A friend and I grabbed a coffee in Venice the other day. We got to talking about how much trouble her mom is having trying to hire someone for her company.
“These recent graduates are expecting to be hired for her position, even though she’s been working there for over twenty years!”
It sounds completely ridiculous when you flat-out say it like that. But millennials are really acting like this. Her story wasn’t an anomaly; it’s not even the first time I’ve heard similar.
Millennials are the guinea pigs for the internet era. We quite literally watched the internet blossom into what it is today.
We know the anguish of deciding what our AIM away message should be. We lay awake at night wondering what Tom from Myspace is doing with his life.
And today, our computers live in our phones, along with our reality.
We’re in a state of disillusionment because social media and all its effects crept up on us slowly. Now we’re in the midst of so much new, and we’re barely treading water.
And sure, we talk about mental health more than ever before. Therapy is no longer such a taboo subject. The #MeToo movement was a significant step forward in women claiming their power.
But people are still out of touch with reality and I blame the era we grew up in. I’m not saying we’re all fucked though; I am saying there’s some aspects of our lives we need to consider if we want to feel less disappointed.
Comparing Your Life To Those On Social Media
If you want to obliterate any sense of self-confidence you have, compare your life to those of complete strangers on social media. Scroll through their highlight real *ahem*, I mean.. feed and think about why your life is such a failure in comparison.
Or, you know, don’t. That’s probably the better option.
Because an influencer’s account is a perfectly curated feed of beautiful photos. These people are literally paid to take these gorgeous photos in exotic locations with perfectly styled outfits.
But that’s not reality, it’s not even their reality. These influencers don’t show you the 100 other photos they took to get that Insta-perfect shot. They don’t tell you about the food poisoning they got from eating that #foodporn-worthy seafood paella.
So unfollow the people that make you feel like shit. Stop comparing. Live in your own reality.
Having A Sense Of Ill-founded Entitlement
You are not special. You are not god’s gift from above.
Maybe your partner or mom genuinely think that, but that kind of thinking ends with them. You’re just another person, with (hopefully) a unique skillset or endearing personality.
You are not entitled to a job you have no experience doing. You are not going to enter into a company in an executive position. And you are not meant to be treated special everywhere you go.
And you don’t want any of those things anyway. Hard work and humility will be what helps you grow into a more secure person.
Being Void Of Grit
I am all about self-care and looking out for your mental health. But holding down a job doesn’t mean you can call out sick every time you feel a mild anxiety attack coming on.
Sometimes I worry that openly talking about mental health has gone a bit far. I mean, if you watch TV nowadays, it’s shocking the kind of content they’re willing to show. *cough*, I’m looking at you 13 Reasons Why.
To survive in the real world, we need to be able to have grit when the going gets tough. Because right now, it seems like millennials are more apt to take a “mental health day” than they are to learn how to put their emotions aside in the workplace.
And that’s not very conducive for keeping a job.
Expecting Overnight Success
I mean, if Drop-Shipping Dan can generate millions selling Chinese fidget spinners through Facebook Ads, then why the fuck can’t I?
And the great news is.. you can! But it’s going to take a lot more than running an ad for $30 once, making no profit, and wondering what you did wrong.
Maybe this coincides with people only showing their highlight reels on social media, but millennials are quick to compare their beginning to someone’s middle.
Overnight success very rarely happens. In fact, it’s so minuscule that I hesitated even bringing it up. But every time, it’s pure luck. There’s absolutely no way to achieve success without putting in the hard work first.
But consistency seems to be something we’re lacking nowadays. I always joke that everyone seems to have the attention span of a goldfish, but there’s probably some truth in that. People get distracted, people get bored.
Then they wonder why they weren’t as successful as Drop-Shipping Dan.
Expecting Movie Romances
I don’t know if you’ve checked Netflix lately, but it’s rampant with romantic comedies.
You know, the one where the jock turns out to be a great guy and gives the nerdy girl a chance. The ones where men are magically able to express their feelings like toxic masculinity never existed.
And it’s movies like these that are creating people’s beliefs that real-life relationships need to be grandeur. That anything less than perfect-timing, explosive fireworks, flawless communication, and extreme attractiveness simply won’t do.
But in reality, the kind of arguments, behaviors, and manipulation that happens in these movie relationships is unhealthy. In fact, these couples probably wouldn’t last for very long in the real world.
Yet, when something healthy — that could be a solid foundation to a loving, lasting relationship — comes along, we dismiss it. Instead, we opt for relationships closer to what we see in movies.
And then we wonder why we’re left hurt, betrayed, or cheated on.
But the fact is, we’re doing it to ourselves.
Mistaking Uncertainty For A Bad Thing
Ask any millennial how they feel about their life, and I guarantee that “uncertain” or “lost” will come up at some point.
We all have no idea what the fuck we’re doing. But what everyone is getting wrong is that they mistake that for a bad thing.
Our life paths are much different than our parents. We no longer have to get a job straight out of college, have kids asap, and stick to one career for the rest of our lives.
In fact, our lives can look so many ways. And we can see all of those ways bombarded in our faces via social media.
But when you feel like you’re uncertain or lost, that simply means that you’re realizing your life can be so much more. You’re questioning the narrative you’re living and whether it makes you happy. And that’s not a bad thing!
Having a plan or refusing to take a step forward in a new direction is where the distress comes in.
Any generation comes with its downfalls and I do think millennials get a worse rep than deserved. But the fact is, the times we grew up in have created some less-than-appealing traits that set us up for major disappointment.
But the good news is that with some awareness and expectation management, we can be more like Facebook and less like MySpace.