Entitled, lazy, narcissistic and addicted to social media. Those are just some of the common complaints about millennials by their older colleagues.
Are millennials really that bad, or just misunderstood? And, fair or not, how can they overcome the negative stereotypes when trying to get a job or get ahead?
"A lot of studies show that they (millennials) are not really that different from generations before in what they want for their lives—they just have a different background," said Andrew Challenger, a vice president at Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
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But that background may give older colleagues—Gen Xers in particular—reason to worry.
Born in the 1980s and 1990s, millennials grew up in the digital age, and became fast adapters of social media and smartphones. Many older millennials entered the job market during the downturn that followed the Sept. 11 terrorist attack, and younger millennials came of age during the Great Recession.
Challenger notes that the tough job market forced many to be more aggressive in their efforts to land a job out of college, and their command of technology made them a threat to older workers who were less familiar with it.
"Millennials are hungrier and more well-educated than any generation in history, and they understand technology," said Challenger. "They are knocking at the door of people sitting in comfy positions and that's where the negativity comes from—a real place of insecurity."
Another reason Generation X feels nervous? Millennials represent a much bigger group, and one that will be the majority in the workforce soon as more enter the job market and more baby boomers reach retirement age. By 2020, an estimated 46 percent of all U.S. workers will be millennials, said consultant Lindsey Pollak, author of "Becoming the Boss: New Rules for the Next Generation of Leaders."