The Millennial Me
Labels for the generation you're from get thrown around a lot, you've probably heard the word millennial and gen-z too. I am here to mainly talk about the millennial me... Let's start by defining what a "millennial" actually is though, when reading up on gen-z, gen-y, the baby boomers and of course the millennials, it seems to be anyone born between 1979 and 1996 is classed as a millennial. The 20 year age gap from the oldest and the youngest of the millennials makes for quite an interesting era and with that, we are the most divided generation yet!
When I looked into how young millennials versus old millennials act online, it seems that the younger ones tend to Instagram and Snapchat everything and anything about their lives, when they get a new handbag or lipstick, how drunk they got last Friday and what filter they look the cutest in, whereas the older millennials will still update their Facebook status on the hour and check twitter for their local news and travel updates with the odd use of a dog or heart eyes filter here and there. The way in which millennials is split is quite interesting but either way we have all become accustomed to our baby boomer parents giving us a telling off for having our heads in our phones, fingers glued to the iPad, being complete tech addicts, bordering on self obsessed and even just unreliable (although I would say this unreliable term is aimed more at generation-z).
I personally love being a millennial because I live in an era where everything is possible (well, pretty much everything). I am going to touch on a few points that as a millennial I find intriguing to know (from being one myself), see and compare, such as friendships, employment, social media and entitlement.
Friendships I wonder if this is the same for you, I "know" a lot of people, but who I actually call my "friends" are two very different things. I can count my nearest and dearest on one hand, a few of which I have grown up with, and a couple who are new, and I've met along the way, but have definitely made a good choice about. I am pretty sceptical when it comes to making new friends, I find it hard to trust that I won't be stabbed in the back (it's happened a lot), so I keep a close circle, it's what I like and it's all I need to be honest, after all it's always been quality over quantity for me (in most walks of life). However millennials have definitely changed the meaning of friendship, with the overload of impersonal interactions and less face-to-face conversations we are often blamed for the breakdown in what was once a communicative society of friendship circles. To me, a friend on Facebook doesn't mean we are "real" friends, it can be someone you've met travelling, maybe in a job, or at a party, it's more like a directory of people you've met on life's long journey.
Employment Millennials don't want to live by the traditions that you work, build a career and have a long-term employment contract with a compamy where you climb the ladder to save for your mortgage or Rolex. My mumma is the perfect example of this traditional way of thinking (hi mum) she stuck at a job for twenty years (I mean... imagine). No, not us millennials, we like to jump ship after a year or two (sometimes even less), we get itchy feet, and it's time for a new challenge again. Millennials are obsessed with entrepreneurship, and more creative ways of working and multiple streams of income. Is this a bad thing? No, I don't really think so, it's good to not let things go stale and crusty, no one wants to be bored and live the mundane life do they? (Well in this era they don't, that's for sure). We want to take on the world and more, so that's why millennials are changing the way employment is looked at.
Going to a job interview with your side hustle is seemed to be a massive plus in the interview room today (in most places that is). We embrace risky career choices, being able to run a blog for example, or a community led affair seems to play a massive bonus to whether you get the job or not. It's become more than just having a degree, although of course there is nothing wrong with having one (I don't FYI and it's done me no harm what so ever, so don't feel pressured to get yours). In my experience, experience really is everything, the University of Life (cringe, but true). Maybe you're the "double threat" if you're the one in the interview room with a degree and 2 side hustles! Go you! Employers are looking at a different way to interview millennials due our "apparent" lack of work ethic. Personally, I think you're either someone who is easily motivated and can drive themselves in a business or you need a good kick up the back side every now and then to keep you on your toes. There is no right or wrong here, just to be clear, it's very much each to their own, and every man for himself as a millennial.
Social Media has become a sense of community, where friendships are formed online and may even continue offline. Social media was once about telling everyone on Facebook that you were having a bath before Eastenders in your new Primark pj's, but with Instagram becoming more visual, we moved over there to tell a similar audience pretty much the same thing, only now we are adding in verbal stories with our coffee cups and pretty lunch spots and outfit posts that ask the online community for their opinions. Social media is not all bad, it definitely has it's positives and negatives, but what doesn't? If it's used in the correct way, I truly believe it is a marvellous thing. It raised a lot of awareness for many things, mental health being one! My papa for instance (from the baby boomer generation) is of the Google+ movement, uploading photos where ever he is in the world, of food, drinks and locations, and guess what... he now has over 1 million subscribers (yep, he's doing better than me haha). The average millennial spends around 7 hours a week on social media, interacting with people and brands, it's where they get a lot of their information from as well as online shopping. With brands reaching us consumers through influencer marketing and social media advertising, why would we go anywhere else? It's a one-stop shop, it gives us news updates, new brand launches and a community to share it all with. I'm online for a good time, not a bad time, there are pitfalls in the online community just as there are in the "real" world, our elders are quick to point out the amount of hatred online and cyber bullying that goes on, but I genuinely think that this is only a minority of online social media users thinking they are "protected". Well I have news for you, you're not cool, you're just sad and more often than not just jealous. If you have nothing nice to say, don't say nothing at all, isn’t that what you always told me mum?!
Entitlement A touchy one, but us millennials seem to have a very strong sense of social justice, and what we believe to be "right". With protests becoming more accessible to shout about what you believe in, we are a generation that has a voice, a loud one, and in most cases a worthy one. Social media has helped us form petitions and reach a wider audience to back them, it's something I see more and more of online, and something I feel strongly about supporting (if appropriate of course). Millennials want everything now, we want our ASOS order next day, and why shouldn't we? We need constant gratification after we post a picture on social media, if it doesn't hit a certain amount of likes we are unhappy and feel disappointed. We have extremely high expectations in life, and don't understand why something can't go the way we want it. Sounding familiar? We are the "here and now" generation, which is where the "buying a house" chat comes in, millennials are more likely to rent than buy a house and take out a mortgage, I might have moved around from flat share to house share over the years and did think about buying once or twice but it's just not a priority to me. I live in London, where house prices are astronomical and I'd rather build a business and have the freedom to take it anywhere in the world before I settle into a comfy 4 bed house to call my own. Travelling and living in different places all over the world and crossing paths with all sorts of people is life enriching and if I don't do it now, then when will I do it? (See, entitled...to do what I want to do and how I want to do it).
I could go on for ever about us wonderful millennial's, about how we should maybe communicate more or just better, how we are the biggest generation to stream music and movies online or download apps and listen to podcasts or even use our life's savings to travel the world or to start a business, but if we take a step back and look at the way we live, is it really all that bad? No, it's not. Could we make a few changes for the better? Yes, probably, and maybe we should, but one thing is for certain, the next time I get the eye roll and hear someone say, "oooooh so you're a millennial", I'm going to say yeah, I am (with a big great smile on my face). I'm fiercely determined to make my own way in life, to make the world a better place and experience everything it has to offer. If that makes me a millennial, then I'll take it.