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As a generation, our millennial children have been the target of name calling: Generation Me, trophy kids, entitled, spoiled, technology addicted, even deluded narcissists. Many of those barbs came from academics and cultural critics.
Now humorists have joined in mocking this generation. In its fall premiere, Saturday Night Live ran a sketch about a fake Fox TV “workplace drama,” called The Millennials about “beautiful 20-somethings trying to find the success they are entitled to.” Miley Cyrus, in a whiny voice, poked fun at millennials' attachment to their phones, gender-neutral romances, and expectations of instant promotion.
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SNL joins the growing ranks of Gen Y satires. A few months ago, two comedy writers launched a spoof of millennials, playing off the popular Instagram Humans of New York with its street portraits and interviews. Millennials of New York is decidedly not real, rather a parody of their self-centered lives. One fake profile read: “For months I was utterly miserable. I was going to therapy three times a week and actually listed ‘crying’ as one of my hobbies on Tinder.” The posts hit so close to home that some readers take them at their word rather than as satire.
The SNL and Instagram parodies reflect that millennials are no longer just kids. They’re the largest generation in the workforce so many Gen Xers and some boomers who didn’t previously have daily encounters now find them in the next cubicle wondering — as SNL spoofed — where to find the nap room.
A CBS news program show asked “What’s the Matter With Kids Today?” The short answer: Because of the way millennials were raised (blame the parents again), they feel entitled to higher wages and quick promotions. Yet, many don’t necessarily believe they should have to work hard to achieve those goals.
The 53.5 million millennials now comprise one-third of the workforce, more than any other generation. And often they bring with them the expectation that their way of doing business is simply the better way. Just one example from Fortune magazine: Some millennials complain that older workers continue to use email (how last century) when Slack, a real-time group messaging system, is so much more efficient. As more millennials get jobs, the workplace culture clash will heighten, giving comedy writers lots to work with. Stay tuned!
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