Millennials: Fickle or Pragmatic?


With each great generation comes a new type of thinking. Generation X were our parents, and before them the Baby Boomers. We were born in a time where the world was relatively at peace, and technology was expanding so rapidly, new things became old faster than ever before. With no great war to teach us what hardship was, and so many opportunities opening up to us than our elders ever had, it’s no great surprise that we quickly became the most diverse and educated generation yet.

But with all of this advancement came confusion. No longer did traditional methods of marketing work on us, no longer did we strictly rely on wisdom from a family member to make decisions. Armed with newfound technology and nostalgic memories of what used to be, we grew from children to adults and began entering the world, being one of the most misunderstood generations yet. So how have we influenced society? What is our mark?  Who are we?


Our impact is not always positive, but it is always changing. For instance, we are the generation that feels like we don’t need to do anything right away. From owning a home, getting married, or even buying a new car, we often procrastinate these actions to do other things, such as travelling the world, or getting a college degree. The pressure from the generations before us, coupled with the ever advancing technology meant that we didn’t have to start a family right after school. We were told that we had to go to school, because we couldn’t get anywhere without a degree.


Millennials and Education

And so we did. In fact, 47% of Millennials have a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree from a university. That is two percent higher than the Baby Boomers. Yet with the higher percent of education came a higher rate of unemployment, as we entered the workforce at the verge of a recession, when jobs were being shipped overseas, making the degree we had fought so valiantly for nothing more than a piece of paper.


Millennials Financial Struggle

This affects us financially, because Millennials depend more heavily on credit, and the price of higher education had risen, creating a deep pit of debt that some may never make it out of. Comparing median net worth of our generation and the one before us, we have a net worth of 40% less than Generation X.

Millennials are more likely to report a problem with a product, such as cellphone carriers, computer problems, or even service in general, so that the problem can be solved and then move on. This along with the dependency on technology has made Millennials more likely to choose a self-service option when dealing with an issue, such as chatting online with a representative, or even using the self-checkout at the grocery store instead of dealing with a person. Taking a path that has another person on the other side is appealing when we are unable to solve the issue ourselves.


Because we have the need to be self-sufficient in as many aspects of daily life as possible, we have given new meaning to the term “side hustle.”   While our parents may have had a side job or done some moonlighting, we’ve put a new spin on it.  Now, sure, we want to make some money, but it’s equally important to be doing something that is of real interest to us or moves us in the direction of our life goals.

Millennial Independence

We are the generation that has a burning desire to make our voice heard, and so we will find a job within a company that we believe will make a difference, so that our impact on the world is great. And our generation, the great Millennials, make more of a difference in the world than we could ever imagine. We grew up thinking we were entitled to a great life, and still hold that dream high as we research the next big thing, or give our opinion on a controversial topic. Using any self-service route that we can to make ourselves more independent, more popular, and of course, more well off financially. But all of that doesn’t quite explain who we are as a whole. We are the most diverse, most educated, most independent generation to venture into adulthood. We are the reason technology is so ingrained into life, we are the reason voices are being heard.


There’s so much buzz about Millennials.  But after all is said and done, are we really that different than other generations?  Beyond putting our own spin on the world that was handed down to us, I don’t think so.  Like those that came before and those who come after us, more than anything else, we want to achieve, we want to be recognized, and we want to be appreciated.  We are the Millennials.   And we’re really just like you.

Images: Main Elizabeth Hahn : Jallsco Campus Party : ITU Pictures : Barbara Asboth : Darwin Bell Man in The Mirror

Jackie LaMar

Beach lover. SoCal dweller. Life is never over unless you surrender. Keep going, the prize IS out there.

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