I recently watched a video that went viral about millennials. It was 15 minutes long and featured a talk by Simon Sinek On Millennials in the Workplace. While I found many of the ideas presented to be relevant and thought provoking, the video as a whole made me irritated.
According to Wikipedia, a millennial is someone of the generation born from the late '80s to early 2000s. As someone who falls into this category, I have seen many of the ideas Sinek presented around me throughout my life. We have access to great technology, use social media rampantly, and are arguably lazy and hard to work with sometimes. However, I cannot help but feel targeted unfairly by these claims when I see these older folks acting as though we are the worst thing to happen to them. Are they really so quick to forget that they raised us? I have heard many call us the entitlement generation because we expect things that are not earned. For example, in youth sports there are participation awards so youth are growing up expecting to always get something out of whatever they put in. Yet, are we really to blame, or is it the parents who will moan and complain when "MY kid" did not get a reward but "YOUR kid" did.
Are there not discrepancies between generations as far back as you can look? The baby boomers, born 1945-1964 were characterized in early years by individualism and social changes and in later years by distrust of government and cynicism. However, they also experienced a strong upswing of consumer culture and economic prosperity, with better guarantees of wealth and retirement funds. Now, we lack the economic optimism and the social security and retirement that was guaranteed previously. Is it really such a surprise that we then share a different mindset and work ethic in our careers?
If we choose to go as far back as around 400 B.C. we might see a similar discrepancy between generations. Classical Greek philosopher Socrates said this on the topic of youth: "The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers."
I am not disagreeing with others who say that millennials can be lazy, hard to work with, or even rude. But, why can't these same things be said about, say, the rest of humanity? They can and they are. People can be lazy, hard to work with, and rude. It seems to be that the issue is not with "my generation" but instead with an older generation who does not cope well with change. This can be said about just about any generation, and will likely apply to mine as well in the next 20-50 years.
With all that said, I simply do not see the point in targeting millennials as the downfall of America, as they have been lately. Like any demographic out there, there are strengths and weaknesses among us.
Also: please hire me.