Entitlement and Other Millennial Myths

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Model Kissing Herself In A Mirror Under MistletoeMillennials have a stereotype far from the truth, as stereotypes generally go. They are said to be entitled and described as lazy, but what is the truth? They have the highest participation in volunteerism since the Greatest Generation (those born in the 1930s and 1940s). Millennials are highly educated, service oriented, and hopeful. The real question is: Why do Millennials have a negative reputation in the corporate world? They are perceived as being less motivated and productive than their parents or grandparents. Marriage, full-time employment, and fleeing the nest are not on the priority list anymore.

Those twenty-somethings aren’t getting married nearly as young as they used to. Only 26 percent of Millennials are married compared to the 48 percent of Gen X and 65 percent of the Baby Boomers. It’s not that they don’t want to get married. The generation most certainly has aspirations of a good family life. But the truth of the matter is, marriage is more likely if couples have a higher learning degree. Not to mention, the older the couple, the more successful the marriage. So Millennials aren’t getting married at a young age because they aren’t finished with their education. Nor are they making the money they feel necessary to get married because employers are not entirely willing to hire fresh college graduates.

Millenials aren’t as fully employed as their parents, or even their grandparents. Only 60 percent of people between 18-31 years old are working, and only half of those are full time. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t working. Volunteerism runs deep in the young generation. “Surveys show people born between 1982 and 2000 are the most civic-minded since the generation of the 1930s and 1940s.” The total dollar value of Millennial volunteerism is estimated at $22 billion. That’s right, $22 billion. Most college students believe helping people in need is essential—70 percent to be exact; the most since the 1970s.

Recent graduates aren’t getting full-time jobs right after commencement. Why? Well, many companies are unwilling to hire recent graduates because of the stereotype they just happen to fall under. Without that pretty penny that comes with a full-time job, it is unfair to expect a recent graduate to flee the coup right out of the gate. Instead of the typical 9-5 office jobs Western culture has come to know so well, they have opted for freelance work. A survey including 3,000 independent professionals revealed 26 percent of them do freelance work in addition to a regular full-time job.

It’s funny Millennials are described as lazy and unmotivated. When asked, a twenty-something will say the most important thing is to be a good parent, followed shortly by a successful marriage and helping others in need. So how exactly are they entitled? A high-paying career is low on the list; so, there is no real reason to believe they feel entitled. College students are not only far from entitled, they are 40 percent more interested in keeping up on political affairs.

Millennials aren’t lazy, they are just misunderstood. It’s not that they don’t want to work, they do. It just takes place as unpaid work as they are the most civically involved generation since the 1930s. Calling Millennials entitled and unmotivated is like saying everyone growing up during the 1960s and 1970s were flower children thriving on drugs and alcohol. Which, while there are some individuals who live up to that stereotype, not everyone does. Millennials are highly educated, extremely volunteer oriented, and aren’t necessarily in a hurry to get a jump-start on a full-time job. They see helping those in need as more important.

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Sarah Duke is a Content Creator at Red Branch Media, a marketing and advertising firm that serves the Human Resources and Recruiting markets. Red Branch Media has grown from a simple consultancy to a full-service B2B marketing agency. Duke brings a history of Public Affairs experience to Red Branch and enjoys writing about the HCM Marketplace.
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