Millennials: A new hope

Opinion

By: Derek Bateman

Millennials suck. That is the anthem of most residents in the United States, and even many globally. Why did this become a thing? Why did roasting a whole generation become how we interact, and are interacted with? What makes Millennials so hated?

Blogger Finley Harrison, has taken a stand against Millennials on his blog Rant Vent Rant. According to Harrison, Millennials are too oversensitive, and can’t take criticism or ideas opposing our own. In one post he writes that he was first introduced to “the suckiness” of Millennials at his job, when a coworker would reject any bit of criticism. “She broke down and cried,” he writes of the co-worker.  

Psychology Today believes that many Millennials may actually have Narcissistic Personality Disorder, which is characterized by an exaggerated sense of self-importance, persistent need for admiration, lack of empathy for others, excessive pride in achievements, and snobbish, disdainful, or patronizing attitudes.

While only six percent of the U.S. population has ever been diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, according to Caroline Beaton writing in Psychology Today, Millennials exhibit more traits associated with narcissism including high expectations, grandiosity, positive self-image and a lack of empathy.

Beaton also brings up the idea that while many Millennials may not have a personality disorder, they may have over-inflated self-esteems. In her article “Is it narcissism or just high, healthy self-esteem?” she writes that self-esteem is earned, narcissism is fabricated, she writes. Narcissistic people are often extremely insecure in what they do, so they compensate by acting full of themselves. People with high self-esteem are confident in their actions, and own up to mistakes in a humble fashion.

On top of Millennials being narcissistic, they’re – I mean we’re – also very needy. We’re self centered. We believe that we have an inherent right to things. According to Jada A Graves’ article “Millennial workers: entitled, needy, self-centered?” Millennials are in constant need of approval. According to Graves, this is attributed to getting constant feedback from teachers, parents, and through report cards. The article brings up the point that a manager’s sole job isn’t to manage you, but all of your co-workers as well.

Graves also writes that Millennials feel entitled. They need company cell-phones, company cars, higher pay, summer-hours, etc. Being a working (part-time) Millennial myself, I’d to agree with that claim. I have felt in past jobs that I should have been paid more for doing work I was really good at, but I wasn’t deserving of extra pay. Graves suggests that Millennials should expect nothing other than what is legally required, and work hard to earn more privileges, pay, etc.

Finally, Graves writes that Millennials are disloyal. After working at a job for a while, many feel they’re too good for their pay, and want a raise. If they don’t get it, they quit in search of a better job and the cycle continues. I’ve seen this even in part-time minimum wage jobs among teenagers.

The thing that really hurts our reputation as Millennials though, is that we are afraid to fail. This fear of failure is related to our overly inflated self-esteems and our overly protective parents, according to Huffington Post writer, Lynda Bekore.

Bekore uses her daughter’s experience failing a math test as an example of this phenomenon. Her daughter’s teacher still wrote “Good job!” on her test, even though she failed.  It’s a trend that many Millennials, and their parents, are a part of. That idea is to reward for trying, not succeeding. It’s backwards and isn’t consistent.  While Bekore’s daughter didn’t fail any more math tests that year because of “positive reinforcement,” she didn’t study for another test that year.

Time Magazine writer, Joel Stein writes that since the 1970s, schools have been pushing higher self-esteem. That idea, as previously stated, inflates egos, causes a clouded judgement, and the thought of failure becomes impossible. Failure is, however, very possible.

Despite the negative perceptions of MIllennials, some of our negative traits may actually be assets.  Stein writes that Millennials have high aspirations, therefore they have a higher chance of achieving. Millennials are constantly told, and firmly believe, that we can be anything and do anything we want as long as we try really hard to get there. So without limits on what we can be, people grow up to discover new medicines, create life-saving technologies, explore new worlds, and yes, create new dumb(er) Internet trends. So while Millennials may be narcissistic, sucky, rude, and flat out ignorant, we do hold the future. What we decide to do impacts the rest of the world, for better or worse.

Looking at my class of 2017, and other classes around my age, I have hope. While we can be, and often are, stupid (just read Twitter for more than 5 minutes), we can accomplish something great. All it takes on our part is a shift in worldview and attitude. Just view ourselves more humbly, and put others first. We will succeed.

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