Professional Development

These 7 work stereotypes about millennials are NOT necessarily true

Written by Peter Jones

Millennials have been told for a decade just how bad they are at life. They’re lazy, live with their parents, are totally entitled, etc. The list goes on. If you’re a millennial, this can do a lot to hamper your self-esteem and even your career goals.

But a lot of the hate out there is based on very little fact. Millennials aren’t much different from any other generation that came before. In fact, if naysayers bothered to talk to millennials, they’d find that this young generation has the same career aspirations, life goals, and general motivation as older generations. Plus, they’re indispensable: millennials will make up more than 50% of the workforce in the years to come.

Given all of that, we should start debunking a few of those millennial myths.

Myth #1: Millennials are all “me, me, me,” all the time.

Reality: Every generation is all “me, me, me.” It’s just human nature. Every older generation thinks the new one is selfish and self-obsessed. If you’re feeling picked on, you’re not alone. The Baby Boomers were the original “me” generation, and there’ll be more after you. Maybe you’ll even be the one doing the nagging when you’re higher up in the career ranks.

Myth #2: Millennials want a party and ribbon just for showing up.

Reality: Millennials don’t actually crave constant unearned acclaim. In fact, as kids they may have been trained for this by their helicopter parents, but they’re grown-ups now and want to earn their accolades like everyone else. Trust: It’s really the Baby Boomers who think all members should be rewarded when the team is successful. Millennials are pretty cutthroat and competitive about winning fair and square.

Myth #3: Millennials are tech-obsessed and can’t live a life offline.

Reality: Yes, millennials are strapped to their devices as though their phones are vital limbs. But they are also capable, and even eager, for face-to-face interaction when that makes most sense (i.e. in the workplace). And they’re actually more likely to draw a line between personal and professional on social media than older generations.

Myth #4: Millennials are wafflers.

Reality: Everyone solicits advice and gets friends, colleagues, and family to weigh in on important decisions. Millennials perhaps look to a larger variety of sources to make more informed decisions than their more independent-minded elders. This is actually a shrewd move, especially in today’s increasingly interconnected and complex business world.

Myth #5: Millennials aren’t loyal and will jump ship whenever they lose interest.

Reality: While “passion” is certainly important to this generation, millennials actually stay with their employers longer than their Gen X counterparts. The market is scarier and leaner out there, so they know when to stay put and be more calculating with their career moves. Perhaps they will have held more jobs by a certain age than other generations, but that has more to do with the cutthroat economy and less to do with laziness or wanderlust.

Myth #6: Millennials don’t work hard.

Reality: The skill set of this century is already markedly different than the skill set of the old one. Workplaces, and workplace culture, look nothing like they used to. As such, making comparisons between them is fruitless. Given the demands of today’s high tech interconnected workforce, millennials are actually working very hard and innovating at an exponential rate. They’re also a little more competitive than Baby Boomers, which goes hand-in-hand with hard work, hustle, and long hours.

Myth #7: Millennials need work to babysit them.

Reality: Millennials are actually quite capable of taking care of themselves. Corporations don’t have to talk down to them or treat them like children. Also, with the ever-changing structure of the workforce, millennials have a choice to work for corporations or for themselves in today’s economy. Corporations would do well to realize they need millennials more than millennials need them!

About the author

Peter Jones