Are Millennials The Entitled Generation?
August 2, 2017
When I hear people describe the Millennial and younger generations, three complaints always seem to surface: They’re lazy, entitled, and they simply don’t care. In this post, I address the supposed problem of Entitlement.
Problem: Millennials think they are entitled to everything.
Much of world’s history, especially Europe and Asia, includes the idea of entitlement. During Medieval times, nobility conferred on someone not based on merit but bloodline. This practice proved both advantageous and disastrous, depending on the person. Nobility carried special privileges of status and wealth and violence often erupted if someone questioned this status.
But America has no such history. In fact, this idea of entitlement seems sporadic at best until a couple of generations ago. What changed?
Society’s Explanation For Entitlement Thinking
Two familiar culprits to the change to entitlement thinking are technology and education.
Advances in Technology
Technology is advancing at break-neck speeds. Because we live in a world where information is at our fingertips, people expect instant gratification. Everybody is on some form of social media and sharing information continuously. Moreover, cell phones have moved from luxuries to necessities making this information portable.
The education system gives students unrealistic expectations. New graduates assume their four-year degree will guarantee a high-paying job. Unfortunately, disappointment arises when they discover that potential employers also want experience. This reality was not what the guidance counselor told them!
A Better Reason Why Millennials Think They Are Entitled
Both technology and education play a role in this way of thinking, but I believe there is more to it. Two reasons stand out:
1) Gradual Decline of Community and Increase in Individuality
This idea of entitlement didn’t happen overnight. It has been a growing notion in people’s minds, especially since World War II. From 1941-1945 there was a unity among Americans not seen since the Revolutionary War. Men were off fighting in Europe, Africa, and the Pacific while women were building the equipment to get them there. Everyone worked together for a common purpose. We admired community; now we praise individuality.
2) Other Generations Are to Blame
We are all to blame. I know this is not popular, but it’s true. Older generations fed millennials the bumper sticker lie that all they had to do was dream it, and it would come true.
You can do anything you set your mind to! Make the Impossible Possible! Go Beyond Boundaries! But this is simply not accurate.
The truth is: Life is full of limitations. Not everything is possible. Boundaries are for our protection.
As much as I would like, I cannot fly. Gravity, that annoying fundamental law of physics, always seems to force me down. (Sorry about the pun.) I would also like to play in the NBA, but I’m short, I can’t dribble (a basketball), and I can’t shoot. Other than that, I’m a shoe-in (last pun, I promise).
Not all of us are going to be millionaires. Not all of us are going to play in the NBA, NFL, or become the next VOICE. And that’s ok. We don’t find nobility and status in bloodlines. We find status in our character. And hard work, humility, and our attitude shape that character a little at a time.
So what can one person do to mitigate this problem of entitlement? It’s simple…
Solution: Stop selling Millennials the lie that they can do anything they set their minds to and give them the truth.
If Millennials bought the lie that they are the entitled generation, it might be because we sold it to them. To get more information, download the Free E-Book here.