Here’s my little rant.
Why are people targeting Millennials!?
Ok, so recently, I’ve been looking at new putting seeking out new adventures for myself since finishing up my post-grad studies. Because I’ve been in a mode of job seeking, writing/rewriting/editing resume, looking at job seeking tips, watching/reading motivational job seeking articles and videos and keeping myself sane – I’ve come across articles and videos knocking millennials, saying how crappy this generation are in the workforce.
Heard of the whole avocado theory lately? Yes, it’s just that.
Perhaps it’s being the older part of the Gen Y spectrum, but I really disagree with a lot of how we are being classified.
#1 – Why are Millennials classified as being lazy?
Since when are millennials lazy? I don’t think I’ve ever worked with, managed, been friends with or known of many millennials whom are lazy. On the contrary, I’ve worked with baby boomers who have been lazy (and arrogant), Gen X-ers who are lazy and maybe one or two Gen Y-ers that make me think, “You’re fired for not doing your work” – but that isn’t a generation of lazy people. Millennials are not lazy: Lazy people are lazy!
I’ve interviewed and had conversations with so many young people who are willing to work hard. Yeah, I agree, sometimes the things they do don’t make sense, but that’s not due to them being a millennial. That’s due to the fact that they are young and lack experience. They haven’t navigated in the working world long enough to understand how to do certain tasks yet. All the education system teaches us are how to write essays, solve math problems and other humanities (some life skills). Unfortunately, being taught through a systematic approach doesn’t necessarily equate to a young person understanding WHY they had to learn how to write a persuasive essay when they were in Year 9 and how it relates to writing negotiation emails/proposals in their future job.
The bottom line is that so many young people want to work, but they are knocked back by lacking experience.
#2 – Millennials are a ME-ME-ME bunch who need social affirmation, that’s why they are all over social media (those little social media whores)
This is absurd. Millennials are NOT the FIRST and ONLY generation that craves social affirmation. Have you never heard of,
“Oh my god, have you seen the $15,000 bathroom I just renovated”
“Take a look at my new boat, take it out fishing every weekend. It was only $50,000”
“Oh is that what your son does, MY SON is doing medicine” (this might be slightly racially biased)
These sorts of comments are being everyday by everyone, not just millennials. The only difference is that millennials have a different platform to do this and it’s not EVERY millennial who does it.
I do notice a lot of millennials on their phones, and in to some extent I agree with what Simon Sinek is saying. I speak of my own experience of this looking-at-your-phone phenomenon and my hypothesis is that it’s only some who are feeling shy, are introverted and are not good with small talk or are people who are having a bad day and don’t want to talk to someone.
Technology is affecting everyone and it’s not only just millennials. Most of us share our photos on Facebook to show our family where we are and that we’re still alive. I have heard of people needing to curate their instagram photos to make sure that their social image is relevant and that is a problem. It’s a problem that isn’t just caused by a generation of narcissistic, self-absorbed millennials but it’s a problem because bullying and social pressures stemming from the need to be accepted socially is now so transparent, public and easily accessible.
Your bully usually “gets” you at school and you can escape when you make it home. With technology like mobiles phones and social media, your bully is still with you when you make it home and they can rally a whole mob online to hate you as well. Imagine having thousands of hateful messages, like “Go kill yourself”, from random strangers for no reason.
So imagine your parents telling you, you’re not good enough. Your friends telling you, you’re not accepted. And now have the media and “thought leaders” tell you that your entire generation is a joke and that you are lazy and incompetent.
We can’t win can we?
#3 – Millennials want everything now
Well so do you – I’ve been asked questions by non-millennials and they expect me to give them answers now, expect to be what they want me to be right now, and if I can’t live up to it, I’m fired.
Instant gratification. I was at the Melbourne Sneaker Con last weekend and I was so surprised at how many kids under 13 were there holding hundreds and wanting to spend their pocket money on a pair of $200+ sneakers. I’m sure if their parents didn’t give them that opportunity to be there and taught them what the value of items are, value of hardwork, and value of money means – they wouldn’t be there and wouldn’t NEED the shoes now.
I was actually impressed by a few parents who spent HOURS talking their kids out of buying an $800 pair of limited edition sneakers. These are the parents who teach their kids that you can’t have everything instantly. Good on them.
But many millennials that I know and have read in forums and on social media have said that they haven’t been able to afford things, let alone wanting new things today. They work little hours, have bills to pay and some go hungry. Yes, I know of people who starve themselves to save up for a Chanel bag, but that’s not everyone and it’s certainly not a trait of millennials.
#4 – Millennials want free food, bean bags and great workplaces
This is an interesting insight from Simon Sinek. I think there’s a miscommunication about this fact. Everyone knows of places like Google are the best places to work – the dynamic, comfortable playground-like working environment to nurture creative thinking to solve problems.
I mean, you ask anyone – would you prefer a “freer work life” in a colourful and interesting office or a grey cubicle like work place where your manager literally sits behind you watching everything you do and micro managing every step you take – surely anyone who prefer the former than the latter?
The underlying message in this statement is that millennials are ungrateful, unappreciative and feel “entitled” to have these sorts of privileges that our predecessors don’t have. I don’t get it. According to research by the Brotherhood of St Laurence, more than 650,000 young people are unemployed or underemployed where many are living on the border or poverty.
Not every millennial is entitled. Some are. Some have rich daddies to give them expensive cars – most don’t okay.
Some millennials are happy to have a stable job to make money, save it and buy the things we didn’t get given. (This could extend to some over-spending, which is a different topic that I will write about next time).
#5 – Millennials need good leaders
I actually agree with this, but I don’t think this is only for millennials but for everyone. Everyone needs and wants a good leader. Everyone feels more secure and more confident when they have leaders in their organisation whom they work for because one it shows us all how we should be conducting ourselves, it defines our values and it makes us all feel like what we are doing is fighting for the same goal.
We were still in school when the Twin Towers was struck.
I can only imagine what it would be like for my younger peers to have grown up seeing visuals of terrorism, been exposed to the idea that bad people will just kill people for no reason, at random venues, at random times.
It’s not safe to be out there in the big world.
We just finished uni (some still in high school) when the GFC hit.
Doors closed and opportunities grew less and less for people who haven’t yet stepped into the working world. We didn’t know when it will recover, we didn’t know what would happen and when the doors will start to open up again.
All this during a surge of world disasters which affected everyone, not only just millennials. So in a plight of global uncertainty, yes, great leadership is necessary to guide us and reassure us that the better is coming.
Otherwise, get out of the way for young leaders who emerge and reassure you of how your business will thrive in a changing digital playing field.
So who are Millennials?
The key here is that anything that is said about millennials can be said about any generation. Millennials are not a generation of people that are the worst-people-ever, it might just be the few that you have met.
Stop assuming you understand what we are as a generation and instead, spend time to understand the young person in front of you.
(It would be so ironic is someone reads this and thinks, there goes the millennial talking about not wanting to conform and be categorised – such a hipster millennial! LOL)
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