Millennials get a lot of flack. Both the economy and workplaces have changed since Baby Boomers and Generation X came of age and, sometimes, previous generations blame these shifts on the millennial generation.
Indeed, millennials have been blamed for everything from the end of the 9-to-5 workweek to decreases in homeownership to fizzled interest in cruise vacations. Lately, though, millennials — and those in their corner — have fought back against the laundry list of allegations against them. Namely, they have realized that this generation of workers is at a serious disadvantage, in spite of having higher education levels than their Baby Boomer counterparts. As it turns out, millennials make 20 percent less than Boomers did at their age.
Even while living with less, millennials can still thrive in today’s changing landscape. They’ve already proven themselves to be smart and adaptable, after all. And they’re making their mark in other avenues, showing that money isn’t everything when it comes to success. Here’s how millennials are making the most of their lives, regardless of the number on their paychecks:
The Revolutionized Workplace
Maybe they’re not making as much money as the Boomers and Gen X’ers who preceded them. However, millennials have found ways to make the workplace work for them, thus making their lives better.
For starters, millennials have been blamed for killing the 9-to-5 workweek, as previously mentioned. But this comes with a slew of benefits for them. Sure, they might not rake in as much cash at the end of the month, but millennials have made remote and flexible working environments the norm. Even major companies like Yahoo have begun allowing their staff to work from home, cutting down on commuting and time away from their families. Just giving staffers this option makes them feel valuable in their jobs — knowing they’re trusted to work remotely gives millennial workers that much more of a boost.
On top of that, this generation of workers have flooded the tech industry and have pushed businesses forward in their use of new devices and apps. Millennials are more productive and creative with the right resources.
Millennials Take Charge of Their Health
Sometimes, thriving happens outside of the workplace — this is especially true for millennials. Studies have found that this generation takes charge of their health more than their parents and grandparents did. Plus, because they must pay so much for insurance — and because they get paid less — they do their research. They figure out which policy will cover them and their needs, and they use the healthcare benefits provided.
To that end, millennials have cracked open the conversation on mental health. This generation does face anxiety and depression, some of it stemming from the prevalence of social media and the internet. Logging on and seeing seemingly perfect lives is proven to cause stress. However, it’s becoming easier than ever for people to talk about their mental health issues.
Millennials are More Entrepreneurial Than Previous Generations
You might hear older generations say that millennials make less because they’re lazy. This is plain false. Aside from the fact that they’re paid less than their Boomer and Generation X counterparts, millennials have taken on unique career paths that pay less — at least, for now.
Perhaps the best example of this is the fact that millennials have shown a greater desire than previous generations to start their own businesses. The study found that young workers trusted themselves to be their own bosses more than anyone else. Founding a business, they thought, would help them secure their financial futures.
New business does more good than just provide millennials with work about which they feel passionate. With diverse services and products appearing, it stokes innovation and creativity in other businesses. This benefit serves to improve the entire professional community.
So, millennials who have started their own companies might not be making a ton of money yet. But their innovative ideas will reshape the professional landscape, which could pay dividends down the line. Plus, they’re happier working for themselves and doing what they want — previous generations might not feel the same way in their 9-to-5s.
A Balanced Family Life
Many millennials do not make work the main focus of their lives. Instead, they try hard to strike a balance between their personal and professional obligations. This quality particularly applies to millennial parents, who have made it clear that they thrive in their roles as moms or dads.
Like most others who become parents, millennials have noted that their mindsets have shifted once they welcomed a child. They put their children’s successes before their own, which has set up these little ones — known as Generation Alpha — for bright futures. Nevertheless, millennials have bucked some of their parents’ traditions. No longer is one parent staying home while the other works. On the other hand, millennial fathers tend to be more involved than their predecessors. And, even without a hefty paycheck compared to their older counterparts, this generation does all they can to give their kids everything they need. In short, they thrive and so do their families.
Millennials could extend this generosity and care to older family members, too. Children re-teach them the importance of close-knit family ties, which could apply to aging parents or grandparents, too. Namely, this generation can funnel their funds into caring for an elderly relative who needs care. The right nursing home would monitor medications, serve food and provide gentle care when family members are unable to do so round-the-clock.
It’s Just the Beginning
Ultimately, the millennials outlook is hopeful. Some are just beginning their careers. There is still plenty of time to catch up to — or earn more than — their Gen X and Boomer counterparts. But millennials have already cracked the most critical part of the code. Millennials know how to thrive with or without a huge paycheck, and that makes life sweet for them and the families they will one day raise.