The typical Millennial has an attitude of contempt for people that don’t understand our wants and needs (typically Generation X.) This is because they were taught to admire those that were brought up in an “old school” fashion. However, as much as Generation X, our parents, complain about our behaviors, we aren’t the sole people to blame. After all, they raised us, right? So, I began to ask my friends “what are some things our parents taught us that weren’t beneficial to our success?” This lead to a larger conversation in which I determined six things Millennials have ingrained in them that we should unlearn.
- Work-Life Balance Isn’t Something You’ll Achieve Right Away
There are hundreds of articles discussing how much Millennials value work-life balance. We like to work from home; we like to have flexible schedules; we like to leave exactly at the end of our shift. However, this is pretty unrealistic for anyone with aspirations of getting a better job, receiving a promotion, or proving your worth within your company. When you’re just starting out, you may have to put in some extra hours without being compensated for it, you may have to do some things that aren’t a part of your job description, and you may have to sacrifice some nights out with friends. That’s life. You won’t get to have work-life balance in an entry-level position, or even within the first five years of your career. Let alone if you want to get married and have children, the imbalance will always exist. Life is one big balancing act; in fact, life is about learning to be comfortable being uncomfortable because life NEVER goes as planned. We must learn to adapt to any curves in the road and continue on the journey.
- Entrepreneurship Isn’t for Everybody
We have this lofty dream that everyone will own a business and not have to work for anyone and be all happy go lucky, “screw the man!” HA! If only business ownership were so simple. If everyone were busy being an entrepreneur, you wouldn’t be able to run a successful business. Realistically everyone can’t be a CEO. And honestly, everyone doesn’t want to. Entrepreneurship can take yearsss, sometimes decades, to pay off. It’s not unnatural for someone to want to avoid that extra struggle in their life. We shame those that don’t want to be the boss; stop it, you’re going to need employees, smarty.
- A Bachelor’s Degree Doesn’t Guarantee a Good Job
… or a job period for that matter. Back when our parents were younger, it did; now, not so much. Because of our parent’s glorification of college, they began to force us to go to school in the hopes of guaranteeing our future success. FAIL! So many of us have Bachelor’s now that it’s no longer a differentiator; you need a Bachelor’s just to manage half of the fast food chains on your block. Forget the days of being offered a job upon graduation that you can settle into until you retire. What you do outside of college is much more important now. Not just the one internship that’s required to graduate, you need much more than that. You need a portfolio, work experience, writing samples, proof that you know what you’re talking about, etc. You need a degree AND experience, which leads me to…
- Community College Is a Great Option
In high school when people went to community college, we perceived them as not being smart enough to attend a four-year university, PISH POSH! For some, that was the smartest decision they could’ve ever made. The professors at a community college are often still working professionals, this gets you closer to your industry of choice and gives you up-to-date information on the reality of working in their field. PLUS, you don’t go in nearly as much debt as if you were to just jump into a huge college. You can get your associates and transfer to a four-year school and often be ahead of your peers. Furthermore, community college typically has a more flexible class schedule, allowing you to work and go to school. Less debt + more money + more knowledge = CHA CHING for your future. Side note, if you’re deadset on going to a four-year school straight out of high school, please apply to those schools in the middle of nowhere, they need you and they’re more likely to give you a full-ride, resulting in the same CHA CHING as above.
- Being on The Computer for Long Periods of Time Won’t Hurt You
Well your eyes maybe if you stare too long and sit too close, but it won’t necessarily cause you to lose knowledge. In fact, there are millions of things kids can learn online to push them further in their careers or just get some change in their pockets. Had our parents let us play a little longer on Myspace, we could’ve made Facebook. Thanks, Mom! The reality is, our parents weren’t used to children sitting in the house staring at TVs and computer screens all day. Add in fear of predators and the need for an open phone line and they were nearly forcing us outside to play. But guess what? The tech industry is BOOMING. Letting us tinker around online a little bit longer could’ve helped solidify our futures sooner (and given our parents a better support system in their old age.)
- The Golden Rule SUCKS
Well not sucks per se, but the Platinum Rule is what we should’ve learned. The Platinum Rule is “Treat others the way they want to be treated,” instead of how YOU want to be treated. The Golden Rule taught most (really some) of us to be decent human beings at most, while the Platinum Rule would’ve taught us to be good people. It takes into consideration the feelings and needs of others because everyone may not like what you like. If I like chocolate and you give me vanilla, you could say “well at least I gave you something” to classify you as decent. But had you given me the flavor you knew was my favorite instead of yours, I’d realized you considered my wants. The Platinum Rule reminds us that life is about relationships and being able to understand life from a different perspective is imperative. We would’ve been way better citizens had we understood this sooner.
While our parents only did the best they knew how there are some things that got messed up in the shuffle. After all, they’re people too, and I’m sure their parents weren’t perfect. However, it is important to acknowledge things that we’ve been mis-educated on that could’ve changed the direction of our lives. For some of us that are already parents and those of us that have offspring yet to come, keep this in mind for the next generation. For those of us that don’t want children (and I don’t blame you,) this can still be used to be mindful of the wisdom we impart on the generation after us. As always, if you’ve been mis-educated by your parents or don’t think you were, comment your thoughts below. Remember, life is a journey of consistent learning, unlearning, and relearning.
P.S. The inspiration for the tone of this article came from The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter G. Woodson.