Below is a presentation I gave at Associated Electric in February of 2017. I created this presentation to address some misguided perceptions and stereotypes regarding Millennials in the workplace. It seems that every day, more and more negative thoughts get passed around when asking “The Millennial Question” so I gave this to shed some light on reality. The presentation is only 7 mins long. I hope you enjoy it. Below the video is the presentation in text form. Please leave a comment on what you think!
I’d like to start with a little bit about myself. I like to read…I read several books last year (32 to be exact) most of the business books. If I were to recommend anything right now, it would be “Everything Bad is Good For You” by Steven Johnson.
Other things about myself, I like to travel, I play video games, and the pic on the right is my baby picture. I was born in 1986 which makes me a Millennial.
I know i know. I’m on social media, I read the news. <Sarcastically> I’m lazy, I lived with my parents too long, I can’t stay interested in a job for more than a year…And don’t get me started on how entitled I am.
Kids these days 🙁
All kidding aside, you can’t get too far on the internet without being reminded how kids were better off in the good old day. It seems like everywhere you turn there is some form of disappointment in the newest members of the professional world. And it’s highly publicized. I have a few snippets I would like to read in actual publications. The first is from “The Authority of Parents” and it’s about Entitlement.
“There is a great tendency among the children of today to rebel against restraint. Noth only that placed upon them by the will of the parent but, any restraint or limitation of what they consider to be their rights (entitlement). This fact has filled well-minded people with great apprehension for the future.
This is another one about texting and snap chat that I found in the Sunday magazine
“The art of letter-writing is fast dying out. We fire off a multitude of rapid and short notes instead of sitting down to have a good discussion over a real sheet of paper.”
There’s something a bit off about the way these read…that’s because they weren’t said about us at all (reveals these we published in 1906 and 1871 respectively). These were written about much older generations. In fact you could find this all throughout history. I found this in XKCD.com where they compiled dozens of these examples of things that have been said about earlier youth that you could basically say about the youth of today.
Generations have been doing this for a long time. The radio, fiction novels, television, rock music, video game have all been met with judgment from the generation before. What is it today…social media and cell phones. That’s what’s “poisoning” today’s youth.
The point is, this is nothing new. There is even a word that describes this behavior and its call Juvenoia. If you are interested in learning about it, Michael Stevens has an awesome YouTube video on it that was a great inspiration for some of the content of this presentation.
So are we broken? No…we are just different. The world we grew up in is simply different from the world you grew up in. For example, several new hires might remember the Budweiser frogs, or maybe the Waaaaaazzzzzzz uuuuupppppp guys. But five years from now….probably not. Think about this, in ten years from now, when the youngest millennials are entering the workforce; they will have learned about the 9/11 tragedy in a history book. The world we grew up in is different. Not bad just different.
So what I would like to talk to you about today is what how Millennials really think. Because, ready or not, here we come. There are more and more every day, so let’s get a better understanding of one another. These are the books that I have based most of my research on (Everything Bad is Good for you, Millennials and Management, Generations, The Millennials). I pull most of my stats from “The Millennials” by Thomas and Jesse Reiner. So you are not just hearing one Millennial’s perspective.
First reality of a Millennial is that, yes we lived with our parents longer than the generations before. And yes we used our parents a lot when it comes to professional help like interviews and resumes. But what is missing there is the context. This generation is on pace to shatter a number of college grads than any other generation before. Many Millennials looked at living with their parents as a financial decision.
As for the professional help, 87% of millennials looked at their parents as a positive influence on their profession. They have been through this before so why not use that. Where some might see a lack of independence, we see resourcefulness. Again, not bad just different.
The Same thing can be said about older generations. When asked “I tend to have great respect for older generations” the results were 94% saying they agree with over 50% saying they strongly agree. Young people are very likely to seek a mentor of the older generation. One could say that we (Millennials) look up to those who sometimes look down on us.
Fun is also a major value for the Millennials in the workplace. 87% rated fun as a value ranking it just below Work life balance and pay (1 and 2). WE DONT ALL WANT BALL PITS, WE DONT ALL NEED TO BRING OUR DOGS TO WORK. These are stereotypes. However, we do not believe that serious work and fun have to be mutually exclusive. They can most certainly happen under the same roof. Millennials need to do important and meaningful work, so the thought that we only want to do fun things is inaccurate.
So I wanted to share this with you to shed light on only a few stereotype “kids these days” have been given. Hopefully, this gives everyone a bit more of an understanding of what we are capable of and what our value system is. So, I’ll leave you with a thought, if we make a mistake, just remember that we are young in our careers. Don’t automatically blame the participation trophy I got when I was eight years old. Partner with me as a colleague. We are ready to learn for the older generation. And with our diverse background, you may find the exchange mutually beneficial. Which is pretty cool. But just remember, were not bad, just different.