So I know this post is going to touch a few nerves. I know it is going to piss some people off. I know some people will agree and others will just prefer to not pick a side. Hell, at least I am not writing about the Trump/ Clinton debacle. No, politics are something where I won’t voice my opinion. I’m going to talk about something much better. I’m going to talk about millennials.
If you haven’t noticed, I’m not a millennial. Nope. I’m not a baby boomer or Gen Y either. I’ve got a few gray hairs to prove it. I’m from that generation where we idolized Prince, Michael Jackson, and Van Halen called Generation X. I’m not here to talk about my generation or any generation other than Millennials.
Millennials were typically born between 1982-2004. They have one of the worst reputations in the workforce today. I hear daily complaints about Millennials from other generations. “They are entitled.” “They work on their own time-frame.” They only care about themselves.” Let me make this clear before I get started on my rant. I know tons of Millennials and I consider many of them friends. They are among some of the brightest and most talented individuals I know.
If you think your working style is the “right” way and “only” way to do things, you might as well retire because you’re going to get run over by younger, smarter individuals any day now. Millennials are not lazy. They are not entitled. They have simply grown up in a different world than any other generation. Oh, and they will shortly be the majority of the workforce. Very shortly.
Let me explain this for a minute. Gen X and Baby Boomers used to be able to count on working for a couple of companies for the majority of their career. They worked for companies that allowed them to grow and move into different roles within organizations. There were technological advances, but nothing like we are experiencing today. There were pensions. There was a sense of reciprocal loyalty between employee and employer. Everyone knew everyone. Work was your second family.
Uh… not anymore. Companies truly could give two shits about you. Seriously. I don’t want to burst your bubble, but you are downright nuts if you think you are going to be with one company for your entire career. You are also crazy if you TRY to stay with the same company for your entire career.
If you stay with the same company for your entire career you won’t advance. You aren’t going to learn new technologies. You aren’t going to make the money you want to make. You aren’t going to broaden your experience or skill set.
You see, you have to move around to market yourself in today’s world. You will be a dinosaur and only know one way of doing things if you stay with the same company. You need to expand your horizons, learn multiple ways of doing things, and learn as much as you can from people you encounter in the various roles you hold.
See, Millennials aren’t dumb. They aren’t lazy. They aren’t entitled. They get this! They have watched their parents and grandparents get royally screwed by working for “the man”. They are protecting themselves. They know they need to keep up with the latest and the greatest. They know if they want their careers to flourish they need to stay one step ahead of the rest. Sometimes what they do is in the best interest of the company. Sometimes this is in the best interest of themselves.
I am okay with that. As a recruiter, I need the brightest people available with the biggest breadth of experience.
Let’s give these guys a break. They are on to something, like it or not. We all have something to learn from Millennials. The world we live in has changed. As I grow older, I know I am going to have to adapt to the changing times. You are too. They could be and will be your biggest asset with your organization. Embrace their vision and let it help not hurt your organization.
What are your thoughts?