Will Economic Downturn Prove a Reality Check to Millennials?

Nothing Says 'You're Not So Special' Like a Round of Layoffs

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Blogging at Social Honeycomb, Amanda Gravel -- a self-confessed Millennial -- wonders how the current economic situation will affect her starry-eyed demographic.

This recession, these hard times -- it's a first for us, and these days will inarguably force Millennials to change the way we think about the world around us. Gone are the days of expecting gold stars for doing our best. Make no mistake, we get it. ... It will be interesting to see how the hits we take today will affect the Millennial generation's outlook and experiences in the future. I wonder, too, if perceptions of our generation will change as we work hard to adapt and navigate these hard times. Will the kids who were told they could do anything change their tune after going through a major recession?
No one likes picking on Millennials more than I do (excuse me while I go rough up the ones in our office ... OK, I'm back), but I'll attempt to answer Gravel's questions. Yes. Millennials will change and perceptions about them will change. Before long, you -- like us -- will just be another American worker doing your best, and one day you'll find yourselves complaining about those annoying little upstarts entering the job ranks. Don't let those lazy trend pieces fool you into thinking you're that much different. Every generation gets its "Oh no! How are are they going to take over the work force?!?" cover article. (It's just that the rest of us didn't have our parents calling up the editors asking for run dates.)

That's not to make light of generational difference, but I do think they're overhyped. I think the biggest generational shift is a broad one that includes the older half of boomers and Great Generation'ers, who thought they'd work at one company for their entire lives and that the company would take care of them, and the rest of us.

Sure, we Gen X'ers are known to be cynical and distrusting, but we showed up the first day of work full of vim, vigor, optimism and fear (we just kept ours on the inside). And, like many generations ahead of us, we had it beaten out of us over time! The same will happen to you. It doesn't hurt. That much.