Thursday, October 30, 2008

Millennials In The New Millennium

Echo Boomers And Millennials: An Unfair Criticism?
By Jordan Price

As a member of the generation in question, it was rather eye opening and amusing to view both CBS 60 Minutes programs “Echo Boomers” and “Millenials.” We live in a time when success is highly possible and achievement can be granted in many different ways, depending on one’s interests. In the 60 Minutes reports, some experts appear to look down on Generation Y and our “over-ambitious” outlook on life.

Is it really such a crime that our generation strives for the best we can be? Is it really such a problem that we have been told of our self-value since a young age and carry a certain pride in our step?

Kaitlin Prutzman, 19, started laughing when I asked her if she believed our generation could be summed up as “narcissistic praise hounds,” as suggested by the 60Minutes program Echo Boomers. That is definitely not true,” said Prutzman. “I think as a generation we are ambitious, but to categorize us all as narcissistic praise hounds is pretty offensive. I know I’m going to have to work hard to get a great job. Not once has it crossed my mind that I will prance in to some office and demand praise, attention, and a fabulous position right away. It’s absolutely unrealistic.”

Brittany Price, 21, seemed perturbed by the suggestion that our country is full of “Millenials” that have been babied and think the world owes them only the finest. “The whole idea that our generation is being looked at like this upsets me,” she said. “I am just graduating college and when I find the job I want, and I pursue it, I like to think I will have put in the hard work to get that job. I don’t want older people who criticize my generation to think I got my job because I was part of this ‘perfect, demanding generation.’ I’m going to work hard, just like older generations worked hard. End of story.”

Could it be that our generation’s great critique is offensive and misleading? Yes, we have been given greater opportunities than our parents’ generation, and certainly our grandparents’ generation, but is that necessarily our fault? Is it not simply the progression of time and technology? In the 60 Minutes report Dr. Mel Levine claims that part of the problem lies in the fact that we have been kept busy since childhood, with different activities lacing our weekdays. It seems that this idea would not really affect our generation’s need to please, but instead offer a healthy way to find what our generation’s individual’s passions might be.

Ryan Rogers, 19, thinks hard before commenting on the generational accusations. “Well, I see how we might be a little naïve, but to say we expect to have everything rearranged around our lives is not true. I’m scared to walk into an office and begin a job. I will be doing whatever my boss asks! I think our generational upbringing just helped give us confidence and a happy childhood. I really think it’s just as simple as that.”

I have to agree with my fellow generational members. I believe the criticism is not accurate and I view our generation as a positive step in society. We as individuals know what we want to achieve and are not afraid to conquer our goals. To say that quality is a bad one seems absurd to me. I am very grateful for the path older generations have paved for me and am not naïve to that fact.

Even if the 60 Minutes programs made some valid points, to claim that our entire generation falls into the category of needy, controlling, and self-obsessed is simply too broad of a criticism. Instead, it might be beneficial to look at our generation as a determined bunch, driven and technologically aware.

After all, if the older generations are critiquing the way our generation lives, well, shouldn’t the finger be pointed at those who raised us?

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