Millennials - We’re not all bad!
Jan 08 2018
Young people - all they do is sit around and watch TV. And play video games. And listen to loud music. They’re just lazy - we were never like that when we were young!
Sure. Some of us are like that. Some of us enjoy listening to music at a higher volume and playing video games. Some of us are lazy. But the older generations were once the same as us, so why aren’t we cut some slack? Generation Y, or the Millennials, the generation who were born around the 1984-2000 period, are constantly painted in a negative light.
When put into generational groups, it’s easy for some of the group to ruin it for the rest of them and create a bad reputation. It’s then frustrating and hard to break that stereotype and be seen as different to the rest. The reason why young people are perceived as negative influences is generally due to the most extreme members of the group.
These negative perceptions are based on a variety of things. Often it's stories in the media, a single negative experience you always remember, or on TV shows where young people’s lives are exaggerated. As a result, it’s easy for older generations to make negative assumptions and stereotype the behaviour of the people in that age group.
Realistically it’s never going to be everyone who does any one thing, good or bad. And this is true for every generation. It’s unfair and frustrating for people to assume something about who you are or your behaviour based on an unrepresentative proportion of the group.
The millennials particularly are painted in a negative light. They are often labelled as lazy and self-obsessed. This is an unreasonable assumption to make about 75.4 million people around the world. We can’t make an assumption about these many people on anything. Everyone eats, drinks sleeps differently, speaks differently, are interested in different things, wear different things. But somehow, all millennials are painted as being lazy and narcissistic. This conclusion may have been based purely on the actions of some millennials who are outliers of the group. Although this may be true about some people in the generation, it certainly cannot be used as a blanket stereotype for them all.
There are many attributes which are great for our generation. For example, more and more of the millennials are combating climate change and working towards a more sustainable future. They care about the environment and how their children will grow up. According to the Bureau of Labor in the U.S.A., millennials are actually more likely to commit to their jobs instead of ‘job-hopping’. This alone is a great reason for employers to search for younger workers, even just to increase staff retention. Millennials are also more creative, we have a better technological understanding and can learn new skills in different ways, according to a Duke University study.
How can millennials expect to change the world’s perception of them if they are constantly told they’re a ‘bad generation’? The reinforcement of this idea makes it difficult to break the stereotype.
Unfortunately, despite what kind of person you are, employers may make an assumption about you before even meeting you. This may not be based on your generational category, but even just on your resume. You may have applied for a job which is generally for an older demographic. If so, the employer should be excited at the prospect of diversity in their team. But they may also use this as a reason not to hire you. Although this is unfair and judgemental, there isn’t much you can do about it except try to distance yourself from that stereotype. Here are a few ways you can do that.
Once someone has an idea of who you are, it is hard to break that perception. This is why first impressions with employers are so important. You need to prove you aren’t like the rest of them. When writing your resume, use a thesaurus to see if there are better words you can use, and include things which make you stand out from the crowd (such as volunteering). Use a different font and headings so they know you aren’t ‘lazy’.
When attending an interview, give a firm handshake and look presentable. It’s a harsh reality that employers will base their judgments on your appearance. Fortunately, this applies to everyone, not just millennials. Do your research before the interview and find out about the role of the person interviewing you. Also try and find out as much as you can about the business, their values and how they operate. An employer can see when you put in an effort to look professional, and they will appreciate this. Your body language will tell a lot about you, whether you’re aware of it or not. Making regular eye contact and looking relaxed will help you to seem confident and approachable.
Keep in mind that it may take a few job applications to find the perfect job. This is a reality regardless of your age. Sometimes employers will have a legitimate reason for not hiring you.
Prove to them that you’ll do a good job. If they say they’re hesitant to hire someone younger because of a range of reasons, work harder to excel at those things. These are likely to be things such as meeting deadlines, being reliable and being punctual.
Last but not least, have faith in your abilities and be yourself. You may be just what their business needs!