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They are the most threatening and exciting generation since the baby boomers brought about social revolution, not because they're trying to take over the Establishment but because they're growing up without one. They got this way partly because, in the 1970s, people wanted to improve kids' chances of success by instilling self-esteem.The Industrial Revolution made individuals far more powerful--they could move to a city, start a business, read and form organizations. It turns out that self-esteem is great for getting a job or hooking up at a bar but not so great for keeping a job or a relationship.Correction Appended: May 9, 2013I am about to do what old people have done throughout history: call those younger than me lazy, entitled, selfish and shallow. Millennials got so many participation trophies growing up that a recent study showed that 40% believe they should be promoted every two years, regardless of performance. Here's the cold, hard data: The incidence of narcissistic personality disorder is nearly three times as high for people in their 20s as for the generation that's now 65 or older, according to the National Institutes of Health; 58% more college students scored higher on a narcissism scale in 2009 than in 1982.
Though they're cocky about their place in the world, millennials are also stunted, having prolonged a life stage between teenager and adult that this magazine once called twixters and will now use once again in an attempt to get that term to catch on."It is sort of a crisis of unmet expectations."(Income Inequality: It's Not Just for Older People Anymore)What millennials are most famous for besides narcissism is its effect: entitlement.If you want to sell seminars to middle managers, make them about how to deal with young employees who e-mail the CEO directly and beg off projects they find boring. Unlike my parents, my grandparents and my great-grandparents, I have proof.They are fame-obsessed: three times as many middle school girls want to grow up to be a personal assistant to a famous person as want to be a Senator, according to a 2007 survey; four times as many would pick the assistant job over CEO of a major corporation.
When they're 14 it's no longer cute." All that self-esteem leads them to be disappointed when the world refuses to affirm how great they know they are.