Anyone curious to know what a Millennial is defined as can make a quick trip to the always lovely Urban Dictionary…
The first definition begins, “Special little snowflake.” It goes on to describe us as having shelves of participation trophies, thinking ourselves intelligent despite having poor grammar and spelling, and getting good grades so our parents don’t complain to the schools. And it goes on.
The second definition is much simpler: “A term used by insecure idiots to dismiss somebody aged 10-35.”
The third definition is wordy and technical in nature. And the fourth definition begins with “We’re actually a pretty okay generation to be honest. We are cool headed, easy to talk to, and pretty open minded,” before divulging into a rather angry rant.
I bring this up because no one really understands Millennials, but Millennials are not misunderstood in the sense that many say or think. We don’t as a whole dislike or dismiss competition, believe that nothing is worth fighting for and getting hurt for, believe we’re entitled or deserving of special treatment. Some think we’re flakey, that we don’t want to hold jobs or don’t want to maintain specific goals and that this is because we are killing ourselves in order to not conform. We, like every generation before us, are as diverse as they come. But needless to say there’s a huge gap between Gen X and Gen Y (Millennials). To many, this gap is confusing or believed to be solely the fault of one generation or the other.
My mother, who was born on the cusp of the Baby Boomer generation and Generation X, didn’t work on a computer until she was in her 20’s, and it was a Wang Computer, one of the earliest commercial models (pictured below).
This is the gap.
My mom’s connections involved those she knew and could physically hold. My connections include friends I can hug and also acquaintances that live in countries I’ve never been to. My mom got the news from a newspaper received to her door daily and the select few TV networks available to her. My news outlets are the hundreds of internet sites and dozens of cable networks, each with a vastly different opinion on the world. My mom worked at the same job for many, many years, until the Millennial generation came to fruition; now she’s had more than a half dozen jobs since then. I’ve had three jobs, each in a different profession (not including my writing), in the four years I’ve been working. To put all that in perspective, my mom gave birth to me two weeks before her 39th birthday.
The world is changing. It’s changing quickly. History is divided into ages based on our tools and lifestyles — the Stone Age, Bronze Age, Iron Age, Middle Ages, etc. — and in my opinion, Gen Y marked the beginning of the Technological Age. It’s not that Millennials are weaker, less educated, less involved or swallowed by their phones and tablets, but instead, the defining difference is that we’re using different tools and living different lifestyles. We no longer care about the retirement package that comes with a forty-year job, but instead care about the experiences we can gain from dipping into the multitude of professions and learnable skills. By my mom’s own confession, Millennials are much more emotionally engaged in other humans than her generation was or the ones before it, and this is because we have the ability to be that connected.
Generation Y isn’t misunderstood, but the gap between generations, the difference in our tools, is creating a communication barrier not dissimilar to that of speaking different languages. We are snowflakes. Every one of us, from every generation, are snowflakes. Because every snowflake is characteristically unique.
From here on out, I’ll be posting a writing prompt for my readers to stretch their writing muscles a little bit! I’d love your feed back on this, and if you’d like, you can email me what you get from your writing prompt and I may share it on this blog. No guarantees, but it could be fun!
A self-conscious shark sees herself/himself in a mirror for the first time…