I read the news every day. And every day, there are more articles about Millennials. It really disappoints me to see articles about “Millennials.” I often think, “Ooh, what does this credible news publication think about my generation?” so I end up reading a lot of these articles out of curiosity.
And then I feel regret and sadness. Because every article about Millennials is sucky and stupid. That’s my eloquent, professional opinion.
I don’t know why writing about Millennials is all the rage now.
I mean, if the demographic for those articles is Millennials themselves, then I feel like the author doesn’t actually understand this generation at all. But that sounds kind of silly, doesn’t it? Articles that explain Millennials’ behavior probably aren’t targeted towards Millennials– I imagine that these articles are targeted towards older people, who would like to try to understand Millennials.
Which makes me more upset. Because it means older people are trying to learn about my generation by reading awful, inaccurate articles that just-so-happen to get published on credible websites.
Let me give an example, because at this point I’m just angrily ranting. I was reading this article on Inc. which epitomizes all the terrible articles about Millennials out there. “6 Things Millennials Say at Work (and What They Really Mean)”
Here’s what this article, and every other article about Millennials, gets seriously wrong:
It assumes that we can accurately generalize about an entire generation. This article specifically assumes that Millennials speak a certain way and use “code words” that they expect everyone else to understand. It’s crazy. I laugh especially hard at the line “They were raised by parents who trained them to be very sensitive to people’s feelings,” because, obviously, every single person in the Millennial generation had the same parents.
We can’t make such generalizations about so many millions of people.
Every single person on this Earth is different. No two people communicate, behave, or act the same way. No two people are the same. So I have to ask, why are there SO MANY writers trying to categorize millions and millions (specifically, 76 million) of people into one group. The only thing that ties Millennials together is their age. And not even, because Millennials’ birth dates range from the early ’80s to the early ’00s. Someone born in 1987 probably doesn’t have too much in common with someone born in 2000. Yet, there are still a bajillion articles about all Millennials and things they all do.
Not to mention, if you read that article on Inc. about what Millennials “really” mean when they say certain things, you could easily attribute any of those phrases to anyone. That article doesn’t successfully describe Millennials– it just describes some people in general. A lot of Millennials, and other folks, are not going to communicate the way described in that article, and a lot of Millennials, and other folks, are going to.
When writers describe Millennials, they often fail to describe Millennials and instead just end up broadly describing the way some people happen to be.
To continue bashing the article I linked to, #6 in that article explains that when a Millennial says, “That’s interesting,” that they actually mean, “That’s uninteresting and I want to talk about something else.” WHAT. How did the author of this article come up with that?! If I tell someone I’m interested in something, I mean it! Maybe some people (not even necessarily Millennials) would use that phrase in that sort of disrespectful way, but that’s my whole point.
What if I said that all gay people are flamboyant and have high-pitched voices? Just because there are some gay people who fit that description does not mean you can describe all gay people in the exact same way. Now go even broader– because I’m not talking about a category of people that makes up a relatively small 10% of the nation– I’m talking about an entire generation of many millions of people that is constantly being generalized in all sorts of media. It includes people of different socioeconomic backgrounds, people of different geographic locations, people of different races and sexual orientations and political views and education levels.
I don’t know why the media is on some rabid quest to define Millennials as all being a certain way. But it bothers me a lot. Every single person, Millennial or otherwise, is totally different. No two people behave the same way. No two people are the same. It doesn’t make sense to generalize. Ever.
Instead, treat people as individuals. Everyone has had a different life and is different from each other. Getting to know other people is how you learn and grow personally and socially.