The Millennial Mindset: Not so different after all

genYMy generation is proving to be difficult to explain, and recently, members of Generation Y have been described in ways that dismiss the often negative characteristics that are usually connected with us. Words like narcissistic, lazy, selfish, entitled and impatient have followed us like dark clouds, but things seem to be looking up as some are saying that the myths about millennials aren’t true.

Until recently, if you typed the word millennial into your favorite search engine you would discover article after article that expressed the problems with hiring us, the reasons we fail and the lack of hope for our generation. We have been said to have a mindset that makes us unlike our parents and grandparents, but recent studies show that the millennial mindset might not be that bad, or that different from other generations, after all.  

As a twenty-something who will be entering the job market in the next few months, this is comforting. As someone who has a closet full of medals and awards just for participating, this is a bit of relief. What used to be viewed as negative aspects of my generation are now being seen by some as positives, and this is something to celebrate.

I read an article about how millennials are more frugal than was expected, and if the generation doesn’t begin to spend more, the economy and stock market could suffer greatly. While I’m sure it was not the reporter’s point in writing the article, it was refreshing to read that members of Generation Y aren’t the frivolous spenders we have been told we are. This article made some interesting points that should give millennials something to be proud of:

  • The workforce’s newest generation is sharing striking similarities to those who came of age during the Great Depression.”- The article goes on to say that millennials are more frugal than the baby boomers, and that Generation Y doesn’t want to make the same mistakes as their parents when it comes to financial decisions. Millennials are also less likely to make big material purchases and more likely to keep their money in cash.
  • “The research suggests millennials aren’t living up to the stereotypes of being entitled, narcissistic and digitally obsessed. Instead, they collectively believe hard work and limited spending are the keys to financial success.”- Recent studies show that more businesses and companies are offering internships to high school students. The article claims that this is because millennials “want to be as prepared as possible to be independent and financially sound—even if that means starting internships earlier and being extremely disciplined with their finances.”
  • “…young Americans don’t want to delay adulthood and live at home after college.” According to this article, millennials don’t want to move in with their parents after they graduate. CBS 60 Minutes did a story on the millennial mindset in 2008, and included a statistic that said that over half of college seniors move home after graduation. The article called this a safety net, and said that what used to be something to be ashamed of or uneasy about is becoming normal. “Not only is there no shame with it, but this is thought to be a very smart, wise, economic decision.” (Take a look at the 60 Minutes story to see what other characteristics were pinned on millennials at the time. The Millennials Are Coming.)

I find it hard to believe that this generation wasn’t affected by hearing Mr. Rogers and our own parents tell us how special we were as children. We  have grown up in an instant gratification world, constantly connected through social media and with knowledge of technology that generations before us can’t relate to. There is no way this lifestyle hasn’t impacted who we are. However, I don’t agree with those who say we aren’t ready to work or that we don’t want to grow up. Our generation has been shaped by previous generations, the economy and technology, but that doesn’t mean we don’t want to be successful. Instead, it might just mean that we will be successful in different ways than those who came before us, and I don’t see why that’s a bad thing.

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2 thoughts on “The Millennial Mindset: Not so different after all

  1. Steph says:

    I loved this! Thanks for sharing.

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