Decoding Millennials – debunking the myths of a generation

millennial
/mɪˈlɛnɪəl/
Noun

A person reaching young adulthood in the early 21st Century

Millennials, Gen Y, Gen Z, Gen Why, The Lazy Gen, Echo Boomers, MyPod Generation. So many different names and yet we all know what they refer to – those bunch of entitled kids who walk around with their nose buried in their cell phones and cannot take a bite of food without sharing it on Instagram first. And if any Millennials reading this are fuming, they have every right to do so. Because they are largely misunderstood and often pigeon-holed with statements just like these.

Interestingly, thanks to improved quantification metrics, Millennials have turned out to be the most studied generation. There is a greater sense of self-awareness in societies with regards to these new adults who are slowly taking over the workforce. This leads to more assumptions and generalizations, all of which begin with sentences like – Kids these days…

Experts, who work with Millennials and seek to understand them better, report that this generation is probably the most misunderstood one of all thanks to prejudices and lazy collection of data. General biases come into play and most researchers don’t look beyond the statistics that support their theory about these Millennials.

A closer look into the lives of these Echo Boomers, reveals that while they may not exactly be the ideal generation, they are far from the lazy, entitled brats they are made out to be.

Here are some myths we would like take a closer look at –

Millennials are lazy –
While on the face of it, Millennials may appear to be more laid back than their older counterparts, research reveals that they are just as productive if not more. A consulting firm called CEB polled 90,000 Americans and found that Millennials are in fact way more competitive than Gen X and Baby Boomers. Another research by Bentley University suggests that Millennials are very willing to put in extra efforts for their careers and are ready to work long hours and weekends.

Millennials are never satisfied with their workplaces –
While it’s a popular belief that Millennials are always dissatisfied with their workplaces, they have in fact reported higher levels of job satisfaction and job security as compared to their older counterparts. Additionally, employers are always worried about the apparently high attrition rates of Millennial employees but a closer inspection reveals Millennials are in fact more likely to stick to a job as compared to Gen X employees were at their age.

Millennials are different from the older generations –
At any point of time, you’ll always have a bunch of people talking about ‘the good ol days’. What’s surprising is this seems to suggest that every successive generation is worse than the previous one, a theory which doesn’t hold up to basic scrutiny. The Baby Boomers frowned down upon the Gen X, and now Gen X is busy forming biases about Millennials. The fact remains that the youth of every generation basically wants the same things out of life, the only difference being the situations they face are different and varied.

Millennials over-share their personal lives online –
Take one look at Millennials on Instagram or Facebook and you will readily believe the myth that they share everything online. While they may share countless selfies, videos and images, the Millennials are the generation that grew up with the Internet and are most aware of its dangers. Studies reveal that as compared to older generations, the Millennials are the ones who know where to draw the line when it comes to sharing things online. They are less prone to online frauds and are well aware of the dangers of talking about their companies online

Millennials hide behind screens and hate face-to-face interaction –
Granted that Millennials do spend a large amount of time buried in their phones, but this does not imply that they shy away from face-to-face interactions. If anything, Millennials have managed to develop a far deeper and diverse social circle thanks to social media as compared to older generations. Most of them use online social media sites as a way to maintain relationships that would have otherwise died out due to distance and lack of time. This indicates the growth of a stronger and newer social structure than we have seen in the past. And yet, the face-to-face human interaction is just as important to them as it is to their parents and grandparents.

All of this brings us back to our original thought –
Millennials are the most scrutinized generation of them all. These points simply seem to indicate that just because we have more intensive ways of studying this generation, we are making the mistake of assuming that they are unique and different from previous ones. Whether you are yourself a millennial, have a millennial family member or a millennial employee, a deep and realistic look at what makes them tick is the key to unlocking their full potential.

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