Millennial minute: We’re not the worst generation

Have you been called lazy, accused of being obsessed with technology and having no entrepreneurial ambition? We millennials get a pretty bad rep. There are all sorts of articles claiming that we are the most self-entitled and self-absorbed generation to exist. If you ask me, that’s a bit of an extreme statement, especially since the millennial age group spans from 18 to 35 approximately. However, it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what birth year is the cutoff for millennials since there are discrepancies within the data. Some sources claim that the cutoff was in 1997; others say 2004. Still, there was a ‘temporary’ generation (and I say temporary because it was a made-up grouping until millennials were named) that spanned from 1970 to the mid-2000s. While there are obviously inconsistencies, for the sake of this article I’ll be referring to the 18 to 35 age group.

Let’s tackle this technology obsession thing. Millennials were born in a world of rapid technological advancements, and as digital natives, technology has always been made available to us. My parents have told me stories of how they first got their cell phone (using that term loosely, compared to today’s technology), and it was a Motorola Bag Phone. This phone literally came in its own bag, complete with a battery charger. However that was the mid-90s, and in just a little over 20 years we have phones that can give us directions, take high-resolution pictures, stream videos and movies, oh, and can still make phone calls. The touchscreen aspect of cell phones brand newer technology. The first touchscreen phone was put out on the market by IBM in 1992, but it was definitely not as compact as today’s cell phones, which means that even the oldest members of the millennial generation (born in approximately 1981) would only have been 12 when this “advanced technology” was produced. Millennials didn’t create the cell phone, nor did they create a great number of the technological inventions that proceeded such modern marvels as the iPhone.  Since it was the previous generation that originally created the phone, how is it that our generation can be blamed for overusing it?

Yes, I will admit that we do manage to stay well-connected, but I think this connectivity should be viewed in a positive way. Personally, I know that my mom likes to keep in touch with me, even wanting to make sure that I get home safely, so I’ll send her a text letting her know I made it back. Social media platforms are great for staying connected with family and friends who live far away. When I studied abroad in Dublin, I was very thankful for Skype, Viber, Snapchat, etc. for allowing me different ways to still feel connected with my loved ones stateside, especially when I grew homesick. Laptops and email help us cut down on the amount of paper we use, which only positively impacts the earth.

While it may appear that millennials are “obsessed with technology,” naysayers must keep in mind that millennials weren’t the ones who invented this technology. We are simply using the technology the previous generation created. Some of us weren’t even born yet, and those who were alive were 12 and under. Millennials have never had to live in a world without technology, so of course our childhood and adolescent years were destined to be different from the previous generations.

Just because it’s different doesn’t make it wrong, or “the worst.” It’s just new. Oh, and when it comes to “zero entrepreneurial ambition,” give us time. Most millennials are still in college or graduate school, but we’ll get there.

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