Explaining Millennials To Scott Mitchell & Tom Brady
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and KSL Sports’ own Scott Mitchell have something in common, other than the obvious fact that they have both spent time as NFL quarterbacks. Neither of them understands millennials.
Tom Brady expressed his misunderstanding on Twitter when a fan tweeted that he would do anything, including giving up straws (something millennials have done), to have a football shatter his face.
Brady responded to the tweet, very confused, wondering if it was just something millennials say.
I am Scott Mitchell’s producer on the Helmets Off Podcast and a proud millennial. When I saw Tom Brady’s tweet, it reminded me of Scott’s near-weekly musings about millennials and why he doesn’t understand them. I asked him to sit down and record his thoughts for an episode.
Generational battles and stereotypes have been around for a lot longer than millennials have, but sometimes it feels like those of us born between 1981 and 1999 get the worst, especially from the prior generations.
Hopefully I can give some explanation to the stereotypes about us in hopes that you will be a little more open-minded to those of us in Generation Y.
“These are just my opinions and observations of millennials,” Mitchell added a disclaimer at the beginning of the episode.
No Vacation (No Money)
The first thing Mitchell can’t wrap his head around about millennials is why we don’t take “traditional vacations.”
He explained that he lives for vacations that have become traditions – like a fishing lodge in Northern Canada, or a boat trip off the coast of Cuba. Nevermind that the vacations of a former 12-year NFL quarterback may be a bit different from your Average Joe, but he didn’t understand why the younger generation can’t get away from work more often.
Mitchell described a conversation he had with the owner of the fishing lodge about how he can’t reach millennials. The owner told him no millennials want to come to his lodge.
Why, he wondered?
I have a simple explanation for millennials here. We are broke. We would love to go to Canada or Cuba. Most of us simply can’t afford it. We’re too busy figuring out how to pay rent or a mortgage.
The Pew Research Center calls the financial well-being on millennials “complicated.” While millennials tend to be better educated than previous generations, we also tend to have more outstanding student debt.
For reference, in 1985 the average tuition price for a 4-year university was $2,567, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. The average tuition price in 2006 was $10,913, according to the same chart.
While I would love to take extravagant vacations, I must first pay off my education and hopefully, eventually save enough money for a down payment on a house.
But, I don’t ever feel like I am missing out, because while I may not go stay in a lodge in Canada – I do take trips and time away from work. In fact, over Memorial Day Weekend I went on a camping trip to see some amazing desert canyons in Southern Utah. It’s much cheaper than a week-long fishing trip, and in my opinion, just as great of an experience.
No Hope For The Future (Climate Change)
On the podcast, Mitchell observed that millennials are not really hopeful about the future. He wondered if it has to do with the angst and hatred being experienced in the United States and around the world right now.
Well, I can’t speak for all millennials, but I can speak for myself and my deskmate, Josh (also a millennial). We agree that it’s hard to have hope for the future when the United Nations wrote that the impacts of climate change we are currently experiencing are “unprecedented in scale.”
The well being of our planet is a major concern for us and maybe to older generations our consistent advocacy for practices, like reducing carbon emissions and reducing the trash in landfills, seems like complaining or hopelessness, but without advocacy and awareness change will never happen.
Even if you don’t believe in climate change, millennials do. They’re the most likely generation to see it as a problem, according to Pew’s Social Trends report in January 2019.
So my advice to people who see it as complaining? Flip your mindset and realize we are just trying to make a positive impact so that we have clean oceans and clean air to breathe throughout our life and our children’s lives.
It’s not just about the climate, either. Millennials are concerned about making the wrong decisions, how they’re going to support themselves financially – and according to Forbes, they’re the generation most worried about how to pay for retirement.
Non-Commital (Lots of Options)
The thing that grinds Mitchell’s gears the most about millennials? He thinks it is impossible to get them to commit to a plan.
This opinion comes from the time he spent as a leader in a singles ward at Brigham Young University. He said it was nearly impossible to get anyone to commit to the activities they planned.
Well, we have a lot of options when it comes to how we spend our time and not to be harsh, but maybe we don’t want to participate in activities that older generations have planned for us. We want to make our own plans.
Additionally, social media can be vilified and believe me, I think there are a lot of major societal problems being created by social media. However, it enables us to find niche groups of people or activities that we are hyper-interested in.
We have so many options, so we can get specific about how we want to spend our time. Maybe that is part of the reason it is hard to get us to commit. We like to keep our options open.
Despite our generational differences (and sometimes disagreements), Scott and I are a great team and great friends. I appreciate the conversations we have because they help both of us open our minds a bit more.
Listen to the full episode about millennials on Helmets Off below.