A tale of the quarter-life identity crisis....
A few years ago someone, somewhere decided that I am a “millennial.” I’m still not completely sure what that means, although I have been told that half of “us” are underemployed and that supposedly “we” want instant gratification, work-life balance, and recognition. It has also been relayed to me that “we” are a tech-savvy bunch of connected multi-taskers. Last I checked, that sounds a lot more like Mark Zuckerberg than me.
To be transparent, I have yet to install the latest OS update on my iPhone and the mere thought of a new iMessaging format is way too much to process amidst my hectic work and social calendar. Sound dramatic? It probably is, after all I am a millennial. And although I find myself resistant to select technological change, I must admit that my life does look pretty sweet through an Instagram filter. In fact, it seems to portray many of the above millennial attributes, especially when I select the right photo border—follow me @nextstepleslie (shameless plug).
And because I am a “millennial” I suppose I also run the risk that by the time you read this Instagram, and Mark Zuckerberg for that matter, may be obsolete. So read quickly, the world is changing.
My brilliantly crafted Instalife aside, the “millennial” stereotype has me perplexed. I remain unsure how I have been labeled without my consent by a term I can barely spell aloud. Frankly if I’m going to be something, I would like to be sure what it is. Even Merriam Webster seems to be confused and a bit discouraged by the label. Although she has cataloged “millennial” as a derivative of “Millennium” and defined it accordingly:
1. of or pertaining to a millennium or the millennium.
2. Worthy or suggestive of the millennium
3. Informal. a person born in the 1980s or 1990s, especially in the U.S.; a member of Generation Y.
She remains quick to tell us how favorable our future looks by reminding us who we are with the following contextual example:
“Millennials are facing a deep economic crisis.”
Awesome. Thanks for the attempt Merr, but I’m still puzzled. “Language of origin please?” Where’s that little 3rd grader sporting hipster frames in the National Spelling Bee on ESPN when we need him?
Probing deeper, I recently went looking for statistics to support the word “millennial,” or at the very least give it some depth. I certainly couldn’t launch a national speaking campaign without facts and figures, after all my LinkedIn says I’m “dependable” and “results driven.” I think I even have a few endorsements from an old boss and college professor or two.
Amidst my mass Google search, I came to find that most “millennial” statistics speak in generalizations, frequently suggesting things like “half of all” or “less than 50%.” Only to leave me sitting in my chair thinking, “Anyone can speak in halves or 50 percentiles, give me some real numbers.”
That said, when is the last time you took a survey regarding your “millennial” status? Better yet, who is out there conducting and answering these questionnaires and why did you leave me off your mass mailing list?
Somewhere between Google and Amazon, I decided I had three options: 1. Accept the limited millennial description as fact 2. Become cynical 3. Get to the root of this quarter-life identity crisis.
Number 3 it is, stay tuned.
So it goes.