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Gen X loves picking on millennials. Over the last several years we've been shelled with articles and videos complaining about how millennials were raised on participation trophies, selfies, and not using their phones just for talking. A man by the name of Simon Sinek recently went viral for a TED talk-lite video saying these exact same things while conveniently promoting his workplace management brand.
But do we care? Not exactly.
Despite inheriting the housing crisis, higher costs of education and living, worse environmental conditions, and projected higher healthcare costs, millennials are thriving. We're more educated, more willing to work longer hours, and have been the driving force behind disruption to longstanding traditions through technology.
Working Longer for Less for the Lifestyle
Consider the increase of people working remotely from home, in coffee shops, and open spaces. According to Forbes, 89% of millennials prefer choosing when and where they want to work rather than a 9-5 job. Remote work invites people to work at their pace, be plugged in anywhere, and available when work demands it. In equal parts necessity and freedom, and whether we work remotely for freedom or as a side job hustle, our generation dissolved the line between home and office in favor of 24/7 access and flexibility.
Speaking of side hustles, CareerBuilder reveals that more than one third of working millennials work a side job for supplementary income. Among those working more to earn more cash, “29 percent of workers have a side hustle, a trend that is especially strong among the millennial demographic. Forty-four percent of those ages 25-34 and 39 percent of those 18-24 have a side gig, compared to 29 percent of those 35-44, 22 percent of those 45-54 and 19 percent of those ages 55 and older.”
In major cities, side-jobs are almost mandatory for those undergoing unpaid internships—those things millennials have to work at before they get an entry-level job after obtaining a four-year degree at the behest of Gen Xers looking for free labor promising a 'foot in the door.'
But keep telling us we're lazy.
Millennials are more adaptable to new tech and directly influence change.
Due to the exponential rise in tech innovation, millennials have far surpassed Gen X in communication. They can adapt and determine what’s best to use out of the wealth of options available, for any situation.
There are now hundreds of communication methods available and millennials can pick any of them up more readily than baby boomers. According to Gallup, "sending and receiving text messages is the most prevalent form of communication for Americans younger than 50. More than two-thirds of 18-to-29-year-olds say they’ve sent and received text messages 'a lot' the previous day, as did nearly half of Americans between 30 and 49. Young Americans are also well above average in their use of email and social media on a daily basis."
Decreased phone calls and a preference towards texting and social media platforms like Snapchat are used as a scapegoat for what’s perceived to be a generational decline especially in the workplace.
I text as much as possible, and prioritize phone conversation on a per need basis. I can’t call everyone because there’s only so much time in the day. As much as people love to multitask, conversation while doing other work can go awry. It’s more efficient to send and receive messages that can be replied to at my convenience.
Efficiency measures can be found in all aspects of our life: Conventional news that’s paired down into bite-sizes and sound bites; on-demand services give us taxis, dinner, bulk items, and even dog walkers delivered to our doorstep; the majority of offices that use Slack to communicate with one another in a way that doesn’t interfere with a worker’s busy schedule. Millennials are the driving force behind instant gratification services and we are willing to pay for it. The economy benefits, and everybody wins.
To sum it all up, try not to complain about the millennials too much. You can if you want, but the majority of us are too busy getting our life to bother.