Photo credit: Rachel Abramowitz
This Monday I did something I never thought I would ever do… I was a guest on a podcast called “Nothing Nice to Say!”
There I was, sitting across from a video camera with a podcast host on each side of me. I was wearing headphones that were a constant reminder of how high pitched my voice truly is and I was trying my best not to kick the microphone stand with my fidgety feet. I had no idea what to expect but was so insanely excited that I felt my entire face smiling from ear to ear.
Thirty minutes later…
I was having a blast! Chatting about my business, my legendary High School Jewish Basketball days and asking as many questions as possible. Suddenly, I hear. “What do you think about Millennials?” At first, I didn’t realize who they were directing the question to but as I looked around, all eyes were on me. That’s when it hit me…I was the only millennial in the room.
As a creative, small business owner and Jewish, female, entrepreneur, the last thing I really think about is classifying myself as the generation I was in born into. But, I am part of a generation. I am part of the Generation Y, Digital Natives, Generation Me, Generation Rent and Echo Boomers, Millennial generation (or whatever other name you want to use to describe us). We are the most researched and discussed generation known to date. We are the largest part of the Western work force and the most educated Western generation. Yet, for some reason, there is this negative connotation to the term “Millennial.”
If you ask me, being a Millennial is freaken awesome!
Being a Millennial has given me the confidence and the determination to go after my dreams. It has made me strive to be the best version of myself and to be true to who I am. It has forced me to be open minded, accepting, flexible and socially conscious. It has given me the characteristics that has allowed me to start a business and not settle for the typical 9-5 job. It has made me into a passionate hustler who wakes up every day even more excited than the last. I am mission based. I am fiery. I am focused.
As a generation, we care more about authenticity and less about playing the game. We want positive, genuine experiences instead of flashy, material possessions. We want to grow, we want to be engaged and we want to do well. We want feedback so we can continue to grow, continue to be engaged and continue to do well.
We support brands that have deeper meaning and strong backbones. We want the shoes that we buy to send a matching pair to kids in third world countries. We want to know that the drinking straws we use are both saving the world and protecting our teeth enamel. We want to know that the products we buy are defending human rights and are against animal cruelty. We are a generation that loves our pets more than anything and 61% of us feel that it is up to us to make this world a better place even though we know it isn’t going to be easy.
So, to answer the question “How do I feel about Millennials?” Well, we live in a world that is very different than the one of our parents and grandparents. We live in a world where many of us are dealing with soul crushing student loans, a world that doesn’t have pretty pensions waiting for us and a social security system that might run out by the time we get to it, but we work hard, play hard and care hard. We are community oriented. We think globally instead of locally. We might still be living in our parents basements, but we are progressive, challenging and zealous. We don’t have all the answers, but we definitely try to make this world a better, more accepting place for the future. So I ask you this… what else could you really ask for?