I’m a Millennial (But Don’t Hold That Against Me)

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When I was younger, a good friend and I decided to play a prank on a girl in the neighborhood.  It was about 2 in the morning (I was sleeping over at his house), and we decided to take a piece of paper and write the hate note made famous by the movie, “The Little Rascals,” leave it on the doorstep, ring the doorbell and run:

“Dear                  , I hate your stinking guts.  You make me vomit. You are scuuuuuum between my toes…”

Little did we know, we actually wrote the note on the back of my buddy’s brother’s wedding announcement…

We woke up to a very angry phone call.  I was ordered home right away, where my dad was waiting for me in the front yard.  He said that he was going to escort me over to the girl’s house, where I was to apologize to her and her parents.  After the apology, on the return walk of shame back to my house, my dad explained: “You know, what you do isn’t just a reflection of you, but those around you, like your family and friends.”  I quickly learned the lesson of guilt by association – even if you aren’t a bad person, the people you surround yourself with might make you seem like a bad person…

I am a millennial.  Technically, I’m part of the “entitlement generation,” or Generation Y (whatever you want to call it).  But the “entitlement” aspect of my generation bothers me, and I know plenty of other millennials that are bothered as well.  We believe in hard work, responsibility and accountability.  But are we guilty by association? What can we do to set ourselves apart from the stereotype of being lazy and entitled?  Watch this video, you’ll understand who I’m talking about a little better

This really is a question, by the way.  I would love to know what you think.

One of my favorite people in history, Abraham Lincoln, said, “Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.” Our generation needs more of us that are willing to hustle.  To go against the entitlement stereotype.  To be known as the hardworking, motivated young people that we know we are, and not the generation who’s parents apply for jobs for us and call potential employers, angry because “little Johnny deserves that job!” (True story)

Just like little Johnny deserved a trophy even though he lost the baseball game?

Should your boss really have to send your mom a letter, saying what a great job you’re doing at work? (watch the video above if you haven’t) I would hope many of you would emphatically say NO!  But how can we best set ourselves apart?  It’s something that I’ve been wrestling with for a while…

There has been a big topic lately of how companies will have to adjust everything they do in order to accommodate the millennial generation when they enter the work force.  For some employers, the very term “Millennial” or “Generation Y” causes an instant headache.  The stereotype that follows our generation wherever we go is that we feel “entitled” to everything we want/need.  If we go to college, we are entitled to a very well paying job afterward, with a lot of room for rapid advancement and leadership in the workplace. If you, an employer, cannot give that to us right away, we’ll leave you in the dust to find someone who will.  Oh, and we want more vacation time.  And a raise.  

But not all of us are stereotypical millennials!  So if I could say something to that effect – Employers:  We are young and full of great ideas.  We have never known life without the internet and technology.  We have a lot of skills that we can bring to a job.  We are the highest educated generation in all of history.  Most of us are just like you were when you were our age – We have dreams of being the CEO/President/Owner/Operator successful-in-life entrepreneurial person that you are.  Some in our generation are entitled. 

Not us.

If you are a millennial, speak up!  It is OK to distinguish yourself.  If you are entering the job market, make sure that the impression you leave is nothing short of convincing; that you break the millennial mold.   The Baby Boomers and Gen X are already retiring or will be soon – they want to leave their companies in the hands of the most responsible, trustworthy, hardest working among the Millennial generation.  Be that guy/girl.  Don’t be guilty by association just because you are a Millennial – you are the un-entitled.

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