The Trinity Voice

Times have changed: Stigmas and shifts surrounding millennials

Matthew Mapa, Caroline Swain, Staff Writer, FOCUS Editor

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   Millennials receive a bad reputation. Articles such as “Millionaire to millennials: Lay off the avocado toast if you want a house” by CNN and “Millennial disconnect: Kids want money but not hard work” by the Miami Herald are just two of many that accuse millennials of being lazy, irresponsible, uncooperative, non-committed and entitled, and many people just accept these stereotypes.

   However, millennials are becoming the largest generation, so if they really are so awful, then the future looks very bleak. The thing is, many of these labels seem outright outlandish. So are millennials really going to ruin the world, or are people just afraid of the change that the millennial generation brings?

   Social Science teacher Tatiana McKinney is a millennial and feels the negative stereotypes don’t properly represent millennials.

  “Looking at it from a different perspective as a millennial–we work hard,” McKinney said. “We don’t just eat avocado toast and go to nice tea rooms.”

   On the other hand, Social Science Chair Samuel Stewart agrees that some millennials do behave this way. However, he doesn’t inherently blame the millennials for their behavior and feels that it stems from several aspects of society that started in the 1980s and continued into the 1990s. Examples such as the self-esteem revolution and the belief that “everyone should get a trophy” cause millennials to believe they’re better than they actually are, which can become problematic.

   “When all you’ve been told your entire life is, ‘You’re wonderful,’ what happens when you get out into the real world and you’ve got to compete for a job?” Stewart said. “It becomes really quickly apparent, ‘You’re not so wonderful.’ In fact, you can’t figure out how to do the job.”

   Given this information, perhaps millennials don’t deserve such harsh criticism. But then why is the generation so hated? Economics teacher Kelly Aull sees the trend that other generations, not just millennials, are demonized by the previous generations.

   “Every generation thinks the one that comes after them is significantly worse,” Aull said. “Lazy, misunderstood, entitled–every generation has said that about the next one.”

   McKinney believes that the hate originated in people being afraid of change.

   “I think fear is a driving motivator, and I feel like when we see things that are not the same, we feel like we have to do something,” McKinney said.

   Although not everyone likes millennials, they are the next generation, and the world is changing to accommodate for the generational differences between millennials and past generations. Some of the biggest adjustments are occurring in the economy. Thanks to millennials, a gig economy has started to rise.

   “[A gig economy is] where you have people working part-time or on a per–job basis, rather than having traditional full-time jobs and that’s it,” Aull said. “So companies like Uber are really capitalizing on people being willing to work odd hours… on the side, and nights and weekends. Businesses are getting a lot more flexible with what a traditional work day looks like.”

   Another aspect of the economy that has changed is marketing, which now appears in a greater variety of locations.

   “A lot of marketing to millennials is viral–it’s on Facebook, it’s through social media, it’s kind of an underground marketing plan as opposed to the traditional methods of print, TV and radio,” Aull said. “So as millennials change their purchasing habits, I think you see an evolving marketing scheme.”

     A third area that is vastly changing due to millennials is technology.

   “I don’t think it’s a difference in the acceleration in technology, but it’s certainly different-minded technology,” Aull said. “I think millennials use technology as their way to communicate with other people, so as a method of communication, technology has definitely accelerated in this generation.

   A final feature of the economy that is evolving due to millennials is the workforce. According to Aull, companies are creating greater appeal to millennials by making workplaces that provide quicker promotional opportunities, various options for work conditions, fun workplaces and most importantly, meaningful work.

   “I think millennials have been raised to think about creating a meaningful life,” Aull said. “When you have so many options, it really becomes about the choices in your lifestyle rather than having to accept whatever work is thrown at you. So we’re kind of at a point in our economy where we can have jobs that allow for a better work-life balanced to combine fun and work in the same environment.”

   Many changes are beneficial, but some adjustments can be overly drastic to the point where they become disadvantageous to society. McKinney feels that millennials can sometimes be excessively catered to.

   “I feel like we’re being accommodated to… a little bit too much because what we’ve noticed is that… everybody is just on their phones,” McKinney said. “You are getting accommodated to, but you’re losing the essence of community, conversation and communication, and that’s become a problem.”

   For all the negatives associated with millennials, most agree that they are activists and like to work for a cause. McKinney finds this aspect especially important to pass on to the next generation.

   “I truly believe that using your voice and being present in any form is important,” McKinney said. “As a teacher, it’s important for me to show that I care… so that they care… as well. Even if I can get them to hashtag… or tweet [about] it… they’re doing something.”



What are your thoughts?

     “In my experience, millennials have been the most encouraging, helpful, and selfless people I have ever encountered. I think our generation knows how to transform technology to do good. There’s a lot to be hopeful for and encouraged by in regards to the millennial generation.” – Steven Katona, Communications Coordinator

      “Millennials are big into going to small and privately owned places that use locally farmed foods. I think that it’s neat how they’re changing the marketplace. Chains like Applebee’s, Chili’s, and Outback Steakhouse took away from the uniqueness and individuality of America and the ability of people to create their own businesses and pursue the American dream. So, in ways, I think that the millennials are more in line with that. I think that especially here at Trinity, where there are so many gifted and hard-working students, there are a lot of reasons to be hopeful about the future. Sure, there are a lot of negative things, like Post Malone, but there are also a lot of kids on campus who are doing beautiful things that we can be happy about.” – Brian Brown, Social Science Teacher

     “I’m a big fan of millennials. I have taught many millennials and I have a daughter who is a millennial. She and her friends are wonderful people; they are movers and shakers. They see what they want to do in the world and they go after it. They are wise to avoid some of the pitfalls of generations before them: they don’t just take for granted that at a certain age they have to marry or have a certain job. They’ve grown up in an atmosphere where they know they will have to put things together for themselves differently than just joining a company and staying there forever. I find them to be hopeful, smart, flexible and interesting people. The millennials I know who have struggled through to true independence have done extremely well.”  – Susan Lilley, English Teacher

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Times have changed: Stigmas and shifts surrounding millennials