What is a Millennial? The generation war between Gen X and Millenials, both online and the real world, has caused people to draw their lines in the sand. More and more, we’ve been hearing about what exactly Millenials are, and – more importantly – what they mean in today’s world.
To put in a clear, dictionary definition, Millennials are people who were born in the 1980’s or 1990’s. In short, the generation that witnessed the advent of the Internet as children, and grew alongside the world’s spike in technology. Why do people say that Millennials think they’re so special, then?
All About Me – What is a Millennial?
A few years ago, Time published an article referring to Millennials as the “me me me” generation. Statistics and data showed that millennials were most likely to score high on levels of selfishness. Narcissistic personality disorder is apparently three times more common for this age group. According to surveys, they believe they ought to be promoted every two years, yet at the same time are less likely to desire more responsibility.
But is it all really their ‘fault’ (if we can call it a fault)? Look at trends in parenting, even in the way films and other forms of media highlight particular values. More and more, Millennials have been brought up to believe that they’re special; that they can do anything if they set their mind to it; that they’re princesses, rock stars, “whatever they want to be.”
There’s all this social media, too. A common trait among millennials is the desire to broadcast themselves; putting their achievements on Facebook, tweeting their current whereabouts, Instagramming their lunch for the day. But perhaps that is a result of the generation’s upbringing rather than a cause.
Liberated But Unhappy
Of course, social media has its downside as well. Those asking “what is a millennial” may note that the generation has access to opportunities like never before. With much of gender and racial barriers broken down, accessibility to online resources, and the incredible empowerment they’ve been granted, Millennials are liberated.
But according to The World Economic Forum, dissatisfaction is pretty high as well. Since Millennials are so connected, comparisons to peers become unavoidable. Those checking their Facebook and Twitter, only to see their friends’ being promoted, or making their big breaks, instantly feel a sense of falling behind. Remember, after all, that people are only likely to craft positive images of themselves online. The good is there; the hard work and the failures are not.
As a result, Millennials are hit with mixed messages that tell them they should be on top, but due to their own inadequacies, or perhaps circumstances or bad luck, are not.
Those who grew up with the internet at their fingertips are certainly streetwise and understand the world in ways that no generation before them can. But the advice for them to make the most of their years remain the same: figure out the pitfalls of misrepresentation on social media, embrace your solitude; and plan a long-term course. The Boston Globe has pointed out that Millennials are actually workaholics, rather than being lazy – with 40% calling themselves ‘work martyrs’, dedicated and putting in long hours.
They just need to know their course, and stay the course. Because even in today’s world, overnight successes are still the exception; hard-earned careers are the rule. That much hasn’t changed.
Do you have your own answer to the question “What is a Millennial”? Let’s hear it!