Millennials on the Rise

I sat at my dining room table after dinner last night while my aunts and uncles of the Baby Boomer and Generation X generations got in an intense conversation regarding what their generations were leaving behind for my cousins, my siblings, and myself- the Millennials. I sat there quietly listening to them, thinking how utterly convenient the timing of this conversation was, considering the topic of this week’s blog post. One of my aunts posed the question of how I will approach marriage, to which my other aunt responded, if “she even chooses to approach it.” I knew that their reference to me in this conversation was actually a reference to my overall generation. Just before my family came over for dinner, I had taken the Pew Research Center quiz, and was only a few pages in to the Center’s analysis on Millennials. I was kicking myself for not having read further so I could incorporate more of their conversation in to my post this week. Multiple times I thought “should I get up and get my phone so I can write down and remember what they’re saying and use it in my post this week?” Just as I was about to do so, the conversation unfortunately took a turn towards a topic I have ZERO interest in-Politics (despite the fact that I was born and raised in Washington, D.C.). I decided to get up from the table anyways so I would not have to listen to this awful topic.

While reading the Center’s analysis on Millennials, I found that my lack of political interest is apparently something I have in common with the majority of my generation. Likewise, I learned that I am included in the majority of Millennials who identify as being less religious. Despite the fact that I was raised Catholic and attended a Catholic school for thirteen years, I only go to church on Christmas and Easter, and only because I am forced to, not because I necessarily believe in the religion. It will be interesting to see the role that religion will play in the lives of our generations’ children. Since a large amount of my generation is less religious, will we impose religion on our children, even though we do not practice or believe in it ourselves, or will we just not acknowledge the topic at all? Finally, I definitely identify myself with the 47% of Millennials who say that having a high-paying career is very important, but not one of the most important things, which is being a good parent.

In terms of jobs, Millennials are characterized as wanting careers that actually matter. Through discussion with friends, I can tell that a lot of them have a very clear idea of the exact career that they want as soon as they graduate, and are not open to looking in to other careers that may be more achievable for someone right out of college. While it is important to strive for a career that makes a difference, I think some Millennials may be limiting their career opportunities because it is not the exact position that they had imagined, despite the fact that their major, such as Economics, is applicable in many different positions. In the future, I think that this attitude will prevent a lot of businesses from receiving applicants because their available positions are not exactly what a Millennials had intended, even if it is their very first job. Research shows that it is likely that Millennials will switch jobs and/or careers throughout their lifetime. With that said, Millennials must realize that their first job out of college likely will not be the same one that they will have in twenty years. Millennials must consider the trade off between getting exactly what they want, getting nothing at all, or settling for something they had not envisioned, learning from those experiences, and working their way to what they had envisioned.

Ultimately, I think that it is very important for society as a whole to discuss generations. Without such discussion, generations would not be able to function in society without understanding or being aware of the reasons for differences between age groups, and how values vary amongst such groups.


6 thoughts on “Millennials on the Rise”

  1. I feel like my whole life the buzz has been people will change careers and jobs many times. The magic number was six or seven.

    Is this the same commentary that is offered up all the time? Were people coming of age in the 50s and 60s told to expect to change careers or jobs?

    I have always been a little skeptical of that claim too. Change careers? Like, from business to law to medicine to farming to….? Seems unlikely. Or do they mean, like maybe for you, Cait, or someone similar to you, from auditing to project management to tech consulting to chief accounting officer for a manufacturer to chief accounting officer for a start-up tech company and so on? Because while that is some job changes, I would hardly call it six career changes.


  2. When I said career I meant job position, so I should have been more clear. I was thinking in terms of switching from an auditor to, say, a financial director, but did not consider how this is not as much a “career” change as switching from a doctor to a lawyer.


  3. Just how important are high paying jobs to Millennials? I found that when I changed my answer from ‘one of the most important’ to ‘very important but not the most’ I found that I was inherently more ‘Millennial”. I think this fits into your statement about the value and meaning of careers. You say many young people know what they want and are driven to get there. Maybe there is a shift in purpose? It seems that the older generations seemed to desire more capital than meaning from the statistics provided by the quiz. Why do you think this is so?


  4. I enjoyed how you shared the tension between your beliefs and the pressure that members of the older generations were placing on you to conform. Do you think that conflict between generations is unavoidable due to differences in cultural upbringing…or is it just a matter of dialogue that has a solution?


  5. The concept of religion and our generation is one that really interest me. I also was brought up my entire childhood in a catholic family and went to catholic high school, but do not consider myself catholic or religious at all now. I have often wondered what will happen when I have kids, what I will teach them and how I will let them approach religion. I have found with a lot of my peers that they feel similarly about religion and I do after having it forced upon them by their parents. It will definitely be interesting to see if there is a major shift in the number of practicing religious people as our generation becomes parents.


  6. Vlad, I think that it is a general unavoidable conflict between generations. While dialogue will help alleviate some of the conflict amongst generations and help for them to understand one another, I think that there will always be an underlying inability to understand the ways in which other generations were raised.


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