The Kids Are All Right

Finding a full-time job is the hardest full-time job I’ve ever had.

Add maintaining a blog about the job prospects for my age group while finding a full-time job and you have a blog that has been hibernating this winter like a grizzly.

As I often read numerous articles about the Millennials, I noticed very few actually discuss Millennials as people and not some unemployment statistic.

Despite the unfortunate economic circumstances that Millennials have come of age into, there is a lot of good at work for them. For this blog post I figure I would talk more about them than their circumstances.

So who are the Millennials?

By most definitions, Millennials are identified as people born between 1980 and 2000, a group that grew up during the proliferation of cable television, the Internet, animation, and the cell phone.

But what Millennials represent and how they are changing the world is much more important.

Millennials are historically tolerant.

In a recent article published by The Daily Beast, Hannah Seligson wrote that Millennials are far less racist and homophobic than their parents and grandparents.

They are one of the most colorblind generations that played an important role in electing the first black president and nine in 10 18- to 29-year-olds say they approve of interracial dating and marriage, compared with 73 percent of 30- to 49-year-olds.

Seligson further noted that more than 6-in-10 (62%) Millennials favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry compared with only about 1-in-3 (31%) Seniors.

Millennials are technologically savvy and changing how work is done.

In a recent panel discussing who the Millennials are, Dr. Amy Gutmann, president of the University of Pennsylvania, characterized them as digital natives who believe and thrive in social networking. “They believe in two things: social networking and making a difference,” Gutmann said.

According to a Pew study, 69 percent of Millennials polled stated that one of their three highest life priorities is civic engagement, Gutmann said.

And the workplace is improving because of Millennials’ desire to incorporate technology and seek a reward beyond a simple paycheck. We feel that work shouldn’t be constrained to a set 9 to 5 grind and we look to create, invent, innovate and solve problems. Millennials are rethinking how companies can provide good to the world and are working toward projects that are both meaningful and exciting so that adulthood isn’t filled with boredom, routine and petty frustrations.

As Seligson wrote, Fortune 500 companies are increasingly emphasizing quality-of-life benefits, corporate social responsibility, and flexible work schedules to not only attract and retain young talent but also make the office a friendlier and more enjoyable place.

Of course, you’ll always have your haters.

By contrast, articles published in the Atlantic and Jezebel suggest that the Millennials couldn’t care less about what happens outside of their Facebook newsfeed and are the most entitled “trustafarians” ever.

Jean M. Twenge, professor of psychology at San Diego State University and the author of Generation Me, noted that although Millennials are historically tolerant and for equality her studies found that they are much less civically engaged or mindful than previously thought.

To make a long report of generational analysis and surveys short, Twenge found data that suggests Millennials “…were less likely than Boomers and even GenXers to say they thought about social problems, to be interested in politics and government, to contact public officials, or to work for a political campaign. They were less likely to say they trusted the government to do what’s right, and less likely to say they were interested in government and current events.”

Although I won’t disagree that the Internet and social media have given Millennials an exaggerated sense of self importance, I think we genuinely do care and are making strides.

As Jason Oberholtzer of Forbes wrote, “Every generation is diverse, complicated and has their own obstacles to overcome. In this regard, The Lost Generation is the same as all that have come before us. History, not misplaced optimism, suggests that we will get by, and will welcome adulthood on our own terms. We grew up with loose ends, loose labels and high expectations. I think we are doing just fine.”

In other words, the kids are all right.