The Millennial Manifesto
I used to detest every aspect of my generation — every Snapchat, “like” and kid staring at their phone received a scowl of disgust from me regardless of how happy they looked. It seemed the adult thing to do, to stand back with another generation and point at the growing crops, critiquing every step of their growth. I finally experimented and allowed myself to play with and try millennial tools and toys — now I am unapologetically millennial. I’m one of them, after all. There are already many judgments about millennials, which were conceived very early. Judging millennials at this point is intellectually irresponsible because we’re a materializing generation. You’re predicting the taste of the pie before it’s even baked. We’re all just ingredients in a bowl right now mixed up — we’re not ready to be critiqued yet, even with all your damn data.
Let us have our memes, abbreviations and weird fads — like you did. Memes are our tribal tats, just funnier and not permanent. We have our contouring and eyebrow goals just like the early 2000s had "Girls Gone Wild" and bedazzled “porn star” tank tops. Let us forget about the trillions in national debt and say, “Damn Daniel” over a pair of mass-produced shoes. Let us revel in it.
We’re a materializing generation with new resources and habits or more colloquially: that “new-new.” Alongside those surface attributes, we have a lot more to offer that's often left unrecognized.
Maybe we don’t seem connected. Maybe we are always on our phones, but that's because we can use this incredible technology for everything. It connects us together to communicate, work and play. It gives us the ability to check in with long-distance friends and family while we’re across the country at college. We can send a silly vine or tag a friend in a meme post for the sake of being thoughtful. We can check traffic conditions and revenue from ads on the blogs we run while we’re in line to buy a coffee.
Yeah, it’s strange that I can message a kid in Japan or see the decay of Syria through a little rectangle, but it’s the world I live in. Granted, this internet world is mostly westernized but we’re expanding our definition of community and attempting to create initiatives to involve others with worldwide Wi-Fi and increase our global communication.
I want everyone to see how amazing we are with this technology. Appreciate how a high school kid creates Lighthouse Ohio to help build a community of creative entrepreneurs in the Midwest. Watch how we monetize our online persona and create meme-oriented brands and how we spread information whether it be Reddit-worthy, pop-culture garbage or environmental awareness articles. We have the world at our fingertips and decide on a daily basis what to do with this power — work efficiently or waste time. It’s all by choice, that choice reflecting our character and work ethic.
There's a common perception that we’re entitled, and we are. But don’t misconstrue that with a lack of work ethic. Ours is productive, yet entirely dreadful. We work harder, faster, and better at rates so unbelievably pressurizing it's almost shocking we’re not all non-denominational diamonds. Be amazed at it.
We don't work in a nine to five sort of way or a submit to the boss type of way. Millennials like to have control over their work and freedom. The White House’s Millennials Report is a testament to this, listing fact number three as, “Millennials value community, family, and creativity in their work.” We place emphasis on choice. We choose tasks and jobs with more meaning than our predecessors. We don’t focus on working to live. Our work is part of our lives.
The millennial's definition and method of work is different, but what did you do at sixteen, baby boomer? Did you get your driver's license, work at the ice cream shop and date the head of the cheerleading squad?
Nowadays, certificates and notches in our belts are earned early. By the time I was 16, I earned my x-ray license, dental assisting certificate and dated my first Puerto Rican. A friend of mine developed an app for the Apple app store before 17. Another colleague started writing a book about environmentalism at 16. That's not to mention the string of teenage millionaires and YouTube stars. Millennials are monetizing everything. We have no other choice, as we grow up in a fabricated and ruined economy charged on the preceding generation’s credit. Now that we see the past generation's mistakes, we’re extra careful.
Millennials watched you fail and we avoid repeating that behavior. We watched the stock market bounce like a trampoline, real estate shoot up and down like the Superman ride at Six Flags and we watched the divorce rate grow and now we can’t commit. The delete button is a norm. We’re going to hold off on buying that house because we can't rely on the market price. We’ve learned from the baby boom narrative of working your whole life then waking up at 40 and saying I hate where I’m at and we don’t want to live that narrative.
Now we’re not all amazing. We’re awful too, but it’s a balance. We can go tit-for-tat over every run-of-the-mill depiction of us.
Lazy? Yes, we are lazy. We work smarter, not harder.
Politically correct? Yeah, we’re trying really hard to rewrite modern language so we can comfortably accomodate all races and ethnicities without triggering or offending anyone. It’s a bitch to keep up but #SorryNotSorry for the improvement. Also, I studied newspapers from the 1920s to the 1980s and I'm not quite fond or your verbiage either, so let’s just move on from our past prejudices and try to be better.
Millennials value communication and are constantly reconstructing it. Our slangs, abbreviations, and acronyms are an integrated language from all over. It is productive for the sake of communicating a thought in less time. We also abbreviate everything because we’re in a rush RN and will be busy AF working to afford our rent in this economy. That doesn’t mean we won’t speak articulately when needed or value descriptive Shakespearian literature. We just live in a fast time and our language reflects that.
Overall, we’re working with what we got. This is my generation and we give a damn. We give a damn about ourselves and about the generations to come. We say global warming and black lives matter. We’re constantly getting more information and we’re still getting our act together. After all, the recession caused by the preceding generation(s), in the words of the White House Gov. report, “…affected Millennials’ schooling and employment decisions, but also their housing and household formation patterns.”
Each generation has their faults but let’s correct those instead of being critics. We millennials are doers. Like Instagram, not everything is as perfect as we filter it. We’re constantly updating and downloading new ideas, methods and goals.
We’re the modern generation and we're calling all the shots. We’re calling the shots on equality. We’re calling the shots on the market. We’re calling the shots on the media and critiquing how they should report.
We don’t want to be the generation that waits decades when a buffering video ticks us off. We want improvement and fast. So yes, we’re in a rush and on our phones but we’re in a loop — a digital loop with new formats of communication that look like typos and we are learning, rapidly and constantly. So don’t you think I won’t Snapchat you scoffing at our behavior when we’re trying to rewrite the rules and fix the problems that we didn’t create in the first place.