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  • By: Ryan Kleve, Eastern Oregon University

The Three Millennials

I have come across three types of millennials, watching them grow into adulthood and seeing them fuel our future. While each of the three millennial subgroups is typically defined by a range of ages, this does not mean that some older members of this generation do not possess a younger mindset or vice versa. How many times have you heard that millennials are liberal and voted overwhelmingly for President Barack Obama? Most of the millennials were not old enough to vote in 2008, and for those who were of voting age, most did not exercise that right. When nearly all millennials were of voting age in 2014, they painted the country red. Millennials are not just blue or red; instead, we are purple, blending the best aspects of both colors sans all of the useless rhetoric. Like it or not, whether in the workforce or politically, we are the future and that future is now.

The first group, who are currently in their late 20’s and early 30’s, can remember a time before computers were common and when the internet was a relatively new phenomenon. This group prefers tangible items then their younger counterparts, preferring to own books, DVDs and other things. They take pride in owning vehicles and work towards owning more classic vehicles, then an interest in cars with the latest tech gadgets. Many were adults when 9/11 occurred, and witnessed this event as it unfolded and changed our world forever. Having survived the recessions of 2001, 2009 and 2011, they are cautious about not only financial matters, but also about dedicating too much time to any one career option. Some are old enough to have secured gainful employment, while the rest are stuck in an endless cycle of college coursework and odd jobs--many holding degrees above a bachelor’s. They tend to be creators and builders, so when something needs to get done, these millennials often do it pro bono. And, when something needed to succeed, they put their personal money behind it.

The next group is currently in their mid-to-late 20’s. Having grown up in a world of terrorism and financial instability, many find themselves in union jobs such as nursing, construction or teaching, recognizing in this day and age that even these jobs may not lead to stable, permanent employment. Many of these millennials are entrepreneurs or solo-practitioners who have found ways to make a living using the internet and social media. They are more apt to have a blend of digital and material goods, yet still spend time working towards their piece of the American dream.

The last group is currently in their late teens to their early 20’s. They are heavily vested in social media and digital content, and are less likely to be materialistic. This group is more apt to use an Uber vehicle then to own one. They have grown up with a level of financial instability, where college-educated individuals work in dead-end jobs or where they have seen people with 30-plus years of job experience lose their jobs. They move from job-to-job, and strive to learn new, employable skills. They spend more time trying to socialize and enjoy themselves, with seemingly little care for their own futures. While many really do care about their futures, some feel there is nothing that can be done immediately so they decide it is fine to have some fun in the meantime. They are frequently the most passionate and vocal of the three subgroups. “Depending on your social up bringing, you are either pressured to succeed or are convinced that you will fail. It’s apparent that early 20’s Millennials are striving to make their own heaven on earth. Actively choosing to ignore traditional work routes or work ethic and seeking ways in which they learn and perform best. They want companies and immediate team members to include and engage them; to be considered valuable and utilized as a resource” said Edith Gomez, 22, Millennial Community member.

“The third group in most aspects fit me the most. As a 23 year old millennial, I am all about living in the moment. If that moment is to have fun and enjoy life, I want to do that and if that moment is to be a bit more serious and take advantage of an opportunity, I want to do that too. Most importantly, I want to be in the space to do what I feel is right, regardless of what I’ve seen in the past or what I think is best for me. If I feel it is right, I usually act on it.

Millennials are the now generation. They are the individuals companies are seeking out to gain insight and opinions from. They want to know what we’re buying, subscribing to and engaging with and if they can tap into that, they’ve tapped into a gold mine. I know for sure we take advantage of moments in time, trends, and we look for ways to work faster and smarter.” said D’Anthony Jackson, 23, Millennial Community member.

I feel these three groups are what make millennials difficult to define. We, as a group, are a series of contradictory thoughts, views and statements, and yet with a similar desire for honesty, transparency and authenticity. We are almost always poorly defined as a generation, ranging from our work ethic to our political views. Society, individuals and companies need to realize that Generation Y is multi-faceted, cause-driven, entrepreneurial and communal. All which add to the advancement of social growth, economic wealth and global unity.

With contributions by: Edith Gomez and D’Anthony Jackson

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