Millennials are often labeled “entitled,” “lazy,” or “spoiled.” Despite these opinions, being young is no joke–in fact, being a Millennial is extremely scary. If you’re anywhere between the current ages of 18-34, you understand the struggle of striving to be a wunderkind, yet being treated as incapable. When did doing more than enough stop being good enough?
One problem a majority of Millennials face is the rush to graduate and attain a career. More often than not, Millennials were trained to participate in Advanced Placement or other specialized programs during their high school years, only to face disappointment or rejection when thrown into the workforce following college.
The idea that jobs ask for relevant work experience, when clearly there hasn’t yet been time or opportunity to attain any, conflicts directly with the hopeful expectations of youth. How will you gain any experience if you aren’t given a fair chance to? Logically, it would make sense for employers to jump at the chance of new, young hires–their minds are fresh, ready for new environments and challenges. The irony is that this is not the case: 89 percent of a total 1,000 young adults surveyed in 2013 answered that they felt negatively affected by the economy in their everyday lives, and 32 percent said they were actively pursuing a second job.
So who is to blame here? Are Millennials unfocused, or simply looking in the wrong places?
Focus does not seem to be the issue, but it could be. Millennials are an overtly ambitious generation. Perhaps it is not the actual laziness of this generation but the taking on of too much that causes such negative feedback on Millennial work ethic. The fear of getting stuck in a dead-end job is more alive than ever, with rising student debt and a constant discrepancy in the amount of experience needed in order to acquire experience.
It doesn’t just stop there, either. A number of young adults today have part-time jobs to stay afloat in school, and not necessarily because that job is their career of choice. A subset of that number is the group of people who also have an internship in order to gain experience in their field while still paying bills and daily expenses.
While Millennials have grown up parallel to the rise of technology, this does not necessarily mean they are ignorant of past societal achievements. In fact, the exponential growth of technology has in some ways made life more difficult, as job markets begin to shrink and the need to keep up with the newest software or technology determines who is the most ideal candidate. The Generation X mentality of “work hard” has since evolved to “work smart.” Technology has thus impacted Millennial identity in ways that are both beneficial and detrimental.
For example, for someone born in 1995, there was a good two years before DVDs began to replace VHS tapes in the movie market, and 11 years before the first Macbook Pro computer was introduced. None of this was enough time to get acquainted to technology in the first place, yet Millennials were forced to learn as they went. Even now, those who do not adapt to growing technology find themselves isolated by peers, while simultaneously witnessing what they are missing out on.
Increasing academic pressure on Millennials to perform is a huge influence on Millennial identity as well. Denise Rambach, a teacher at Paxon School for Advanced Studies in Florida, says that, “Career success today is based upon a good academic foundation; without that, success is out of the picture and will have [a] domino effect on various failures for an individual.”
Millennials face the threats of career failures, academic pressure, poverty, social isolation, and more on a daily basis, at a higher rate than any other generation. Anxiety and stress levels are at an all-time high. The worst part is many of these problems are the result of circumstance, and though they have become more well-known, they continue to plague Millennials.
Feature photo courtesy of COD Newsroom.