Millennials, also called Generation Y, are the generation which came after generation X (hence the additional name), and are commonly supposed to have been born between the early 1980s and the mid-nineties (although some researchers extend this ending date up until the mid-2000s because of technological factors, as will be discussed below).
The name Millennial was originally not associated with any negative stereotypes at all – it was created in 1987 to serve the needs of William Strauss and Neil Howe, two researchers who were looking to identify and discuss the effects of graduating with the new millennium would have on the pre-school classes of children born in 1982.
While the term Millennial is used to describe this class all over the world the exact specifications and stereotypes which are introduced when the word is mentioned can vary greatly in different regions. Millennials, in general, are characterised by being familiar with a huge variety of digital technologies and communication methods; they can quite often attest to a more liberal upbringing. Current research has focused on the recent economic depression, and the long- and short-term effects that this is having of Millennials and their ability to progress in life both socially and economically.
Strauss and Howe work on the assumption that generations are cyclical; eventually, the generations will move through the cycle and begin again. They used this information both to suggest that each generation has its own particular stereotypes, and to suggest that the generational cycle was beginning again with Millennials being the same as the ‘G.I. generation’ from earlier in the twentieth century. On the whole, Millennials are seen by Strauss and Howe as being confident, team-oriented, conventional, achieving, sheltered, and special.
Changed Values Influence the Lifestyles of Millennials
Millennials definitely hold vastly different values than previous generations, which is possibly one reason for the negative stereotypes which have risen around them. Rather than work and live solely for themselves, as generations which came of age in the seventies did, Millennials look outside themselves to see what can be done to make their communities and localities better places to live and work.
Millennials Choose Experiences over Material Possessions
It is commonly accepted that Millennials prefer to accumulate experiences and impressions rather than personal property – this is seen as a fundamental difference between generations, with negative associations on both sides. While it is true that Millennials do seem to be moving towards acquiring experiences and minimising personal possessions, this could be attributed to a variety of reasons: one, the economic recession has made property acquisition difficult; two, Millennials approach the job market differently – the job market is now one which is more fluid, allowing and perhaps encouraging people to be less rooted to one place so that they can more easily follow work.
As said above, the economic recession is something which has the potential to long-lasting economic effects on this generation, as it hit when they were beginning to make their way into the workforce and the housing market. Being unable to truly get a foot on the ladder in the same way that their parents were is something which has effects on the way they live their lives, as well as the world they live in.
Millennials Spend Too Much Time on Social Media
Another common complaint is that Millennials spend far too much time on social media, with predictable results in people thinking that they are lazy, they don’t appreciate life as it is happening, or that they have too much time on their hands (normally accompanied by the feeling that they should ‘get a job’). The feeling that Millennials work much less than other generations did is something which is corroborated by the apparent increase in the use of essay writing services such as essayzoo.org among students of all kinds.
Of course, the increase in social media can be explained by the fact that social media of this kind did not exist until this generation, therefore any use of it would potentially seem like too much time. However, social media is a highly important tool in today’s world, so using it and familiarising yourself with it is advisable.
Millennials Spend More Than They Earn
Many people have the stereotypical idea that Millennials spend much more than they earn per month, which can lead to thinking that Millennials are careless, lazy, and need to work harder. Millennial lifestyles and spending habits do not reflect their financial realities, for a number of reasons. Perhaps one reason for this is that Millennials fell for the platitude that each generation should have a higher living standard than the one before – instead, they are facing worse living standards, and have perhaps not adapted. An alternative explanation is that Millennials simply do not have the cash available to live, and so they must live outside their means in order to have even a passable life.
This may also be another question of perspective – the eighties in particular is known as a time of excess, but there was perhaps less attention drawn to it at the time because this practice was more sustainable.
Millennials are More Environmentally Conscious
Recycling and conservation have been around for a while, but it is only recently, perhaps due to the efforts of Millennials, that they have become normalised within society. This is possibly because we now have advanced enough science to determine what is happening to a greater degree, or because we are seeing the effects of it.
Wrapping it up
Millennials have a bad reputation among older generations, which is mostly unwarranted. The term Millennials was originally used to describe the generation which would come of age and leave higher education with the new millennium, but eventually it grew to mean a lazy person of the younger generation. There are many stereotypes and generalities concerning this generation, including that they live outside their means, they are obsessed with social media and recycling, and that they have a much more transitory existence than other generations did.