As an older millennial, I am tired of hearing about the unreasonable expectations that my generation has. The laziness, the lack of drive. We lack respect. We lack … we don’t … “Your generation changed this and eroded that.” Millennials are too concerned with technology. They do not know the value of hard word and cannot take direction.
Well, let me tell you about my generation. We were raised by The Boomers. Our grandparents lived through the Great Depression. We learned the value of hard work, yes, but it was not for survival; we learned hard work for honor and respect. My father worked his way up the ladder to ensure I could start a few rungs up. My mother battled through gender inequality, stereotyping, and sexism so that my brother and I would have similar opportunities. I was raised to not tolerate disrespect. If I let anyone talk down to me, my parents take it as a personal slight and encourage me to stand my ground.
My generation longs for the employer/employee loyalty that our grandparents experienced. We want stability. We want to grow with a company who cares for us. We want to leave our smart phones off and have real experiences with the world.
But, we can’t.
We cannot be what you want because you will not let us. We need college degrees for jobs, but are not paid enough to cover the costs. We get low salaries and wages because we lack experience, but you expect us to work late, unpaid, for “pride,” even when you take the credit. If we do not have our smart phones on at all times to give you immediate feedback, then we are lazy. There goes our raise. If we cannot read your mind, we are disappointments and you have lost faith in us. As a generation. Makes sense, no?
When my generation feels and sees the agism, we lean on our upbringing. “Do not tolerate disrespect.” Our respect for you, then, dwindles. When our respect drops, so does our motivation. Our loyalty.
And it all starts with “Your generation …”
Every time a sentence starts that way, we learn that we are not people; we are not to be treated with respect. We, in turn, lose respect for you. This is not because we think we are better than anyone else. This is because we were taught to stand on our parents shoulders and reach farther and higher, ultimately accomplishing more. We will not settle.
We are criticized for not doing things the same way older generations were taught, for being able to use a calculator on a math test. Were you taking advanced calculus in high school? Is it not an insult to the growth of our society if we do not consistently build on knowledge? My child will most likely take advanced math in junior high school, and for him, it will be the regular math class. By high school, Mommy will no longer be able to help with homework. That is progress; that is how it works.
Should we know how to survive without technology and social media? My God, yes, we should. So, here is a very novel idea.
Stop criticizing us and continue to teach and empower us.
And the next time you complain about millennials, ask yourself if you taught your children to accept what you are throwing out to them and their peers.