How Did We Get Here? A voice for millennials.
A blog post has been brewing in my mind for a while now given the state of well… everything! And aside from the much discussed politics of Trump and Brexit, a significant, divisive (and perhaps equally alarming) ‘blame culture’ also seems to be on the rise.
Whether the state of the current political world is related or not, many articles seem to be popping up about ‘Millennials’ – that is the generation (of which I find myself a part) born from the early 1980s (specifically 1982-2004) who are often characterised as narcissistic, entitled, and tough to manage in the workplace – as outlined in this video by Simon Sinek.
Interestingly, in my experience, the majority of people sharing this video are firstly those who are (by luck of their own birth date) not of the ‘Millennial Generation’. Don’t worry though – if you, like me, are a Millennial, I like to think that there is still hope for us! But seriously, it is much less often that people seem so willing to share similar videos or writings on their own generation’s weaknesses. No, rather… we seem to live in a blame culture and we would rather blame the other.
So, for the sake of balance, here are a few things that we have to thank millennials for:
- Here’s what would have happened in the US Election if only Millennials had voted
- Brexit voter age statistics suggest that Millennials were more in favour to remain in Europe (and yes, I am aware that the Millennial vote turn-out was poor – no excuses there)
- Contrary to popular belief, Millennials are driven, hard workers
- More than any generation before them, they are questioning what a successful life actually means
- And of course, it is the Millennipreneurs who are taking entrepreneurship to the next level and yes… with the likes of Spotify and Facebook being great examples of successful startups created by Millennials
The problem with generalisation
While trends over time are fascinating by their very definition, generalising an entire generation puts people into boxes, allows for voices to go unheard and creates and ‘us and them’ culture.
It is, of course, easy to look for a scapegoat for society’s problems and we all know that statistics can be manipulated and used to prove whatever you want them to. It’s easy to for people to generalise specific generations – examples include the stereotypes of the parenting problems of Generation X and the Baby Boomer‘s economic drain on society. But I don’t feel it’s appropriate to infer that this is the case for every person who happens to be categorised by this specific terminology. The fact is that while general trends can be interesting, I would argue that when we do it to focus on the negative, it isn’t at all helpful and only serves to create more social barriers across society as a whole.
And as this world seems to be tearing us apart so rapidly from every angle, I think a more constructive response would in fact be to not be drawn into the blame culture of what divides us. Finding things that divide us is easy. The challenge is to come together.
‘Unity is strength, division is weakness’ – Swahili Proverb
Photo Credit: PJ Nelson