Cultural change and the Attack on Millennials
October 5th, 2017
Have changes brought on by technology and the different ways that millennial think also caused the backlash that we get from previous generations?
A label that an entire generation has disdain for: “Millennials”. This term has been used derisively in the media and has most older generations saying that millennials tend to be the most controversial, lazy, and rude generation thus far. There is a constant stream of articles condemning us as the “Me Me Me” generation and as non-contributors to society. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Between all of my own anecdotal evidence and all of the research out there, we are actually one of the more productive and forward-thinking generations, as well as some of the more kind-hearted and respectful people. I think the only reason it seems as if this generation is worse than previous ones may be that every action is now documented and the people who yell the loudest are seen the most.
To impart evidence that I have noticed, these claims that are imposed on us from older generations are almost entirely a projection of their own actions. Being that I work in a retail setting, I interact and study the psychology of people every day. I have been working with the public for about 14 years and I have always been interested in what makes people do the things that they choose to do. Considering this, one thing has been prominent in those 14 years: the most difficulty I have with customers are with those who are categorized into the generations who talk down to millennials. Hands down the most customer returns, requests to speak to the manager, complaints, and rudeness all come from these demographics. I personally only return products if they are faulty, but there are many returns at all types of retail stores simply because someone didn’t like the taste or they didn’t want it anymore. I am labelled as a millennial and my mentality is that unless it made me sick or doesn’t work, the purchase is on me. I am not so entitled as to simply return things because they didn’t suit my every criterion. This version of entitlement, as proven in my lengthy retail career, belongs to the older generations. It’s a phenomenon that I like to call Western entitlement. Only in the affluent countries do we waste food as if we will never go hungry, pollute like the trash will never consume us, and take what isn’t ours like a covetous, unknowing child. This is entitlement and selfishness at its finest and these peculiarities are pushed by the generations that have set out to belittle the millennials. Maybe it’s because we want change and are willing to create ways in which to implement these changes that scare the older generations. We all know our instincts want us to avoid change at all cost to keep us safe, so perhaps millennials have outgrown this a bit and that may seem like a threat to generations prior.
Boyan Slat is a young Dutch man, who created solar power booms that will be put in the Pacific Ocean to clean it up. He was in high school when he came up with the idea. To contrast that, the current president doesn’t even believe in climate change. Millenials see the flaws in systems that only benefit dying ways of thinking and we will evolve past them to keep the species going. Change is always a challenge and I believe this is why the millenials are so hated. We bring uncomfortable change and it has affected all areas of the economy. Hooters are closing, sorry Donald, big-box retailers are going bankrupt, the 9 to 5 landscape is changing and we accept it willingly.
My goal is not to talk negatively about any other generational group, as we all have our faults and our strengths. We as separate groupings have also been through different world events and technological advancements, which make our thought processes different. All I am asking is that everyone tries to have respect and kindness for one another. The way our world is changing may be kind of overwhelming, but focusing on how individual groups are weak or do poorly in different areas is no way to make or adapt to changes. If we start talking about how a group is being beneficial then we can really start to modify generational labelling from a way to segregate into a way to elevate.