Quick! When I say the word ‘millennials,’ what’s the first thing that pops into your head? Do you attach a whole bunch of small stereotypes after you imagine young professionals who prioritize leisure over their work?’ Or do you get confused what the differences between millennials and zoomers are? You might not be alone. Millennials tend to get stereotyped a lot in the media and online, but what’s even more frustrating is just how these stereotypes don't go away no matter how old millennials get... and the word gets used as a catch-all phrase for anyone young and wild and dumb.
Redditor NukeEnergy, who has an absolute top-tier name that we wish we thought of first, asked the elder millennials on the site to share what stereotype aggravates them the most. And the responses were enlightening, showing just how different generations look down on millennials in (often not so) subtle ways. Have a scroll through some of the best responses, upvote the stereotypes that you think should never happen in the first place, and if you’re millennials yourselves, dear Pandas, join the conversation and share your thoughts below. Bored Panda reached out to the original poster of the thread, redditor NukeEnergy. Check out what they had to say below, as well as for analysis of what makes each generation unique.
When we are looked down upon for needing to use YouTube, etc. for learning tasks (e.g. changing a tyre) that our parents were taught by our grandparents but the former never took the time to teach us.
That we're entitled. Having worked with the general public for over a decade, I can assure you the overwhelming majority of entitled and rude behaviour comes from the over 50s crowd.
“You must go to college and get a degree. You don’t want to be flipping burgers or changing the oil in some rich guy’s car.”
does that, incurs a lot of debt
“These irresponsible millennials and their elitist liberal educations! If they’d been smart, they’d go to community college and transfer/go to trade school. They won’t just take a job, any job to pay the bills. They could flip burgers. Why should we pay for their mistakes?”
Meanwhile, Eddy Ng, the James and Elizabeth Freeman Professor of Management at Bucknell University, explained to us that the oldest millennials are 40 years old at this time, having been born in 1980/1981. "Much of the stereotypes about them largely remain—raised with high self-esteem, entitled, unrealistic work expectations, even though most are actually settled into their careers and have taken on managerial and leadership roles."
Professor Ng said that millennials were reported to emphasize work/life balance, and were a lot less focused on work than other generations, preferring more leisure time. You can do a small check-in with yourself to see if that's true for you (it's pretty accurate for me).
"Gen Zs on the other hand show signs of greater work centrality, taking on work whenever they can. This may be due to a structural shift in the economy, where quality work is less available. As a result, Gen Z are more likely to have 'side hustles' in addition to regular work."
We got blamed for spring break covid outbreaks. WE ARNT IN COLLEGE ANY MORE.
“Millenials” has just become a term for “young person with ideals I don’t agree with.”
Being blamed for not buying things. Like, Milennials are killing X product line. Welp, the Boomers who won't retire are clinging to the top level jobs, so we don't have the opportunities they did to move up and earn more money, so we have to be choosy about the things we spend our money on. Not to mention, most of us are trying to be mindful of our consumerism as a whole, not buying tons of stuff for the sake of having tons of stuff.
NukeEnergy’s thread was the top awarded post on Reddit recently. It got over 200 awards and more than 42.6k upvotes on the r/AskReddit subreddit at the time of writing. It’s not just baby boomers and Gen Xers that sometimes look down on millennials, it’s zoomers, too (though for different reasons, of course).
NukeEnergy revealed that they're a millennial, right at the Gen X cutoff (so around 1980), and shared their thoughts that people their age might not be as loyal to the companies they work for the generations that went before them. "My parents both got pensions from their companies, but they had to work there for 20 years to be fully vested. Nobody gets that anymore, so company-hopping is more common for people my age."
I kinda laugh when boomers call us snowflakes when they seem like the bigger bunch of wimps in history. Anytime they get a taste of their own medicine they act like it’s a assault on their freedom.
"Oh you millennial kids just want trophies for everything"
Bruh i was 6, you were the parents who organized the league, made it so no one kept score, and ordered, bought, and handed out the trophies. We had literally no part in you living out the fantasy that your kid was good at something. You lived vicariously through us then blamed us for the results of your shifty desicions.
As a younger millennial, I hate ppl bringing up that I eat tidepods.
Ma’am ppl my age were out of college and in the working world by the time tik tok challenges were a thing.
Redditor NukeEnergy told Bored Panda that they had no idea that the thread would be so popular. "I went to bed when it had about 100 upvotes and woke up to 20k."
They pointed out that everyone should read through the thread and draw their own conclusions about whether or not any of the stereotypes about millennials, aka Gen Y, are true. However, in their opinion, any kind of stereotyping is wrong. "Stereotypes about race and sexual orientation are harmful, why wouldn't lumping a huge age group together and labeling them as lazy, self-serving snowflakes?" they said. NukeEnergy also wanted to give a shout-out to "the 'K' family pool house crew" and suggested that people consider supporting the Philabundance charity.
Being labeled as a millennial.
Born in 87'. Had home internet on 94'. Got pulled out of schools freshman year bc 9/11. First election I could vote in was McCain/Palin (people like to forget the tea party like it wasn't the foundation of everything Trump). Many friends dead by combat or suicide from the early days of Afgan/Iraq war. Graduated college into the aftermath of the 08' recession. Hyperinflation of markets and assets when we had none to begin with pushing us further behind. This is the short of it.
We aren't millennials. We are a lost generation. We never stood a chance, and to see everyone older than us spite us, and everyone younger than us look down upon, really f***ing blows.
That people don't own a house because they're "lazy". I have taken the time to explain the loss of buying power, stagnant wages, automation, contract employees, lack of job security, cost of living in other areas, etc. play way more into it.
While stereotypes can be harmful, researchers do tend to find a lot of similarities among members of the same generations, in terms of their values, as well as how they perceive work and life. Generalizations might tend to gloss over what makes individual members of each generation unique, but they do highlight what tends to unite them.
The BBC has a very handy guide for telling all the different generations apart. However, different researchers have different ways of categorizing these very same generations, so one scientist’s millennial might be someone else’s Generation Xer.
I had to go on a business trip and work with an older lady who was just about ready to retire. I manage tradeshows and travel around North America to convention centers and hotels organizing events. She had an old school way of checking inventory by hand. I'm pretty good with excel and salesforce, so I had a faster way of doing it.
I got the job done like I've been doing for years and left so I could go enjoy Vancouver. We've all heard the saying "Work Smarter, not harder". She couldn't get it through her head that the work day was done for me. I found out from another colleague that she called me a lazy entitled millenial with no work ethic. So that's the stereotype I hate. I busted my ass and paid my way through college. I worked long hours and kissed ass to get to the position I'm in. I know plenty of other young professionals that have done the same. This idea from baby boomers that we're entitled or lazy gets tiresome.
I, for one, am tired of hearing about the things we've "killed". Tastes change all the time, this is not new.
"Millennials don't know how to..."
Please, I rewired a rotary phone and washed cat pee out of my grandmother's 28.8kbps modem. Older millennials had analog childhoods and digital adolescence. We can do nearly anything and expect the world to radically change every ten years max.
Sorry we killed the diamond ring/luxury hat/blacksmithing/plastic straw industry, maybe you should have paid us reasonable wages and not crashed the housing market right as we graduated college.
NukeEnergy acknowledged that there's a slight overlap between Gen Y and the other generations, however, they added that they don't have an opinion about the exact definition of millennials.
"We are all people, the only difference is our age," the original poster shared their opinion that there are more things that unite all the generations than divide them.
We can't afford houses because apparently we spend too much on avocado toast.
No, in the 80s and 90s houses were about 3 to 4 times the average annual income. Now it's close to 10 (at least in my part of the world).
I'm getting really tired of hearing about us lying around expecting handouts and not working. Especially when it's a situation where the person saying it is standing in a room with a lot of millennials, all of whom have jobs, which is every single time I've heard this said in real life. Like, who here is lying around doing nothing? Whose your example? Oh it's your neighbour's best friend's cousins son, he doesn't have a job and lies on the couch all day. Okay.
I've seen old people refer to generation x members down to junior high students as "millennials", it just means "person under 50 who I don't like", apparently.
It’s all so tiring when you realize you’re being blamed by everyone for not meeting their vastly different standards. And it’s also making us think about how some of us really don’t identify with any of the main generations, even if we might technically be part of them. (Depending on which researcher you ask, I’m personally also a millennial, but I tend to poke fun at them, and by extension myself, in a lighthearted way, too.)
For the BBC, millennials, aka Generation Y, were born anywhere between 1980 and 1995 and are described as lazy, confident, curious, and constantly questioning authority. I don’t know about you, but that describes me about as well as my horoscope (unironically, and I’m a Cancer, by the way). Even though I don’t feel like I’m part of Gen Y, there’s no denying that some general characteristics noticed by researchers overlap with how I view the world.
I’m 31. I played golf with my father around Christmas. Before I got fired he asked how my job was going. I said it was ok, stressful, and they were giving me more responsibility. He asked if they were gonna pay me more, and I just laughed for a good few minutes. He had a bewildered look and said “well that’s how it’s supposed to work isn’t it!? You need to stand up for yourself and demand more money” I seriously looked at him and asked where he’s been the last 20 years. Employers don’t like you’re tone of voice, they kick you to the curb and get someone else willing to be their robot and be programmed to how they demand you act and carry out tasks.
The use of the term “millennial” to refer to the general 'young person.'
When someone makes mention of some "challenge" teenagers are doing like eating tide pods and people are like "Ugg, millennials."
Uhm, no. Just because 4-5 people did something stupid and then the news decided to take it and run with it and make it sound way more wide spread than it is, doesn't mean you get to generalize a whole generation.
Secondly, millennials are practically the age of the parents of the tik tok generation. It's not a generic term for any young person doing something you don't like.
Meanwhile, Generation Z is a little bit of a pickle to categorize: some believe that those born in 1993 are already part of this generation while others think it’s 1997 or even the year 2000. Lucky you if you’re a Gen Y/Z hybrid! Have fun with that.
This isn't the first time that Bored Panda went into detail about millennials with Professor Ng. In a previous in-depth interview, he explained how North American demographers view Gen Y and the other generations.
“Generally, they have been socialized during the turn of the century with technology influencing everything they do. Because they have been raised in a relatively middle-class environment, they tend to be over parented (the terms ‘helicopter parents’ and ‘lawnmower parents’ were coined to describe the parents of millennials),” he explained.
I just shoveled like 20 of my elderly neighbors driveways this morning after snowpocalypse.
By Wednesday, while chatting they'll talk about those lazy millennials like they're still 20 year olds. Bro, I'm 38 and got 4 kids and own the biggest house of this block. Am millennial. Can not convince them of this, ever.
The two stereotypes that irk me the most are:
We don't work hard enough and want handouts. Since high school I've worked all kinds of jobs, restaurants, retail, I dabbled in construction while pursuing a trade, I've been to college, etc. and I still feel like I'm never going to have the lives my parents/grand parents have. The cost of living just isn't the same and I feel like every time I get a foothold on things the goal post gets pushed back. I'm not lazy, I'm just tired of trying so damn hard. I don't want handouts, I just want the tax dollars I pay to benefit me. These people are out of touch.
We're soft, over emotional snowflakes.
While working all these jobs the past 16 years I've seen folks my parent's age explode at Wal-Mart (calling employees cocksuckers) because they weren't helped soon enough. I've seen grown men (40+ years old) almost come to blows on a construction site over minor disagreements. I've seen boomers struggle to take advice from younger folks in their field despite the younger folks having the most up-to-date strategies. (Too set in their ways.) I've seen them bitch and moan over societal changes that don't effect them at all. I've seen how "moody" the older generations can be. Don't act like my generation is a bunch of emotional cry babies when you're in your office having a freakout because you can get your digital calendar to work right.
"yOu CaN't UsE a RoTaRy PhOnE!?!?"
And you can't use a telegraph. Technology changes ya quack.
“As a result, millennials have higher self-esteem compared to previous generations (cross-temporal meta-analysis conducted by Jean Twenge). They tend to portray themselves as assertive, ambitious, and achievement-oriented (our own study). The general public and media have also referred to Gen Z (those born on or after 1995) as millennials. We should bear in mind that the oldest millennials are now about 40 years old (from the Gen Y cohort),” Professor Ng told Bored Panda.
According to the professor, millennials don’t conform to the traditional ways of doing things because they were raised in very different environments. They respect hierarchy less. They have a different view about ‘doing time’ at work because tech has changed how we all work.
That we don’t work hard. We’re the most overworked and underpaid generation, I have a bachelor’s and master’s and $30k of debt and I worked TWO jobs while in school and couldn’t afford to pay for it. I’ve been busting my ass for a decade making $10-$13 an hour, working over 40 hours a week. No benefits. And the younger generation can suck my dick for claiming we aren’t radical enough, for the love of God we are simply trying to survive.
Like many, I am working from home. I'll get a call from my mom "hey you are not working now, go do something for me". Thanks, working from home is waaaay s***ter than going to "real" work, atleast for me.
I do fit the stereotype of hating talking on the phone
As an american, its basically that we're inheriting a system that nobody trusts us to run. All the people who represent us are 2-3 times older than us, the older generations are refusing or unable to retire which is preventing us from actually entering the job market.
“This inevitably creates a faultline in the workplace between older and younger generations of workers. Older workers (e.g., boomers) are rule-bound (they created the rules!), millennials ignore them and rewrite these rules. For example, older workers strictly observe the 9 to 5 workday whereas millennials would stream into the workplace at 10 but work during their ‘waking hours.’ Previous generations find these behaviors to be irritating,” Professor Ng detailed how the different generations have different approaches to life and work.
“Every generation is focused on themselves—even boomers and Gen Xers. It’s really interesting hearing Gen Ys (older millennials) complaining about Gen Zs (younger millennials). ‘Kids these days…’ Part of this can be explained by the anxiety or fear of being displaced. Boomers considered themselves as ‘the greatest generation’ (Tom Brokaw). This (irrational) fear is most acute when technology changed how we live and work.”
Being blamed for all the s*** Gen Z does or being treated like a twelve year old. I'm almost thirty and I don't know what the f*** the kids are doing either.
The lack of respect we get really.
Older generations getting upset that we are starting to get into politics at the National level.
Y’all realize we are in our mid-late 30’s now right? And we straddle the cultural divide. We grew up without the internet and cell phones. Sure, the more well off amongst us had a computer and internet maybe by the mid 90’s but the younger generation can’t grasp how different it was.
We spent our formative years with a budding technology and a lot of us figured it out and embraced it. So, why shouldn’t we be the ones who are helping to move it forward? We see both ends, the magic of it because of how new it was and how ever changing, and we also know how to fix things.
We started with command lines and UNIX, Atari’s and Nintendo’s, chat rooms, IRC, some of the first online multiplayer game’s (thank you half life and quake), but we also grew up being able to go outside with friends all day without anyone worrying about us. We were the last generation to get that experience.
When people call teens and early 20s millennials. That was like 10-15 years ago.
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The professor continued: “Millennials, having been born and raised in a digital era, are much more adept and versatile in incorporating technology in everything they do. The boomers find more difficulty transitioning from their pre-technology ways. They still wear an old-fashioned analog wristwatch (to tell time) and don’t understand why millennials need to be plugged in through their smartwatches.”
Which generation are you a member of, dear Readers? Why do you think millennials (and other gens) get stereotyped so much? What do you personally think are the biggest differences between the Silent Generation, baby boomers, Gen X, Gen Y, and Gen Z? Share your thoughts with everyone below!