Last week, I wrote about picking and choosing battles that are worth the fight — ones that can have a real impact at the end. This week, I want to offer you a fight that we are in together, regardless of race, religion, gender and upbringing.
This particular fight is on the front lines of millennials' everyday lives. Without a doubt, we'll face it in the job market, at home, among older peers and among the credible and not so credible. This fight involves the negative rhetoric surrounding the millennial generation. These days, it seems every non-millennial and their cat are on a mission to write off an entire generation to the lazy list. Do we agree with that? I don't think any of us do. I am worried that the prolonged volley of negative rhetoric will affect Gen Y's ability to see the world in a positive light.
This week, a headline of a Washington Post blog read, "Everyone hates millennials." It seems to be true, or so I am beginning to believe. (See? The prolonged effect of hearing only negativity?) For every one positive article I read about Gen Y, I read two negative ones. And it's seemingly a barrage of false identifications: lazy, coddled, spoiled, a lack of work ethic — the list goes on. However, the biggest negative word detailing our generation that I repeatedly come across is "entitled."
The ones involved in most of the name-calling come from older generations and, sadly, older millennials who've cast themselves out of this generation. They are the people whose jobs will eventually be retired to millennials. They are the people who've maybe even raised millennials. They are the ones who probably joined a bandwagon of negativity after a peer-driven conversation and never got off.
Maybe they haven't read the research that depicts the positivity of this generation and the favorable upward trends we elicit. But as a generation of supposed misfits, here's what we can do: remain positive about who we are as a generation.
Sure, we have some lazy members, but we have more who aren't. We are the next generation of this planet; we are diverse. We have innovators, artists, writers and scientists. We have world leaders, business owners and outstanding employees. We possess the full range of those who are positive contributors to society in order to progress and advance this beautiful world.
All I am asking of millennials — and yes, the older part of our generation, too — is that you educate yourselves about who you are, what you represent. Understand the good our generation does. Ultimately, join together as a unified front through the right information.
National movements — like Black Lives Matter, immigration activists, LGBQT advocates, Muslim acceptance — and the many other fights we fight daily are all a part of one sure thing: the millennial generation. If we unite to end negative rhetoric, we can impact the world as the generation we know we are.
If you hear negativity towards the our generation, realize that it's an opportunity to represent not just the generation as a whole, but those who struggle to feel included on a daily basis.
It starts with you and will end with all of us.