If you type the term “millennial” into a search engine, your search garners an astounding 2 million results in 0.17 seconds. Among the results you will find the words “narcissistic”, “impatient”, “online obsessed”, and “immature” as a means of describing the generation born in the ’80s and ’90s. This leads me to ask what defines the millennial generation and why does it have such a bad reputation?
The Week magazine published an article on the millennial generation that highlighted their negative qualities. The article points out the narcissism that comes with the millennnial generation. One study suggests that millennials, “value money, image, and fame more than inherent principles like self-acceptance, affiliation and community.”
Another quality associated with the millennial generation is the value of luxuries. Due to the amount of advertisements that millennials have been exposed to, they are prompted to buy more. They are “the fastest-growing demographic of those who purchase luxury goods,” says Rachel Krause at The Frisky,engaging in the kind of “lavish, indiscriminate consumerism” that will lead to the “death rattle” of their bank accounts.
Another complaint regarding the millennial generation is their obsession with the internet and social media. The speed of the internet and the instant gratification it provides is detrimental to critical thinking skills. Grammar and writing skills are also compromised by the excessive use of social media shorthand.
Despite these complaints studies have also shown that the millennial generation is more apt to become entrepreneurs. Ironically enough, the perceived downfalls of the millennial generation can actually be used to their advantage. William Deresiewicz at The New York Times says that the “heroic age of dot-com entrepreneurship” of the 1990s, and disappointment in”large organizations, including government,” the Millennial sees the private sector as “the idealized social form of our time.”
Sarah Rose Attman of Entrepreneur magazine focused on the traditionally negative traits of the millennial generation and emphasized how those undesirable traits were actually helpful for young entrepreneurs.
Attman suggests that navigating social media can help create a network and make connections. “For entrepreneurs being digitally savvy is extremely important. One of the main advantages is for networking.”
Attman also considers narcissism and a desire for fame to be helpful and even motivating. “As entrepreneurs, we need to believe in ourselves, our vision and our dreams. Perhaps our generation takes confidence a bit too far. But in my experience, craving the limelight is the only way to bring it in.”
Maybe being a part of the millennial generation isn’t so bad. Although the critics believe that the millennial generation is full of online obsessed, broke, narcissists, the millennial generation is full of people who want to make a difference and find new resolutions to old problems. So prove the doubters on and keep striving for success, just make sure there’s someone to proofread your emails. Bad grammar never got anyone anywhere.