"Personal branding", "lifestyle coaches", and "entrepreneurs" flood the ranks of the growing millennial workforce. It's in style this season to run your own business before the age of twenty-five, but do millennials actually have what it takes? If we're using the information taught in every basic high school economics class, then no, we don't (at least not if we're under the age of thirty).
The notion that a student can graduate and immediately enter the job market as an independent proprietor is a fantastic theory, but you need to find a hole in the market, and what most millennial entrepreneurs are offering comes in the form of commodifying the self. In other words, what are millennials even selling?
This can't be translating well to the job market, and there's evidence to back up that claim. Statistics reported by Time in 2013 support the notion that millennials are overconfident when it comes to job searching. Millennials are overwhelmingly inwardly focused during interviews according to Forbes' 2016 article, and Gallup reports that Millennials have a job-hopping problem. In other words, Millennials want a lot of reward for a little bit of effort, which more or less is the definition of entitlement.
But is it all millennials? Probably not. There are millennials who work and many of them have to. But, that's where the problem comes in. The New York Times claims lower class children have a much harder time navigating higher education and the bureaucracy of the workforce.
Through no fault of their own, they're exposed to less extracurricular activity, which doesn't translate to college. Once poor and working class students make it to college, they're five times less likely to graduate. Students whose family income lies in the second quartile only have a 50% chance at completing their bachelor's degree, and students who have less are even less likely to finish a degree.
Working class people are also more likely to be empathetic and to care about what they can do for others. Perhaps, in a world where businesses are complaining that Millennials are too self-centered, this would be a good thing, but if working class kids can't finish school then they're not entering the professional workforce. Wealthy teens are much more likely to be able to grab jobs than low-income teens because of their access to better education, experience, and transportation.
All of this goes back to the concept of the "personal brand". The Millennials who are taking part in this are the ones who are able to pay three hundred plus an hour for a "brand coach" who will tell them who they are, what they do, and how to project this creation as their innate personality.
It's robotic, it's insincere, and in a job environment where the number one complaint is that millennials can't write, it's unattainable for lower income students to even think about pursuing such a menial endeavor.
Millennials are entitled, but they're no more entitled than the boomers and Xers of their income level. Millennials were taught to be exactly how their parents were. If a child grows up expecting the moon but he's handed a broom and told "get to work", he's going to cry, scream and pout. The true problem is wealth and the entitlement that it fosters.
The wealthy shape the job market and the only way to fix this entitlement is to give the poor and the low-income a fighting chance. Fund college, start scholarship funds and community grants and start programs to encourage low-income students to enter the workforce. Start trade schools and start paying kids for internships (low-income students often can't afford to not get paid for their time), and stop acting as if wealth and greed didn't create this problem.
Before you go calling all Millennials entitled, think: is it all of them? Or is there a pattern? Because its right there in front of us, we just didn't notice.