Millennials are taking over the world and they are doing so on Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr. Twenty-something year olds are being labeled as a Millennial or generation Y by the media. It was bound to happen as the generations born before 1981 are known as generation X and there are some notable differences between the two.
As a San Antonio native, I resisted this label for some time. Millennials seemed to be folks living in D.C. or New York City, all of them considered middle-class and graduating from prestigious universities. I, on the other hand, graduated from UTSA and barely have 200 followers on Twitter. According to the Pew Research Center, a Millennial has certain characteristics that set them apart from the Boomer generation and generation X. Millennials usually have tattoos, piercings and love television programming. Millennials care about having a successful career and do not mind when people of mixed races get married. Why? Millennials have the world at their fingertips. Ever had one conversation without “Googling” something on your phone? Whether you live in Los Angeles or San Antonio, we were raised with access to the world with one touch. That is the difference between someone who grew up in generation X and Y. This is why Millennials feel better about marriage equality and when people of mixed race get married than our generation X counter-parts. Naturally, it will be less of a culture shock if we have seen images and videos of it on the internet.
To get a better perspective, I decided to ask someone born on the line between generation X and Y. They told me, “Millennals have a sense of entitlement.” This put me on a defensive whirlwind that only Millennials are capable of. Apparently, folks born after 1981 were born into the “it’s all about me” generation that gives us the sense that we deserve more than what we actually put in. After looking into the mirror for a moment, I realized this made a lot of sense. I just graduated from college and was upset when the high-paying job that required a college degree did not come find me. To be fair, half of Americans who are unemployed are under the age of 34. We are highly educated, under-skilled and desperately looking for work that fits our interests. Everyone deserves a job that provides a living wage whether or not you graduated from college. However, what is the appropriate balance between expecting to land a great job and how much work we put in to qualify for one?
For young people wondering what they are going to do after college or high school, a lesson I learned is to simply put in the time. Put in the time to an organization or field that will give you the skills you need to be able to perform well in the future. The high-paying job with the metaphorical giant office will always be there but your growth as an individual both personally and professionally is priceless. Who cares what the media decides to call you, at the end of the day it is about how you see yourself. I still have lots of time before I can be considered old enough to give helpful advice to young folks but consider your curiosity, confidence and optimism a source of strength that you can sell to your potential employer.