The Millennial generation has developed the stereotype of being entitled and narcissistic, expecting everything to be handed to them when they want it. Lazy is another word that comes to mind when hearing Generation X and Baby Boomers talk about the Millennial generation.
What went wrong for an entire generation to develop such self-indulging personality traits, and do these traits dominate the Millennial generation to the extent we all make it out to seem?
There are a few theories as to why Millennials have encompassed such a bad reputation by the generations preceding them. One reason is the fact that Millennials grew up in the age of technology, where anything they wanted was easily found instantaneously.
The satisfaction of instant gratification made possible by the World Wide Web, computers for cell phones, and one-click purchases taught Millennials that whatever they want is a click away, whenever they want it.
Instant gratification has also translated over to what is expected when finding a job. Millennials are believed to want a $100,000 paying job right out of college, whereas Gen Xers are known for putting in their dues and starting at the bottom.
Forty percent of Millennials said they believe they deserve a promotion every two years, even if their work performance hasn’t improved, according to Joel Stein, writer for Time Magazine.
But Millennials also grew up in a time when trophies were awarded to every child who participates.
How can an entire generation be labeled as lazy when the generation before them instilled the notion that a prize will be awarded for simply showing up?
However, one thing to consider before labeling every Millennial as a self-entitled narcissist is Millennials are also the most educated generation in history, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation.
Perhaps Millennials pose a threat to Gen Xers which in turn translates into entitlement, or perhaps Millennials are entitled to earn more than $20,000 a year at their first job out of college because they are qualified.
Many individuals that fall into the Generation X category are parents to a Millennial, and as many will recall Gen Xers had a different work force to enter than Millennials did.
A college diploma was appreciated but not mandatory for Gen Xers, and the job market was plentiful in a thriving economy. Gen Xers had the luxury of starting in an entry level position, with no higher education under their belt, and steadily climb up the corporate ladder.
Fast forward to the Great Recession and you’ll find Gen Xers loosing their high paying jobs, and Millennials graduating from college entering into a desolate job market as their first student loan payment arrived, post marked to mom and dad’s house because they had to move home.
And even as the job market opened back up, the wages earned lagged behind, causing Millennials to still be in over their heads financially as they tried to juggle the cost of living with their college debt, according to a Pew Research study.
Millennials most likely did not enjoy moving back home, and the expectation that they would be able to support themselves, especially because they have a college degree, was an expectation that is undeniably understandable.
Especially since Millennials grew up with parents who could provide more than what the Baby Boomers could provide to the Gen Xers. The drive to maintain a lifestyle they were use to also posed a sense of entitlement, because they wanted a life they essentially already had.
So, are Millennials entitled brats? Maybe. But they are also well educated brats who are changing the workforce as we know it by revolutionizing technology and creating billion dollar start-ups.
Most Millennials shy away from labeling themselves as such. Only 40 percent of Millennials consider themselves part of that group, whereas 79 percent of Baby Boomers are willing to embrace the term coined for their generation, according to a Pew Research study.
So, call them what you will but one thing is for sure, Millennials are here to stay.