I hate avocados… But call me a ‘snowflake’ millennial any day!

Avocado and it's relationship to the millennial stereotype

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I recently found out that I’m a “snowflake millennial,” so now I’m jumping on the bandwagon – all aboard!!

 

Stereotype (definition) – a widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or the idea of a particular type of person or thing.

 

Can they be based in truth…? Sure.

 

Should you believe every stereotype you hear…? Not so fast.

 

(Photo courtesy of MKulp Photography)

 

The stereotype I’m most interested in today is this: Millennials are lazy, job-hopping snowflakes that seek only instant gratification. 

 

Let’s not stop there. I’ve even read that more seasoned generations tend to believe that millennials are unprepared and incapable of taking the reins to lead our world forward. For the record – I think this opinion is short-sighted and not well investigated… So let’s take care of the latter.

 

Why am I interested in this stereotype? Well, I found out last year that I am in fact a card-carrying millennial (at least one definition classifies millennials as those born between 1981-2005). Head-up friends, I’m here!

 

So hand me that whole-grain toast, slap some avocado on it, and while you’re at it – get the hell off my naturally fertilized and electrically mowed lawn! 

 

(I use a gas powered mower and I prefer crunchy peanut butter over avocado, but I digress)

 


 

Let’s first look at some evidence supporting generalized stereotypes as accurate

 

1) There exists a stereotype that men are more likely to commit crimes. Guess what? The data support that claim. 

 

This publication from the Bureau of Justice Statistics shows that in 2015, males (863 per 100,000) were more commonly incarcerated than females (64 per 100,000). And the numbers weren’t even close, which suggests that the difference is not the result of random chance…

 

2) Professor Lee Jussim (Rutgers University) wrote recently that based on his extensive research surrounding social psychology, widely-held stereotypes tend to be more accurate than not.

 

But don’t worry, Professor Jussim didn’t stop the article there – Maybe we have hope, after all?

 

Professor Jussim informs us that stereotypes represent an ‘average’ of that population and that although the average temperature in Anchorage, Alaska is colder than Madrid, Spain – that average does not inform you which city is colder right now. To determine actual current temperatures, you would need to delve a bit deeper.

 

Jussim says the same is true with stereotypes. They may inform your opinion of an individual based on a group they associate with, but that group does not define the individual. To determine accurate moral character, intelligence, and other factors, you’d have to get to know the person.

 

What is the current millennial stereotype?

 

 

“Type “millennials are” into a Google search bar, and you’ll find that “lazy” comes up as one of the top three autocompletes… [Millennials] are easily bored, crave instant gratification and would rather hop from gig to gig than stay with one company throughout their working lives. Not exactly dream employees, in other words.”

 

Is the “lazy, snowflake, job-hopping” millennial stereotype true?

 

The BBC article above tells us not so fast… Generation X’ers were shown to be twice as likely to change jobs at a similar age, as compared to millennials. What’s more, is that by not changing jobs as frequently, millennials are falling further behind in the wage-earnings department.

 

Couple lower proportional wages with the student loan debt epidemic and I think we start to see that the millennials currently on mom’s couch are there because even with their 2-3 jobs, they can’t afford to pay rent, loans, other debts, and bills… Lazy? More like children of the worst economic disaster in recent history just trying to get their heads back above water.

 

More data that millennials are a force to be reckoned with

 

This Agency Ascend article tells us that millennials:
  • Represent 25% of the population and are larger than Baby Boomers and Gen X’ers (independently)
  • Are the best-educated group of young adults in US history
  • 87% of whom took management positions in the last 5 years (GenX – 38%; Boomers – 19%)
  • 54% of millennials either have started a business or plan to start one

 

What to make of the millennial stereotypes not jiving with the data

 

Although we’ve heard from Dr. Jussim above that stereotypes are commonly based on fact, he also cautioned us not to rely on that generality.

 

Stereotypes tend to classify the average of a group and that is always a dangerous thing to do. It is wise to look at the individuals in question, take into account their specific traits and qualities, then form your opinion of the person – rather than “understanding” a group then projecting that stereotype blindly on an individual.

 

I fear the current millennial stereotype is in its infancy stage. As such, it is misinformed and will require more time to revert to the actual reality. What is that actual reality?

 

In 40 years, we will look back on the millennial generation and unanimously say that millennials have comprised the best generation since the “Greatest Generation.”

 

Yeah – I said it!

 

We’ve been new kids in town for quite a while and it won’t be until the tail end of our generation enters the working class that we’ll be at full strength. But we’ve accomplished so many monumental achievements already! Here’s a quick summation – Millennials have:
  • Founded Facebook, Airbnb, Groupon, Spotify, WordPress (the company that makes MikedUp Blog possible), and countless other companies – many of which have a huge impact on our lives each day
  • Helped pull our economy out of recession by hustling – we work more than past generations because of the economic times we came of age during and the financial environment that created for us
  • Fought wars for our country for the last 17 years. No matter your opinion on whether or not we should be there – our generation was, is, and will remain on the front lines.
  • Became the most educated generation in US history
  • Included more women and minorities in high profile positions than past generations (and this is only just beginning)
  • Made it cool to realize that experiences are so much more valuable than material objects
  • Decided to get our priorities straight…

 

This Pew research study reported that in 2010 our top 3 priorities were: “being a good parent, having a successful marriage, and helping others in need.”

 

I’m not saying we’re the best generation, I’m just saying that we’re only getting started. 

 

So before you hear the term millennial and cringe at the sound, make sure to dive a bit deeper. See the individual for who and what they are. Also, realize that the X’ers and Boomers that at times look down on us millennials may not have it right after all. We’ve done amazing things and we’re going to be here for a long time to come!

 

Besides… It’s not us you should be worried about. We got you, America. It’s those kids after us you need to watch out for ?

 

 


 

Reader’s input

 

Well, who’s with me? Do you agree that millennials will be labeled one of the greatest generations in history?

 

Or are you on the other side of this argument?

 

Share your thoughts in the comments below and let’s keep this conversation going!

 


 

Thanks for reading!

 

– If you’re interested in discovering a better version of yourself – whether with fitness, finance, or family – then subscribe below to MikedUp Blog’s FREE newsletter and let’s improve together!
I’m glad you’re here. Thanks again and talk soon!

 

– Mike
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4 Comments

  1. I consider myself an authority as a boomer who has raised three successful millennials, all luck no skill. The difference I see is not laziness. My kids were all A students at engineering, medical doctor, college educator degrees and have been successful in their careers willing to work long hours. But in spite of their work ethic which is solid they seem way more fragile than my wife and myself. Each has had counselling or therapy and some have had meds to deal with issues like anxiety and depression. My wife and I have been happy most all of our lives and if we’ve had mental health issues we never noticed them. If I had told my dad I was unhappy as a teenager he’d have looked at me like I was, well, crazy and told me to get back to work. It is kind of like divorce, it didn’t exist in my family, there has never ever been a single one in the entire lineage of the clan so it doesn’t exist as an option in my mind. Maybe mental health issues were there in my generation but we just soldiered on through them because we didn’t have a name for them. Except I’ve truly been happy in life so I don’t know?

    1. First off – congrats on your three successful millennials! It sounds like you guys did something right!

      I appreciate your thoughts on the topic, too. As a seasoned millennial (32-years-old), I remember the days when seeking help in the mental health arena was faux-pas – or at least if these events happened, they weren’t discussed. I’m no doctor, but I’m not sure if the occurrence of mental health issues has increased lately, or we’re just more effective at identifying and treating these issues. It’s a completely different world than it was just 15 years ago, so I can’t imaging the differences that occur on double (or longer) the time frame.

      What are your thoughts about your child hood compared with your successful kids? Is there anything that you would’ve changed for yours or your kids with all the infiroatmion you have now?

      I’m of the opinion that as long as we’re moving forward and identifying ways to improve personally and for those closest to us, then we’re heading in the right direction.

      Really appreciate your thoughtful comments. Thanks for reading!

  2. As a boomer (oh, how I hate labels – I prefer to be called “wiser””!), I have never felt any generation is lazy or works harder than another. My parents lived in a world where company loyalty was security for the family. Dad never understood why I felt such a job was simply a leash and collar, and I preferred to live on the edge of security in exchange for freedom. The cycle of working for material growth and status at some point has to break. What was best for one generation is not necessarily best for the next one. And because one generation struggles thorough historical events or eras, the next isn’t condemned to do the same. I think that by looking at a career of emotion (Are you happy? Are you learning and growing? Are you having fun while you work?) instead of a money-driven job, your life is so much more rich and full, your genius is allowed to play, and money is simply one of the lovely fruits of that career. You also become more open to the plight of others, and want to share and give generously. It is different for everyone, of all ages, of course, and your mileage may vary. Let’s all become a “wiser” generation. 🙂

    1. Rosie,

      Thank you so much for reading and for your thoughts!

      I think your point is very well taken – there are different conditions present for each generation at different times in their lives. And how we handle those conditions truly shapes the outcome. This post is more of a cautionary tale with stereotypes than anything else. But, with that in mind, we have the ability to influence our own situation and thus – outcome.

      Your point about career of emotion is spot on. Are you fulfilled, happy, secure… It’s why we’re working so hard now to establish the life we’d really like for ourselves later.

      I’ll be reaching out to you directly about this but thank you again for your comments and your call at the end – “Let’s all become a ‘wiser’ generation”

      Let’s do it!

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