I hate the word millennial. It’s not because I don’t want to be associated with my generation, it’s because of what the word has begun to mean to older generations and, more importantly for an anxious person like myself, to employers. Words like lazy, know-it-all, selfish, and worst of all, entitled, are usually what it’s used in place of; all words I don’t identify with — well maybe selfish, but that’s another issue.
I’ve started to realize that these words are really just a misinterpretation of our actions.
From an outsider’s perspective, our generation might look like we’re disloyal to companies and are more self-involved, when really we’re focused on finding happiness through a career path that serves our passions, rather than the other way around.
Most millennials that I speak with will start a new job, set a goal of staying for a year, and then end up wanting to move on to the next one a few months after starting. But how did the older generations stick it out at a job until retirement?
It feels like finding a new job is almost like dating. You’re hoping to find that one perfect match, the job you could see yourself being at for the rest of your life. But then the pay isn’t good enough, your boss sucks, or the work just isn’t what you expected. But if we’re taught from a young age not to settle for anyone when it comes to marriage (according to the Huffington Post we’re waiting longer to marry than previous generations), then why should we settle for something that we’re going to spend the majority of our lives at?
Since we’ve been kids, we’ve constantly been surrounded by bigger and better. We went from staring at the screen while our Internet dialed up to being able to look up what that actress is from within 30 seconds. There was the Sidekick and the Razr and now we have the iPhone X that scans your face. Every year technology improves and we’re striving to own the latest and greatest invention. So why wouldn’t we feel like we need bigger and better in our careers at such a fast pace, when everything around us urges us to be in that mindset?
And it’s not just tech that’s advancing like crazy, but the people in our generation are as well. Never before has someone been able to make a living by posting a photo in the Bahamas or cutting into a soft-boiled egg.
We see women and men start up apps, online publications, digital retail stores and realize there really is more out there — and also that box-and-whisker plots and cursive were a complete waste of time.
Seeing this motivates us to create, imagine and not to settle for anything that doesn’t feel like we’re making a difference in the world and in our lives. Our ambition and push to take on freelancing jobs, create blogs, Instagram pages and Etsy stores isn’t us being lazy and trying to get out of having to do hard work, but rather, it’s millennials’ drive to take on more and more until we find something that truly satisfies our hunger for living a passionate life. Maybe it’s not so much that we’re deviating from the tried and true, but forging a new — and possibly better — path to happiness.