It seems like every day, there’s a new study or op-ed coming out that promises to finally “decode” Millennials. What are they thinking? Why are they so unreliable and entitled? How can you get them to buy from your company?
But despite whatever Fox News or Business Insider might say, Millennials aren’t unknowable beasts. In fact, there’s really just one thing that sets us apart from earlier generations.
For the most part, our parents and grandparents were happy to accept the way things are. You go into work at nine because that’s just the way it is. If your pastor says to vote Republican, you do. The world has certain rules, and you just have to follow those rules.
Millennials aren’t quite as easily swayed.
All our lives, we’ve had the same rules passed down to us by our parents and teachers and bosses. But somewhere along the line, we started asking why.
And maybe it has to do being the first generation to grow up with the internet. Having access to unlimited information during our formative years gave us a natural curiosity that mingled with our adolescent rebellion to build an anti-establishment streak a mile wide.
From politics to workplace practices to social norms to religion, there’s no area of life that Millennials haven’t pushed the envelope and challenged the established rules.
And while some of the more fringe ideas haven’t found widespread adoption, our constant examination has already left a huge mark on the cultural landscape.
For example, flexible work schedules are becoming the norm as Millennials move into more freelance and remote positions. Even among Evangelicals, perhaps the most staunch demographic group, the younger generations are moving away from conservative positions as they reexamine the teachings of Jesus and social implications of traditional Evangelical policies.
While our constant examinations and challenges might not make us very popular among Baby Boomers and Gen Xers, I personally believe that if anything can’t stand up to a thorough examination, it didn’t deserve to be trusted anyway.
Or, in the words of Carl Sagan, “if anything can be destroyed by the truth, it deserves to be.”