Millennials. Even though there are no precise dates for when our generation starts or ends, it seems like everyone is talking about us. Not only talking, measuring our attributes became very popular as well. We are known for our achieving personalities, weird workplace attitudes and our virtual identities.
Who are we and what do we want?
We are called the worst generation ever, because we are spoiled, selfish, we are consuming like crazy, we are disrespectful and have absolutely no social skills. Thank you for the compliment, much appreciated.
When it comes to workplace, research shows we want some things that might be slightly different: we want coaching and mentorship, we want to grow, and we tend to raise our voice when we have an opinion on something. The truth is, people have never been measured as much as we are now. Survey here, personality assessment there, big data everywhere. And I am wondering – researchers did point out the great diversity among us, but we are still all falling in the same basket when it comes to workplace behavior. Why are we perceived as if we were all the same? And why did research findings turn into stereotypes?
Let me tell you why: Because it’s easier to belittle than to guide. And because when things get viral, they become a matter of everyone.
Why we don’t match?
Well, hello from the other side. Not very original intro, nevertheless I’m a Millennial. Yes, I am, and my generation sucks. Not necessarily because of people in it, but because how these people are perceived. Our generation is constantly called lazy, narcissistic, egoistic and we are the ones who will most probably ruin your business.
In my humble opinion, people are just looking to the wrong group of Millennials. It happens because it is easier to make fun of a group of people rather than take a look at their peers and feel inspired. Feeling inspired means bringing change in your everyday routine, it means that your skillset and mindset will be tested and you will maybe even feel intimidated. So, yes, keep looking at the spoiled know-it-all part of our generation. Like yours didn’t have that kind of people.
In fact, I do not know many Millennials whose parents pay for everything, who feed on Facebook likes, who’s job title is Instagrammer and whose permanent address is clothes department. They are just more visible, because the other part of Millennials are busy working to support themselves during studies, putting up with pressure of society, travelling the world and finding purpose in life. On top of that they are probably taking a zillion of extra courses and reading like crazy to be concurrent in the grown ups world.
So, If you have bad experience with Millennials in the workplace, the problem might be solved with hiring the right ones.
Giving “us” a bad name is not good for anyone. Not everyone deserves that. I want to be proud to be a Millennial, to be a part of generation of natural marketers, full of ideas and great levels of aspirations. But unfortunately the world doesn’t see us that way. Moreover, it makes us question ourselves. Am I really so bad in the workplace?
We developed so many tools for talent recognition and we are still researching how Millennials are bringing us down? I thought science thrived to something bigger than that.
Making emphasis on lazy Millennials is prohibiting the good ones to shine. I imagine it is difficult to take responsibility and guide a person through their first employment. It is a great responsibility not everyone can take. And rare are those who can execute it correctly. But in the end of the day, it is your responsibility to accept Millennials in the labour market, and guide them.
I am more than sure that if the same studies were done 30 or 50 years ago, even Baby Boomers, Gen Y and Gen X would be recognized as people with lack of integrity, character and honesty. How would you like that? I am sure every generation had that kind of people, they just weren’t recognized and pointed out. And proven by science.
There is a thing though. People do grow up. The classmate from middle school who couldn’t get a positive grade in maths is doing just fine now. So is the spoiled rich girl with a duckface you met a few years ago in the bar. In the end, majority of people turn out just fine. But just fine is not enough for taking your business to the stars. If we continue putting emphasis on Millennials as we know it, we will not get anywhere. There is a whole other generation of Millennials out there, but we are just afraid to look. It’s easier not to be challenged. My proposition – stop conducting studies on spoiled ones and making conclusions on how they are going to ruin your business. They are not there yet, they are not ready to work and contribute to the society. Take a look at the other ones, the ones who might potentially empower your business. The ones who are eager to learn from you, take the mindset that they have and conquer the world.
There is no doubt our generation is different, but its diversity is everything else but frightening. If we could just stop making assumptions and generalizations, our world would be a much greater place. At one point, every company will need Millennials. Strive for the ones with growth mindset, the ones who are punctual and precise, who have strong communication skills and are remarkably quick learners. They are many of them, they are just humble and take authority so seriously, that they come second. They will approach the employer later, after they probably already had an experience with the self-centered Millennials.
Where are we going?
We should not forget old wisdom, like the one saying it takes a village to raise a child. Recently, some people finally figured out we might not be so bad (Thank you Inc.) and some research even proposes how to deal with us. But still, we have a bad reputation. All of us. It takes courage out of young people who believed and worked hard towards doing something important. They invested a lot, just so that now they can be called Millennials and be perceived as lazy and dumb.
Not everyone is the same, but putting people in the boxes is quite popular I’m afraid. If we could only take advantage of the diversity our generation is offering, the world would be a much better place.