Millennials have created their own standards for success that drive baby boomers crazy. Without a hope for the financial stability of previous generations, we have come up with creative new solutions to the problems that plague us. Commute getting you down? Crowd source a co-work space. Pensions are a thing of the past? Here’s a startup with stock offerings.
1. Our lives are messy and innovate and hard to understand. Instead of waiting patiently for retirement options that will never materialize. Or committing ourselves to a single company that will never reward us, we are intimately hands-on in our careers and social work. We shape our own futures. Financial stability as our parents knew it is over; instead of striving towards an ideal that is no longer relevant, we have redefined what we want our futures to look like.
Sure, it’s not all startups and craft cocktails. We’re smart cookies and understand that we need to take care of day-to-day financial responsibilities. But while our parents hound us about 401ks and why renting is just throwing away so much equity, it’s important to remember that our version of success simply looks different than theirs.
Our legacy isn’t a house and five kids. It is reshaping the world by creating new standards in business and politics. It is turning inside out the old definitions of work and living to create new ways of existing in the world.
2. We Demand a Sense of Purpose. Retiring with a comfortable pension just isn’t an option anymore, so we expect something less tangible as compensation for our labor. By putting pressure on businesses to do good, works and create environments that assume personhood for every employee. And we are adding purpose to our lives and creating a better labor environment for future generations.
3. We Look to the Future. We have never known anything but a world in flux. Adapting to new technologies is a familiar way of life for us. Because of this, we invest our time and resources in education and innovation, which not only enriches us as individuals but also serves to advance companies and social programs.
4. We Are Socially Responsible. With the pervasiveness of news culture, burying our heads in the sand has never been an option. We inherited a wounded world, and we have risen to the challenge. Where previous generations have taken liberties with the planet, we have sought to heal and restore. Where injustices were tolerated, we have fought back.
August 14 is National Financial Awareness Day. Older generations would perhaps say that millennials have gotten it wrong. That we don’t pay attention to our finances, that our cares are frivolous, our efforts paltry. But we should be proud of what we have accomplished. Hard work no longer yields predictable incomes, so why would we judge ourselves by that standard?
Our parents came from a time of more stability but less innovation. It is easy for other generations to disparage millennials experiencing financial instability. While forgetting or ignoring that they are the ones who brought their children into the mess we inherited. It is easy for them to say that we are weak, that we over-value self-esteem, that we try too hard to be special.
More difficult for them is to see us for what we are – a hard-working culture of free thinkers with nothing to lose but the future of humanity.