What People Don’t Understand About Millennials
Disclaimer: Before you eye roll this is not the typical article about millennials. People love dissecting the millennial generation. Are they entitled? Are they technology obsessed? Are they going to save the planet? This is a realistic view of why some millennials act they way they do and what we can do to address real problems the generation is facing.
A past article from TIME magazine states: “They have trouble making decisions. They would rather hike in the Himalayas than climb a corporate ladder. They have few heroes, no anthems, no style to call their own. They crave entertainment, but their attention span is as short as one zap of a TV dial.”
Contrary to popular belief, this piece was addressing the Baby Boomers’ criticisms of Generation X. The truth is, every generation looks at the one behind them with annoyances.
Employers regularly complain about the difficulties of keeping millennial employees off their phones long enough to do their job. Although, it should come to no surprise that millennials aren’t the only generation facing a cell phone addiction. Smartphones are so addicting because they trigger the release of serotonin and dopamine or “happy chemicals”. We can all curb this instant gratification by slowly weaning off of our devices. Start slowly with 15 or 30 minute periods of not glancing at your device and increase as necessary to get the job done.
In a world of Instagram selfies, Twitter rants and Snapchat pictures that disappear in 10 seconds millennials are used to intangible and instant moments. This is why so many young adults admit issues when trying to form lasting bonds offline. A good way to combat this feeling of being "disconnected" in the real world is scheduling coffee dates with friends. By making time for face to face conversation you can fill the void of loneliness you may experience while scrolling online.
Millennials grew up in an environment where everyone received a trophy just for running the race. This can be a hard mindset to break when starting to climb the corporate ladder. “By being deceived in this way, many millennials have been deprived of the most valuable growth experience in all of life—learning from our failures", said Dr. Sherri Sami. A rude awakening comes when we realize that if we aren’t experiencing failure we aren’t growing. A way millennials can overcome this false sense of instant gratification is by withholding requests for pay raises and promotions. Look to the more experienced professionals in the office or profession and study how long they worked before climbing up.
To anyone who is anxious about what the world will become when millennials take over, just recall what was once said about you and the competence of your generation. Try to see yourselves in these young adults and you might be alarmed at the resemblances you discover. It is not the job of corporate America to step in and “fix” this generation. Personal responsibility for one’s own actions is the answer to fulfillment. It’s important to remember that several of the hurdles millennials face are not of their own creation. Societal changes are accumulated over generations of change. Most importantly, millennials are no less qualified than any generation before them to find their place in the world.
Images courtesy of picjumbo and iStock.