Don’t Generalize My Generation (MBF Event Recap)

Last night, dozens of Millennials lined up at the highly secure Google Building to come to the event and hear their peers speaking. It was great to see so many fresh faces. They all (including me) came for one thing, they are Millennials and want to send a message to the world; “Don’t Generalize My Generation”.

This event was an open discussion between 4 panelists, a live audience and a Twitter audience. But it was mostly an opportunity for Millennials to respond to what people think of them.


Here’s are some highlights and thoughts:

  • “I think millennial is a mindset. Not just when you were born, but how you think.” -Nancy Hill, 4a’s CEO
    Well, this is an interesting one. I’m not sure if Millennial is a mindset, because I doubt Baby Boomer is a mindset either. Millennial to me is just a marketing term that puts us all in a bucket, but that is the problem. Even if we’re put in a bucket, we’re still individuals and have different POVs and mindsets.
  • The Slash generation.
    I’m an Art Director/Blogger/Photographer/Leader, you see where I’m going with this. Millennials tend to do many things at once and while the previous generations tend to focus on one thing in their careers, we come off as “Jacks of all trades and masters of none” But here’s my theory: as most of us graduated in the middle of the recession, we had to adapt. For example, I want to be an Art Director but we all know how hard it is to get a job in advertising, so instead of settling for let’s say an Assistant Account Executive, or some receptionist job or a job in a different field, I’d rather blog about advertising, learn photography, join organizations while working as a bartender at a restaurant. This doesn’t mean that I gave up on my Art Director dream job but I’m adapting to the job market, I’m doing things that I enjoy and not settling for some corporate job that I don’t like. At the end, our skill sets double and triple, not because we don’t want to focus on one thing but because one thing doesn’t cut it anymore. This is my mindset: the more I do, the better person/advertiser/Art director/friend/millennial I’ll be.
  • Millennials as entrepreneurs.
    Some may say that Millennials simply don’t have enough experience to start a company, that it will be very hard to survive in a competitive world and might eventually fail. However, we are now experiencing a big startup boom, and you better believe most of them are Millennials (think Zuckerberg). They are right though, Millennials don’t have enough experience and an idea is not enough, BUT Millennials have an entrepreneurial mindset, so if they surround themselves with a network that has experience, magic happens. Also, Millennials are not afraid to fail, starting a company is more like an experiment, if it works great, if not, I bet you they have a plan B, C and D as a backup. Most startups fail a couple of times before getting it right, and never giving up is an amazing quality to have.
  • Millennials are the 1st generation that’s not going to bend “our way.”
    What can I say? This is very true. The previous generations have a way of doing things so when they have a new hire, they want to “mold” them into whatever it is that they want. However, I believe Millennials are not very moldable, our clay is dry. I don’t think it’s because we are rebellious or entitled or lazy, I just think we have opinions on how things should be. For us, a job is not life, we have to be able to work somewhere we can be heard and appreciated. This might come off as being entitled but I do wish that senior management can just listen more and be open to new things. If they at least listen, they can say, great we hear you but i think we should do this, but if they just shut us down, we feel useless and unhappy and might end up switching jobs or starting our own thing where we can make a difference. And no it’s not that we don’t want to pay our dues, we’ll work our ass off wherever we feel appreciated. Life’s too short.
  • Stereotypes
    Oh the stereotypes… there are so many of them. Some are true, some are not but at the end, you can’t look at 1.7 billion people and tell them: Yo, you’re lazy or yo, you’re entitled or smart. There’s mathematically no way that all those people have THE SAME traits. So the bottom line is, people need to stop making generalizations about Millennials. Millennials are individuals, they’re not all entitled and not all smart, but they’re individuals. Just like any other generation.


Just because the event ended doesn’t mean we have to stop talking about this. You can check out last night’s discussion here #MyGenerationMBF . Let’s keep this conversation going, and feel free to share your opinion even if you think we won’t like it. Like Terrill from Fm Ads said yesterday: Criticism is free advice.



4 thoughts on “Don’t Generalize My Generation (MBF Event Recap)

  1. Your fourth point is why I find it so difficult to find a 9-5 and hope to never have to unless it’s with an agency. Even when I did work a 9-5 it was like pulling teeth. I never enjoyed not having the freedom to figure out my own way to solve problems. It was always do it this way because your way is wrong. Finding a boss that isn’t bureaucratic is extremely difficult at least in my experience with jobs. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for a boss that’s invested in my growth just as much as he/she is in the company.

    • Alex, I hear you.
      There are very few bosses out there who really understand the concept of “leadership”. Leadership is not telling people what to do—that’s micromanaging—Leadership is challenging your employees by presenting them with a problem and let them solve it however they want. This stands very true for advertising and creatives especially. You can’t tell someone how to solve a problem because it’s very subjective; there are millions of ways to solving one problem and if these bosses are any smart, they will realize that since we don’t have that much experience, our brains are still fresh which means we come up with fresh and unexpected ideas. And that is the end goal of advertising…

      So yes, to my point, some bosses suck and are not open to “new” things. My advice is to move on, it’s so not worth it. If you stay in a bad place long enough, you end up learning bad things and that’s gonna affect your career later on. Definitely speak up (we all should, this is our time) and if that doesn’t work, move on. Don’t settle.

      • Very true. It’s scary but I’m definitely learning not to spend too much time at jobs that suck the life out of me or compromise my values.

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