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The Millennial Generation

Millennial is a term that gets thrown around a lot, but who exactly are millennials? Often times we use the term to refer generally to young people. It may be useful to first understand what a generation is before defining a specific one. Often times generations are divided into a range of dates when the members of a generation were born. This is not the most useful way to define a generation. The value in dividing people into generations is to do so by their preferences, characteristics, and values. Typically, people raised around the same period of time have many similar experiences. Those experiences may be technology, economics, global events, parenting trends, and many others. A generation is not constrained to a strict timeline, it relates more to the similarity in mindset and motivation.

Returning to the original question; who exactly are millennials? The experience that many millennials had in common was an explosion of digital technology in everyday life. This is why most sources will cite the beginning of the millennial generation around the same time as the invention of the internet. The values that help define millennials are strongly influenced by technology. Millennials value collaboration. This may be because technology has made communication simple and instant. Cultural changes in the United States have also adopted a strong sense of equality. This equality helps foster an environment that can create diversity in collaboration. Diversity in collaboration and thought is generally considered valuable in the workforce. Millennials also place a strong value on freedom of choice. This can be traced to both parenting styles of Gen X as well as the saturation of choice that technology has made available for consumers.

The best way to understand millennials or any generation is to be aware of their values and trends, but ultimately to understand individuals. There are outliers in any generation. There are also far more similarities than differences in individuals from different generations. That is because all generations are a smaller subset of the human family.       


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