I apologize in advance for writing this at the risk of exhausting you with even more discussion about an inconsistently labeled group of people whose birth dates range anywhere from the early 1980s to early 2000s, but please bear with me.
Similar to the term “hipster,” which has devolved into a label used to refer to anyone, anytime, anywhere, and for any reason, “millennial” has been cast as a wide net to refer to...young people? Who are media savvy and take lots of selfies? (See Patrick Hipp's F*ck You, I'm Not a Millennial.)
I don’t know, but if the general media and clickbaity articles are to be believed, millennials are just awful.
This has become common knowledge, even a throwaway generalization. And that means it’s become a constant undercurrent that tells us that, get this, millennials are uniquely bad.
A lot of media ink has been spilled writing about why my generation is terrible (the terribleness of Breitbart itself is, of course, a given, but it’s a funny enough example). In fact, for a a generation that is allegedly more self-obsessed than any of their predecessors, there seems to be a lot of obsession with it.
That’s most likely because we’re the largest generation since the boomers, and more of us are in the workforce now than any other generation. So, you know, marketing analysts really want to know what makes us tick so they can sell stuff to us. Fair enough.
However, the tide has been turning; more pieces are turning up questioning where the hell these stereotypes came from anyway like Quartz's Sarah Kendzior's piece "The myth of millennial entitlement was created to hide their parents' mistakes," which, contrary to what the title indicates, is really more about observing complexity in generations than blaming your parents.
In the same vein of discussion, Tom Goodwin of The Guardian points out that what we've done is
"..taken a global, wildly diverse group of people and bundled them together in nonsensical trends presentations that we all nod in agreement at because we want to make sense of the world. The only thing clear about millennials is that they are just about as unique as everyone else."
For my new year's resolution, I resolve to stop buying the narrative that millennials, that broad umbrella term, are more specially messed up than anyone else. We're dealing with generational problems, sure, but all generations do.
In the aftermath of the Great Recession, we have a unique set of circumstances. But we're not the only ones and we're not uniquely bad at dealing with them.