Every once in a while when I’m looking for some inspiration, I browse sites and search engines typing in the word “millenials” to see what people are saying out there in cyber-space.
I hit up YouTube the other day and found this great TED Talk by Scott Hess entitled, “Millenials: Who They Are and Why We Hate Them.”
WHAT? PEOPLE HATE US? Ok now this I need to watch…
In case you don’t have 21 minutes and 33 seconds to spare, I’ll give you the gist.
Scott points out something that most Gen-X’ers tend to gloss over when dumping on the millenials. They used to be us.
Scott says there are 3 reasons why Gen-X hates us.
First: We’re different from them…
Scott establishes this with the assistance of a humorous graphic he put together.
I’m sure the list could go on for ages. This one’s pretty self-explanatory so let’s move on.
Second: They’re jealous of us…
One reason he says that Gen-X’ers are jealous of us Millenials is because we seem to have extended “the magic moment between dependence and independence”. We have created a new age called “emerging adulthood”. Essentially, Millenials are taking much longer to achieve the five things that traditionally signify adulthood: completing school, leaving home, becoming financially dependent, marrying, having a child (and yes it’s true that these are not everyone’s goals, but we must generalize for the sake of finding trends… we can take the dominance of nuclear family types to task another day…)
Scott’s research found that while the Millenials in general share these desires with our predecessors, we have applied a “road trip mentality”. Essentially, the journey is half the fun! So what if it takes a little longer to get there?
Also… we’re awesome. If the Millenials were a brand, we would be Apple. It’s also apparently our favourite brand (no surprise there). Apple can be described as an aspirational lifestyle brand that exudes… well… awesomeness.
Third: We figured out how to surmount the key challenges of adolescence.
While the Gen-X’ers were left sitting on a park bench wondering…
a) Where is everybody and what are they doing?
b) How can I connect with people like me?
c) Do you have any idea how AWESOME I am? (and how can my evolving awesomeness be appreciated?)
… the Millenials had social media to solve all of these problems (Thanks Mark Zuckerberg).
In the end…
These reasons could ring true for the relations between any generations. People will get older, the younger generation will take their place, and the aging population will always look back fondly, or jealously, on their youth. In fact, it’s around the age of 22 that we start wishing we could turn back the clock (eep! I’m 22!). This graph shows aspired age difference: from the ages 12-21 we wish to be older, and from then on we just wish we could be younger and younger…
I think it’s in our nature as humans to criticize those we are jealous of, in a strange sort of mind game where you’re trying to convince yourself not to be jealous. All we can do is try our best to remember how it feels to be negatively labeled as a generation, and ensure we don’t repeat history (again). And perhaps, if a Gen-X’er is giving you a hard time, it wouldn’t hurt to remind them of how they might have been treated by the Baby-boomers when they were young.
If you do have the time, the talk is worth a watch, as Scott is a very engaging and entertaining speaker. I really enjoyed it because it expresses the need for a greater level of inter-generational understanding, but in a humorous way.
*Images are all screenshots from the embedded video.