People love to gripe about Millennials. Even Millennials like to gripe about Millennials. I’ve got numerous friends around my age who make Millennial cracks and, upon my informing them that they fall into that very same generation, respond with a hefty dose of denial.
“But I don’t like pumpkin spice lattes!”
“I swear, I don’t even know what ‘on fleek’ means!”
Or, in a hushed tone: “To tell you the truth . . . I’m not a fan of Beyoncé.”
Every generation has their own moniker. The Silent Generation. Baby Boomers. The rather blandly named Generation X. But I often find that my Millennial peers shy away from our own label. Why? Well, what started as a name meant to identify the first generation coming of age in the new millennium has morphed into a one-word joke. “Millennial” is now a slight akin to someone going to a Long Beach café, looking around at the preponderance of bearded men in short shorts, and subtly sneering, “Hipsters,” into their cup of coffee.
We’re the generational equivalent of the kid in the corner forced to silently wear a dunce cap whilst all of his peers endlessly jeer him. Speaking up gets us 10 more minutes in the corner or, in today’s equivalence, 10 more memes on the Internet.
Older generations have always criticized those that follow. The only thing that has changed is that now we’ve got the Internet. At a scale never before possible, complaints about our generation spread exponentially, fueled by the power of social media.
But some of the things you make fun of us for actually have some pretty stellar upsides that you should consider before rushing to snap judgements. So, next time you find yourself griping about Millennials, perhaps try to remember the following ways we’re actually making your world just a little bit better.
Much to-do has been made over Millennials living at home later in life than the past few generations. Typically, we’re pegged as lazy for this. As I have written previously, most of us would rather not be living at home, but are forced to do so due to challenging financial conditions: lasting impacts from the Great Recession like underemployment and slow wage growth, burdensome student debt, an incredibly pricey housing market, etc.
As a Millennial who lived at home well into her 20s – as did many of my friends – I’ve heard all the “adult children” cracks before. But for those of you who are parents to Millennials and spend your free time fantasizing about the day your nest is empty, perhaps you are thinking about this all wrong. Because what is an adult child living under your roof if not live-in help?
Listen, I’m not advocating for indentured servitude here. But if your kid is paying off loans because you continue to let him or her live under your roof, you can totally milk it a bit. Remember all those times they refused to take the trash out as kids? Never again. You now have the power of guilt. Wield it wisely, taskmaster.
Just realize that if they revolt, trying to ground them probably won’t work.
The New York Post’s March 23 piece entitled “Millennials have officially ruined brunch” is woefully mistaken. Sure, as the author pointed out, we have made the meal a marathon event. But has that ruined it?
I am intimately acquainted with brunch and, in the most Millennially stereotypical fashion, often enjoy the meal with a group of friends that we shamelessly refer to as the “brunch crew.”
Sure, you might be annoyed that we take up a table for a couple of hours to get the most out of that bottomless mimosa deal. But at this point, look around – how many of your favorite restaurants that were formerly only open for lunch or dinner now also serve weekend brunch? There are now so many that most places, with the exception of the most Internet-famous spots, don’t have much of wait no matter how many Millennials are holding tables hostage.
And guess what else we’re doing while we’re sitting there? Supporting our local businesses with some pretty sizable group bills and tips. So, get off our backs and try some avocado toast, for goodness sake. You might actually like it.
I’d argue that social media wouldn’t be the heavyweight communication form it is today if it weren’t for Facebook. Developed by Millennial Mark Zuckerberg, it was first launched around the time I entered college as a platform for university students, a nearly all-Millennial demographic, to connect. Only after its users embraced it so thoroughly did it become the global behemoth it is today, followed by other incredibly popular platforms like Twitter and Instagram.
Sure, maybe you mostly hate social media. People you never wanted to see again from high school continue to find you and guilt you into adding them. Each platform is mostly populated with people either glowing about how great their lives are or complaining about how awful everyone else is. And now you’re not even sure if that news story in your feed is real or Russian propaganda.
But at the end of the day, social media is an instant photo album of your grandbabies and direct line to faraway friends in your pocket. So, on behalf of Millennial Mark Zuckerberg and his oft-forgot predecessor Myspace Tom: You’re welcome.
But to pay us back, could you maybe stop sharing Every. Single. Photo. ever taken of your niece/nephew/godchild, etc.? Thanks.
The Craft Beer Boom
We at the Business Journal haven’t failed to notice the local proliferation of breweries and craft beer businesses cropping up across Greater Long Beach in the past few years: Ten Mile Brewing, Long Beach Beer Lab and Beachwood Blendery are just a few among them. Our city is reflecting national growth in the craft beer industry: according to Investopedia, between 2010 and 2014 the craft beer industry more than doubled its share of the overall beer market from 5% to 11%.
Now, Millennials can’t take all the credit, but we can take some. According to the Brewers Association for Small and Independent Craft Brewers, the majority of weekly craft beer drinkers are Millennials – 57%, to be exact. The runner up is Generation X at 21%, so we’ve got a hefty lead.
So the next time you walk into your favorite bar and see a nice variety of brews on tap beyond Bud and Coors, go ahead and buy the Millennial next to you a pint.
I swear, I have no self-interest in this suggestion whatsoever.
. . . See you at the pub.