Who Are Millennials?
Written by Emma Gannon
We're totally psyched to present our My Generation campaign: where we celebrate each generation's lifestyle, what they're known for and how they live their lives. Meet Emma Gannon, who has an award-winning blog, has been published everywhere from the Telegraph to Teen Vogue, and is author of ‘CTRL ALT DELETE: How I Grew Up Online’ – her Millennial memoir released in 2016. Allow her to tell the truth about Millennials and reveal why she is super proud to be one.
If you Google “Millennials,” all sorts of stereotypes come creeping out of the deepest corners of the Web. Did you know Millennials are horribly narcissistic? Did you know that they're lazy, fragile snowflakes who need to toughen up? Or that they can’t afford a house because of their obsession with avocado on toast? We're a generation the Web and the media love to make fun of. Lol #Millennials! They don’t know what they’re doing! They walk into moving cars while vlogging!
It can be really tempting to look at the first generation to grow up online and think they're stupid and selfie-obsessed – but I happen to think this is our strength. I’m proud of being a Millennial. I can’t speak for everyone because (shock-horror) not every generation blends into one big faceless homogeneous group. But growing up with tech has helped my life and career in a big way. I learned to code at 14, learned how to fix problems online on my own, learned how to design my own website, and to communicate well with people. Like many Millennials I know, we've even created our own jobs! Fast forward to 2017: my entire career is based on making money online. All I need's my laptop and phone and I can travel the world.
Millennials often have a hard time fitting into the old-school workplace structures. We grew up cutting corners, creating things, staying ahead of the curve, and upgrading our tech whenever we could. There are tons of anecdotes about Baby Boomer bosses finding Millennials hard to work with, because we can challenge the status quo and suggest new ways of working. Not good for hierarchy – but good for generating ideas.
The thing is, Millennials make up a huge percentage of the current workforce, so our “way” of working is not something that can be ignored.
We'll be over half of the workforce by 2020! Research says we're now the most frequent business travelers. We're the 75% of people who said they’d take a pay cut to work for a company they really, truly cared about. We care about the world! And we like the idea of work/life freedom. We're a part of society that deserves to be taken seriously, treated as individuals, and trusted to use our unique skills to grow businesses in new ways – and use our influence for good.
Millennials are often called lazy because we reject workplace traditions. But I'd say we're the opposite: if anything, we're the generation that's likely to burn out from overdoing it. Our online ambition is stopping us from perfecting the art of chilling out!
When it comes to switching off, I look up to Gen X. They're the generation that partied hard in the 90's, are seen as Cool Parents, and don’t take themselves too seriously at work or at home. I interviewed Tiffanie Darke (author of “Whatever Happened To Generation X?”) – she's the poster child for Gen X. Top career woman, mom...and still manages to go out and party. I'm in my twenties – but often prefer staying in and watering my plants. There’s plenty of time for that! So I’m taking a leaf out of Gen X’s book, and making sure I’m going out to the pub more often – maybe even (gasp) without my phone.