I would like to thank Joel Stein from “Times” and pretty much every member of older generations for going out of your way to tell me how awful the Millennials are. According to them, we are entitled. We are shallow. We are disconnected from the world at large because of our obsession with technology. We do not know the value of hard work. Essentially, we are the worst generation that the world has ever seen. But I, however, could not disagree more. I think our generation is the best one yet.
They are right; we are entitled. That is because we know what is right, so we are not going to settle for what we know is wrong. The Millennials’ need to correct injustice translates into growing voter turnout rates, our increasingly progressive views in regards to social issues and opting for more civil service jobs than any previous generation. When working within the parameter disenchants and frustrates us, we are not afraid to go to the streets. Our entitlement is why we occupied Wall Street and flooded the streets in Brazil, Turkey and Europe with FEMEN. We are tired of discrimination based on gender, race, ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation. Maybe it is because we are simultaneously the most diverse and least xenophobic generation yet, but we are tired of discrimination in general.
Our efforts to be viewed and defined beyond our ascribed characteristic is why we are the “me” generation. Millennials’ commitment to self-expression is impressive. Sometimes it is not manifested in the most sophisticated ways, e.g. selfies, and is excessively mocked for being “shallow.” But self-portrayals are found throughout history, and even celebrated with the likes of reportedly Leonardo da Vinci, Frida Kahlo, Andy Warhol, Mapplethorpe and many more. We like sharing ourselves with the help of the Internet, whether through our blogging, videos, music, pictures or even something as simple as a Facebook status. Millennials are no longer relying on an editor, a music agent or any kind other kind of authority figure to have a voice, because with the help of technology, we just do it ourselves.
Our use of technology also connects us to people in unprecedented ways. We are befriending people from around the world and constantly exercising the power to read the news about countries other than our own. This globalized attitude lets us appreciate other people and cultures in ways that are not found in previous generations, even though we are still trying to strike the perfect balance between recognition and cultural appropriation. Our use of technology is helping us become global citizens and embrace the world’s pluralism.
Millennials’ interest in things other than our jobs is often misinterpreted as not knowing the value of hard work. This could not be further from the truth. Our generation has taken up more unpaid internships than other generations. Yes, unpaid internships are a relatively new phenomenon, but I still think that it speaks volumes that we are eagerly accepting to work without compensation because it shows how much we value experience. However, we are challenging the notions that we have to stay with one company, and that in order to be successful work must take precedent over everything else. Millennials are refusing to be constrained to one career””in fact, it is predicted that we will each take on at least 5 different careers in our lifetimes. When we do not see a job we like, we create one. Millennials have more entrepreneurs than any other generation. Also, we are rejecting the “Atlantic Monthly’s” Anne-Marie Slaughter’s notion that we cannot have it all. But here is one of the greatest things about our generation: whether we do or do not want it all (family and career), it is completely fine. We are doing exactly what we want.
Not only are Millennials changing the world; we are embracing it. We are also deconstructing the established life paths that have been tread by many members of previous generations. We are expressing ourselves. We are not asking for permission. We are not dependent on anyone else, because we cut out the middlemen. We are doing what we desire and not being held back by gender, race, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation. The future is looking pretty damn bright because of us.