By Ella Corey
I spent the summer of 2013 interning in Suwon, South Korea. I went knowing absolutely no Korean, had no background of the culture, and wasn’t even familiar with the food. A complete foreigner, I landed at Incheon International expecting to feel isolated, homesick and afraid. And at first I was. But then things began to change. Surprisingly, my experience was the complete opposite. Never have I felt more welcomed, loved and accepted.
While in Korea, every person I met either spoke English or apologized for not speaking it well. This shocked me. I was in their country, so why were they trying to accustom to my needs?
My expectations were reasonable. If you don’t speak English in the United States, people won’t speak to you. Whether we’re aware of it or not, the millennial generation has a new sense of entitlement that hasn’t been seen before. We like to act as if we’re a nation of diversity, but in reality we reject so many things that oppose our cultural norms.
The reason may be due in part to social media. Think about it. Social media boosts self-confidence. Every “selfie” posted or tweet about what you’re doing comes with the assumption that people are interested in you, when sometimes it’s just you that is interested in you. Why else post it if no one’s going to read it? Seventy-five percent of millennials profile themselves online. Self-confidence certainly isn’t wrong, but it goes too far when it turns into entitlement.
It is this entitlement that then pushes resistance to diversity. Many of you remember Coca Cola’s Super Bowl XLVIII commercial aired earlier this year, titled “America is Beautiful.” It was a strikingly creative ad that promoted the variety of cultures we have here in the United States. The hate it received on social media, however, was vicious. People responded with things like, “We speak ENGLISH here, IDIOTS” and “I will never drink a Coke product again.”
Millennials can really be the only ones to blame for this upsetting reaction. We are the generation of social media, therefore we are responsible for these comments. The number one stereotype about millennials in the workplace is that they’re too entitled. Something needs to change.
In Romans 12:3 Paul tells us to “not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.” In fact, there are countless verses found in the Bible about humility. Once the Christian millennial generation can grasp this, employers will notice something different about us, and that’s when we can start impacting the workplace.
And, for what it’s worth, if you can get away to another culture either to see the world as another sees it, your paradigm will begin to change and you’re eyes will open to the breadth of God’s people, each one created in his image. And each one loved immensely by Him.