As someone who is in their early twenties, I feel our generation gets a bad reputation and shitty monikers. Rather you call us 20 somethings, generation y, or millennials, I’m sure you’ve heard some pretty screwed up things about us in the media and pop culture. You may view us as lazy, shiftless, and entitled ruining the moral fabric of the world one tweet at time.
But not so fast! As the old adage goes, you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. Just because you see or hear something in the media, doesn’t mean that it’s true.
Let’s go exploring!
1. 20somethings don’t have their shit together. This sweeping generalization pisses me off because it simply isn’t true. By today’s standards, having your shit together means having a car, a job, your own place and being self-reliant. There are lots of people in their twenties that meet this criteria and it’s not like those of us who don’t aren’t trying. Some of us have jobs, but can’t afford to have our own place and a car. Some of us are unable to find jobs so that completely wipes out the rest.
Besides, does anyone at any age have their shit together at all times? The cost of living is rising, but pay rates aren’t. At any moment you could lose your job due to company cutbacks or to someone willing to work for less. There goes your job. And your car and house. And your self-reliance.
We’re all in the same boat here.
2. 2osomethings need constant hand-holding. People in their twenties can’t do anything on their own. They need constant supervision and guidance from others. In other words, we’re kind of like overgrown toddlers who need constant supervision. This is somewhat true, especially when the task at hand is new to us. However, once we get the hang of something, you can rest assured we can do it properly without help. And if we need it, we’ll ask.
3. They’re self-absorbed. This misconception is laughable because self-absorption is more than a generation y problem. It can affect anyone regardless of age. Although we do worry about our self-image, we care about the rest of the world. A study in 2012 found that three-quarters of young adults surveyed contributed to charities and 63% volunteered. Aside from caring about the world, we also care about the well-being of our families and friends.
4. Long term relationships and fidelity don’t matter to them. Unfortunately, this is somewhat true. More people in their twenties are shying away from marriage and committed relationships. But that doesn’t mean that we don’t believe in it. A lot of us are waiting to get married or enter into serious commitments later in life to focus on our education or careers.However, some of us just don’t care for traditional relationships. It’s more about fun and sex than it is about love and commitment. Hey, some of us want a fairy tale romance, others just want to act out porn. Who am I to judge?
5. They’re lazy. A lot of us can be lazy. When it comes to things like doing the laundry, doing the dishes or getting up to get the remote, people in their twenties may be okay with running out of underwear or watching hours of 16 and pregnant out of sheer laziness. However, when it comes to work and school we do the best we can and as much as we can to get where we want to be in life. When I was in college I would read ahead or complete homework assignments early. When I’m at work, I’ll work for hours without taking a break. Some us work to help pay for college. So I don’t quite understand where this lazy thing comes from.
6. 2osomethings have a false sense of entitlement. We deserve _______ and we deserve it now! Not because we did anything special to earn it, but because it should just be handed to us!! Although some people in their twenties do believe that kind of sentiment, most of us don’t. We know that in order to get the things we want we have to work it. Honestly, it’s not us, but the way we were raised. Think about that for a second.
7. They have no respect for elders and authority. There’s a huge difference between being respectful and being a doormat. For most people in their twenties, respect is something that is earned and not based on status. Of course I’m going to respect my boss, a client, or an elderly person until they prove they are disrespectful to me or others.
8. They don’t plan ahead or think about the future. We think about the future. We think about it all the time. Although you may never hear us talking about a five or ten-year plan, we know where we want to be and the steps needed to get there. However, the future isn’t certain. It’s always changing and evolving. We can’t just make one plan with one set of steps to get us there. Instead, we make several plans with different routes to get us to where we need to go.
9. 20somethings don’t have morals. What older generations sometimes fail to realize is that things that were deemed inappropriate in the past are acceptable now. If someone in their twenties has premarital sex, supports gay marriage, supports a woman’s right to choose or curses, it doesn’t mean that they don’t have a sense of what is right and wrong. It just means that what they find right and wrong is different from what previous generations found right and wrong.
10. They’re unreliable. Just like any other age group, people in their twenties can be unreliable. However, if you give us a task or a deadline we will do our best to complete it.
11. They’re technology obsessed. Generation Y does rely on technology to communicate, work and socialize. A lot of us would be lost without our cellphones or the internet. However, a lot of us grew up when technology was just taking off so we can survive and function without it. When I was growing up, cell phones didn’t have the internet and the best thing to do on the computer was make pictures on Paint. We learned to do things manually and how to research things without the internet too.
12. 20somethings can’t cope with failure. Failure can be difficult for anyone to accept. However, some people in their twenties were taught that failure isn’t an option. If we fail or suffer a setback it is because there is something wrong with us or we didn’t try hard enough. Although it may take us awhile to bounce back, we will.
13. They’re high maintenance. Feedback and affirmation is important to generation y. It helps us do our jobs better and improves morale. However, some us don’t need constant praise or feedback to do our jobs successfully. It all boils down to the way we were raised.
14. All 20somethings are progressive or liberal. Although children deviate from their parent’s views all the time, most political views are carried from parent to children. So if someone is raised in a more conservative household, odds are they will foster more conservative views. In the grand scheme of things though, no political party holds more weight than other for generation y.
15. They have turned their back on religion. Just like political preference can be carried from generation to generation, so can religious preference. Believe it or not, 93% of adults in the U.S believe in God or a higher power. Although atheism or agnosticism is on the rise, there are still more young people who believe in God than those who don’t. So don’t believe the hype.
16. 2osomethings have terrible communication skills. Thanks to text messaging, email, and instant messaging, many people believe that generation y has a hard time communicating with others face to face. Again, most people in their twenties were raised just as technology was raising. While our younger counterparts may have difficulty with face to face communication, most of us don’t. Besides, some people are just shitty communicators.
17. They never stick to anything. It’s rumored that people in their twenties hop from relationship to relationship or job to job with little or no qualms about it. The truth is, most of us are always on the prowl for something better. There’s nothing wrong with wanting better, but it is important to realize when we’ve found something that suits us best.
18. 20somethings don’t believe in working hard. If someone in their twenties wants something, then they will stop at nothing to get it. However, we know that working too hard has a price. It causes excessive stress and heart attacks. It causes relationships to dissolve. Instead, we put our time in, maybe do a little extra, and then go live the rest of our lives.
19. 20somethings don’t value privacy. Although people in their twenties spend a lot of time posting and sharing things online, it doesn’t mean they are completely willing to share EVERYTHING. Employers and schools often check social networking pages before hiring so we know must be careful what we share and who we share it with.
20. They don’t want to connect with older generations. People assume that everyone in their twenties are know-it-alls and have no room for the advice and guidance of someone older. They think that we can’t enjoy the company of older people. This is false. Older people bring great insight and dependability in our lives that we don’t get from our peers.
I’m not claiming 20somethings are perfect, but who is? Every generation has its problems and stereotypes. The important thing is to look past it give others a chance.