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Millennials: Cut the Entitlement, Be Humble

millennials, gen y, college, grad, humble, narcissismThis is a guest post by Joe Hanson.

There’s been a lot of buzz going around about a recent Time magazine article entitled “The Me Me Me Generation,” where Joel Stein dubbed Millennials as narcissists, lazy, and entitled.

I’ve also noticed an increasing amount of content about the struggles that a fresh college graduate faces when they come out of college. 

I’m a Millennial, a product of Gen Y. I’d have to say, I agree with the Time article, and I’m fed up with the idea that a fresh college graduate with little work experience is hopeless in the professional world. 

We aren’t screwed, we aren’t hopeless, we’re just entitled.

And it’s having the right attitude that will help us change this mentality.

The first step is understanding that there’s a part of being young, of being at the bottom of the totem pole, that Millennials need to accept. Maybe it’s our parents telling us “we can be anything.” Maybe it’s stories of a young internet entrepreneur selling his company at 22 and making millions of dollars. Or maybe it’s the dozens of participation trophies we get throughout our childhood. To put it bluntly, everyone can’t be whatever we want, at least at this age. Developing yourself professionally takes time, and the way to do that is to start at the bottom, work hard, learn as much as you can, and remain humble.

Secondly, many Millennials believe that we are qualified for a job, even with little to no experience. We get angry when an “entry level” job requires two years of experience and can’t get an interview, because we’ve never had the opportunity to get any experience at all. I experienced this first hand. But instead of giving up, I, a fresh graduate of university, took a 3 month unpaid internship.

There are always opportunities out there to gain work experience. It may not be a full-time, high paying, prestigious job, but working hard wherever you are will pay off. Do something extra: write a blog, learn to code, anything, just do something. Next thing you know, I was interviewing for jobs that wanted 2-3 years experience with only three months in my belt. I had a bolstered portfolio, work experience, and great references from the internship. After a three month internship, I have a killer job now. It’s not impossible.

And third of all, don’t job hop and don’t quit right off the bat when the going gets tough. Coming in entry level, not every part of your job is going to be perfect. Arnold Schwarzenegger responded on Reddit to a user who was unhappy with their job. His most important point:  

“Look at this as a stepping stone instead of an end. We can’t always do what we are passionate about, but everything we do can move us closer to our passion.”

There’s hope for us Millennials. Why? Joel Stein (the same Joel Stein who called us entitled narcissists earlier) sums it up perfectly:

“They’re earnest and optimistic. They embrace the system. They are pragmatic idealists, tinkerers more than dreamers, life hackers…They want new experiences, which are more important to them than material goods.”

It sucks to be bottom of the barrel. It was embarrassing telling people I was working for free. As a generation, we need to cut the entitlement, cut the narcissism. You’re not going to be a manager right away. Let’s prove employers wrong and show that we’re a hard-working, loyal, and most importantly, humble generation. Let’s prove them wrong.

 Thanks moriza for the photo via Flickr

Written by: Joe Hanson
Categories: Career Advice

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