In the pilot of HBO’s runaway hit “Girls,” protagonist Hannah Horvath famously proclaims herself the voice of her generation. Given the tropes surrounding Millennials, it may be hard not to see her as spokeswoman elect of this tribe of digital natives stereotyped as lazy, self-obsessed Apple-addicts who’d rather be Instagramming photos tagged #bored #dailygrind #nofilter than working a solid 9-to-5.

But those who came of age in the era of embarrassing Myspace profiles are far from the sum of their social media presences. Millennials are just as diligent workers as their generational predecessors. Baby boomers and Gen X’ers simply need to sort through the smear campaign of negative stereotypes to find the diamonds in the 18-35 demographic. To this end, YouEarnedIt tackled three common myths about millennial characteristics and the realities behind this fastest growing segment of the working population.



Myth: Millennials make Veruca Salt look like Mother Teresa.

This youngest generation is the most entitled yet, critics say. Generation Y? Ha! More like Generation Y-Haven’t-U-Praised-Me-Yet. These special-est of snowflakes want—and believe they deserve—it now.

Reality: In the golden era of Netflix, it’s easy to think Millennials want their success like they want their video streaming: on-demand. The reality, however, doesn’t quite back up this notion. Millennials are just as willing to channel their inner Drake and start from the bottom as those who came before them.

A recent survey by the *Young Entrepreneur Council and Buzz Marketing Group found 82 percent of Millennials believe unpaid internships are helpful in gaining vital business skills. Millennials are ready to pay their proverbial dues. They just want regular feedback, not necessarily only praise, on their work—grunt or otherwise—in order to continually learn and improve. They are the children of standardized tests, after all. They’re used to critical input guiding and charting their paths to success.
Myth: Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the vainest Millennial of them all?

Does that filter make them look fat? The under 35 crowd is self-centered and image-obsessed, popular opinion boasts. But what do the experts say?

Reality: Millennials don’t just want a job these days. They want a purpose. In fact, in this year’s Deloitte Millennial Survey, six out of ten respondents said “sense of purpose” was a driving force behind their choice of employers. And the dividends grow for those who find meaningful work. *Net Impact and Rutgers University’s Talent Report: What Workers Want in 2012 found those employees who had the opportunity to make direct social and environmental impacts through their work were more satisfied than those who didn’t—by a 2:1 margin.

Myth: Millennials have the job lifespan of an iOS and the company loyalty of Benedict Arnold.

Reality: Gone are the days of the golden company 20-year watch. Here are the times of most young adults holding an average of 6.2 different jobs by 26, according to the *Bureau of Labor Statistics. It’s not a matter of them trying to use you and lose you, though. They simply want to continue improving, whether it’s personally or professionally.

Millennials are the most educated generation yet and even after their formal schooling ends, they still strive to learn and grow. That’s why 75 percent of those surveyed in *Deloitte’s 2014 Millennial Survey reported their organizations could do more to develop future leaders. Whether through mentorships or training and development programs, these company initiatives allow Millennials to improve and hop up the internal rungs of an organization’s ladder. By investing in them, they’ll invest in you.

To learn more about what engages Millennials in the workplace, check out our guide, “The Ultimate Guide To Engaging Millennials.”

*What Millennials Really Think About Entrepreneurship

*What Workers Want in 2012

*Bureau of Labor Statistics

*Deliotte’s 2014 Millennial Survey

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John Schmidt
John Schmidt