I know what you’re thinking:
Oh, here we go. Millennials talking about themselves again.
The concept for Gen Me sprang from a discussion about the stereotypes that plague the millennial generation (those born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s). We are well aware what older people say about us: We’re lazy; we’re narcissistic; we’re entitled. We’ve never worked a day in our lives, and we can’t function without our cell phones.
These stereotypes have a degree of truth to them, and the purpose of this magazine is not to pretend otherwise. We know evolving technology has made our lives easier, and hard work isn’t as physical as it used to be. If my cell phone is dead, I get a little anxious about being cut off from the world—even when I know the texts I’m missing are nothing crucial. (In this issue, one of our brave writers attempted a weekend without cell phones and Internet technology; read about her experience on page 40.)
Every generation believes the one after them is the worst thing to happen to humanity, and we know it’s our turn to be the bad guys. We’ll feel the same way about the next generation, and it likely won’t be true then, either.
But these stereotypes permeate the popular dialogue about our generation, and they aren’t all accurate. Does the myriad of selfies fired into the web come across as a little self-centered? Yes. (Check out our story about selfies on page 34.) Are some young people reluctant to start at the bottom and work their way up the corporate ladder? Probably. But these stereotypes ignore the scores of ambitious, goal-oriented, hard-working millennials trying to find their place in a world full of problems they didn’t create.
We have our downfalls, but millennials are not the only users of technology. We don’t create all of the world’s pollution, we can’t control the job market, and we are not the only offenders of social media overshare. (For a comparison of the different generations’ use of social media, read “Facebook Family Tree” on page 36.) We may be called the “me generation,” but these stereotypes are a reflection of everyone.
The trends these stereotypes identify are cultural, not just generational. Whether they are true or not, we’re in this together. That’s why we like to say Gen Me = Gen We.
And just for the record—some of us have used floppy disks.