Why The Wall Street Journal Will Never Understand Millennials


Generation-Y is a new breed; we think differently, work differently and we’re quickly taking over the business world – much to the chagrin of Baby Boomers. The millennials of Gen-Y have incurred massive stereotyping for these generational disparities. We’re helpless, stay-at-home narcissists with nothing but silver spoons in our mouths and mountains of student debt to our names.

Every generation has suffered under the criticisms of those older, but in reality these massive generalizations all stem from the same root: misunderstanding.

It’s an easy out in today’s world to brand the millennials as entitled and lazy, and this article revels in it. But the fact of the matter is that we’re just different, and any old suit at the Wall Street Journal is just frightened by change. Here’s why the Wall Street Journal will never understand us:

1. “...millennials have grown into adulthood with some personality problems that the boomers lacked, according to psychologists who measure such things, including high rates of narcissism, materialism, unrealistically inflated expectations and a startling lack of independence.

According to psychologists who measure such things… hmmm. Way to be specific. I’m not sure that I can argue against our generation having high rates of narcissism and materialism — Instagram would agree. However, I’m not sure a “startling lack of independence” goes along with narcissism and materialism. In fact, I would assume that just the opposite would be true. In order for one to be narcissistic, one must view oneself highly.

Narcissism is not only related to one’s looks — it is an excessive interest in oneself. A person who is narcissistic believes him or herself to be amazing — not just in regards to looks, but overall. The thought that someone can find himself to be a great catch, yet at the same time accept having to rely on someone else entirely for support is a contradiction. In my personal experience, I have found that Generation-Y is more independent than our previous generations.

Sure, we don’t go out and get a job right out of college…but are we to blame or is it our circumstances? Cough, cough, the economy? We don’t want to work a dead-end job — just as our forefathers didn’t — but because our parents are better off for having to struggle, we are privileged enough to be able to wait until the right opportunity comes our way.

It’s unfair to judge millennials because they are born privileged. I am sure if we had to bust our ass from the age of 16, we would; in fact, many of us have and continue to do so. Isn’t the whole purpose of having a middleclass giving the youth time to grow as individuals before having to be completely on their own?

2. “They may have been the poster children for the Occupy Wall Street movement (at least when it first started), railing against the wealthiest 1% of Americans, but some studies suggest millennials may be the most aspirational generation yet.”

Well this is just silly. Let me get this straight — being aspirational and disagreeing with the way the system benefits the 1% is incompatible? How is that exactly? From what I can remember many of these 1%ers themselves were rallying (or at least posting tweets with held signs) against the leniency given to the 1%.

The whole Occupy Wall Street movement was not a movement against aspirations. It was a movement against our government allowing such unfair cutbacks to the wealthiest people in our nations. It was a cry for stricter regulations and tightening of loopholes — not a cry for the disallowance of dreams and hopes.

3. “According to many political campaign analysts, President Obama has the millennials to thank for his job: Young voters hit the polls in droves during the 2008 election and most cast their ballots for him. And in 2012, 60% of millennials ages 18 to 29 voted for Obama; only 37% voted for Romney, according to exit polls by the National Election Pool. Voters over 40, on the other hand, were more likely to vote for Romney.”

You can’t really argue with plain facts. Millennials are dominantly democrats. Older people are mostly republican. The youth all over the world are rallying against their governments and their unfair and undemocratic actions while those that support such governments are mostly over 40. In Turkey, for example, it is the youth that is initiating the peaceful protests, while the older folk are supporting Erdogan’s move to make Turkey a Muslim state. The youth is more educated. They are more open-minded. And they are more willing to make a stand. What else needs to be said?

4. “Millennials’ new-age sense of office etiquette hasn’t helped them either: Many millennials go wrong by failing to put in enough effort to appear professional, showing up to an interview not properly cleaned and pressed, says Janette Marx, senior vice president at Adecco: ‘This is the generation of, ‘This is me, and I will go out and represent me true to who I really am.’ But there are certain situations where you need to take it up a notch.’”

Personally, I have never worn anything but a button-down to an interview. I’m not sure what the statistics are on this, but I very much doubt that many millennials will go to an interview for a hedge fund wearing shorts and flip-flops. Maybe I am spoiled because I live in New York City, but from what is visible walking on the streets, most people overdress as it is. The whole hipster movement has made it acceptable to wear bowties when shopping at a grocery store.

And you want to tell me that these same people are coming to networking events wearing a hoodie? This argument must be relevant to recent college grads — but in this case, are they to blame or is it their professors and maybe even parents that should take the fall? You can’t blame ignorance on the ignorant unless they made a point to remain ignorant.

5. “Human resources experts say that millennials will be playing leadership roles American corporations in the not too distant future — even though they don’t seem well-suited for it today. That’s why many employers are trying to accommodate their quirky, unconventional tastes.”

Firstly, tastes change with age. It is fair to assume that the not too distant future means somewhere around 5 years. Have any of you had the same exact tastes for 5 years? Have any of your “quirky” or “unconventional” tastes from 5 years ago survived all the changes you have made in your life?

People grow and change with age — no one stays the same. Anyhow, if employers are willing to accommodate such quirkiness, then obviously they believe millennials to be worth the trouble. And since when is quirky and unconventional a bad thing? Richard Branson is quirky and unconventional. So was Steve Jobs, Walt Disney and probably anyone else worth remembering. If such tastes bring home the bacon, then what else really matters?

6. “Never mind cocaine or marijuana: Prescription antidepressants are the drug that may have had the most profound effect on the millennial generation. Prozac came out in the late 80s, when many millennials were still children, and the release of the antidepressant coincided with a turning point in Americans’ mental health: Some reports suggest that Generation Y is less depressed than previous generations.”

You’re saying that we are druggies…but we are better off for it? Umm…okay.

7. “The children of the baby boomers have another nickname: the boomerang generation. That’s because many of them are moving back in with their parents shortly after leaving the nest — and they can be hard to get rid of. More than 40% of 21- to 26-year-olds live with their folks, compared with less than a third of baby boomers when they were that age, according to a recent AARP survey. While living at home has often been a source of shame for 20-somethings, experts say the millennials don’t seem to mind, and many are in no hurry to leave.”

Again, you’re blaming the bullet when you should be blaming the one pulling the trigger. Millennials would love to be on their own — if they could get a job. The world economy has suffered greatly in recent years and the only jobs that are available are either dead ends or don’t pay enough for one to be able to support oneself.

Millenials are also saddled with student loan debt. This is not something that millennials are trying to hide; there’s no way of hiding it. It’s now a well-established fact that most college graduates are stuck with a degree that isn’t worth the paper it was printed on.

8. “Millennials also seem less eager to get behind the wheel: While it’s true that Americans overall have been driving slightly less in the past few years than they did in previous years, 16- to 34-year-olds drove a whopping 23% fewer miles per capita in 2009 than they did in 2001, according to the National Household Travel Survey, conducted by the Federal Highway Administration.”

Who says this is a bad thing? If anything we should be proud. Millennials are more environmentally aware. They are more than happy to ride a bicycle too…to the jobs they don’t have. They can’t afford their own cars and if they could, they wouldn’t be able to afford the gas needed to drive them. And then there is the insurance, which charges an arm and a leg for anyone under 30. With the global awareness of our environments instability on the rise, this statistic comes as no surprise.

9. “Some millennials have found a way to avoid the bleak job market: Stay in school a little longer — or a lot longer. More than 81% of college students say they are interested in going to grad school after college, according to a survey by consultancy Millennial Branding.”

Yes, we like to be educated. No, there are no jobs available that are worth holding down. If the choice is to get a graduate degree or work at MacDonald’s, then the correct choice is obvious. Also, with more and more people opting to go to college, the value of a college degree is on the decline. In order to stand out amongst the flock, we have to go over the top. Today’s graduate degree is basically the equivalent of a college degree back during the baby boomers’ time.

10. “Millennials might not have as much money in their pocketbooks as older shoppers, but companies often treat them as VIP customers. That’s because millennials have the highest expectations for service, say customer relations experts, and they also tend to complain the loudest: About 60% of 18- to 24-year-olds take to Facebook, Twitter and other social networks when they have an issue with a company, twice as many as among the 65 and older crowd”

I have worked in the restaurant and service industry for most of my life. In fact, I grew up in the service industry. I can tell you without a doubt in my mind that the people that complain the most are, by far, the elderly — and the French. Sure, more 18-24-year-olds take to social media to complain about service than say 65-100-year-olds, but that’s due to the fact that the majority of those past their 60s don’t have a social media account.

My parents are still figuring out how to text — forget about opening a Yelp account — and they’re in their 50s. My grandmother doesn’t even own a cellphone. Throwing out such statistics is misleading.

Photos via Tumblr