what does millennial mean and why it doesn't matter image of 2000 rupee note and ghandi

What Is A Millennial And Why It Doesn’t Matter

When a new buzzword lands on the doormat of civilisation, we tend to jump on the bandwagon, take it as useful, and start quoting it everywhere.

And in the process, more and more meaning gets attributed to it.

Eventually it is either accepted into the Oxford English Dictionary or it gets rejected, becomes cliche (aka annoying) and disappears.

One such word was Airgonaut in the 18th century (a term for a balloonist).

Another was Affuage (if you were an affuage, you had the rights to cut wood to keep your family warm during winter – this one lasted nearly hundred years until 1847).

The millennial buzzword is another word that will disappear just as quickly as it came – if you’re reading this in 100 years, my bet is it will sound just as bizarre as “yelve” does today (a dung fork).

Who Is A Millennial Anyway?

Depending on what you read, a millennial is someone who became pubescent in the year 2000 (“a person reaching young adulthood” is the quaint version), someone born around 1984, oh, and of course, it’s original meaning – an epoch of a thousand years.

What makes a millennial different from a Ninnennial (someone who became pubescent in 1990)? – about a decade, or in the late magician, Paul Daniel’s words, not a lot.

Why Use Millennial?

Using the term millennial to describe a particular avatar can make you sound well read, or perhaps intelligent, or perhaps a zeitgeisty kind of person.

Of course, the idea, like all adjectives, is that we all get it immediately, and know what the author is talking about.

The downside is we don’t get it at all. So we do a search for it, and come up with an article like this one, by which point we have probably forgotten why we searched for it in the first place.

How Not To Use The Millennial Word

Use another word or phrase instead (see below).

For example, someone who buys brightly coloured and decorated jumpers for their family at Christmas is called “an old person” (no? – well that goes to prove just how stupid these terms are).

I guess this is why I’m ranting about labels like these.

They wrap a whole bunch of completely different people into a single entity. They’re all tarred with the same brush (what a horrible metaphor that is).

I realise that’s exactly why we invent words in the first place, but sometimes these collectives are just stupid.

If we say someone is a Nationalist, we know what it means.

But to call someone a millennial is meaningless.

And as time goes on, it becomes even more meaningless.

Still stuck for an alternative? Middle age will do nicely I think.

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Quentin Pain

Quentin Pain is an advanced business specialist, former Small Business Mentor of the Year and founder of multi-million pound British software company Accountz. He helps business owners become number 1 in their market. Quentin has been featured in The Sunday Times, The Independent, The Daily Express, The Financial Times, MoneyWeek, Metro, BBC and recently received the Enterprise Nation 2015 Top 10 Business Advisers in the UK Award.


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