As a millennial, I’m regularly reminded by my older generations that I am part of a lazy, entitled and narcissistic peer group, just to mention a few of the qualities that we are brandished with on the daily. And who’s to argue with them, because they’re wiser and harder working than us, right?
There we are spending all day long taking selfies and tweeting about our breakfast, when we could be out there climbing the career ladder and expanding our property portolio. What are we thinking?
Oh wait. I have got a full-time job and I have done since the month I left Uni and if the housing market wasn’t so darn extortionate I may have a house to my name too. In fact, before finally finding a job that I’m happy in now, I’ve had a series of jobs (whoops there I go fitting into the job hopper stereotype!) – a series of poorly paid jobs at that. And I’m not talking about wiping tables or stacking shelves, I’m talking about graduate jobs, where employers have specified that applicants MUST have a degree and then paid a non-graduate salary. Not to mention the high rate of inflation vs wage growth. Funny that I don’t own a house yet, eh?
I’m not saying that I couldn’t have done more to secure a higher paying job, I mean, I could have done back to back unpaid internships to “build my CV”, until I’d maxed out my overdraft. That’s the way to get noticed by employers these days, right?
While I was at uni I was more than happy to complete short internships for free, in fact I was delighted. I really enjoyed gaining an insight into the workings of a publication and it was a welcome break from the inside of the university library. But 6 months unpaid? That’s not fair surely?
It’s clear to see that young people are being exploited by companies who realise the value of this experience, but it doesn’t stop students and graduates from applying because for many industries it’s simply the only way to get your foot in the door. Luckily I managed to land myself a paid 6 month internship when I graduated, but this is not the case for many. My sister, for example, works in the fashion industry and has completed none fewer than 5 or 6 unpaid internships to land an entry-level design job. And once you’ve completed the internship, good jobs with good benefits are still bloody hard to come by.
Unlike in previous years, recruitment is a buyers market. More and more people are going to University (for a much steeper cost may I add), meaning each graduate job opening can attract up to hundreds of applications, giving employers the upper hand. That’s when the dilemma of needing experience to get experience comes in. Why would an employer hire a fresh graduate with no work history, over somebody with two years on their CV? And back to the unpaid internships…
Another recurring bug-bear is millennials unwillingness to work beyond working hours. I’m sorry, but haven’t you heard of work-life balance? Work isn’t everything that we want from life. We want to spend time with friends and family, enjoy hobbies and other pastimes. That doesn’t mean that we don’t work hard while we’re in the office and we’re also better equipped for remote working than ever before, so being tied to your desk every hour of the day just isn’t necessary. I don’t think this equates to being lazy, I just think we realise there’s more to life than work. And job hopping? What’s wrong with wanting to find a job that makes us happy? Depression is more prevalent than ever before and a key contributor to this is financial strain and working dead-end/stressful jobs. We want to do something we are passionate about and I don’t see anything wrong with that.
As for the fact we’re living at home with our parents until an older age – According to the Guardian, Millennials are spending three times more of their income on housing than their grandparents, yet are often living in worse accommodation and are only half as likely to own their own home as their baby boomer parents. Not only that, but we also commute for the equivalent of three days a year more than our parents ( I feel like I spend my entire life commuting), because central accommodation just isn’t affordable – especially in London and the surrounding areas.
So please do give us a break, because it’s not a simple case of laziness. We may think differently and hold different attitudes than previous generations, but this does not make us inferior. For example, we’re one of the most open-minded and innovative generations yet. Still think we’re lazy?