Millennials: Forging Their Own Path

Nearly one of every four Rochesterians is a Millennial, someone between the ages of 18 and 34. This generation is making its presence known in the workplace. The reaction is not always positive.

News 8 assembled a panel of Millennials to discuss stereotypes about the generation.

"There's I feel no better time that I could have been born than I am in currently," said Quinisha Anderson, 31.

Our panel has heard the complaints. Some call them narcissistic.

"I've heard it called the 'me' generation, that we're more concerned with ourselves than others," said Amanda Sharpe, 30.

They also have a reputation for not staying in one job for very long.

"Certainly I tend to make a move every two years and there's a lot of questions, especially working in customer, donor relations about why have you left?" said Jason Polasek, 27.

They're also known as entitled, having allegedly been coddled by their parents.

"Yeah, maybe we weren't told 'no' a lot, but that's also a great thing because we have this infinity of where we can go with our lives," said Mandy Friend Gigliotti.  "When we're called the 'helicopter generation,' I know people do think that's negative, but I think that our motivation every day going to work is not that pension in our 60s. Our motivation is we want to live our big 'why,' figuring out what's important to us." 

Millennials clearly don't feel bound by the same rules as their parents.

"If we're not satisfied in a position or a job, we'll just make one," said Anderson.

This attitude is partly because the world has changed. 

"Rewind 30 years ago, 80 percent of Fortune 500 hundred companies were offering pensions for their employees. Fast forward to today, it's 7 percent," said Brad Flower, 27.

 "A lot of our generation is worried about, if our companies fall on rough times, then they won't hesitate in getting rid of us, so why should we hesitate in getting a better opportunity?" said Joe Sayre, 25.

"We're going to have longer life spans. We're going to be working longer, and that means some of us could have 50 to 60 year careers," said Polasek. "To stay in that field for that amount of time might not happen." 

Their outlook is also based on the fact their parents taught them they could be whatever they want to be in life.

"I think there's something to say about growing up in a time where I don't have limiting beliefs. If I want to do something, I just do it," said Gigliotti.

"Yeah, we're like the living being of you can be anything you'd like to be," said Anderson.

"I just think we're all looking for something we truly enjoy doing and something we feel comfortable doing and we'll do what we have to do to get there," said Mike Rice, 25. "That doesn't necessarily mean commitment to your first or second option for the next 20, 30 years of your life."

Despite data showing they're struggling with student debt and financial insecurity, Millennials are optimistic about the future. Every member of our panel believes they will have a better standard of living than their parents.

Millennials are determined to forge their own path.

"We're also a generation that doesn't take no for an answer," said Anderson.

"So if something isn't happening for us, we're going to make it happen," said Sharpe.

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