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Millennials on the Scene

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First were the Baby Boomers, whose sheer numbers immediately molded life after World War II. Then came the Gen X-ers, who often get characterized by their skepticism and pessimistic views of the future. Now on the scene are the Millennials, the next generation to come of age and enter the workforce.

The nickname refers to individuals born roughly between 1980 and 1995, although different media sources and different countries vary the dates to some extent. Synonymous labels have included: Echo Boomers, Generation Y, the Internet Generation, and the Nintendo Generation. However, rather than accept a title so similar to their forebears, the teens and twenty-somethings prefer the distinctive "Millennials." And this vocal and independent generation possesses qualities that set them well apart from their predecessors.

The 1980s demarcate a period of great change, the time when the first Millennials were born into the world. Just think: In the United States, much of Europe, and elsewhere, the children of the 80s and 90s were raised on 24-hour cable TV, VCRs, Nintendo, home computers, and even the Internet. Many have never known the bogeyman that was communism, nor the threat of nuclear Armageddon just a madman's button push away. And as children, parents packed them off to extracurricular activities several days a week like soccer and piano and scouts, told them they were winners, and were always very, very special.

How do these great global changes translate into characteristics that define this new generation? How does a seemingly more privileged upbringing similarly affect their opinions and habits? On the positive side, Millennials are extremely tech savvy. To place this into perspective, thirtysomethings and above have had to learn all the gizmos the younger generation takes for granted. After all, high-tech gadgets have surrounded them since day one. They also tend to be enormously creative and resourceful, perhaps because of all the experiences parents foisted on them as a means to produce well-rounded over-achievers.

However, on the negative side, Millennials are a generation that views themselves to be supremely important. They aren't content to toe the line at work, and aren't married to the job. Traditional expectations of responsibilities in the workplace no longer prove true. Many have expectations that bosses will make concessions and schedule around personal lives, or that mom will be able to negotiate job offers, responsibilities, or even grades. (Bosses and university professors have reported stories of phone calls from mothers on behalf of their Millennial children, making requests or demands, and even attending job interviews!)

Of course, these positives and negatives are only the oft-toted stereotyped views, and don't always apply to everyone under the age of thirty. What's more, as the Millennials gain more experience in the workplace, these self-centered habits will likely change. Yet their presence can't be ignored, and their views and expectations will influence and rewrite much of how the world works in the future.


Step 1: You will listen to an article about Millennials, a term referring to the generation born after 1980. The article is a little more than 4 minutes long. Listen only, and don't worry about understanding everything.
Step 2: Read and understand the questions, then listen again. As you are listening, try to answer the questions in your head. Don't write the answers yet. Next, listen again and write the answers this time. Check your answers with a partner.
Step 3: Read the article. Check in your dictionary any unknown words. Now listen again. Can you understand more?
Step 4: Listen! Listen! Listen! Listen to the article on the train or in your free time. Each time you listen, you will slowly improve!

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