Millennials get poked fun for all kinds of stereotypes: selfish, spoiled, and needy in the workplace. We don’t understand loyalty or dedication because we’re not as willing as the baby boomers to spend our entire careers with one company, and we come from cradled childhoods that make us lazy and entitled. We’re a bunch of robots glued to our smartphones who can’t show up on time. Sound familiar?
There are thought to be some 80 – 90 million millennials in the U.S. now, born in the 80s and 90s. Some even push the definition back to being born as late as 2000. Being a millennial myself, I feel the need to bring some positivity to the table here.
We are entitled.Edit: We refuse to settle.
Food for thought: We witnessed our elders put work above everything else, in which little reward was actually found. We are not hopelessly chasing dream jobs out of entitlement; we are pursuing employment for greater reward beyond paychecks and security. We seek purpose in our work as we look to blend our careers with our lives rather than segregate the two.
Work-life balance does not mean we want to work any less – in fact, with technology we are taking work home into the late evening hours in a digital era where we never unplug. This idea of balance, or what I prefer to call “work-life blend,” means we want to work for an organization where our work and lives can co-exist. And yes, this comes with wanting flexible hours. We want to make that yoga class and also juggle days with our partner in picking up the kids.
We’re pushing the boundaries of old-school workplace rigidity that was designed for breadwinner households, which are no longer the norm.
We value passion over pay, and this isn’t bad news for employers who are finding that employees motivated by passion and purpose reap far greater contributions than those who show up just for face time. A happy worker is a productive worker.
Check out this published piece I wrote for Pacific Business News, “Purpose is the new paradigm,” showing that this concept of balance millennials have been fighting for is a win for all generations.
We are lazy and don’t want to grow up because we were raised to think we are all winners.Edit: We are facing unprecedented hurdles in early adulthood.
Food for thought: With competition so high, in part thanks to globalization, we’re putting in a lot of work to rise above. It is taking many of us longer to get where we need to be, and therefore, we’ve gotten pretty good at coping with rejection along the way. We are considered the most educated and unemployed generation.
An all too familiar story looks more like this: Work multiple jobs to pay your way through college, yet still graduate with today’s average of more than $30,000 in debt, enter a job market where 40% of us comprise America’s unemployed, get used to those big fat “No’s” after dozens of interviews, and revert back to “under-employment.”
So if we give off an attitude of winning, it’s because we want more for our generation than this. Laziness is just a bad scapegoat for today’s realities of why twenty-somethings are pushing classic milestones of adulthood back until their thirties, like saving for retirement, moving out of mom and dad’s house and starting a family. We’re sick of being told that it’s entirely on us, and that we’ve just had our heads in the clouds our whole lives.
If anything, we are proving to be a resilient generation. The odds are stacked against many of our biggest ambitions, and yet we still take the attitude of “Yes.” Yes to hope-filled possibilities and to taking charge of our own happiness, and we’re willing to make sacrifices and wait longer to achieve these goals.
Millennials, I’m confident we’re doing some things right. Just, start showing up to things on time and stop giving everyone reason to hate us.