The Millennial Stigma


Screenshot 2015-04-27 12.03.12

A few weeks ago, we read columns and listened to podcasts that revolved around a central theme: how to play nice with the Millennial generation in the workplace.

The Millennial Generation is invariably stigmatized in a professional environment; the black sheep of many think pieces and articles. We are painted as coddled, taller children. We are categorized with words like “lazy,” “entitled” and “self-absorbed.” It becomes massively frustrating reading any column that attempts to classify (and, often, condescends) its members.

bob-benson-01The NPR article “The Generation That Can’t Wait To Move Up At Work,” stated that Millennials are “eager to bounce up the corporate ladder without putting in the time on the lower rungs” which makes it sound like every employee of our age group is an archetype of Mad Men character Bob Benson – exhaustingly willing to please and eager for a promotion.

I am lucky to say that, despite overwhelming conjecture to the contrary, I’ve experienced nothing but respect and courtesy at my internship. I’m one of the younger colleagues of the newsroom, but I’m treated with the same degree of respect as the veteran coworkers.

Generations-at-work1In fact, in my experience, the most optimal workplace dynamic doesn’t come with a group of solely Matures, Baby Boomers, Generation X, or Millenials. the most advantageous group of coworkers is not those of a single generation working together. Good collaboration, varied perspectives, and tangible productivity involves colleagues of all demographics and backgrounds, or it simply wouldn’t be a genuine team effort.

To suggest otherwise, to steal a phrase, is ignorance.

Emerson Malone

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About emersonmalone

I've written for a number of publications in Grass Valley and Santa Barbara, Calif. and now Eugene, Ore. My interests for writing include columns on the arts, pop culture, social welfare, and international affairs. I'm now a journalism major at the University of Oregon and looking to expand my portfolio. Feel free to email me at emersonmalone@gmail.com.
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3 Responses to The Millennial Stigma

  1. kalimungovan says:

    I too am finding that “the Millennial generation” is often used in a condescending way. It’s frustrating because even though we were born around the same time it doesn’t mean were all the same, right? Like you, I am also the youngest at my workplace yet my coworkers have been very accepting of me being a Millennial. There are sometimes jokes about how we work differently or someone will say “that was a very Millennial thing to do” but it is never in a negative or condescending way–unlike some of the articles out there that are written about us. This is a great post that shows that regardless of the generation you were born into it really is a team effort to get the job done!

  2. kativanloo says:

    I appreciate your post so much. When we read those articles and listened to those podcasts, I couldn’t help but feel frustrated. Though the stereotype of the Millennial might fit many of our peers, it definitely shouldn’t be something that is the basis of how other generations judge us individually. I have had a similar internship experience as you; everyone at my workplace is older than me, but I have never felt judged for being a Millennial. There are innocent jokes about me not knowing a movie from twenty years ago, but nothing that would lead me to believe that I was being stereotyped in any way. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Lindsay Pfeifer says:

    Wow, that first image is shocking to me! I guess I’m naive in thinking that Millennials are well-received in the workplace. Since I haven’t had many issues with other, older generations just yet, I find myself in this place of false security. I’m sure once I leave my not-so-corporate office I will run into these stereotypes against us. Thanks for bringing light to this topic!

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