Entertainment, Lifestyle

7 Lies You’ll Hear About Millennials – Matthew Fam

Millennials are not as bad as they’re made out to be. Seriously! Contributing writer Matthew Fam debunks the  7 negative traits commonly associated with this generation, and insists that this misunderstood bunch has much to be celebrated for.

#Justsaying, whenever I read articles of why Millennials are lazy, selfish, entitled, or [fill in negative trait], I’m like:

But on the inside:
There are major misconceptions out there about us, okay? And I think it’s easy for people to discount the capability, passion, drive and resilience that we have within us. It’s just expressed in different ways from generations past. Here are the 7 lies you’ll hear about Millennials:

1. We want to be mutli-hyphenated everything because we’re fickle.
We are the generation most prone to job hopping. Forbes listed that 91% of Millennials expect to stay within a job for less than three years, which translates to over 15 jobs in our entire career! Unfortunately, this gets misinterpreted as us being fickle for not being grounded in our ambitions. However, with a plethora of transferrable skills learnt, job hopping is hardly career suicide or disadvantageous, as this article will tell you.

2. We MUST have our sacrosanct weekends. (Don’t touch them!)
We’re said to demand work flexibility and leave at 6pm on the dot every day. In fact, the statistics from a study by Cisco backs this up: with 69% of Millennials believing that office attendance is unnecessary on a regular basis, heaven forbid that you touch our weekends!

Sure, we value free time and a work-life balance. But we also know how to manage our expectations to find a compromise, and don’t shy from hard work- even if it means clocking in overtime. We make those hours at the office count and work. It. Out.

Why? Because we are…

3. We expect to climb the corporate ladder at an abnormally fast pace.
Entry-level position today, CEO tomorrow. Truth be told, detractors tend to view us as entitled little brats.

This suggests that we lack the patience to gain adequate experience in a job before being handed bigger responsibilities. Yes, sometimes our inflated ambition gets the better of us, but if there’s one thing this generation must be lauded for, it’s our undying idealism. We don’t settle for mediocrity.

4. We’re selfish because we take gap years and spend our first paychecks on holidays.
Q: When does taking gap years and travelling the world become a bad thing?
A: When delaying a salaried income and not providing for your family unfairly labels you as selfish.

YOLO (you only live once), people! Besides, often times, Millennials make use of their gap year to take up internships, part-time work, or volunteer for a cause. The extra income earned from these ventures go into our vacation funds. So we’re not leeching off from parents, mm-kay? #Independence


Sorry, we do not all behave like Miley.

5. We’re reckless, and we pride bad behavior above anything else.
“Oh, that’s how the youngsters these days behave.” (While commenting on Miley Cyrus’ Wrecking Ball music video.)

First of all, it’s funny how people make assumptions on our generation’s behaviour solely based on Miley’s bare bum. Secondly, NOBODY twerks in the streets for fun or enjoys public nudity! Miley Cyrus is not our spirit animal!

6. We speak in nothing but hashtags, emojis and tumblr gifs.
Okay, fine. So we can get a weeee bit overdramatic with the way we communicate. But seriously, just because we pepper our speech with these humorous titbits doesn’t mean we have forgotten how to speak eloquently! The English Language has not been butchered, RELAX. #Itiswhatisits #Sorrynotsorry

7. We are all experts in technology.
According to a study by PayScale and Millennial Branding, online marketing and social media are reportedly the most common job skills among Millennials. However, that doesn’t mean we’re complete whizzes with technology. It’s one thing to be able to update our Twitter accounts, or make credit card payments on ASOS. But no- if you expect us to programme a phone application from scratch, then this is what we have to say:



What other misconceptions of Millennials do you know of? Share with us in the comments section below!

About the Author: Matthew Fam is a contributing writer of Material World, and has worked at Cosmopolitan Singapore as an intern and Contributing Beauty Assistant. He writes, teaches, and performs for the stage. Matthew enjoys museum visits, Singaporean Theatre, and spends too much of his undergraduate allowance on magazines. He is also a proud Millennial! Follow him on Instagram @mattjfam.

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Career, Opinions, Self-Improvement, Vanessa Tai

Coping Strategies for the 20-something Working Adult – Vanessa Tai

As working professionals, we are forced to grapple with stressful situations daily, but many a time, we feel like we haven’t quite shed our adolescent selves … the one that’s tempted to sweep everything off our desks and declare, “Screw this. I quit!” Sometimes, we may even look up in the middle of some menial task, and wonder to ourselves, “Is this all there is? Whatever happened to my life-changing, golly-gee-whiz-awesome career?” If you’ve ever felt forlorn about your job or career journey, you’ll know what I mean.

Back when my friends and I were still bright-eyed undergrads, we used to spend hours dreaming of our fabulous careers. One wanted to be a successful PR director, another wanted to be a war correspondent … and me? I fantasised of being an award-winning creative director (feel free to laugh.) However, as we all know, real life is rarely how we envision it to be. Over the five years that I have been working, I’ve gone through extreme career highs and lows, taking me to places and situations that I couldn’t even have dreamed up. And you know what? I wouldn’t have had it any other way. All these experiences have taught me many important lessons such as humility and perseverance, traits that are relevant to both work and life.

The following situations are experiences most 20-somethings would be familiar with. At times where nothing seems to be going your way, take comfort in the fact that you’re not alone. Others have gone before you and succeeded, and you’ll definitely ride through whatever crisis you’re experiencing right now.

1. Having your work thrown back at you

"Make changes AGAIN?!?!"

“Make changes AGAIN?!?!”

How to deal: Don’t take it personally. Yes, of course it sucks to have to re-do your work after slaving over it for hours, but this is to be expected, especially if you’re just starting out in the industry. But instead of grousing, make notes on the type of mistakes your boss calls you out on, and take care not to repeat them.

2. Dealing with difficult people

How to deal: Focus on the job at hand. Even if it seems like these people are out to get you, just remind yourself of the things that actually matter; for example, the fact that you truly enjoy your job scope. When you channel your energies into doing a good job, you won’t have time to worry about petty colleagues or cranky clients. However, if the situation starts getting out of hand, confide in your supervisor or a trusted colleague who will be able to help address the issue.

3. Coping with your friends’ success 

How to deal: Remind yourself, “I am not defined by my job.” With Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, there are now multiple channels to feed our insecurities about our friends’ career success. I get it –  it’s hard to feel happy about your friend’s promotion when you’re still moping around the lower rungs of the career ladder. But there’s one thing you need to remember: there is more than one way to scale the proverbial ladder. It’s not always an upward climb. There are times where you may have to do a side-step or go a couple of steps backwards only to take a great leap forward. Just concentrate on doing a good job at whatever rank you’re in, and eventually your hard work will pay off.

About The Author: Vanessa Tai is a founder of Material World who has previously worked on magazines Simply Her and Cosmopolitan Singapore. Now a freelance writer and a full-time contributor to this website, the 26-year-old dreams of attending every single major music festival before she turns 30. Follow her on Twitter @VannTaiTweets

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Career, Self-Improvement

The Assistant Diaries – Denise Li

Starting right at the bottom of the career food chain is tough – the hours are long, the work is sometimes menial, and oftentimes, you just feel overworked and underappreciated. The founders of Material World should know; all of us started our careers as editorial assistants, the entry-level position in magazine publishing. In addition to writing stories, the job scope includes a mountain-load of administrative work like getting paperwork done, filing said paperwork, lots of coordination (try getting 50 men to appear in the same place, at the same time!) and coffee runs. In fact, there was so much to do be done during office hours that we only ever got any real writing done after 6pm or on weekends.

Still, I’d go out on a limb and say that even if we could all go back in time, we wouldn’t have changed a thing about the paths we’ve taken with our careers. Along the way, we also learnt some invaluable lessons. Lessons such as …

It pays to be nice.


“Lots of people think “networking” is a dirty word, but it’s not. Networking is really all about building your resources so you can call on these resources in time of need. You are, after all, but one link in a huge and interconnected chain, and it’s important to make contacts wherever you go because you never know how useful these people may eventually be to you, such as being able to help you with a story or making an event happen. Don’t write someone off just because you think she has a lowly position in her company. Remember: people eventually get promoted so it always pays to be friendly. Of course, like any relationship, reciprocity is needed for it to thrive, so make sure that you remember when someone has done you a favour and make it a point to help the other person out in return.” – Vanessa Tai

It’s less about working your way up than it is about making yourself indispensable.
“Entry-level positions usually involve a lot of admin work. This work seems menial, but it’s a necessary evil in any company. Bosses usually hate doing admin themselves … but a good assistant gets all that done without causing any major drama. That’s exactly why you should start as an assistant; when you finally make it to the top, you can never be held at the mercy of a good administrator. Even the most creative job requires a huge dose of organisational skills and the ability to study the smallest detail. I never took “she’s so creative” as a compliment. To me, the best compliment anyone can give me is still “she’s super anal” – which, by the way, was how my first boss described me in my first-year assessment.” – Deborah Tan
Take things in your stride.
“Know this: you WILL screw up sometime, especially if it’s your first job. But that’s only natural. Don’t take the harsh words of your boss and superiors to heart. Instead, see setbacks as opportunities for growth and learning. Growing a thicker skin will make you more a more efficient, productive and happier person in the long term. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help. More often than not, an assistant may take on more assignments than she can manage, just so she can prove her capabilities to her boss. But the fact is, this is just a fast track to burning out. As long as you know you are trying your hardest and doing the best to your abilities, there is no shame in reaching out to a colleague. More often than out, she’ll probably willingly extend a helping hand.” – Tan Lili
Go to the toilet if you need to cry.
GreenTAG 2
“Sometimes, it’ll seem like there’s no light at the end of the tunnel. Your in-tray keeps piling up, and your to-do list never seems to shorten. Meanwhile, you might have to deal with a difficult colleague or work that’s been thrown back at you. There will be many times where you sit at your desk and feel the bitter sting of tears in your eyes but, no matter what, don’t let anyone in the office see you cry. It may sound harsh, but everyone else is probably crazy-busy too and the last thing they want is to deal with someone else’s emotional meltdown. It also leaves the impression that you just don’t have the mental toughness to do what it takes to get the job done – even if this may not be the case. Whenever you start to feel overwhelmed, take the time to get yourself together by going for a short walk. When you’re calm again, write down exactly what needs to be done and get right on it. The reason why many people at entry-level jobs feel overwhelmed is because they are disorganised so the sooner you figure out a system that works for you, the better. One ex-colleague I know is obsessed with making lists. Yet another one is an Excel wizard. Me? I just rely on good old Post-Its!” – Denise Li
 About the Author: Denise Li is a founder of Material World and a freelance writer-editor. Before that, she spent a few years in the Features section of CLEO and Cosmopolitan Singapore. She considers Chiang Mai her spiritual home and makes it a point to head there for a yearly pilgrimage. She’s also a fitness buff and enjoys boxing, running and the occasional yoga session. Lastly, she believes that everyone should make it a point to travel solo at least once in their lives.