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Millennials - dispelling the myths

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Posted by: Caféstudy

27th Oct 2016 12:12pm

It's no secret that Millennials get a bad rap. The stereotypical image of this group is that they are lazy, unmotivated, materialistic, demanding, and entitled in the workplace.

To find out the truth, we recently ran an online forum. We wanted to talk to some of our younger Cafestudy members, with the aim of discovering some insights and potentially dispelling some of the myths about this age group.

This is a group often criticised for their attitudes towards their careers and money. However we discovered that in many ways, attitudes of young people in Australia are greatly misunderstood. Here are some of the myths, and what we found…

Myth 1: Millennials are materialistic and don’t save money

In fact we discovered that the material things that older generations see as important aren't always important to Millennials. They place a higher importance on life experiences, and buying a house or a car is a serious commitment that could get in the way of them travelling or working overseas. Far from materialistic.

And when asked about their long term financial plans, it was clear that the financial goals and ambitions of the Millennials are not so different after all: they want to have a successful and stable career, and long for the financial security that this brings.

“I have never dreamed of expensive cars or an enormous house. I want to be comfortable, and focus on the things that matter.”

Myth 2: Millennials are lazy and entitled

Again we discovered little evidence of these unappealing traits in our forum. Far from feeling entitled, they know they need to work hard to achieve their financial and life goals, so going to university and working hard is a priority.

“To get my foot in the door, I work extended hours to try and save enough money to have a large enough deposit for a property”

So why the bad rap?

Perhaps it stems from the unique set of circumstances this age group finds themselves in. The most notable of these is the cost of housing, and in particular the high cost of buying a house. Whereas their parents' generation were able to buy houses in their 20s, today that is an unrealistic dream in the major cities, despite their strong desire to do so.

For some, this is motivating, and sets them on a course of saving and sacrificing to reach their goal. For others, it pushes this goal further into the future or even prompts them to forego the idea of home ownership altogether.

With the burden of home ownership looming large, the effect of this is seen in attitudes towards purchase decisions generally. With limited resources, they are discerning with how they spend their money.

For example, their decisions aren't as materialistic or superficial as they seem. That new phone? It has a dozen different apps to help their lives run more smoothly.

Perhaps it’s time to stop generalising about an entire generation. Our millennials aren't kids any more. They are working hard and building serious careers. They have their own priorities now and even though they might be different to older generations, they are also different to each other. And they are every bit as important and legitimate.

Comments 8

Burnt Out Digger
  • 6th Jun 2018 10:16pm

Every generation is criticised by those that preceded it so this is nod different to what has happened before

  • 8th Mar 2017 10:33pm

Yeah, the Baby Boomers - the generation that (mostly) thoughtlessly polluted and bulldozed our planet while pretending climate change didn't exist - all the while snapping up Albert Park brownstones as investment properties in the 90's for low-5-figure sums, leaving their kids to fend for themselves in a massively overpriced property market - "but if only they [millennials] didn't eat so much Avo On Toast!!" - it's all a bit rich, isn't it? Oh, even using that idiom weeps tears of irony...

Young adults these days are working harder while being paid less than anyone else alive today. Exploitative internships and working arrangements, stagnant wages, and the Liberal beat-up on our hard-won rights while Boomers hoard all the wealth they can ensures that the massive wealth disparity between old and young, rich and poor will continue unabated for years to come. The disdain for the youth of today would be pathetically humourous if it wasn't so sardonically sadistic and tangibly consequential for the hard-done-by young.

The saddest part about it is the successful push over the last 20 years or so to shift young activism towards meaningless identity politics as an empty substitute for the kind of activism that could actually make a difference in their lives, with the intended and sinister effect of disengaging youth from real politics. There are worthy causes amongst the identity politics clutter, but instead of noticing that we're all being pressed under the thumb of the old and the wealthy, the youth spend their time squabbling over token-gesture language, calling each other out to score points in the game of Play-Ally. Make no mistake - this isn't some failing of theirs; this was done to them, intentionally, over many years, through culture, media, and a hegemonic education system, all designed by... - yeah, you guessed it.

  • 17th Feb 2017 12:39pm

Millennials are often criticised and judged harshly nowadays. However, I think that Millennials may just be some of the most hardworking people in this world. The circumstances of the world we live in now makes it extremely hard for Millennials to succeed and get ahead of anyone. And it is because of these circumstances that Millennials need to work far more harder than past generations. The sad part in all of this is that sometimes, no matter the hardwork we put in, the returns we get back are far more inferior. So no, I don't think Millennials are lazy; and it's not that we don't save money or we are entitled - it simply is because we don't have enough money to begin with and as time goes by, it becomes harder and harder to earn money that would match the amount of hardwork we put in. At times, yes, we may think that we are entitled to more than what we have, but that is due to the imbalance in our inputs and returns.

  • 9th Feb 2017 01:51pm

When the world changes as much as it has coming into the 21st century you cant expect every generation to be like the last. If you change the equation then the answer will be different, its the same with humanity if you put a group of people in a world 50 years from now they will react differently and grow up differently based off the different stimulus that is upon them.

  • 6th Feb 2017 11:55am

We get a bad rap from older generations, but it was the same for gen X in the 80s. Just look at the comedy shows then and you'll see the baby boomers calling them dirty, lazy and stupid. Personally I think its just the older generation jealous of our youth, and wanting a target for their overzealous rage. Instead of trying to hurt us, maybe they should consider their own life choices and why they were forced to settle into whatever situation that makes them horrible enough to put down an entire portion of the human species.

Burnt Out Digger
  • 18th Jan 2017 05:15pm

Every generation complains about the following generation being lazy and not being hard working. Our parents said that about us and we, most likely, have said that about our children. We are looking at things from a different perspective.

  • 31st May 2018 12:46pm
Every generation complains about the following generation being lazy and not being hard working. Our parents said that about us and we, most likely, have said that about our children. We are...

Exactly correct , Burnt Out Digger.
I look at my own parents now and see them as amazingly resilient, but when I was a child I saw them as nothing special, just my mum and dad, living a normal life.
I look at my own generations and see that I had many advantages that were not accessible to them.

Success for each generation never has been to achieve what our parents had. It is to achieve our own goals and targets.

I don't think you can consider yourself to be a "grown up" until you can look at previous generations and understand that their life's achievements were no less difficult or demanding to conquer than our own struggles toward an unknowable future.

  • 10th Nov 2016 09:14pm

Millennials are the future of the world without a doubt, but they need to become organized with a very strong and disciplined leader which will make them more active activists instead of social media justice warriors.