The ‘Trouble’ With Us Millennials
Photography by Tom Buck
This Post is in Collaboration with YouGov
What do you think of President Trump? Opinions on Brexit? What makes Millennials Special? Whatever your opinion you can make yours known by becoming a YouGov Panellist. For this post I’ve collaborated with YouGov – they are a global online community that have a continuous conversation about everything from beliefs to brands.
Today as I was browsing the YouGov surveys and results (here) I got inspired and thought I’d vent some of my thoughts on recent statements made against us, the Millennials. I’m going to share my opinions, my experiences and my thoughts on the matter. This post may not be relevant to everyone but I hope you find some useful pieces of advice or it makes you think about your own experiences etc.
Just before I get into it I’d like to thank YouGov for collaborating with me on this post, you can sign up and take part here.
As the younger generation, the older ones like to point the finger and call us out on many things for example being ‘entitled’, ‘lazy’ and ‘narcissistic’. People create an idea in their head of what a ‘Millennial’ is or how we should act.
When in fact, if you really think about it, whatever problems are occurring with our generation are in fact the fault of everyone before us and it’s us – the Millennials who are they only ones who can change the future. We’ve grown up in a world with uneducated parents and grandparents who may well still be racist or homophobic with strong ideas about religion and the world, whose ideas are then passed down to their children.
However I feel for the first time in centuries, Millennials have gained their own moral compass through the internet, doing their own research and discussing with online communities.
Life these days is pretty much a waiting game – a waiting list to enrol in school, a queue to order things online, a queue to get into a restaurant, a line to check in for a flight that you paid an obscene amount of money for.
The Hunger Games is real and hit me straight after University when I moved to London – Jobs, Flats, Money everything was in high demand and you have to be quick if you want any of it. I remember losing out on a couple of flats to rent immediately after viewing them – after that I always took a cash in hand deposit with me to a viewing to ensure I got the place if I liked it. (Tip for renting Londoners there, oh and always get a receipt).
Don’t even get me started on Jobs, when I moved to London I interviewed for over 6 retail jobs in the space of 4 weeks and didn’t get any of them. I had 4 years experience working in restaurants and bars (from age 17-21) and if you’ve seen my youtube channel, I like to think I’m quite a friendly, competent human being. So what was the deal? one word – competition. There was too many of us, I wasn’t not getting jobs because of my experience, my education, I wasn’t getting the jobs because there was always someone better than me.
I guess looking back I was relatively mediocre in school, college, University, I’m not dumb but I wasn’t the smartest. If someone had told me when I was 15, that my choices in subjects that I studied next, decided what I could apply for at University and eventually what career that would lead to – I would probably have made different choices.
I think the education system is setting a lot of people up for failure. The Smart kids get praised, the not so sharp kids get special attention and the people left in the middle like me just keep on coasting along.
So there I was fresh from University with a 2.1 BA Honours degree in contemporary theatre and what kind of job was out there for me? Not a lot. The likelihood of becoming a successful theatre group was slim considering most of the successful theatre groups that are already out there all have part time jobs too.
It didn’t seem like a lucrative profession to me and I had my eyes on the prize, I’ve been dreaming big all of my life so I decided to go in a different direction. My interests were in other areas like fashion, styling and music. I was happy to complete my degree but amassing over £20,000 in student loan debt – was it really worth it? Would I have been better off NOT going to University and just gaining experience straight off the bat?
I feel like degrees only help towards a career nowadays if it’s something like Medicine/Law/Technology because most other things, you don’t necessarily need a specific degree to do it as an actual job, you just need experience.
So there’s a lot of us kids when we finish studying – with degrees, incredibly talented, smart and well educated – unable to get a fulfilling job. A job that we want, a job that we’ve been studying for.
This only changed when I took matters into my own hands – I realised a long time ago that for people like me, the education system didn’t work. My own blog, the content that I’d been posting, the connections that I’d made online have given my every opportunity and every job since finishing University.
So when someone tells me to put my phone or laptop away – I’m like – shut the f*ck up – I’m making money. If I didn’t have internet access, if I hadn’t explored subcultures online when I was younger – I would have never built up the knowledge to utilise the internet and create my own career path. My previous jobs before full time blogging at Net-A-Porter, ASAP54 and Assistant Styling all came from hard work, my own creativity and connections.
I worked in a corporate environment for about 1 year and I hated it. It really wasn’t for me – I felt like part of a machine, easily replaceable, undervalued and just a number. With bizarre management techniques and a lot of pointless tasks just for the sake of them I began to wonder why I was there – I began questioning the whole company and thought how backwards it was. There were far too many hoops with not enough career progression, talking to senior members who had been employed far longer than I had were unhappy there and that’s when I knew the corporate world wasn’t for me.
On the note of ‘put your phone away‘ I wanted to talk a little bit about social media. I was in the post office the other day and two older people were in front of me discussing how they don’t understand why someone would post a picture of themselves whilst on holiday because someone might burgle their home. This kind of rationale of sceptical thinking is what I’ve heard a lot from older generations regarding online behaviour.
However what they don’t seem to understand is that only one thing has changed since they were young and that is the place of conversation. Those discussions are now happening online because it’s more convenient. Just like if taxis were invented today – Uber is how they would be, Black cabs are basically obsolete because they’re irrelevant. There’s a new better way to travel, just like there’s a new better way to share your memories – online.
I think the whole notion of having your phone out at the table is completely dependant on each individual situation and knowing when to use it and when not to use it. My experience is a little different as my whole livelihood is online so when I don’t meet deadlines or don’t reply to an urgent email – it could mean that I can’t afford rent next month.
However if you’re waiting on an important call about the health of a loved one, if you’re waiting on a reply about a new job or even if it’s just a message from your friend to say they got home OK, all of these are perfectly legitimate reasons to have your phone out and there are so many more, like I said all very dependant on the situation.
We also have to remember that what we’re doing on our phones is discussing and creating bonds with others, we are not alone. Unless you’re playing a game – then you might possibly be alone.
Things to Think About
The switch in my mind clicked when I realised the value of what I had created. All of these things that people are blaming millennials for entitlement, social media addiction even narcissism – you can harness to create your own business. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, becoming your own boss is the best decision you can ever make.
When we talk about unemployment, when we talk about being left behind – use the opportunity to take matters into your own hands because we can’t rely on the past generations, failed systems etc.
I count myself so lucky that I found my passion in creating content at this early on in life. However it’s to my own hard work that I owe my success to. I know a lot of people, my friends, family even that are still unsure of what they want to do career-wise.
Creating content is the bare bones of what humans exist upon – story telling and It’s that simple. Anyway I feel like I’ve ranted for too long so my final thoughts on the matter are…
- Play to your own Strengths and Talents – you are unique.
- Be prepared to put in hard work, great things can take a long time.
- Educate Yourself.
- Don’t rely on others.
- Realise your own Value.
- Start discussions.
- Voice your opinions.
- Be your own boss.
Well done if you reached this far and thank you for reading my ramblings and thoughts – Don’t forget you can sign up to the YouGov site and take part here.