By: Katie Ellis
As a Millennial with older parents than the majority of my peers, (Baby Boomer parents) I tend to notice the ignorance of my generation more than others. When I say notice, I mean more that I am “made aware” of Millennial ignorance because my parents call my generation out. Basically, I have been told repeatedly in the past five years that my generation is fundamentally flawed. The complaints about our behavior and culture range from lazy, to ignorant, to selfish with a heavy emphasis on selfish.
We are ignorant. We are lazy. We are selfish. But here is why. We live in a digital age, and most of us grew up using some kind of computer. Because of this, our way of thinking varies a bit from those who came before us. We inherently understand the way computers work because we were growing and changing as they were. In a sense, computers were some of our first childhood friends. So it’s really not much of a surprise that the older generations find us to be lazy. We have had everything handed to us on the proverbial silver platter known as the Internet.
We rarely pay for things because we know we can find them online for free. We hand out our Netflix passwords like candy without a care in the world that it is essentially modern-day cable theft. Most of us can hardly remember how to do basic math without a calculator. Almost all of us are plagued with self-induced “ADHD” from watching endless 10-second videos. We are the generation that hardly reads for long periods of time, and many of us avoid reading altogether because there is probably an audio book or a movie. We are ignorant primarily because we hardly remember a time in our lives when things were different.
Basically, the Internet and the digital age spoiled us, but here is my take on it. As far as work ethic goes, (and I am definitely biased on the matter) I have come to the conclusion that there is a strong correlation between good work ethic and the age of your parents. My parents retain values from a time when things were much simpler. Everything is black and white with them. There is a right way and a wrong way, and they are sure as hell going to tell you which one is wrong. That is the main difference right there really. My parents are not afraid to offend (it is a blessing and a curse). Therefore, Millennials with Baby Boomer parents tend to have stronger ethical foundations.
As a manager in the food industry, I see the lack of effort expended by many of my generation on a daily basis. It is true that we often expect something for nothing in life, but for some that extends into the workplace. Contrary to that ideology, my parents always raised me to work hard for what I have. I am pretty sure I stopped receiving an allowance past age eight. I was spanked throughout my childhood as punishment for various things. Instead of enabling me, my parents often sided against me with school administrators when I did something wrong. Did I think it was cool at the time? No, but in hindsight, I am a better person because of their version of parenting.