A Millennial on a Mission

It’s 2020, and people still hold ill will towards Millennials. Whenever folks hear the term “Millennial” they think things like “spoiled”, “entitled”, or even “lazy”.

It’s irritating to those of us Millennials who have a tenacious work ethic, are motivated, and driven to the core to be compared to the typical “millennial.” It took a lot of hard work, perseverance, and dedication to get to where I’m at today. I had to prove myself day in and day out, fix mistakes and not let them happen again, and get up several times after falling down. Since Millennials are known for being overly sensitive and unable to accept criticism, I’m trying to do the opposite by accepting criticism, learning from it, and using it as an opportunity for growth.

Some people say we have a Gen X mentality. But what’s wrong with being a Millennial and standing out from the crowd? Nothing! I love the era I grew up in. I have no doubt the ’60’s and ’70’s were a BLAST. But I had the Spice Girls and Clueless. You can’t beat that!

The statistics can show whatever they want, and the internet can have as many millennial-detesting people as it pleases. But I’ll still be here with an army of hard-working millennials behind me disproving the stats and the haters.

The irony in my own story is that Millennials are supposed to always have their noses stuck in their phone, be on social media, and be broke. I was, once. I vowed to do everything I could to change it, so I found a career in social media. And I’m good at it. I know what I’m doing. When my baby-boomer grandmother couldn’t figure out her new iPhone, guess who taught her the ropes? That’s right, her Millennial granddaughter – the one she scoffed at after she’d told her she found a work-from-home job in social media.

 

But are Millennials truly lazy, entitled, spoiled, and sensitive, or are previous generations forgetting what they once were themselves? I don’t have the answer, but I know this Millennial is bold, fearless, and ready to take on the world with a cellphone in her hand, a laptop on her desk, and an iPad somewhere within reach.

The Millennials I know are leaders. They are bulldogs, and raising our next generation to be the same way. Let me clarify, though: I may not be your average Millennial, but I am definitely a Millennial, born in 1993. Sure, I have met some Millennials who fit the stereotype to a T. They were lazy and broke as a joke.

However, from the moment I wake up in the morning until my head hits my pillow, I am grinding. I am doing whatever it takes to get to the next level. I read somewhere about someone who referred to themselves as a “non-millennial millennial”, and I think that’s pretty spot-on. I may not have all the Millennial qualities, but I have a few. I am a goal-setter, and sometimes I set goals beyond my wildest dreams, but I tend to hit them when I set my mind to it. I dream BIG, I have aspirations, and I know a future is ahead of me.

Millennials may be known for being lazy, impatient, irresponsible and broke. But they’re also known for creativity, ambition, and critical thinking. Millennials are accepting and want to see change in the world. Difference doesn’t scare us. If there’s shame in that, I don’t see it.

Really though, there’s not much difference between Gen Xers and Millennials. Gen X was there for the birth of cellphones, the internet, and social media. Millennials grew up with it. So why are Gen Xers so rough on Millennials in the workplace? If you look a little closer, you’ll see that their goals are the same. Millennials just take a different approach. Gen X is 9-5, whereas Millennials are more flexible. Either way, both generations do whatever it takes to get things done. Their aspirations aren’t much different, except that Millennials have a more entrepreneurial outlook and Gen X is a little more hierarchical. Therefore, Millennials’ thought process is more merit-based versus “time served”.

Then there are the Boomers. It seems that clashes between Baby Boomers and Millennials are on the rise. It’s never been a secret that tensions are high between the two. Boomers feel Millennials are self-righteous and selfish, and Millennials see Boomers as slow and stagnant. Boomers seem to think Millennials are useless in today’s society. The reality is that we, as Millennials, will one day be society. We are the Boomers’ grand-kids and are raising their great-grandkids. We are raising the future, and as scary as that may seem, just trust us. There’s no doubt that the Boomers worked hard to get to where they are, but they seem to think Millennials need to pay more dues to get there as well.

At the end of the day, the world has evolved and it will continue to do so. There’s no stopping it. It’s time for the Boomers to let go of the reins and for the two groups to be challenged and compromise in the workplace.

There are major differences in the workplace among Millennials, Boomers, and Gen-X, but there are similarities, too. It’s important to understand that if we look beyond their generation and more at what the person brings to the table, we’ll all work much more coherently. It doesn’t have to be a war when the three generations are in the workplace together. Millennials still have a lot to learn, all while pushing their companies towards more modern ways of doing things.

 

Personally, I have been beyond blessed to find a workplace where my boss doesn’t view me in terms of my generation. She sees my tenacity, work ethic, and dedication. You might see me staring at my phone all day or my face in my laptop and think that I’m just another Millennial obsessed with technology. But you’d be wrong. I am just another Millennial building her own damn empire and not letting anything or anybody get in her way.

But hey, if you’re Gen X or a Boomer, come on over. Help me build this empire! It’s your grandkids and great grandkids I’m building it for.

Author: Jessica Burkhart