There are A LOT of millennial stereotypes out there, and many of them are exaggerated or grossly untrue. For some reason, older generations have made assumptions about our characteristics that differ from theirs + have decided they’re bad. Or, writers are just making outrageous claims like that we hate groceries (I mean what? I love hitting up Kroger). It’s getting out of hand, people.
Normally, I let these stereotypes slide because I know my own truth + I think older generations just want to make themselves feel better. It’s normal to hate new things. When the Beatles first came out, older generations didn’t like them. Now if you say you don’t like the Beatles you face life-long ostracization. Anyway, today I cannot hold my tongue. I came across this infographic on LinkedIn that is not just wrong, but dead wrong.
Aside from what even is “executive presence” and the fact that the baby boomer looks like Colonel Sanders, those millennial cons are harsh. So let’s look at these piece by piece so I can tell you how wrong it is.
Millennials aren’t lazy.
Study after study finds that this is a myth. Not only are 43% of millennials considered “work martyrs” but more millennials forfeit taking vacation time than both baby boomers and Gen X. Millennials can’t afford to be lazy. We have the highest percentage of student debt by huge margins and the salaries of entry-level jobs haven’t risen at the same level as inflation. According to a Pew Research Center survey, “Millennials are the first in the modern era to have higher levels of debt, poverty, and unemployment, and lower levels of wealth + personal income than their two immediate predecessor generations had at the same time.” My fellow millennials + I work hard. I would say that 80% of my cohorts have a side hustle, are actively involved in an organization, or regularly volunteer. We aren’t laying on the couch watching Friends reruns (at least not all the time).
Millennials aren’t unproductive.
I have no idea how this survey quantified this statement but it’s very vague. Inc. thinks millennials are productivity masters. We benefit from all kinds of research on productivity + tools than older generations who are less tech-savvy generations, according to this chart, don’t use. Millennials get a lot done + have full plates. As I stated above, I know so many people who work + have a side job or help run a charity or are active in other ways. At one point in my early career, I was in grad school full-time, worked full-time, and supported freelance clients. At another point, I had a full-time job and fulfilled the duties of my previous full-time job while they looked for a replacement (it took over four months). I don’t need some inforgraphic telling me I don’t get much done.
Millennials are only a little self-obsessed.
Millennials are very giving their time and money. According to ONE survey, 70% of millennials volunteered at least one hour in 2014. 84% gave a charitable donation, with the average gift being almost $500. Looking at recent election data, millennials overwhelmingly cared about social issues. Gun violence, climate change, and family leave were big issues for millennials in 2016.We care about a wide variety of causes and our social activism can even impact where we choose work. 1/3 of millennials said that volunteer policies + opportunities effect where they apply to work.
The fact is, people dislike generations that aren’t their own. Generations above them aren’t innovative; generations below are entitled + whiny. That’s just how it goes. In 5 years, I could be creating an infographic about how bad Generation Z is, and I fully expect a blogger like me to tell me I’m wrong. So let’s all agree to stop lumping generations together. You stop calling us lazy and we’ll stop saying you ruined the economy. Deal?
What’s your least favorite millennial stereotype? Tell me in the comments!