Millennials take a lot of stick. They have this reputation as being hashtag obsessed, entitled, lazy, impatient narcissists who are unable to hold down a satisfying job.
I’m here to say, that’s nonsense.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to say that my generation is perfect. I know that it’s not, far from it, in fact, there are things that I see my generation doing that make me want to pull my hair out! However, much of the criticism fired at millennials is unfair.
I’m also not here to get defensive and tell the critics why they’re wrong.
I’d rather focus on something far more productive; building people up rather than tearing them down. I’d rather show the great gifts, skills, ideals and characteristics that millennials have and let them speak for themselves, rather than stoop to hurling insults and criticisms.
So without further ado, here are the seven reasons I think that Generation Y will leave the world in a better place than when we first entered it:
1 . We are unashamed to talk about mental health
There has always been a huge stigma around mental health. Some see it as a joke, some see it as being a wuss, some think it’s fake and others see it as being certifiably insane. Mental illness is none of those things and it’s relatively recent that people are beginning to understand that. Whilst there is still a huge amount of stigma attached to mental health issues, there are many positive signs that it’s reducing. There are many websites, facebook pages and blogs dedicated to help people and to raise awareness. There are more psychologists, counsellors and therapists that there ever have been. The media are starting to raise awareness in a sensitive light rather than painting all mentally ill people as ‘The Joker’ from Batman. One of the most popular shows on netflix at the moment is ’13 reasons why’ which looks at the reasons why a teenage girl decided to commit suicide (Does it portray teen suicide well> log on here on Friday and find out!). Slowly but surely, the walls are coming and we are opening up about the hurts in our mind and I can’t wait for the day that mental health is on par with physical health.
2. We are entrepreneurial
According to a survey from Bentley University, 67% of millennials their respondents said they wanted to start their own business, while 13 % said they desired to work up to becoming the CEO. Millennials have built new businesses out of the ruins of a recession, and in doing so, changing the workplace expectations for an entire generation and thus creating one of the biggest workplace transformations we’ve seen in years.
We are not content to sit at a desk until the day we can pick up our pension money and leave. We want more than that; not just for us, but for the rest of the world.
3. We expect more from our workplaces
I don’t mean we are greedier. According to Gordon Tredgold, 92 percent of millennials believe that business success should be measured by more than just profit. We don’t just expect good service but we expect businesses to fulfil corporate responsibility and to have ethical practices. We don’t just expect the services we consume to be ethical however, we walk the walk when it comes to desiring morally good businesses.
Take a look at the the statistics from the 2016 millennial employee engagement study:
Three quarters of millennials said they say they would take a pay cut to work for a socially responsible business (vs. 55% average)
83% would be more loyal to a business that aids them in social justice and environmental projects (vs. 70% average)
88% say they are more content in their job when they are given opportunies to positively affect social change (vs. 74% average)
76% look at a company’s commitments to ethics when deciding where to work (vs. 58% average)
64% won’t take a job from a company that doesn’t have strong corporate social responsibilities practices (vs. 51% average)
We have a strong desire to see justice restored, to see our world sustained and are willing to hold ourselves, our employer, and the services we use accountable to do so.
4. We are the most educated generation this world has ever seen
You know that old saying ‘knowledge is power’?
Well, according to the PEW Research center, two thirds of Millennials value University education and plan to get a degree. Around a quarter of millennials already have degrees compared to a fifth of people in Generation X. We have the easiest access to information ever and we are making sure we take advantage of it.
5. We are also the most socially conscious generation
Barely a day goes by where there isn’t an uproar about sexism, racism, persecution or some other form of social injustice or abuse. We aren’t just educating ourselves on interior design or web design but we are educating ourselves to build our awareness of the social issues which affect others.
6. We do something about it
We don’t just talk the talk but we walk the walk. aren’t just aware of the issues going on around us but we get stuck in and do something about it. According to the recent Millennial Impact Report, 80% of 20-35 year olds donated money to a charitable cause in the year pervious and 70% said they volunteered for at least an hour a week (most volunteered more than that).
7. We are the most globalised generation
International travel has never been easier; I can be on the other side of the world in less than 24 hours. This has so many benefits; it can can play a huge role in increasing our understanding and empathy of people from other countries, races, cultures and lifestyles.
Take Katie Davis, she went to Uganda in December 2006 as an 18 year old and while she was there she volunteered in an orphanage Jima, a small Ugandan village. Her heart broke for the children whose lives had been ravaged by malnutrition and ill health. She went back a couple of years later, personally adopting 14 orphaned children as well as starting Amazima ministries; which helps get children sponsors so they can go to school and receive food, medical bills and everything else they need.
She knew she couldn’t go back to the USA and not do something. It didn’t matter what nationality or race those children were, they are citizens of earth and beloved creations of God so she was compelled to do something.
If she didn’t take that first trip to Uganda as an 18 year old, if she didn’t have an entrepreneurial spirit, if she wasn’t educated, or socially aware or willing to step out and do something then thousands of children would still be uneducated, malnourished and hopeless, if they hadn’t already died.
Katie is just one example of a millennial who is changing the world for the better and I genuinely believe that there are even greater things to come. If we are willing to stop with the constant criticizing and stereotyping and instead listen to them, actively seek to identify their gifts and passions and give them opportunities to use them and I believe you will be contributing to a positive and long-lasting change in this world.