No other generation on record has been consistently and doggedly ‘shamed’ like Gen Ys have and from what I’ve seen in my research, globally, Millennial-bashing has become somewhat of a sport. Collectively we curse an entire generation of crappy workers. Millennials are accused of being unable to focus, addicted to incentives, using stupid excuses for not showing up to work, demanding flexibility and wanting to ‘make a difference in the world’ without actually having to do the work. At least that’s what they’ve been telling us.
We’ve all seen and heard the standard media representation of Millennials, labelling them as a bunch of a self-absorbed, lazy and hard to manage kidults. more pointedly, a somewhat productivity virus in the workplace.
But what if everything you think you know about Millennials is wrong?
Yes, they are certainly different. They’re the first digital natives, the first generation to ‘grow up’ on social media. But I like to challenge the popular view that Millennials are terrible human beings, because I believe this view of Millennials isn’t coming from fact; it’s coming from older generations’ filtered lenses; misunderstanding and media hype. I believe there is not only a gap between generations, there is a gap between what is true and what is false with our poor Millennial workers. And through my commitment to research I am on a mission to prove this. The further I researched, the more obvious it was becoming that this generation is getting a bad wrap. There must be another side to the story.
How can an entire generation be shite at life?
Well they’re not, but good news doesn’t sell.
People love blaming and shaming the youth for their own shortfalls. And the greater-media portrayal of Millennials was fitting right into the negative ‘shock-value’ hue of an entitled generation.
It was evident that in the media, Millennials were getting the short end of the stick –– almost demonised by the other generations.
REMEMBER THE “SMASHED AVOCADO” SAGA?!
In case you don’t remember, in 2017 there was a popular commentary in Australian mainstream media about Millennials not owning homes because they’re spending possible home deposits on indulgent brunches of smashed avocado.
Those lazy, entitled brunch-grabbers.
The dialogue was initially opened by Demographer and columnist, Bernard Salt, in The Australian in 2016.
He famously wrote:
“I have seen young people order smashed avocado with crumbled feta on five-grain toasted bread at $22 a pop and more. I can afford to eat this for lunch because I am middle aged and have raised my family. But how can young people afford to eat like this? Shouldn’t they be economising by eating at home? How often are they eating out? Twenty-two dollars several times a week could go towards a deposit on a house.”
The sentiment was later picked up by luxury property developer, 35yr old Tim Gurner (a Millennial himself) in an interview on Australian TV. Among other cheeky slanderous remarks toward his own generation, Gurner claimed Millennials couldn’t afford house deposits because they were spending up to $40 a day on smashed avocado and coffee.
(A myth later dispelled by many studies; including one 2018 survey by ING which reported that actually more than half of Millennials actually have a deposit for a house.)
The negative dialogue above is a great example of Millennial shaming, and it’s not only unfair and divisive, it’s bloody unproductive.
Sure, this shaming creates a great news hook, but it’s also extremely damaging, not only to Millennials collectively, but also to the rest of us. And this damage is destroying cultures and relationships everywhere.
People, millennials have now grown up, it’s time to move on, stop the shaming and get down to business! This generation is set to take over Australian workplaces, by 2025 they are predicted to make up over two thirds of the workforce. It’s time to embrace Millennials, they are coming for you whether you are ready or now. And I cannot wait!
Written by Emily Jaksch