“Millennials don’t know the meaning of hard work”
We have all heard it before. Whether it was in high school, University or a part-time job you absolutely hated, you have most definitely been called an internet obsessed, lazy millennial.
We have more advantages and opportunities than any other generation, so what’s our excuse for not changing the world? If we aren’t protesting for the end of sexism, racism and world poverty then are we not just ungrateful brats? Will we ever feel successful if we are constantly being told we have it too easy?
Well, the answer is yes. Yes, we can be successful and more importantly, we need to start celebrating our success.
First, however, the age-old definition of hard work being painful, tedious and unenjoyable needs to stop being enforced. Our definition of hard work is spending twelve hours typing a 10,000 word dissertation, working an unpaid internship or applying for countless graduate jobs.
Our definition of hard work may seem useless, impractical and even unrealistic to the older generations. But we are the ones changing the workplace dynamic to be more diverse in race, gender and age. Our version of hard work is different, because the world is rapidly changing.
Yet, changing the politics of the workplace has its costs. We set ourselves career goals, work to physical exhaustion and then punish ourselves for not working hard enough. But what exactly constitutes as “working hard enough”?
For many students, we only feel satisfied after pulling several all-nighters in the library so that we are so tired we can barely stay awake in the exam. Even then, we walk out of our exam feeling like a failure because we couldn’t memorise impossible amounts of information in three hours. So we study harder, sleep less, eat irregularly and push ourselves to breaking point – and they wonder why our mental health is deteriorating so rapidly.
Let me ask you another question – have you ever been told to celebrate your success? In fact, do you even know what “success” means to you? In the workplace, it might be getting a promotion and at University it may be getting a 2:1 at the end of your degree.
Although, when you achieve these goals, there is only one thought in the back of your mind – could you have done better? Maybe it’s getting an even better job, promotion, whatever. And maybe it’s wishing you had a first instead of a 2:1. So where does it end?
When our parents, bosses, uncles, grandmothers and everyone older than the age of forty – tells us that “we don’t know the meaning of hard work.” Actually, they should be saying “you don’t know the meaning of success” - because we don’t. We are taught to strive for more, achieve the impossible, take advantage of our opportunities and become the most successful generation there has ever been.
We are achieving milestones in history –and it’s time to start celebrating them.
Author: George Arkley