If I had a R5 for every time I heard someone from another generation complaining about millennials, I’d have enough money to actually buy a house in this awful market (thanks, baby boomers!). Currently, I'd have to share a house with 15 other people just to get by.
We hear complaints about us all the time, and I don't know about you, but I'm beginning to seriously strain my eye muscles from the amount of eye-rolling I've been doing whenever I hear one of the following:
“You’re all self-obsessed”
Firstly, if I’m feeling myself that day, then why can’t I take a selfie to celebrate the awesomeness that is me? Are we all against self-confidence now? Secondly, it's not like it takes all day to take a selfie – we’re busy.
“You want everything handed to you”
More like we want the same level of opportunity that previous generations had. Things like education, good and affordable housing, decent salaries – you know, the basics.
“You have no job loyalty”
You know why so many millennials swap jobs so often? Money and job growth. Entry level jobs pay very little and living is very expensive, especially if you’re living in Cape Town where paying rent is like giving away part of your soul. Also, there are many companies where a clear trajectory up the career ladder isn’t possible which is why you have to move around a bit before you get to a place where you can see that dream job on the horizon.
“You’re not investing in your future”
Yeah, thanks for the reminder, Carol. But, like I said, we don’t have any money! It’s hard to buy a car, house, insurance and still put food on your table when you’re working an entry level job. Unlike previous generations, we can’t afford to pay a bond with the money from our first jobs. Why else do you think some of us are still living with our parents? It’s just not feasible.
“You’re too sensitive”
So because I won’t stand for your homophobic/sexist/racist/classist crap, and I call you out on it, I’m sensitive? We’re all responsible for the kind of world we live in and we need to take ownership of the things we say and do, and remind other people around us that sometimes they’re less than perfect too. I’d rather be sensitive than be a kak person, thank you very much.
What do you think I’m doing on that phone you say is making me “anti-social”? I’m having a whatsapp conversation with my best friend, complimenting my colleague’s OOTD selfie and tweeting about the latest news. How is talking to several people on several different platforms at once being anti-social?
Speaking of which...
“You’re obsessed with social media”
Yeah, so? It’s a great way to keep up with news and current events, while also speaking to your friends and colleagues as well as other professionals who work in the same industry. How is this a bad thing?
“You’re all lazy”
Actually, we work pretty damn hard. But don’t just take my word for it, according to this article on Harvard Business Review, millennials are more likely to forfeit leave days and want to show their bosses how hard they work.
“You want a trophy for everything”
Yeah, actually, I’d like to be appreciated for the 3 days I took to put together that report, or the fact that I didn’t screw up at work today. Positive reinforcement is a great tool in getting people to keep doing things and doing them well, especially regarding work.
Yeah, millennials probably aren't always the easiest to get along with (like the older generations are a walk in the park, amirite?), but does that mean we deserve the amount of crap we've been getting from everyone? I don't think so. We're just trying to get on with things as best we can, and so should you.