Starting in the early 20th century until today, Americans have gone through five distinct known generations:
- Greatest Generation (born 1924 or earlier): they experienced the Great Depression and fought in World War II. They were teenagers back then, who probably had little chance to actually enjoy some leisure times but they prevailed with great struggles.
- Silent Generation (born 1925-1945): too young to see some actions in World War II but too old to enjoy the Summer of Love, the generation has tendency to conform to rules and actually earned success that way.
- Baby Boomers (born 1943-1964): following the victory in World War II, their teenage years were filled with new cars, civil rights movement, protest against Vietnam War, and rock n’ roll.
- Generation X (born 1965-1979): the only generation that does not want to be defined in any way, hence the name. Apparently the letter “X” represents something mysterious; who knew.
- Millenials (born 1980 – 2000): sometimes it is also referred to as Generation Y, this is the only generation you are allowed to make joke about. If you exclude the 9/11 tragedy and the wars afterwards, life has been quite easy for them. When they are not having their teeth whitened, they must be complaining why they cannot be superheroes; some of them only visit the library for the Internet connection to access the Pirate Bay.
The categorization is based not only on birth years but also significant events during that same period; without the latter factor, you might as well call them very old, too old to use a laptop, boring old people, smarty pants, and smartphone-addicted people – in that particular order. Thankfully each generation is marked with certain social economy conditions or political circumstances in which they have lived through.
You may also notice that Millenial Generation is the only category currently in productive years. The oldest of them are 37 years old and the youngest are still teenagers. Some of them are still in college classes and pretending to be reading something to impress their professors, while others are in the workforce even if they only do something when the boss is around.
If you are one of the millennials, there must have been some circumstances where you hear someone bashing your generation as if there is nothing else more important happening in the world. It is no secret that Gen Y is, more often than not, associated with some characteristics that give them bad reputation. Typical criticisms will revolve around, once again, things with the least of importance; for examples the way people of millennials age never get tired of taking selfies, watching one of the Kardashian’s behind, and whining about the noise from a supercar driven by a Baby Boomer.
|Sometimes it is necessary to a selfie to show that you are taking a selfie|
One of the most prominent events was September 11 catastrophe and the wars that followed. Let us not forget about the disclosure of top-secret NSA documents about the country’s mass surveillance activities on its own citizens, causing a serious distrust in governmental conducts. On the more epic scale, millennials are also upset with the revelations that older generations have brought serious threat to the Earth in the form of global warming; in this case, they basically inherit problems that are so big and too difficult to reverse. Animal extinctions due to habitats degradation also disturb them quite a lot. The combination of all those things added with the fact that Baby Boomers and Generation X actually got to watch Led Zeppelin concerts are troubling the Gen Y.
Of course not every person in millennials age range can be generalized into the stereotype’s characteristics. Some (if not many) of them are even remotely close to the negative reputations attached to the entire generation. If you read the Millennials Report published The Council of Economic Advisers in October 2014, you will find a lot of surprisingly positive assessments of the generation in almost all aspects of life including economy, education, politics, social, health, and environment. Since it has been well-established that reading a long report is too taxing for your brains, here is a brief review with the usual bullet points you all love:
- Millennials now represent the largest and most diverse generation in the United States. Many of them are immigrants or children of immigrants.
- It is the only generation that has been truly shaped by technology advances, especially computational power. Compared to previous generation, millennials have quicker, easier, faster access to information about almost everything; some of them never pay for reading the news on their smartphones although they do have to walk to a public park for free Internet.
- They focus quality of life more than money. It sounds quite like a lie, but it is not. In terms of works, millennials are basically the same as previous generation. Everybody wants to be successful so their children don’t have to work as hard in the future. According to the report, earnings are still less important than creativity for millennials. The generation wants the freedom to be creative more than they crave for promotion.
- Gen Y values friends, families, and communities. In other words, millennials want to have creative job with creative schedule so they have more free time for vacation. They also want to be leaders of communities and make positive impression on their kids.
- Millennials are the most educated generation in the United States. At least 61% of them have attended college. The decision to pursue higher education was likely caused by the surge of unemployment rate in the aftermath of Great Recession.
- Thanks to Affordable Care Act, millennials actually get to see what a health insurance policy looks like.
- Women of Generation Y have more labor market.
- Millennials stay single for longer period than the previous generations.
- Many people of Gen Y are not homeowners or individual renters. In some way, it helps the environment because the unused land can be turned into greenery – one with free Wi-Fi.
Millennials are arguably in their infancies in terms of labor market and political positions. The existing trend that both Baby Boomers and Generation X seem to harshly criticize their younger peers really is quite persistent, and anyone can see that it happens because the previous generations are still in power today.
Political leaders, company owners, professionals, and employers are the territories where millennials must comply with every single consensus created by their older counterparts. No generation has taken as much bashing as Millennials do but it does not change the fact that they will be in the forefront of politics, economics, education, and basically people’s perspectives towards reshaping the environment for decades to come – if only they could stop taking pictures of their lunch.