Unfortunately the Millennial Generation cannot escape the negative stereotype that we are entitled, narcissistic, obsessed with social media, and the demise of the future. Wall Streeters bemoan that only 32 percent of Millennials consider themselves entrepreneurial compared to 41 percent of Gen-Xers, and 45 percent of baby boomers. Time Magazine thinks we’re narcissists and that we probably don’t have much of a shot in the real world. With all this negative chatter it is up to the Millennial Generation to debunk these myths and prove ourselves worthy of acceptance.
Millennials largely define being an entrepreneur as a mindset, not necessarily starting a business. Once in jobs, Millennials do seek out promotions and rather start their own businesses, instead of working for "the man." It is fair to say that Millennials all want to break free of the traditional career paths and many are becoming more entrepreneurial to do so. Instead of using the word “entitled” to describe us, I think aggressive, savvy, and motivated are more appropriate. Millennials are taking notice that the corporate 9 to 5 jobs may not be the most lucrative. Millennials are facing a tough economy now. There are approximately 37 million student loan borrowers with outstanding student loans today, and we are suffering from a high unemployment rate. According to the labor force participation rate, which measures the number of working age people (18-64) actively workinAre g or looking for work, it’s now hit a low not seen since 1979: 63.3%.
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Compared to other populations, Generation Y appears to be less motivated by money. According to a 2009 online survey conducted by Monster.com, 37% of employers report that "work/life balance and flexibility" is the most motivating factor for Millennials, with only 17% claiming "compensation" as the primary driver. I think the number of students who start freelancing out of school will grow. Our generation does realize that internships and degrees don't always turn into jobs, and consider freelancing as a path to success. It gives the freedom, flexibility, and control to work from wherever they want, when they want. Millennials may be perceived as entitled, but, really, we have to have an entrepreneurial mindset and manage our careers differently in order to achieve success today.
The clash of generations is at an all time peak. Millennials are saying, ‘Give me a chance’, and Boomers are saying, ‘Earn it.’ It seems only fair that the Boomers who raised the Millennial generation (or their parents) now have to find a way to work with them and integrate the Millennial mindset into corporate culture. Some have termed Gen Y "The Trophy Generation" in response to the "everyone's a winner" mentality and the endless pats on the backs associated with their upbringing. Millennials are eager to prove their worthiness and will continue to excel if shown that they are being given a chance. In today’s world social media is an extension of the teams, groups, or support systems that we connect with several times per day. Facebook and Twitter has taught us to express ourselves and have instant access to information all over the world, from different kinds of people, with various different opinions. In the workplace, this translates into brainstorming, generating new solutions and fresh perspectives.
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The generational war will end once Baby Boomers take time to understand how and why Millennials are different. Research provides that The Millennial Generation is the most accepting, diverse, and self-expressive generation. According to PEW Research Center, Millennials are on course to become the most educated generation in American history.
A recent study by the Pew Research Center found that almost all Americans ages 18-29 years old accept interracial dating and marriage and 70% of Millennials support gay marriage. One-in-four are unaffiliated with any religion, yet not belonging does not necessarily mean not believing. Millennials pray about as often as their elders did in their own youth. Only about six-in-ten were raised by both parents — a smaller share than was the case with older generations. In weighing their own life priorities, Millennials place parenthood and marriage far above career and financial success. But they aren’t rushing to the altar. This is a big contrast to older generations and each of these beliefs.
Millennials are not used to taking little steps and we’re more likely to dive in head first, adjust quickly, take ownership of our successes and failures, and document our progress publicly through social media. We’re a generation with a new work ethic and tremendous potential given the resources we have available at our fingertips. Young people all over the world are creating brands and technologies that challenge and rival decade old institutions. This startup boom — is evidence enough of the great power of Millennial thinking. I urge generations prior to disregard the stereotypes surrounding today’s generation and instead think about how a Millennial can be a great asset to their team.
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