What happened when I tried to take the “Millennial Pledge” 

Humorist and Los Angeles Times columnist Chris Erskine’s so-called “Millennial Pledge” drew criticism from all corners of the Internet. Beyond the backlash, Steve Kovach, deputy editor, Tech Insider said it best:

As a Millennial who once rejected the label, Erskine’s Millennial Pledge provided a means to reflect on ways I either validate or transcend the stigmas and stereotypes of American’s second-youngest generation (Oh yeah; Gen Z is right behind us). Below, I’ve used a few excerpts from the Pledge to assess my own success and shortcomings as a Millennial.

  1. I am entitled to nothing: My working-class roots provide me with a constant sense of humility. However, I do admit the need to keep my privilege in check — just like every other generation.
  2. I will show up on time: For me, the iPhone couldn’t be further from my “personal assistant” no matter what Apple advertising claims of Siri. Between social networks, email, and the constant stream of news, I’m admittedly driven to micro-moments of distraction that typically add up to minutes of unaccounted time. My sincere apologies in advance.
  3. Just once, I will try driving without texting: I wish Apple’s iMessages had a similar function as Blackberry’s BBM — the ability to set an away message.
  4. Just once, I will try eating without texting: FOMO — the fear of missing out — contributes to my use of mobile devices during dinner. It’s definitely a habit worth breaking.
  5. I will not burn bridges: Reputation — regardless of technology — will always remain what people say about others; not what people say about themselves. Therefore, this one is pretty important and the chance of burning bridges only increases with the number of ways to either engage or disengage. Choose wisely.
  6. I will pen at least one thank-you note, using what’s left of my cursive: Most people claim they can’t read my cursive. I’ve slowly turned into my Dad and reverted to all-caps. Fortunately, all-caps in handwriting isn’t the same as all-caps in texting; no, I’m not always angry.
  7. I will be resourceful, creative and authentic: Resourceful doesn’t always require a Kickstarter. Creativity isn’t always an Instagram filter. And authenticity is as much about what we don’t say as it is about what we do say. Reticence is a virtue to be embraced.
  8. I will vote. Always.: Better candidates please? Especially at the local level.
  9. I will learn to pick my battles: Ask yourself, what good can come of this?
  10. When I don’t get my way, I will learn to roll with it: Sometimes, it’s just how the sausage gets made.
  11. I will not go on a job interview in shorts and flip-flops: Well, in the words of a fellow Millennial, “I’m chronically overdressed.”
  12. Nothing is beneath me: A vice president in higher education — most likely a Baby Boomer — once pointed to a large stack of envelopes and said to me, “That’s not something a vice president should do, right?” Doesn’t entitlement exist everywhere?
  13. If my first-born is a boy, I promise not to name him Uber: Really?
  14. I will not use crowd-funding to pay for my first car: According to Edmunds, Millennials don’t buy cars. They lease.
  15. At holiday dinners, I will leave my phone in my room: If I’m honest with myself, I’m not making a secret, sentimental video like the one in that Apple commercial.
  16. All those T-shirts? I will wash them: See number 11.
  17. I will not run up my credit cards: To be fair, aren’t marketers constantly selling to us?
  18. I will save 10 percent of everything I earn: See above and number 11.
  19. I will force myself to finally make a phone call: Personally, I am constantly on the phone. And I learned that one from my Baby Boomer boss.
  20. When I get my way, I will be grateful and not assume that I will always get my way: I promise, Mr. Erskine. We learn.
  21. I will do nice things just because: Well, there is the fact that we Millennials do more service than our parents’ generation.
  22. I will sleep each night: Millennials sleep when they can, which according to research, is often due to debt and part-time jobs.
  23. I will learn to laugh at everything, especially myself: Mr. Erskine, we’re an inherently flawed generation. We’re going to make mistakes. And with time, we do learn to laugh — even at ourselves. Yet, don’t be surprised if you don’t get the punchline.

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