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The Reality Of Millennial Challenges




Labeled as entitled, selfish, and “industry killers,” millennials have a lot to answer for. Though every generation is disparaged by the last, those born between the years of 1981 and 1996 receive a special kind of hate. From nagging grandparents to sensationalized media, its been in vogue to mock millennials for almost a decade now and with no sign of slowing down, millennials now just take it in stride. After all, they have bigger problems to worry about.

Millennials Face Real Struggles, Not Fake Ones

Faced with insurmountable financial, social, political, and economic struggles, millennials have had to quickly adapt to the changing landscapes.

The typical American coming-of-age story is very different than it was 50 and 60 years ago. Young people are staying in school longer, living at home longer, and starting their own families much later than earlier generations. For older individuals who only had to work over the summer to pay for the following semester of college, the millennial practice of “delayed adulthood” can seem like just pure laziness but for there’s more to the story.

  • Over the past 15 years, student debt owed by American households tripled from $340 billion in 2001 to $1.3 trillion in 2016. Millennials start their adult lives off with default crippling debt.
  • Millennials live in a global climate where a college degree is a necessity; the unemployment rate for individuals with a Bachelor’s degree is 2.5% while those with just a high school diploma face a 4.6% unemployment rate.
  • The top majors in universities for the 1970 school year were Education and History compared to the 2015 school year where Business and Health Professions were the most popular. Millennials focus on their career path from day one.

Millennial Career Challenges Are Unlike Anything Previous Generations Have Seen

As even the youngest millennials begin to graduate college and older millennials move up the chain of corporate command, work environments are rapidly changing to fit the millennial mentality. Still, 43% of millennials expect to leave their current job within 2 years. Low loyalty levels among millennial employees do not stem from selfishness or laziness as some a quick to espouse, in fact, it’s quite the opposite. Of millennials wishing to leave their current position

  • 75% express “my company doesn’t care about innovation
  • 62% express “my company only cares about profit”
  • 47% “my company doesn’t care about societal improvement”

For individuals, almost always millennials, who dedicate their time and loan funds to a required college education, careers should be more than just financially fulfilling. Millennials thrive in work environments that not only pay the bills but environments that are also conducive to personal and societal growth. The unique millennial work ethic gives a whole new meaning to work/life balance.

Just because millennials march to the beat of their own drum, doesn’t mean their priorities are wrong; it means their priorities are different and that they are responding to different life circumstances than previous generations. Take a look at this infographic for more inside the world of a millennial, the challenges they face and overcome, and how they are succeeding in spite of the negativity and what every generation can learn from millennials.


Brian Wallace is the Founder and President of NowSourcing, an industry leading infographic design agency , based in Louisville, KY and Cincinnati, OH which works with companies that range from startups to Fortune 500s. Brian also runs #LinkedInLocal events nationwide, hosts the Next Action Podcast, and has been named a Google Small Business Advisor for 2016-present and joined the SXSW Advisory Board in 2019. Follow Brian Wallace on LinkedIn as well as Twitter.