Researching millennials will result in a plethora of negativity. The perception of generation Y in the workforce is dismal and discouraging. “Millennials are lazy”, “millennials feel entitled”, “millennials are a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately generation.” The overall opinion is that our parents’ success has led to our “failure” and because we had all the essential things we needed growing up, our ambition has been tarnished. I am baffled by the pre-determined description of the up-and-coming talented, hardworking, ambitious professionals that I work with daily. I believe the stereotype couldn’t be further from the truth.
Generation Y has not had an easy transition into the workforce. Millennials typically start their careers with crippling student loan debt. The average college debt in Minnesota is a whopping $29,800 as reported in a June 2013 Star Tribune article. Millennials are accepting entry level jobs with salaries that barely cover their monthly loan payments. We are also faced with soaring housing costs, making dual earning relationships work, and rapid technology changes. Too often, young adults are judged for adapting to these negative conditions—which causes many to miss the hopes, ideals, and positive qualities that arise in the face of these challenges.
My experience as a millennial and working with millennials has taught me this about our generation: Millennials are tech savvy, diverse, connected, and are activists for personal rights. Even despite a poor economy, millennials strive to give back to society. 81 percent have donated money, goods or services, a study by Walden University and Harriss Interactive reported. We strive to support causes that align with our personal values.
I encourage you to dismiss the negative stereotypes surrounding this generation. Millennials are having a positive impact on our culture, workplace and government and should be recognized for their efforts. Support them so they are able to help revive the economy and build a better place to live and work.