Millennials, or how I learned to can’t even and love myself

Andrew Henderson

Articles about Millennials and how they’re destroying America are a dime a dozen, and if you don’t believe me, you can Google the term “Millennials” and see what pops up. 

It’s a bit difficult for me to understand just what the interest is in Millennials. Is there any point to writing articles like “What Happens When Millennials Run the Workplace?” as the New York Times did or “The baffling reason many millennials don’t eat cereal” the Washington Post wrote?

The Times article focuses on Chris Altchek, the 28-year-old chief executive of Mic, and the challenges he faces managing Mic, a 5-year-old company focused on generating news specifically for Millennials.

“…a sense of entitlement, a tendency to overshare on social media, and frankness verging on insubordination,” the Times said of the obstacles facing Altchek’s management of Millennial employees at Mic.

One would think the issues presented in the piece of an employee lying to get time off or another who comes out of a meeting slightly offended by something that was said would be commonplace no matter what generation you’re in.

In the hustle and bustle of Millennial finger-pointing about employment and breakfast preferences, an important question is often overlooked: who are Millennials? Who defined this generation so negatively, and why does this entity have the authority to do so?

An individual’s age is one of the most common predictors of differences in attitudes and behaviors, according to “The Whys and Hows of Generations Research” conducted by the Pew Research Center. Age denotes an individual’s place in the life cycle and their membership in the cohort of other individuals born at a similar time. These age cohorts can give researchers an instrument to analyze changes over time.

“Generations are one way to group age cohorts. A generation typically refers to groups of people born over a 15-20 year span, such as the Millennial generation, currently the youngest adult generation,” the study states.

The study defines the Millennial generation as being born after 1980 with the age of adults in 2015 ranging from 18 to 34. They also make up 30 percent of the adult population. In contrast, researchers Neil Howe and William Strauss, authors of “Millennials Rising: The Next Great Generation,” define the Millennial generation as those born in 1982 and the 20 years afterward.

However, there are no official definitions of generations — other than the Baby Boomers — kept by the United States Census Bureau, according to The Atlantic.

Tom DiPrete, Giddings professor of Sociology at Columbia University, said in an interview with The Atlantic that the boundaries between generations are established to some extent by the media. 

“The media in particular wants definitions, identities,” DiPrete said to The Atlantic. 

If we are to accept Howe and Strauss’s argument that the Millennial generation ended in the early 2000s, then a name for the current age cohort of people — those born in the past 10 to 12 years — is now up for grabs.

As a member of the media, I suggest we name this up-and-coming generation.

Imagine: “What Happens When Generation Sentient Brick People Run the Workplace?” or perhaps “The baffling reason many phallic statues don’t eat cereal.” The naming of the next generation is ripe for the taking, so we had better get started now before we run out of Generation Forlorn Frigatebird articles to write.