A Rebuke From A Non-Stereotypical Millennial
15 August 2017
I should like to prefix this article by admitting to something that, according to whichever mainstream media outlet you choose to read is utterly shameful. Yes, I, Mary Palmer am a … Millennial. It’s not a status I am remotely proud of, and I pretty much do all I can to shed this unappealing tag. If you were to believe all you read, you would never hire me. I am – allegedly – lazy, non-committal and overly emotional. I can’t take criticism and I need to be spoon fed at every step.
I cut my teeth as a journalist for one of Scotland’s largest daily, national newspapers. I was able to thrive in a demanding, extremely high pressure and aggressive environment, I am hardly a snowflake. In fact, I don’t know any of my friends or colleagues (who, through fate of birth, also find themselves in the Millennials category) who could be described as workshy or flaky.
Certainly, people my age like to change jobs a little more often these days. But that boils down to one simple fact: People are bolder in asking for better career prospects and more money. We see no need to doff our cap and wistfully hope for a ‘job for life’. We’re one of the most poorly paid generations for quite some time (average annual salaries haven’t increased in decades), so we know that if we want more – in terms of challenges, responsibility and experience – we’re going to have to put ourselves out there and get it for ourselves.
And so what if, in doing so, we reject the traditional desk-bound 9 to 5? The technology is there to allow us to work from home or a café or a train. I also don’t know anyone who spend their day glued to their phone, obsessively updating their Facebook or sending pictures on SnapChat. Most of us simply don’t have time – we have a job to do. Sure, we have a quick swatch on our lunch break or on our commute, but we’re not slaves to it. In fact, I know more people who are taking themselves off social media entirely.
There is also – amongst some articles that I have read – criticism of those of us who wish to retain something of a work/life balance. Where does it say that not wanting to be tied to your desk or work emails for every waking hour of the day makes you a bad employee? Surely my employers would prefer me to be refreshed for the day ahead, not burnt out?
I have no idea when the word Millennials became the insult du jour, but every time I hear the word muttered in disgust, a part of me is utterly incensed. “I am not the stereotype!” I long to scream. I work very hard; five days a week, eight hours a day. I can take criticism on the chin and use it as motivation. I don’t break down when things don’t go my way. I don’t need someone to hold my hand while I get on with my day.
There are so many young(ish) people out there, desperate to take the next step in their career or still waiting to get a foot in the door. We don’t all fall in to the same personality type – your interview process should allow you to distinguish this.
So, here I am, an unapologetic Millennial, failing to live up to the label. I’d call that a success.
Written By Mary Palmer