Millennial Life: Myths vs. Reality*

plate of avocado on toast with poached eggs sitting on top of a property magazine a glass of orange juice to one side

Hands up if you’ve ever been lectured about the evils of the millennial generation. Perhaps it was a relative wagging their finger at you, telling you that you’re a snowflake, or maybe an old lady in the supermarket rolling her eyes as you put an avocado into your trolley, muttering about how you’ll never own a house now. These myths are all too common but what is the reality? I love writing myth-busting posts on my blog, from debunking hair hacks to shattering clichés about humanities students, so today I’ve produced a guide on how to rebuff generational stereotypes with cold, hard facts. Power to the millennials!

MYTH: Millennials eat too much avocado on toast to ever own a home

“Crunch, crunch, GULP!” Did you hear that? That’s the sound of a greedy millennial swallowing their chances of ever owning a home due to their fixation with avocado on toast. As everybody knows, it’s an essential requirement for every millennial to eat at least 15 slices of avo smash for every meal. This is where our entire salaries are spent. Unless we could build ourselves a house from pieces of toast, smearing our beloved avocado on the walls, I don’t think a single millennial would be interested in owning one.

What's the reality?

While our parents can use tools such as those from Sunlife to see how much the value of their property investments has increased over the years, this might seem a long way off for us millennials. But I promise you, it's not all down to our copious consumption of any toast-based snack. Property prices shooting up all over the country, coupled with wages for young people going through the floor (a report has shown that the real-term drop in wages for people born around 1980 was greater in the UK than any other European country) has made it harder than ever for us to get a foot on the property ladder. For nearly 90% of 25-34 year olds, average house prices are more than four times their annual income after tax. With these stats, is it any wonder that so many millennials are reliant on renting?

plate of avocado on toast in foreground, young woman reading property magazine in background

MYTH: Millennials are lazy

I bet you can’t name a single millennial who actually has a job. How many of your millennial friends are in work? None of them, right? After all, we’re incredibly lazy, with no desire to work hard or build our CVs. We’re content to do the bare minimum to get by and we still feel like we’re entitled to the world on a silver platter.

What's the reality?

If you’re ever told that your generation is lazy, don’t let it get you down. Hit those critics with some facts and figures that they just can’t argue with. While it’s true that unemployment statistics do say that millennials have the greatest share of unemployment than any other generation, these stats are a bit misleading. That’s because in many surveys, anyone studying at university is classed as 'unemployed', despite a university degree occupying just as much time as a full time job for many students. Other research has found that 47% of millennials in management positions work more hours today than in the last five years, compared with only 38% of Generation X and 28% of Baby Boomers. In addition to this, over half of millennials work longer than their contracted hours and at weekends. Laziness? Pfffft.

plates of avocado on toast and fruit granola on a table in a cafe

MYTH: Millennials are self obsessed 

Millennials have been called the me-me-me generation. We’re all about sharing our filtered selfies on every form of social media going, living our lives through our carefully curated Instagram feeds. Our favourite hobbies include grooming our immaculate facial hair, communicating entirely in emojis, and making sure we’re spotted sipping our tall, non-fat soy-milk lattes with caramel drizzle at only the trendiest coffeeshops. If it’s not all about us, we just don’t care. We’re at the centre of the universe, you know.

What's the reality?

We supposedly self-absorbed millennials are behind the global change of adopting more ethical diets. Millennials are more likely than their older compatriots to consider where their food comes from, associated animal welfare issues, and environmental implications when making dietary decisions. We millennials are thinking about how our choices impact animals, other people, and the planet. Does that sound self-centred to you? If you’re a vegetarian or vegan millennial, you’re not alone! And you’re also setting up the next generation for making even more ethical choices. Generation Z, those born between 1996 and 2005, are purchasing more plant-based products than ever before, encouraged by their millennial forbearers. Now if that isn’t a reason to be a proud millennial, I don’t know what is!

young woman reading property magazine with avocado on toast in front of her

What's good about being a millennial?

Us poor millennials seem to have such a terrible rap. But believe it or not, it’s not all bad news. There’s plenty to love about being a millennial. Firstly, we’re a massively inclusive generation. Studies have concluded that young people falling under the heading of ‘millennial’ are generally more tolerant of other races and ethnic groups than older generations. An American study has shown that 47% of millennials are considered tolerant, compared to 19% of older generations. Millennials are also better educated than the previous generation, and we’re more entrepreneurial too, with 35% of us starting a side-hustle to supplement our income. We’re also a lot more open about discussing important issues such as mental health. One website reports that up to 75% of millennials say that they would be happy to discuss mental health issues with friends and family. So, despite those less than attractive stereotypes, our generation has quite a lot going for us!

Hating on the youth isn’t anything new. One of my favourite articles that I came across when doing the research for this post comes from the BBC, where they show that older people have been complaining about the younger generations for no less than 2000 years. Quotes that stretch back as far as the Greek philosopher Aristotle in the fourth century BC show that it’s a historic fact that the old will dislike the young. So, let’s face it, in 50 years time us millennials will probably complain about our successors too!

Which millennial stereotypes irritate you the most? Let me know in the comments.

Until next time,

A x

P.S. A huge thank you goes out to the wonderful Hels for helping me take the photos for this blog post and for indulging me in my request to visit a café specifically to photograph their avo on toast!

*This is a sponsored post.