I’ll just start off my saying that I am a millennial. I have been known to take photos of pretty food and post them Instagram, and, well, I have a blog… Some things cannot be escaped. It’s a generational thing, and I’m OK with some aspects of being a millennial.
However, I will say this: the stereotypical millennial drives me certifiably insane, and I know I’m not alone. A special someone in my life is a Generation X, and is constantly griping about his millennial colleagues. My parents, both Baby Boomers, also have plenty to whine about.. The short of it is, fellow millennials, we drive other generations crazy.
Here I’ll talk about the things that I have heard drive them the most nuts, and many of them are for good reason. Much of my soapbox on this topic (as well as many other topics I talk about) is from a book I read. Generation Me is a fascinating read that is so eye-opening about why we are the way we are… And, I will say this: it’s not entirely our fault. For some reason, our parents seemed to think we needed more self-esteem and ego-inflating, and, well, the rest is history… Just because it’s not necessarily our fault, though, does not mean we can’t change it.
Know that I’ll be speaking in third person, but I am definitely guilty of some of these! It’s good to be aware, though.. Maybe, just maybe, we’ll turn the tides and make a better reputation for our generation.
You social media followers do not care about your health ailments. If you feel the need to make your Facebook status a play-by-play of your latest doctor’s appointment, you probably need to reassess your priorities. If you’re absolutely dying to tell someone about your GI issues, call your mom or significant other. Those of us who follow you on social media really want the best for you, but really don’t want to hear graphic details. Ew.
Be subtle with the solo selfies. I was sitting on the DC Metro a few weeks ago and was disproportionally entertained by someone spending upward of ten minutes taking and retaking a selfie for Snap Chat. First of all, know that selfies are still tacky. But, if you’re going to take one, for the Love, be subtle about it.
Yes, you can still show up for work if you’re tired. Ah, the work ethic preaching. Again, other generations are constantly looking for reasons to condemn us. Don’t give them a reason! Be team player. Show up for work. Down coffee. You can do it!
Remember: you will survive without your phone. I know we’ve become dependent on technology. I totally can relate. However, I have found that I completely relish in the times that I’m disconnected. For me, I find leaving my phone in the locker when I go to the gym actually makes for a more productive and relaxing workout. It’s actually quite nice not being able to be reached for a little while.
Utilize the good old-fashioned voice-on-voice communication. We suck at communication, and I think it’s largely in part because of our reliance on texting. If you need to talk about something serious with someone, call them and, ideally, ask to meet up. Sending a mean text, for example, is a cowardly way to get your point across. Likewise, if you’re going to cancel plans on someone, call them. I find myself being guilty of this all the time, so I’m talking to myself here too. I find that sending a text is my way to being a chicken. I’m trying to change this!
Keep in mind that no one owes you anything. Did you rack up credit card debt or student loans and are now suffering the consequences? That sucks, but it was your decision. No one is responsible for you but you.
Commit. When someone invites you to do something, make a decision and stick to it. If you say that you can go to something, that means you’re going (barring, of course, sickness, emergencies, etc.). Committing does not mean, “I’ll be there unless something better comes along.” Likewise, if you can’t go, say so. None of this “maybe” crap. Be decisive.
Be willing to have uncomfortable conversations. I am convinced the reason so few of us have meaningful friendships is because our conversations are 100% small talk. It’s OK to offend people, and it’s OK to be offended. Just move through it and communicate. Go past the surface. It’s worth it.
Give people you attention. Focus. When you’re with someone, be with someone. Don’t check your phone constantly. If you find your phone too tempting, leave it in your car, or in a place where you cannot access it.
Stop complaining. Focus on the positives. Odds are, things could be a helluva lot worse.
There are many more ways to make other generations not hate us.. What have you seen in the workplace that makes you cringe?