “Millennials are expected to work into old age, with more than a quarter of people expecting to be employed until past the age of 70. Not only are they expected to work for most of their lives, but 12 percent are expecting to work until the day they die.” Our generation expects to work long and hard and with confident determination. 

It is true that we were not born into a nation at war with very little provisions, but that only makes us work harder to prepare for the future. Millennials are not as hopeless as many would like to think. We know how to work. We constantly are thinking and working for the future. We are confident in our abilities and what we have to give to the world. Our efforts now may not be enough to meet some expectations, but that is only because we are young adults – still trying to learn and to grow.

The future is ours, and with our ability to work hard coupled what we have to offer, we will succeed in making the future bright. To those who believe that millennials truly are lazy, ungrateful narcissists who will not succeed in the future, my message to you is this – let us prove you wrong. Let us show you what we have to offer. It will be different than what you are used to, yes, but the world keeps changing and evolving, so we must too. 

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