I was at a conference recently and one of the keynotes actually gave a presentation on how to work with millennials. I thought to myself, “how 2009 of this person to do this!” I’ve vowed at this point to never sit through another presentation on millennials in the workplace. Millennials are now dead to me.
Just as Baby Boomers, GenXer’s, GenZs, The Founders, etc., are all dead to me. All of us are people. All of us are in the workplace. All of us have to work together and get along. Focusing so much on one group over another just perpetuates dysfunction and confusion. I actually heard executives talking about kids graduating high school and believing they also are ‘millennials’. Just stop!
That all being said, IBM came out with an infographic about the myths, exaggerations and uncomfortable truths of millennials, last week, which sparked my little rant. I wanted to share these five myths and add some commentary:
1.Millennials’ career goals and expectations are different from those of older generations.
Turns out we all still, for the most part, want the same thing. Good job. Good pay. Stability. Don’t buy into the hype that any of your workers want to jump around from company to company. They don’t.
2.Millennials want constant acclaim and think everyone on the team should get a trophy.
Again, every generation wants feedback and told they’re a rock star, even when they’re not. As we age, we start to gain a little better self-insight that we might suck. When we’re young we think we’re awesome, even when we’re not.
3.Millennials are digital addicts who want to do everything online.
I have 8 aunts who are all in their 60’s, pushing their 70’s, all of whom spend most of their day on digital devices gaming and on social sites. This is the world we live in. My Mom would rather order a pizza online then pick up a phone. Welcome to modern day life.
4.Millennials, unlike their older colleagues, can’t make a decision without first inviting everyone to weigh in.
No one wants to be the one who made a decision that went wrong. In most corporate settings all workers play the CYA game by sharing decision-making responsibility. We all say we want to make decisions until we’re actually given that responsibility, then we turn into bowls of jello on the floor hoping we didn’t ruin our careers!
5.Millennials are more likely than others to jump ship if a job doesn’t fulfill their passions.
Guess what? Young people today have a ton of debt. That means you have to work and make money to pay down that debt. Then you decide to buy a house, get married, have a litter of puppies, etc. Passion is awesome. If you get a job you’re super passionate about, good for you, you’re winning at life. 99% of people will work in a job they like, make decent money, pay their bills, and probably will be passionate about other parts of their life. I think they’re winning as well.
For the record, the last Millennials entered the workforce two years ago. Can we start talking about these snotty-nosed, spoiled brats who are beginning to enter the workforce right now with their Snapchatting and their video and their ability to brand themselves and never-ending gaze to the glow of their smartphone!? They’re calling themselves “The Founders”.
Go have fun with that. They named themselves…
This is a great commentary. Number one struck a serious cord with me. I can’t remember how many times I have heard that the rule that these days folks should only stay at a job for 10 years, then change every 10 years to make the most of a career. This way a person can make moves to increase pay and influence in a chosen field. This sounds crazy to anyone who planned to graduate from college, get a job and then punch the clock for the next 30 until retirement. Things have changed. Not only are there advantages to changing companies, but there is often little reason to stay at one company forever. For most, long gone are the days of a guaranteed pension. Companies have changed their retirement so they only pay out for the the time that the employee put in (think 401(k) vs. pension). And very few companies offer a path to executive leadership for its employees, forcing them to climb a different ladder. Now, don’t get me wrong, this is totally reasonable, but it doesn’t exactly encourage company loyalty into retirement.
Also, I’m with you, can’t we all just get over the labels of generations? What better way to breed discrimination than to oversimplify and stereotype a group of people. I “found” (get it, Founders? Yup, I’m a geek) an article about the naming of the post Millennial generation.
As far as oversimplifications go, I far prefer Bridge Generation to Founders, but that’s just my 2 cents.
Thanks for this!
I agree that people aren’t bound to what decade they were born in. There are trends that are changing the world that affect all of us, and it natural to try to group people together when you have no other clue
Psychographics and choices are much better ways to build a persona of typical buyers while tchnology know allows us to cater to individuals rather than groups
But I’m not against people learning this through a seminar labeled “millennial”. Good that the are learning how to appeal to people today. 🙂
I like the Forrester definition of millennials as thing king digital first and living life in the 21st Century instead of the 20th Century paradigms. Good riddance to the company man paradigm.
Tim, well done! Let’s start a new group….how about, “The Pragmatists”