Obviously, you don’t get to choose when you’re born, or what’s going on in society around you at the time, all that you can do is make the best of your situation given the circumstances. I was born on the backend of the Baby Boom era and always believed that I was born at the wrong time. If I had my druthers, I’d gladly trade places with a millennial.
Millennials were born between 1982 and 2004 but being a millennial is more a mindset than a timeframe. Over the past three decades, millennials have earned a bad rap as entitled, spoiled, lazy, selfish, obsessed with social media, and lacking a strong work ethic. Society views them as the “me” generation and managers view them as people who expect more than they deserve. To be transparent, I included myself in that group of naysayers until I had time to really think about who millennials are and why. In so doing I deliberated, “Is the negative perception of millennials warranted?”
Millennials are a generation that is very much about owning and controlling their destiny in a way that other generations haven't been. I am envious of this because in reflecting upon my life, I feel as though I followed many expected, traditional pathways and now, I am where I am. Mind you, I’m not complaining because I’m in a pretty good place but I’m not so sure that I controlled my fate to get here. Millennials are an optimistic sort. They believe that they are special, and they believe in exploiting opportunity. Some older people view this as entitlement - viewing millennials as a group of entry-level employees who want to make it to the corner office without paying their rightful dues. Is it their fault that they are advancing more rapidly than previous generations because the traditional hierarchy in many industries is dissolving? Some call millennials “praise-hungry.” They’re believed to want a trophy for just showing up. In reality, the generation is simply accustomed to getting more frequent feedback. Who’s to blame for this? Is this a result of helicopter parenting which has given the more cynical generation an impression that millennials need constant positive reinforcement? Millennials are happiest spending time with their family and friends. They value happiness over wealth and for some reason this is considered profound. I would turn the tables and advise you that if you don’t prioritize your happiness, you might want to ask yourself why. They’re viewed as needing instant gratification. That impatience undoubtedly comes from their understanding of technology. With always having had the world at their fingertips, how could they not expect things to come simply? Can you say, “Hey Siri”? As employees, they’re ridiculously resourceful. They are also rabid multitaskers. Trying to balance a hundred things at once is something that not everyone can do and something that millennials can easily do. Statistically, they’re the generation most likely to take part in work related to social causes, and they are huge proponents of service-based projects. They are looking for a sense of purpose in their work rather than ways to increase their income. Which begs the question, who is more selfish, the person out to make a buck or the person out to make a difference? Millennials are considered lazy yet 87% workout more than once per week. And, half of them cook four times a week. I wish that I could say that about many of the people in my generation. They were born in the rise of technology and social networking and are criticized for how they use it by us older folk. Yeah, they like taking pictures and selfies. If you grew up with a readily accessible, compact device that had a high quality camera built in, wouldn’t you have wanted to document your attendance at that Broncos, Penguins or Lakers game?
Spending their days "plugged in" has led to a society that is less likely to step out of their comfort zones, and even out of their houses. They’re not afraid to publish any of their opinions on the internet, yet they stare at their shoes to avoid an opportunity to have a face-to-face conversation with an adult. In an indirect way, this has led to the most educated generation in the country's history. It’s not just what they learn in the classroom, the caliber of the schools that they attend, or the number of advanced degrees that they earn. They seem to have an insatiable thirst for knowledge outside of school and they quench that thirst but researching things on the web … and without provocation. Some would call that self-motivated. I applaud my 19-year-old son for his incessant need to learn. He sits in his room watching TED Talks, listening to political debates, researching how things are made, etc. He’s way smarter than me and, because I didn’t have the same access that he now does, I’m supposed to think it’s a negative? My hat is off to those millennials who are self-educating. Nice hustle. Keep it up. It will assuredly give you an edge over those who think that education stops with graduation. Millennials are the most ethnically diverse generation in the country and they are also the most actively open-minded. Unlike previous generations, millennials shudder at the thought of settling … for anything. When was settling ever a good thing? And why did previous generations allow it?
Perhaps #millennials should care a little bit more about others and stare into their smart phones a little bit less, but generally speaking, millennials are a creative, motivated, influential, and invaluable generation … because they're changing the world. In my next life, I want to come back as my son. How do I sign up for that? Please let me know what you think of this misunderstood generation.
Safe and happy riding. #Snowboarding. #BoardBootie. #SomeThingsJustShouldntBeNaked. #BoardBootieBuck.