The “M” Word”
Extraterrestrials, “Generation Wuss”, and narcissistic…just a few ways the media describes Millennials (typically defined as people born 1980-2000). Just this morning I heard a lecture from a local politician on “those Millennials”, our social media, and how we need to be “figured out.” The common experience of constantly hearing that message in meetings, lunches, and news articles is what I imagine zoo animals feel about the people who point, bang on the glass of their cages, and leave without paying too many compliments. The oldest of the Millennials are in their mid-30’s, the youngest are late teenagers. The generalizations, stereotypes, and misconceptions commonly preached to us by those normally in positions of authority or significance are frankly insulting.
When you talk about how I need to understand the importance of time management you disregard that I have held multiple positions at once while attending grad school and doing community work. Does emotional sensitivity play into my production or desire to work? Yes, because from the over 1,000 Facebook friends and Twitter followers (that I rarely hear from very personally) I want to know there are people physically there that care about me (or at least let me share connection about issues impacting my work) especially if I’m investing my time and energy to further a cause or company. And one more thing: for those of us Millennials in the working world, we want to be creative, supportive, and forward-thinking. Harness that creativity and allow it some space to design programs, ideas, and strategies because that communicates you believe we are capable of contributing positively to the workplace.
Lastly, please imagine all the ways that you don’t like to be lumped and labeled…we are just the same! The solution to understanding “Millennials” is very individualistic because we all come with our quirks and fears due to life experiences, culture, personality, and upbringing. While I admit that Millennials do have flaws (just like every generation) it is important to build relationships by listening and sharing your story because believe it or not, some of us like to understand where you’re coming from too!
Check out this helpful infographic from Washington Post “Millennials: Coming of Age” for a good analysis of statistics and patterns of Millennials.