Millennials are narcissistic, lazy, disloyal avocado eaters. Aren’t they?

Anne Clerx

Together with most of the people I deal with, I am part of Generation Y. If there are many stereotypes and prejudices for one group, it is this generation: also called the millennials. Buzzfeed [1][1] has already listed them: we are narcissistic and therefore constantly looking for likes and followers. We can't go without our phone for a day. Moreover, we all still live with our parents and we are lazy and impatient. We are also disloyal and we mainly eat avocados.

Furthermore, as millennials live a different lifestyle from previous generations, we are accused of killing industries. For example, in October 2018, The Independent headlined: “18 industries which are being killed by millennials”[2]. According to the newspaper, we drink less beer, eat less mayonnaise and yogurt, and spend less money on motorbikes, napkins and fabric softener. Moreover, we go on vacation less and we don't buy houses.[3] The bottom line: all of these industries are going down because of the influence of millennials.

It is time - with the help of personal experiences and scientific research - to test the prejudices.

We are hard workers

Google research shows that millennials are no more narcissistic than other generations.[4] Research among 1,000 millennials shows that millennials are on their phones 5.7 hours a day. This sounds a lot, but baby boomers also spend five hours a day behind their phones.[5] Moreover, millennials are not lazy, according to studies by Monsterboard[6] and Gallup.[7] We work hard and are ambitious, but in a different way than previous generations. We want to work for a company that fits our values. We want to make a difference.[8]  I see mainly hard workers among my fellow students. They combine a full-time study not only with committees and internships, but also with a student job, sometimes even several at a time.

We are impatient and disloyal

Michelle Petrazzulo, HR expert, concludes in her book that millennials are indeed impatient and disloyal. However, this is not without reason: Generation Y is less likely to receive a permanent contract than previous generations. Therefore, less is invested in them. As a result, millennials are more likely to choose to switch jobs if the opportunity arises.[9]

We have a student loan

Another of the prejudices seems to be true: more and more millennials are still living with their parents[10] [11] [12] and as a result they are buying fewer houses. However, this is not due to laziness or lack of ambition under Generation Y. According to Forbes, there are two main causes: the skyrocketing study debts and the house prices that are inflating.[13] Also in my area I see moving out of the house during the study is not self-evident. After all, the rent cannot be earned with a student job, and not everyone wants to incur a student debt by borrowing. After all, this entails the following problem: the higher the student debt, the more difficult it is to get a mortgage after your studies. Do you have a study debt of € 20,000? Then you can get a mortgage for about € 25,000 less.[14] The average student debt in the Netherlands is € 13,700. So that makes quite a difference. In addition, both the average student debt and the number of students in debt continue to rise.[15] I also see this in my circles. A friend no longer dares to look at the DUO website; she would rather not know the amount of her student debt anymore.

We eat avocados - but less than the elderly

We just need to talk about those avocados. De Volkskrant headlined in July 2019: "Millennials: generation 'screwed' or promising avocado generation?" The Perspective wrote in 2019, “Is avocado toast ruining millennials?”[16] In Australia, a millionaire even advised millennials to spend their money on buying houses instead of - yes - avocados.[17] The bias is so well known that The Huffington Post and YouGov devoted a study to it. The answer? Older generations love avocados more than millennials.[18]

Wondering if you meet the stereotype millennial? Take the Buzzfeed test here: https://www.buzzfeed.com/stephenlaconte/stereotypical-millennial-quiz Warning: the highest score among my millennial friends was only 56%. And that while we are stuck to our phone 24/7.

Anne Clerx is an analyst at ftrprf. She wrote this article in a personal capacity for the theme Generations


[1] https://www.buzzfeed.com/stephenlaconte/millennial-stereotypes-true
[2] https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/millennials-industry-casual-dining-weddings-beer-razors-golf-motorcycles-fabric-softener-a8574281.html
[3] https://www.marketwatch.com/story/here-are-all-of-the-things-millennials-have-been-accused-of-killing-2017-05-22
[4] https://www.nrc.nl/nieuws/2016/06/29/de-vier-grootste-mythes-over-millennials-2843767-a1504032
[5] https://www.provisionliving.com/news/smartphone-screen-time-baby-boomers-and-millennials
[6] http://www.monsterboardblog.nl/millennials-werven/
[7] https://www.gallup.com/workplace/236438/millennials-jobs-development-opportunities.aspx
[8] https://www.bedrock.nl/millennials-verwend-lui/
[9] https://www.greengenius.nl/er-is-echt-he-le-maal-niets-mis-millenials/
[10] https://tpo.nl/2018/11/17/europese-millennials-blijven-massaal-thuiswonen-tot-hun-dertigste/#
[11] https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2019/jun/28/35-of-millennials-still-live-at-home-survey-finds/
[12] https://www.cbsnews.com/news/more-millennials-are-living-at-home-than-at-any-other-time-this-century/
[13] https://www.forbes.com/sites/zackfriedman/2018/06/27/millennials-student-loans-housing/
[14] https://www.rabobank.nl/particulieren/hypotheek/huis-kopen/hypotheek-met-studieschuld/
[15] https://www.rtlz.nl/life/personal-finance/artikel/4872631/studieschuld-cbs-leenstelsel-jongeren-geld
[16] https://www.theperspective.com/debates/living/avocado-toast-ruining-millennials/
[17] https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/may/15/australian-millionaire-millennials-avocado-toast-house
[18] https://www.huffpost.com/entry/avocado-toast-trend-millennials_n_593585e4e4b0099e7fade8eb?guccounter=1

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