The next person who accuses millennials of being lazy un-professionals will have to pry the locally-sourced avocado toast from my tweeting, non-home-owning hands first.
Millennial “experts” love to diagnose our generation as an entire group of people addicted to technology and dependent on our parents. Apparently we also have no concept of hard work because we received participation trophies. Those claims would be worrisome, if only they were true.
Viral videos of motivational speakers like Simon Sinek babbling on about how to save the helpless millennials don’t accurately represent an entire demographic of diverse people. Not every single person born during the 80’s or 90’s suffers from social anxiety. Many millennials know how to simply put their phones away and enjoy the moment. Amid the stereotypes, the facts say millennials know how to find success.
Keep Reading to Learn About 15 Reasons Millennials are Exceeding Everyone’s Expectations:
1. Pete Buttigieg is the First Millennial Running for President
Millennials now have a voice on the biggest possible stage. Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, recently announced he will join the presidential race in 2020. The 37-year old has been called as millennial as it gets. But he’s no snowflake and actually fought in Afghanistan with the U.S. military. Buttigieg told news outlets that members of the millennial generation like himself have a strong sense of urgency about fixing our nation’s problems. He serves as a shining example of how millennials everywhere are stepping up to the plate to tackle issues like climate change, mass shootings and student loan debt.
2. We’re Entrepreneurs at Heart
Our generation refuses to become cubicle slaves. Research from Bentley University says that 67% of millennials want to start their own businesses. The millennial mindset is no longer climbing the corporate ladder, but achieving professional and personal freedom. The study also said many millennials want no part of shady management and corporate chaos. We tend to prefer DIY entrepreneurship.
3. We Run Side Hustles
One job doesn’t cut it for most millennials. We came into a tight economy, but we don’t just sit back and wait for the money to come to us. Catch millennials starting online clothing businesses, writing children’s books or building e-commerce websites in their spare time. Office professionals by day become Uber drivers by night for extra cash. According to Bankrate research, over half of millennials grind out side hustles. Our generation understands that a ton of highly successful businesses like Etsy started off as side gigs. So don’t quit your day job or your side job.
4. We’re the Most Highly Educated Generation
More tassels are being turned and mortarboards thrown into the air than ever. Even in the midst of a student loan crisis, the millennial generation holds the highest level of college education. According to the New York Times, over 27% of us have bachelor’s degrees or higher, as compared to 15.7% in 1980. Not to mention, colleges become more selective each year because of the surge in SAT scores and high school GPA’s. The sluggish economy has encouraged more millennials to pursue master’s degrees and even Ph.D.’s in order to be more competitive. I guess we’re just too smart for our own good.
5. We Redefine What Success Means
Unlike baby boomers, our generation doesn’t have googley eyes for the prestigious corner office and executive suite. We’ve all heard the phrase “money can’t buy happiness” enough to give it at least some consideration. Millennials value independence over the old 9–to–5. “I want to feel alive. I want to feel at one with the world and myself. I don’t want to be shackled by worry about money or the future,” said Grant Sabatier, millennial author of Financial Freedom. Rather than being miserable in a job that pays well, our generation would rather love what we do for less money. Don’t get me wrong, we love earning money, but we’re self-aware enough to realize it’s not everything in life.
6. We’re More Connected than Any Other Generation
The backbone of our generation is our connectivity. It’s no secret that the line between digital life and real life has been blurred. Millennials know how to use this new connectedness to our advantage. Our concept of work hours doesn’t fall between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Some of us do our best work at 3:30 a.m. And since we’re so savvy with technology, we can make moves whenever we please. Side note: don’t call me at 3:30 a.m. for work stuff though, I’ll be sleeping.
7. “Don’t Call Me, Let’s Talk in Person”
Surprise! Millennials prefer face-to-face contact over digital. Even though we live and breathe technology, we know how to put it in its place. A survey from PWC says the millennial generation believes firmly in the power of connecting in-person to maintain relationships.
8. We Think for the Long-Term
Success in the long term doesn’t mean focusing only on what’s right in front of you. Our generation gives our careers the time they need to flourish. And it’s not only careers—millennials have been delaying marriage too according to a Pew study. We grew up seeing many parents separate because of money problems and career stress and don’t want to face the same obstacles. In addition, many millennials already started saving for retirement.
9. We’re the Greenest Generation
And I’m not talking about reefer. Our generation sees ourselves as global consumers, so we value making a lower environmental footprint. Instead of downsizing like some Gen Xers and Baby Boomers, we never upsize to begin with. The Nielson Global Sustainability Survey says millennials are the most active stewards of the environment. Many millennials will even pay more for products like shampoos or clothes from companies committed to positive social and environmental impacts.
10. We Create Our Own Paths in Life
Ask a millennial to stay at one job for 30 years and they’ll probably laugh. “It’s easy for people to typecast millennials as being self-absorbed when they see them rejecting something that’s always been accepted as the norm, but that doesn’t mean that portrayal is accurate,” said journalist Sarah Landrum. What others see as continuous job hopping we see as being open to better opportunities in this gig economy. We like to be our own boss, not because we don’t want to work hard, but so we can have the freedom to create our own path. Established generations need to recognize that millennials want to be the drivers of our own lives and careers. After seeing so many people feeling trapped in their jobs, our generation refuses to relinquish our precious time to corporations that don’t help us pursue our goals in life.
11. We’re Diverse AF
Diversity is our bread and butter. We were born into an era of mass communication that made us more aware of others’ perspectives and opinions. Since we have access to so much information, we can constantly learn more about the world and the people in it. Pew Demographic Research says millennials are the generation most open to racial and cognitive diversity, leading to better teamwork. Step aside boomers, it’s our turn.
12. Our Voice in Society is Growing
Millennials have been told that we’re too young to understand the world. Our opinions on social and political issues have been dismissed. But now 56 million millennials make up over half of the workforce, so our opinions have grown increasingly more relevant. Our generation now leads the march for issues like the legalization of medical marijuana and same-sex marriage rights. Millennials speak out about what’s happening in Sudan and people from South Africa tweet across borders to people in England. This global communication will tighten our connections to each other and hopefully encourage a deeper understanding of global citizenship. Through our information-savviness, we grow our voice.
13. We Demand More from Brands
Marketing to millennials has become like a chicken running around with its head cut off. In other words, basically no one knows how to do it. Remember that cringey Pepsi commercial where Kendall Jenner calms a protest by giving the cop a can of Pepsi? Regardless of oversimplified marketing, we reward corporations who put their money where their mouth is. “I don’t want to support companies that don’t care about how the animals and/or workers are treated, and I do want to support those that do,” said activist Melanie Curtin. Companies like Nike that devote a lot of money to sustainability have stayed popular with the millennial generation because we like companies that share our values of social and environmental responsibility. Businesses have had to rethink their strategy to cater more to the next generation of consumers.
14. We’re Incredibly Creative and Innovative
It’s no shocker that the most successful and innovative companies were created by millennials: Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Airbnb and Google to name a few. These companies base their entire culture on the generation of new ideas and creative inspiration. Have you seen Google’s campus in San Francisco? Leave it to millennials to make the world’s tech capital look like a wacky bonkers playground.
15. We’re Hopeful for the Future
Despite being brought up in a society that often forecasts failure for our generation, we still remain hopeful for the future. We look forward with a mix of curiosity, skepticism and humility. Our generation is spreading all over the map to pursue careers in politics, business, music, art and countless other professions. It’s up to the millennials to see potential nobody else sees. Millennial media personality Trevor Noah told TIME Magazine, “Not only are young people growing into the world of politics, but they’re engaged in a way where they understand that they can actually change the course of history, as opposed to just being a part of it.” Even amid all the news and information about how bad the world can be, the millennial generation sets out to make it a better place. So keep on keepin’ on fellow millennials.