Introducing OB’s new Web Editor

01.03.14 Thumbnail MillenialsBY JESSICA RIDGWAY | OB WEB EDITOR

Introducing Jessica Ridgway, Oregon Business’ new web editor. Ridgway will report on a variety of millennial issues.

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01.03.14 Blog MillenialsBY JESSICA RIDGWAY | OB WEB EDITOR

In a Time magazine article published last spring, “Millennials: The Me Me Me Generation,” reporter Joel Stein described those younger than himself as “lazy, entitled, selfish and shallow.” 

As a 23-year-old millennial myself — those born roughly between the early 1980s to the mid-1990s — I was pretty offended reading this. But Stein backs up his insults with some hard evidence.

According to the National Institutes of Health, narcissistic personality disorder is nearly three times as high for people in their 20s compared to the generation of people 65 or older. Stein referenced a recent study reporting that 40% of millennials “believe they should be promoted every two years, regardless of performance.”

Other media critics share Stein’s views. A few years ago, CBS News described my generation as being “raised by doting parents who told them they are special.” And sure, while I was growing up, I received trophies for losing and awards for participating, but I’m not part of the entitled 40% in the workplace and I’m not a narcissist.

I am the new web editor for Oregon Business and here’s my millennial story.

I grew up in Anchorage, Alaska. After four glorious years at the University of Oregon (Go Ducks!) I obtained my Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. Unable to immediately land a job in Eugene, I did what most grads dread — I moved in with my parents, just like the 45% of college graduates who moved home after graduation in 2012.

At the time, Anchorage’s job market was flourishing, but what’s a recent graduate with a print degree to do in a state with zero growth in the media industry? Here I was, part of the 60% of college graduates unable to find work in their chosen field.

Fortunately, after a few months of scouring for work, I was hired by Alaska’s KTUU Channel 2 News as a Digital Content Producer and quickly took on Associate Producer roles for Alaska’s highest-rated morning show. My job was stable, but after an entire year of overnight shifts in television news, my heart yearned for tangible media. So I quit my job and became yet another statistic: the 60% percent of millennials who leave a company in less than three years.

Not all 80 million millennials, also known as “Generation Y,” have been as lucky as I in their quest for a full-time job. According to Entrepreneur Magazine, only 63% of young adults were gainfully employed in 2012. And while the Pew Research Center reported a record number of 25-to-29-year-olds in the United States had obtained their bachelor’s degree in 2012, a survey by Braun Research found that 66% of hiring managers found college grads too inexperienced.

Critics, and criticism, notwithstanding, not everyone is skeptical of my generation’s potential. Pew Research described millennials as “confident, self-expressive, liberal, upbeat and open to change.” Bruce Tulgan, author of Not Everyone Gets a Trophy, said the millennial generation has the potential to be “the most high-performing workforce in history.” The Wall Street Journal described us as “tech-savvy, racially diverse, socially interconnected and collaborative” in the workplace. My generation is also considered the “future of the Internet-connected world.

Perhaps there is hope for us after all.

As OB’s new web editor, I will be reporting on millennials in the workplace: the challenges and opportunities we face navigating an uncertain economy and job market, along with rapidly changing technologies and emerging environmental crises.

I’d love to hear from you — whether it’s sharing your own millennial story or suggesting people, places and ideas for me to cover. Comment below or send me an e-mail. Thanks! BD2F2273