Materialistic, narcissistic and selfish. Not to mention entitled, lazy and privileged. These are just a few of the adjectives that crop up in discussions about Millennials. The me-me-me kids. The generation that is set to be the future. A future, at least according to parents and sociologists alike, that we have already forfeited in favour of making sure our Instagram grids have a perfect theme.
“What’s your opinion on Millennials?” I asked my mother, as she sipped at her coffee. She thought about it for a second, and began reeling off a list not too dissimilar to the one above. It quickly turned into something more personal, and I had to nip that conversation in the bud there and then. Everyone has an opinion on Millennials, but why is there so much animosity?
Internship. The word that employers will use to reel in graduates who will end up in a full-time job that barely pays for their travel, let alone food or rising rent prices in London. Do not underestimate the value of the humble internship; they are excellent opportunities to get to grips with the industry and develop the necessary skills. Having said that, if I have gone to university, burying myself in debt in the process, to achieve the necessary qualification I need for a job, I do not then expect to do said job for free. Granted, my CV might not boast years’ worth of experience, but come on, you can fork out the National Minimum Wage at least.
Millennials are a generation who aren’t fazed by rules and regiment, hence why we see no reason to adhere to it. We are revolutionising the workplace, with our fashionable workwear and our staunch decline to work the traditional 9 to 5. As Millennials, we have evolved beyond the strict lines of the colouring book; willing to tread into the vast expanse of blank canvas where we can rewrite the rules completely. Corporate culture doesn’t cut it for us all.
Hashtag selfie. It would be silly to lie and say Millennials aren’t obsessed with social media. We are incredibly aware of our online presence, and most of the time, yes, we are Instagramming that coffee we ordered and yes, you will see us at the next Twitter chat. As a generation, we are constantly switched on. Tube Commuters clutching the latest John Grisham are a rare breed, replaced by Kindle wielding, iPhone waving armies.
Perhaps there’s more to the story than immediate gratification. Perhaps, the answer is as simple as the world has changed. The digital era has steadily crept into our lives, as more businesses, people and procedures turn to technology to stay relevant. Websites and blogs have pulled the rug out from underneath the newspaper, trending tweets replacing the “Dear Editor” letter. Facebook is the new, better way to invite friends over to look at your slides of holiday photos. Instagram provides an insight into each other’s lives.
Ah, the future. It’s ours for the taking. If Gen X has any doubts about it, then I ask them to look at themselves. The elders but not wiser, who voted for Brexit and set us on a downward spiral. The so-called responsible adults, who put their faith in a madman and opened the floodgates for hate crimes. Talk about one step forward, two steps back. Homophobia, Transphobia, Islamophobia, Misogyny… Gen X are quick to point the finger at us Millennials, but what about the negativity they exude with their outdated beliefs?
Who better to stand up for what is right than the generation of the future? Millennials seem to have a fierce disregard for their parents’ beliefs; powered by a moral compass that is no doubt the result of the internet. Online platforms have enabled Millennials to educate themselves on issues beyond the white heteronormative, and with this knowledge comes a revolution. A revolution that threatens to sweep away the order of Gen X and replace it with a new one that teaches tolerance and acceptance and promotes new ideas on careers, relationships and faith.
Over the last couple of years, Millennials have orchestrated some of the world’s most powerful movements in the fight for justice. Where are the lazy, materialistic, entitled Millennials you speak of? We are a generation on a mission to educate ourselves and live fulfilling lives. Perhaps we do spend a lot of time on our phones. And perhaps you should worry about it. Why? Well, because you’ve left behind a mess and now we need a revolution to clean it up. This is a revolution that will be liked, tweeted, and shared.