By: Nikki Mikolon
As a young student it can be exciting and defeating when reading about this generation entering the workforce and how the millennials are being perceived by the older generations. It is not new news that millennials are seen in this negative light of a “me- me” and entitlement generation. TIME magazine’s Joel Stein wrote in a 2013 cover story, “In the U.S., Millennials are the children of baby boomers, who are also known as the Me Generation, who then produced the Me Me Me Generation…” (source). This generation has simply been given a different way of life than the baby boomer generation. Stein illustrates this in his article as well, writing: “In the 1950s families displayed a wedding photo, a school, photo and maybe a military photo in their homes, the average middle-class American family today walks amid 85 pictures of themselves and their pets” (source). Although the baby boomer generation was once seen as a large number of individuals, the millennials have a population of about 80 million, the biggest age group in American history (source).
Baby boomers are now reaching the age of retirement, but with the retirement age increasing and many wishing to work longer, millennials are stuck without movement in companies. Millennials are coming of age and the neo-millennials are kicking their seats behind them. Millennials and neo-millennials are going to college and graduating with limited availability in positions since baby boomers are not wanting to budge. A recent article in Fortune magazine said, “New analysis of U.S. Census data by the Pew Research Center reveals that 18- to 34-year olds are less likely to be living on their own today than they were during the Great Recession” (source). This means that aspiring to get an education, move out and start a career with a new degree is becoming farther out of reach.
As millennials, we care about much more than a paycheck, and we don’t want to “put in the time” doing a job we hate just so we can eventually get to the job we want. Wasn’t that the purpose of going to college? TIME magazine wrote an article “Millennials v. Baby Boomers: Which would you hire?” TIME surveyed millennials and found that, “The vast majority (83%) are ‘looking for a job where my creativity is valued,’” “While more than 9 in 10 millennials are ‘motivated to work harder when I know where my work is going’ and want supervisors, managers, and executives to listen to their ideas” (source). The Inc. magazine said in a recent article, “They are much less accepting of a world in which you are a slave to your job in exchange for a paycheck–a norm Baby Boomers grew up with” (source). Millennials challenge these older generations. It is not so much a sense of entitlement, but that millennials did not have to be taught so many of the skills that the baby boomers had to learn. Many of these skills are second nature to millennials. They are naturally good at most of these skills, and baby boomers are being challenged.
According to a recent article in Forbes magazine, by the year 2020 millennials will make up nearly 50% of the workforce and nearly 75% of the workforce by 2025 (source). Boomers need to realize what is coming after them. Millennials are highly educated individuals who may have even worked several unpaid positions before they landed their first paying position in the workplace.
As a millennial it could not be more exciting to hear that you will be dominating very soon, but the number of millennials shows it will be a challenge to make yourself stand out in a sea of others.
Nikki Mikolon is a junior majoring in public relations and minoring in marketing and communications. This is her first semester on EMU’s PRSSA E-board serving as the Vice President of Professional Development. As a Detroit native she hopes to spend her beginning years in the workplace working for the city and being a part of its renaissance. Connect with Nikki on Twitter @nikkimikolon.