No, Millennials Aren’t Ruining the Workforce

We're just the next wave of humans stumbling through. Some common misconceptions, explained.

First, a disclaimer.

Even though I technically fall in the “millennial” camp — a generation that Pew defines as adults age 18-34 — I’m on the upper end of the spectrum, and it’s starting to show. I don’t know how to use Snapchat, I get anxious every time someone talks about Peach, and I just recently upgraded to an iPhone 4. A little over a year ago I invested in a sectional sofa and premium cable, so my days of being even the least bit relevant are numbered.

But, yes, still a millennial. And as such, according to a recent piece in Philadelphia magazine, part of a generation that is responsible for “ruining the workforce.”

Did I raise an eyebrow at that headline? Yes. Did I raise it as high as some of my fellow millennials? Judging by the hundreds and hundreds of heated comments the article inspired, absolutely not. (I mean, Jesus Christ, guys — calm down already. I’ve gotten divorced with less drama.)

As deliciously millennial as it would be to write an opinion piece critiquing an opinion piece, I’m going to pass. (Or, am I going to tip-toe around it for another 400 words in a millennial tightrope-walking act, reluctant to commit and afraid to offend in the absence of a trigger warning?) Instead, in the interest of restoring the peace, I’m here to dispel some common misconceptions about my people.

“Millennials are immature.”
No, we haven’t had to fight off Hitler with our bayonets or walk 10 miles to school in the snow. But regardless, most of us are perfectly capable of taking care of ourselves, our families and our communities in the world we were handed. If you were my sister’s patient, you would have nothing to worry about — at 28, she’s an experienced registered nurse with a mortgage, a daughter and a closet full of Grown-Ass Woman pants. As scary as it can be to read the headlines, at the end of the day, I’m pretty confident that our country is still in good, brave hands if shit goes down.

“Millennials are entitled.”
Mostly, we want the same things that our parents wanted: a sustainable income, a place to call home, a plan for the future. Believe me, we would rather have one of those rumored “pensions” than a ping-pong table in the conference room. That said, we’ll take what we can get in 2016, and let me tell you: Office puppies and bougie organic muffins go a surprisingly long way when staring down a future with no Social Security, dwindling natural resources and a puddle of polar ice caps.

“Millennials are whiny.”
MOM! The mean lady keeps calling us names! Make her stop!

“Millennials are too PC! Stop getting so offended!”
“Marginalized groups are so annoying, aren’t they? First they don’t want to be property, then they want to vote, then they want equal pay and rights and all of those other things that come with being a person. Now they expect to be part of the conversation? If you give a mouse a cookie, am I right? Kids these days,” said a middle-aged white guy before making a hacky Caitlyn Jenner joke.

“They never get off their phones.”
It’s not that millennials are addicted to social media — it’s that humans are addicted to social media. Since the first cave etchings, we’ve been trying to find a way to connect, to tell our stories, to patch together some type of cohesive narrative and find meaning in our shared human experience. Unfortunately, as of 2016, the consensus still pretty much remains “You come into this world alone, and you die alone,” hence the desperate scrolling, sharing and liking.

See? There’s nothing to be afraid of here. We millennials are just the next wave of humans stumbling through, nothing more and nothing less. What you should, however, be wary of is the generation behind us. I’ve met a couple, and I don’t trust those kids. Their skin is really smooth and their music is too loud and there’s something I don’t like in their eyes — a sparkle, perhaps? How dare they.

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